Bastian Baker earned the coveted opening spot this year, joining Shania Twain on her Shania NOW World Tour. The Switzerland native has had the chance to cross the globe with her, watching the country music icon perform – and taking plenty of notes.
"I learned so much," Baker told PopCulture.com. "It's been a crazy tour. You have to imagine I'm by myself on stage, on these huge arena stages. I think that just made me a better entertainer, a better performer than I was before. I have been playing a lot in the last eight years, but this just added to my performance, just how to handle the crowd, interact with them. Shania's been very good at giving me advice, and also tell me to stay myself and not try to be like anybody else and thus this is what I've learned truly."
Baker is also inspired by Twain's own career path, and the risks she took on her way to becoming one of the most successful artists, of any genre.
"That's really how she made it," Bastian explained. "She was the first to go from country to pop, and made country music popular all over the world. On this tour, we've played Europe. We've played all of North America. We're going Australia, New Zealand. Everywhere we go, it's crazy to see how much love people have for her, and then for me. They don't know me. I just come on stage, and that's pretty crazy."
Twain's NOW World Tour wraps up right before Christmas, but the 27-year-old already knows how he will spend 2019.
"Basically December 22nd is the last show, somewhere in New Zealand," Baker said. "We'll be all flying back to Switzerland together, spend Christmas and New Year's Eve there in the Swiss Alps, eat some fondue and raclette [cheese]. Then next year, I'm back on tour. I'll be going out on my own tour, gonna promote the new album that just dropped, so we have a lot of new music.
"lt's gonna feel good to play more than just a half an hour on my own shows with the fans that come, and actually know my songs," he continued. "I have been missing this feeling for a couple months now, so it's going to be good to get back at it."
Baker's self-titled record, which was released in October, is a mix of several sounds that are authentically him.
"I think the best way to describe the new album is to call it a genre-defying album because there's a lot of different influences," said the rising star. "I've been working with a lot of different people. You hear country music. You hear electro-pop. You hear singer-songwriter stuff. You hear urban stuff. I've been listening to a lot of artists like The Weeknd last year, so I think it's just a modern album, and that's kind of where country music's headed right now, and I'd like to be part of this movement."
All of Baker's upcoming shows can be found at BastianBaker.com.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Paul Archuleta