Inteview with Celine Dion
humble beginnings in a rural French Canadian home town,
Céline Dion has risen to international superstardom
like a shooting star. Céline has been called the
premier contemporary pop vocalist of the Nineties. She has
earned music industry accolades from around the world: Grammy
Awards in the US, Juno and Felix Awards in Canada, and World
Music Awards in Europe. The entire world has seen Céline
Dion literally transform herself from a gifted pre-adolescent
into an international superstar.
Born in Charlemagne (a small town 30 miles east of Montreal, Quebec, Canada), Céline is the youngest of 14 children of a highly musical family. Her parents, both musicians, operated a small club, and on weekends, the entire family performed and entertained the local population. From the tender age of 5, Céline sang with her siblings and quickly acquired the ability to perform live. At the age of twelve, together with her mother and one of her brothers, Céline composed a French song which would forever alter the course of her life.
The demo tape containing the song was brought to the attention of René Angélil, a well respected personal manager. In January 1981, René was so taken by the voice of the young Céline, that he became determined to make her an internationally known talent - he even mortgaged his house to finance the recording of Céline's debut album!
Céline began to receive recognition for her talent in 1982, winning the Gold Medal at the Yamaha World Song Festival in Tokyo, along with the coveted Musician's Award for Top Performer. In 1983, she became the first Canadian ever to receive a Gold Record in France.
The streak of recognition had only just begun.
By 1988, Céline had established a strong name for herself in her native province of Quebec, where she was enjoying superstar status, receiving numerous Felix Awards and racking up platinum albums. That same year, Céline won the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland, where she performed live before a television audience of 600 million viewers throughout Europe, the USSR, the Middle-East, Japan, and Australia.
In September, 1990 Céline released 'Unison' - her first English-language album and her first for Sony Music - and scored a breakthrough US hit with the Top 5 single "Where Does My Heart Beat Now".
Céline's international breakthrough came when she recorded the title track for the soundtrack to the animated Disney hit movie 'Beauty and the Beast.' The song went to number one and garnered an Academy Award and a Grammy Award. "Beauty and the Beast" formed the cornerstone for Céline's second English language album, called simply 'Céline Dion.' That album produced four more hit singles including "Love Can Move Mountains," "Water From The Moon," "If You Asked Me To" and "Did You Give Enough Love." In Canada, the album went six times platinum and set the stage for an incredible streak of Juno Awards.
On December 17, 1994, Céline Dion and René Angélil were married at Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal.
At this time, the Céline juggernaut started rolling at a momentous pace in the UK. British fans took extremely well to "Think Twice," a ballad on 'The Colour Of My Love.' For five consecutive weeks, the song and album stood on top of the respective British charts, an achievement not replicated since 1965 and the heyday of The Beatles. "Think Twice" remained at number one for two more weeks, surpassing the magic million mark to become only the fourth million-selling single ever in the UK by a female artist.
With 'D'eux,' Céline achieved what everyone thought was impossible - introduced French music to the upper reaches of the British charts. The world had truly discovered Céline Dion.
Blessed with one of popular music's great voices, she has crossed all barriers - even that of language - with her electrifying series of international hits. With her breakneck pace of recording, video shoots, touring and appearing on TV shows and awards specials, it seems like Céline has time for little else. Not the case when it comes to an important cause.
Céline has used her talents to further the cause of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In fact, one of Céline's most emotional songs ("Vole," from the 'D'eux' album, later translated into English as the song "Fly," which appears on the 'Falling Into You' album) is a touching memorial to her niece, Karine, who was taken from her by this disease.
Released in March 1996, 'Falling Into You' became the best-selling album released that year; topped the charts in 11 countries, and was voted Album of the Year and Best Pop Album at the 39th annual Grammy Awards ceremony. The album has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide.
'Let's Talk About Love' is the follow-up to Céline's double Grammy Award-winning album. Recorded in London, New York and Los Angeles, 'Let's Talk About Love' features a host of special guests including some of popular music's greatest vocalists, songwriters, and producers.
'Let's Talk About Love' was released on the same day as the soundtrack of the motion picture 'Titanic'. Both albums featured the much-loved Titanic movie's theme song, "My Heart Will Go On," written by James Horner and produced by James Horner and Walter Afanasieff. "My Heart Will Go On" quickly became the wedding song of choice for Céline's fans.
In a stunning back-to-back achievement, 'Let's Talk About Love' went on to match the 27 million worldwide sales of its predecessor; 'Titanic' also sold over 27 million copies worldwide. It is the all-time best-selling orchestral soundtrack in recording history.
Céline sang "My Heart Will Go On" on the worldwide telecast of the 70th Annual Academy Awards, live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song -- the second Oscar for a song sung by Céline Dion, following
"Beauty And The Beast."
A new French album, 'S'il suffisait d'aimer,' recorded in February 1998, was officially released worldwide on September 8. The first featured single, "Zola sourit" received rave responses on the radio all over the world. Céline first introduced her fans to the album's title track during her Let's Talk About Love World Tour.
Céline's next album, 'These Are Special Times,' featured sixteen songs for the holiday season, including the Christmas pop classics "Blue Christmas" and "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)"; and such traditional religious favorites as "O Holy Night" and "Adeste Fidelis (O Come All Ye Faithful)." In addition, 'These Are Special Times' produced the No. 1 single "I'm Your Angel," Céline's duet with R. Kelly, who wrote and produced the song; the Diane Warren-penned title track, "These Are Special Times"; and "The
Prayer," a duet with Andrea Bocelli.
Also, in 1998, Dundurn Press released the much anticipated biography: Céline...The Authorized Biography. After travelling with Céline and her entourage for over a year and spending hours in one-on-one conversions with the star, Georges-Hébert Germain recounts the story of one of the world's best loved vocal artists. Céline and Georges-Hébert Germain later collaborated once again on Céline Dion...My Story, My Dream. Released in 2000, Céline recounts her story in her own words and straight from her heart. The autobiography is an exquisitely detailed portrait of Céline backstage, on the road, and in the recording studio.
'All The Way...A Decade Of Song' is a collection of Céline's greatest hits, including her chart-topping hit singles "The Power Of Love," "Because You Loved Me," "I'm Your Angel," and the Grammy and Academy Award-winning classic "My Heart Will Go On." Also included are "Beauty And The Beast," "It's All Coming Back to Me Now"; and "If You Asked Me To. "Seven brand-new songs, were recorded specifically for this collection, including the title song "All The Way," a respectful and loving tribute to one of Céline's all-time favourite singers, the late Frank Sinatra.
On New Year's Eve 1999, in Montreal, Céline Dion gave her last public performance before beginning a temporary hiatus from show business to enjoy her private life... and improve her golf game!
During Céline's hiatus, a compilation album, 'The Collector's Series...Volume One,' was released in October 2000. Among Céline's greatest hits and best-loved recordings, the album also includes "The Power of the Dream" which Céline performed at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games as well as a Spanish version of "All By Myself."
But the greatest joy for Céline and René came with the birth of their son René-Charles Angélil, born January 25, 2001 at 1:00 AM, weighing 6 lbs, 8 oz. He was baptized six months later on July 25, 2001, in Montreal's grand Notre-Dame Basilica.
A new peak in Céline's spectacular career was reached when she released her new album 'A New Day Has Come' in March 2002, which ended her two-year hiatus. The album entered number one in more than 17 countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States within two weeks of its debut. It features new tracks that range from pure 21st century pop, "A New Day Has Come" to dramatic ballads "Have
You Ever Been In Love" and "I Surrender," from breathtaking dance music "Sorry For Love" to a pair of pre-rock classics "At Last;" and "Nature Boy." Other highlights include "I'm Alive," "Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)," and "Rain, Tax (It's Inevitable)."
The release of the album was accompanied by a blitz of TV specials, appearances on talk shows and magazine interviews all over the world.
In March 2003, Céline began a three-year commitment to appear five nights a week at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a 4000-seat arena designed for her show. A 90-minute event, A New Day... introduces a new form of entertainment, a fusion of song, performance art, theatrical innovation and state-of-the-art technology.
The show was created by Dragone Productions, a team led by Franco Dragone, the creative spirit behind ten of the critically acclaimed productions by Cirque du Soleil.
On March 25, to coincide with the opening of A New Day..., Céline released 'One Heart,' a brand new album featuring an upbeat cover of Roy Orbison's classic "I Drove All Night" as its first single. The album also includes songs produced by Ric Wake, Anders Bagge, Kristian
Lundin, Peer Astrom, Max Martin, Mark Taylor, Erick Benzi et Humberto Gatica.
On October 14 of the same year, Celine released the much anticipated '1 fille & 4 types,' her first French album in five years. Artistic director Jean-Jacques Goldman, the power behind 'D'eux' (1995) and 'S'il suffisait d'aimer' (1998), had come up with an idea to surround her with three different writer-composers who have made their mark on the French music scene: Jacques Veneruso, Erick Benzi and master guitarist Gildas Arzel.
The voice of one or other of these incomparable artists accompanies Céline's performance throughout the album, produced by Benzi and guided by Goldman from start to finish. '1 fille & 4 types' debuted as the top selling in Canada, France and Switzerland in its first week of
release. The first single, "Tout l'or des hommes" also made radio history by establishing the record for becoming the highest charting Francophone single on the National CHR Audience chart in the BDS era in Canada.
With each new release, Céline has managed to top her previous successes and, along the way, has become one of the brightest stars in the world of popular music. Who would have imagined that Quebec's best-kept secret could have conquered the world the way she has?
Looking back now, we should have known it all along.