Backstage with International Singing Sensation–Celine Dion

No Lies Radio Music – By Teri Perticone – Sat April 10, 2021

Céline Marie Claudette Dion CC OQ (/se??li?n di??n/,[1] also UK: /- ?di??n/;[2] French: [selin ma?i klod?t dj??], Quebec French: [- d?zj??]; born 30 March 1968)[3] is a Quebecois Canadian singer. She is renowned for her powerful, technically skilled vocals,[4][5] and remains the best-selling Canadian recording artist and one of the best-selling artists of all time with record sales of over 200 million worldwide.[6][7] Born into a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, she emerged as a teen star in her home country with a series of French-language albums during the 1980s. She first gained international recognition by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, where she represented Switzerland. After learning to speak English, she signed on to Epic Records in the United States. In 1990, Dion released her debut English-language album, Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in North America and other English-speaking areas of the world.

During the 1990s, she achieved worldwide fame after releasing several best-selling English-language albums, such as Falling into You (1996) and Let’s Talk About Love (1997), which were both certified diamond in the US. She also scored a series of international number-one hits, including “The Power of Love”, “Think Twice”, “Because You Loved Me”, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, “My Heart Will Go On”, and “I’m Your Angel”. Dion continued releasing French albums between each English record; D’eux (1995) became the best-selling French-language album of all time, while S’il suffisait d’aimer (1998), Sans attendre (2012), and Encore un soir (2016), were all certified diamond in France. During the 2000s, she built her reputation as a highly successful live performer with A New Day… on the Las Vegas Strip (2003–07), which remains the highest-grossing concert residency of all time, as well as the Taking Chances World Tour (2008–09), one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time.

Dion’s music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. Her recordings are mainly in French and English, although she also sings in Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. While her releases have often received mixed critical reception, she is regarded as one of pop music’s most influential vocalists. She has won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. Billboard named her the “Queen of Adult Contemporary” for having the most number-one songs on the radio format for a female artist.[8] She is the second best-selling female artist in the US during the Nielsen SoundScan era. In 2003, she was honoured by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for selling over 50 million albums in Europe.

On 3 May 2018, she released the single “Ashes” from the film Deadpool 2.[202] The remix version of the song topped the US Dance Club Songs chart in July 2018.[203] From June to August 2018, she toured the Asia-Pacific region and grossed $56.5 million from 22 shows.[204] On 24 September 2018, she announced the end of her Las Vegas residency Celine, with the final date set for 8 June 2019.[205] She is working on a new English album.[206] In January 2019, she performed “A Change Is Gonna Come” at the “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul” Franklin’s tribute concert, to be broadcast in March 2019.[207][208]

In March 2019, she was one of 11 singers from Quebec, alongside Ginette Reno, Diane Dufresne, Isabelle Boulay, Luce Dufault, Louise Forestier, Laurence Jalbert, Catherine Major, Ariane Moffatt, Marie Denise Pelletier and Marie-Élaine Thibert, who participated in a supergroup recording of Renée Claude’s 1971 single “Tu trouveras la paix” after Claude’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease was announced.[209]

On 3 April 2019, during a Facebook Live event, Dion announced her 2019/2020 Courage World Tour, beginning in Quebec City on 18 September 2019.[210] She also announced a new English language album of the same name, to be released later in November 2019.[211]

On 18 September 2019, Dion released three songs, “Lying Down”, “Courage”, and “Imperfections” from her upcoming album, Courage.[212]

On 26 February 2020, Dion released two songs as exclusive Spotify singles: an acoustic version of Imperfections, and a cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. Isaak joined Dion and sang vocals on the track.

On 10 June 2020, Dion announced that her Courage World Tour will kick off again in 2021, after the tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[213]

Personal life

As the youngest of 14 children, Dion grew up wearing hand-me-downs and sharing a bed with several sisters.[342][343] As a baby, she slept in a drawer to save on a crib.[344] She was bullied at school and called “Vampire”, owing to her teeth and skinny frame.[330] Local tabloids even dubbed her “Canine Dion” in the teenage years of her career.[227] She often spoke of running home from school to play music in the basement with her brothers and sisters. “I detested school”, she would later write in her autobiography. “I had always lived surrounded by adults and children a lot older than me. I learned everything I needed to know from them. As far as I was concerned, real life existed around them.”[97] Dion’s eldest sister was already in her twenties, married, and pregnant with her first child at the time Dion’s mother, Thérèse, was pregnant with Celine.[345]

Dion first met René Angélil, her future husband and manager, in 1980, when she was 12 and he was 38, after her brother, Michel Dondalinger Dion, had sent him a demonstration recording of “Ce n’était qu’un rêve” (“It Was Only a Dream/Nothing But A Dream”), a song she, her mother Thérèse, and her brother Jacques Dion had jointly written. Over subsequent years, Angélil guided her to stardom in francophone territories.

After the dissolution of Angélil’s second marriage, he and Dion took a professional break and he spent the major part of the year in Las Vegas, while Dion was learning English and taking dance and vocal lessons in Montreal. Upon his return, “he avoided being alone with me for too long a time”,[346] she said in her 2000 autobiography My Story, My Dream. Meanwhile, she kept a photo of Angélil under her pillow, writing, “Before I fell asleep, I slipped it under the pillow, out of fear that my mother, who always shared a room with me, would find it.”[347] She also wrote “Less and less could I hide from myself the fact that I was in love with Rene; I had all the symptoms,”[348] and “I was in love with a man I couldn’t love, who didn’t want me to love him, who didn’t want to love me.”[349] Dion’s mother, who traveled everywhere with the singer until she was 19, was initially wary of her daughter’s growing infatuation with a much older and twice-divorced Angélil, but Dion was insistent, telling her mother “I’m not a minor. This is a free country. No one has the right to prevent me from loving whoever I want to.”[350]

Their professional relationship eventually turned romantic after Dion’s win at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1988; she was 20.[351][343][352] The romance was only known to family and friends for five years, though Dion nearly revealed all in a tearful 1992 interview with journalist Lise Payette.[353][354][355] Many years later, Payette penned the song “Je cherche l’ombre” for Dion’s 2007 album D’elles.[356]

Dion and Angélil became engaged in 1993, on Dion’s 25th birthday,[357] and made their relationship public in the liner notes of her 1993 album The Colour of My Love.[358] They married on 17 December 1994, at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec. On 5 January 2000, Dion and Angélil renewed their wedding vows in Las Vegas.[359]

In May 2000, Dion had two small operations at a fertility clinic in New York to improve her chances of conceiving, after deciding to use in vitro fertilization because of years of failed attempts to conceive. Their first son, René-Charles Angélil, was born on 25 January 2001. Dion suffered a miscarriage in 2009. In May 2010, Angélil announced that she was 14 weeks pregnant with twins after a sixth treatment of in vitro fertilization. On Saturday, 23 October 2010, at 11:11 and 11:12 am respectively, Dion gave birth to fraternal twins by Caesarean section at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida,[360] The twins were named Eddy, after Dion’s favourite French songwriter, Eddy Marnay, who had also produced her first five albums, and Nelson, after former South African President Nelson Mandela.[361] She appeared with her newborn sons on the cover of 9 December 2010 issue of the Canadian edition of Hello! magazine.[362]

On 14 January 2016, Angélil died of throat cancer.[363][364] His funeral was held on 22 January 2016, in Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, where he and Dion wed 21 years earlier. The couple’s eldest son, René-Charles, gave the eulogy just three days before his 15th birthday.[365] Following Angélil’s death, Dion became the sole owner and president of her management and production companies, including CDA Productions and Les Productions Feeling.[366][367]

Two days after Angélil’s death—on what would have been her husband’s birthday—Dion’s brother, Daniel, died aged 59, also of cancer.[368]

On 22 March 2018, Dion’s management team announced that she had been dealing with hearing irregularities for the previous 12–18 months due to patulous Eustachian tube and would undergo a minimally invasive surgical procedure to correct the problem after ear-drop medications appeared to be no longer working.[369]

Owing to her slight frame, Dion has for decades been subject of eating disorder rumors, which she has consistently denied:[370][371] “I don’t have an eating problem, and there’s nothing more I can say about it”.[343] “My work requires me to be in great physical shape. I wouldn’t have been able to live up to a hundred shows a year and travel ceaselessly from one end of the world to the other if I had eaten too much or not enough, or if, as certain magazines have claimed, I made myself throw up after each meal.”[372] She has often spoken about having been bullied at school and lacking confidence in her early years in the business:[373] “I didn’t have, visually, what it took. I was not pretty, I had teeth problems, and I was very skinny. I didn’t fit the mold”.[374]

Dion took up ballet under the guidance of her former dancer, Naomi Stikeman, who also previously performed for The National Ballet of Canada and La La La Human Steps, and former Cirque du Soleil dancer-turned-fashion-illustrator, Pepe Muñoz, who is also part of her styling team.[370][375] She is also a skier and a regular at her son René-Charles’ hockey games.[376][377][378]

Dion resides in Henderson, Nevada, in a house she bought with her husband in 2003.[379] She previously owned homes in Montreal, Quebec and Jupiter Island, Florida.[380][381]

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