Céline Dion: A highly acclaimed female singer of our time
Born on 30 March 1968 in the small Canadian town of Charlemagne, Quebec, Céline Marie Claudette Dion (now 50 years old) is a multi-award winning vocalist who has been living her passion and performing since the tender age of five. She was queen of the pop charts during the 1990s, and to date retains her popularity whilst remaining one of the top earners in the music industry. This phenomenal performer has achieved so much that we cannot mention it all. Here we gloss over some of her defining and greatest moments.
A tale born from humble beginnings and a love of music
Céline’s parents were Thérèse Tanguay-Dion, a Canadian television personality fondly known as Maman Dion, and Adhémar Charles Dion. The Dions had 14 children, Céline being the youngest of the brood. It is said that they were a loving family, leading a humble and modest lifestyle – due to their lack of space in the home, baby Céline even slept in a drawer. The family had a shared passion for music and performed concerts in their neighborhood. Céline was very young when she joined in and, even though all her children were talented, it wasn’t long before her mother, Thérèse, realized that her youngest Céline was extraordinarily so.
Young Céline’s entrée into stardom
When Céline was 12 years old her mother and her brother Jacques helped her to write her first song “Ce n’était qu’un rêve” (It was only a dream). Yet the dream had just begun and when Thérèse sent a cassette tape of the song to music producer/manager and former singer, René Angélil, who immediately invited her to audition, and after hearing her sing live became her biggest fan. It was that song that forged the incredible bond that grew between them in what was to become a famous artist/manager relationship, and later a fairytale love story. Céline was on the road to becoming ‘A Woman of Destiny’ – the headline slogan on her website.
Céline sang on TV for the first time on 19 June 1981 when she was a mere 13 years old. René Angélil then arranged the teenager’s first tour (accompanied by her mother) through Canada, Japan and Europe. René’s conviction in his rising star prompted him to mortgage his house in order to finance Céline’s first album in 1982; his great gamble certainly paid off.
The lyricist, Eddy Marnay, who had written songs for great names such as Édith Piaf and Barbra Streisand, commenced writing Céline’s songs. In 1982 she sang “Tellement j’ai d’amour pour toi” (I have so much love for you) composed by Giraud and Marnay, for a 115 million TV audience at the 13th Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo – Céline stunned her audience and won the gold medal.
Céline Dion’s fame gains momentum
Céline then went on to her first TV appearance in France, and in 1983 was the first Canadian ever to be awarded a gold album in France, followed by winning her first four Félix awards at the ADISQ Gala in Quebec – to date, Céline can boast of having won 43 in total! A blessed historic moment took place on 11 September 1984 in the Olympic Stadium in Montreal where Céline sang to an audience of 60,000, which included the notable Pope John Paul II.
The young teenager was well on the way to becoming an authentic professional performer, wowing audiences as an opening act in the Olympia in Paris for five weeks, followed by a tour of Quebec in 1985. In 1986 Céline took a break from performing live for 18 months, and returned to the scene as a dynamic young woman and polished vocalist who had mastered the English language. She swept to the top of her charts with her album, “Incognito” which sold more than 500,000 copies.
Céline’s evolution from teenager to global star
In 1988 Céline won the Eurovision contest in Dublin, Ireland which was the event that boosted her into conquering the international scene. She also received the Juno award for Album of the year, and female vocalist of the year.
Céline released her first English album, “Unison”, which achieved a gold rating in the US, and her next album – “Dion Chante Plamondon” – achieved gold on the very day it was launched in 1991. The theme song for the highly popular Walt Disney film, “Beauty and The Beast”, which Céline and Peabo Bryson performed together, became the number one hit around the world and won Grammy and Academy Awards. The duo performed on her 24th Birthday on 30 March 1992 for the Oscars broadcast, then the next day she launched her second album in English.
Céline Dion’s announcement of love
1993. was a momentous year with Céline singing “The Power of Love” for President Clinton at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and upon release of her album “The Colour of My Love”, she announced that she was in love with her manager, René – they had kept their deepening personal relationship secret for years.
Céline’s public declaration appeared on the cover: ‘René, for so many years I’ve kept my special dream locked away inside my heart…. but now it’s getting too powerful to keep this inside of me… So after all these years let me paint the truth, show how I feel, try to make you completely real… René you’re the colour of my love.’
When Céline was 26 and René 52, they tied the knot on 17 December 1994. in the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, in a fantastically lavish televised ceremony.
Aujourd’hui, tu as 18 ans. Déjà ! Bonne fête mon grand homme ! Je t’aime…
Today, you are 18 years old…already! Happy birthday my big man! I love you…https://t.co/O9AF96bpVB
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) January 25, 2019
Céline and René’s children:
Céline and René had difficulties conceiving a child so, as was extensively publicized, had to turn to in vitro fertilization. They were blessed with a son, named after his father, René-Charles on 25 January 2001, who was later often nicknamed “RC”. After a miscarriage in 2009, Céline delivered twin boys on 23 October 2010, named Eddy, after Eddy Marnay who was the lyricist for Céline’s first five albums, and Nelson, after Nelson Mandela, the former South African president.
Céline’s further triumphs through the ‘90s
The album “The Colour of My Love” sold over a million copies, but was outstripped by the French album “D’eux”, a collaboration with singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, which sold an incredible 10 million copies. The tracks on this album are memorable classics and include the emotional song “Vole”, which was dedicated to the memory of Céline’s niece, Karine, who, after years of struggling with Cystic Fibrosis, passed away at the age of 16.
Céline’s dance up the ladder of success did not end there. After winning the Victoire award for the Song of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year in 1996, Céline released her album “Falling Into You”, which not only won two Grammy Awards, but was the best-selling album, to date achieving sales of a whopping 30 million copies. To put the stamp on the seal of her success, on 19 July 1996, Céline sang “The Power of the Dream” in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Atlanta, reaching a TV audience of 3,5 billion viewers. At that moment she was undoubtedly the most famous songstress, or as the French would say, “chanteuse’, in the world.
Céline’s world fame and prestige grew and her career was steadily flourishing with further awards and performances, the release of her 18th album “Let’s Talk About Love” featuring collaborations with famous singers including Luciano Pavarotti, Barbra Streisand etc. and to top it off, the most iconic and famed theme song from the movie, “Titanic” – “My Heart Will Go On” – which won an Oscar when Céline performed at the 70th Academy Awards. “Titanic’s” soundtrack and Céline’s album broke all records, and sold 30 million copies.
Her first biography written by George Hébert-Germain was published in 1998. This dynamic performer was wooing hearts all around the world as she took flight on her “Let’s Talk About Love” world tour, which became one of the highest income-earning tours of all time.
How did Céline manage motherhood at the same time as being in the spotlight?
Being a mother it did not deter Céline from her career. Stating that her children’s needs always come first, yet balancing it with a brilliant yet demanding career, is what has inspired people all over the world to love her. Céline adamantly instituted the rule that she would not discuss business matters with René in their home, which he found frustrating at times. In 2011, when RC was 10 and her twins were only three months old, she took her children with her on tour, with RC making an appearance on stage. She gained the world’s admiration, not only as a performer, but as an authentic woman and mother – thousands of people welcomed their arrival at Caesar’s Palace to meet her and her family. The new show, which required 12 weeks of rehearsals and was performed at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, broke all ticket sale records.
What happened to Céline’s husband, René?
Sadly, Céline’s husband René was diagnosed with throat cancer, and had an operation in December 2013, meantime Céline still managed to launch a further two albums, and performed in a concert in Québec. However, a year later Céline postponed her shows and cancelled her Asia tour as René’s health deteriorated. René had requested that he wanted to hear her sing, so she only performed in a concert series at Caesars Palace. René passed away on 14 January 2016 and the funeral service was held at the same venue where they had pledged their vows of marriage – the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. Two days later, Céline’s brother Daniel, who had also been suffering with cancer, passed away, a double tragedy in her life.
Céline heals her heart through her devotion to music
Céline returned to the stage at the Colosseum on 23 February 2016, just a month after René’s and Daniel’s deaths. This emotional event stirred hearts around the world. Another moving moment was when she sang “The Show Must Go On” at the Billboard Music Awards on 22 May, and her son, René-Charles presented her with the Icon Award.
Céline has since released a new French album, embarked on a Tour of Europe, then Las Vegas, and the summer of 2017 saw Céline on tour again, performing 25 shows that were sold out in 15 cities across the UK and Europe.
Celine Dion Live 2018 – the 22-concert tour highlighting her greatest hits album, “The Best So Far …. (2018 Tour Edition)” kicked off in Tokyo, Japan in June 2016, and ended in August 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. A mega money earner, the tour grossed $56.5 million.
Céline’s passion, vibrancy, joie de vivre and driving energy through all her trials and tribulations has ranked her one of our time’s leading female voices. According to Forbes.com in 2018, Céline ranked No. 9 in the category ‘Highest Paid Women in Music’, with earnings of an incredible $31 million, contributing to her authoritatively estimated net worth of over $400 million, but more than half of which has come from live performances. There is no reason to think that her career is anywhere near finished yet!
Celine is now resident in Henderson, Nevada USA, convenient to her performance residency in Las Vegas, where she continues to be in high demand.