Dion first gained international recognition in the 1980s by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest where she represented Switzerland. Following a series of French albums in the early 1980s, she signed on to CBS Records Canada in 1986. During the 1990s, with the help of Angélil, she achieved worldwide fame after signing with Epic Records and releasing several English albums along with additional French albums, becoming one of the most successful artists in pop music history. However, in 1999 at the height of her success, Dion announced a hiatus from entertainment in order to start a family and spend time with her husband, who had been diagnosed with cancer. She returned to the top of pop music in 2002 and signed a three-year (later extended to almost five years) contract to perform nightly in a five-star theatrical show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada.
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 renowned for her technically skilled and powerful vocals. Dion has won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for Falling Into You and Record of the Year for "My Heart Will Go On".She is the second best-selling female artist in the US during the Nielsen SoundScan era, with her albums Falling Into You and Let's Talk About Love both certified Diamond in the US, In addition, her 1995 album D'eux, is the best-selling French-language album of all time. In 2004, after surpassing 175 million in album sales worldwide, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time. Dion remains the best-selling Canadian artist in history and one of the best-selling artists of all time with record sales of more than 200 million copies worldwide.
1 Life and career
1.1 1968–1989: Early life and career beginnings
1.2 1990–92: Unison, Dion chante Plamondon and Celine Dion
1.3 1993–95: The Colour of My Love and D'eux
1.4 1996–99: Falling into You, Let's Talk About Love and S'il suffisait d'aimer
1.5 2000–03: Hiatus, A New Day Has Come, One Heart and 1 fille & 4 types
1.6 2003–07: A New Day …
1.7 2007–10: D'elles, Taking Chances and Taking Chances Tour
1.8 2011–present: Celine, Sans attendre and Loved Me Back to Life
2.2 Musical style
2.3 Voice and timbre
4 Other activities
4.1 Business endeavors
5 Personal life
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Life and career
1968–1989: Early life and career beginnings
Dion was born in Charlemagne, Québec, Canada, the youngest of 14 children of Thérèse (née Tanguay), a homemaker, and Adhémar Dion, a butcher, both of French-Canadian descent. Dion was raised a Roman Catholic in a poverty-stricken, but, by her own account, happy home in Charlemagne. Music had always been a part of the family (Dion was named after the song Céline, recorded by French singer Hugues Aufray two years before her birth ). On 13 August 1973, (at the age of five) the young Céline made her first public appearance at her brother Michel's wedding, where she performed Christine Charbonneau's song  Du fil des aiguilles et du coton. Thereafter, she continued to perform with her siblings in her parents' small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril. From an early age Dion had dreamed of being a performer. In a 1994 interview with People magazine, she recalled, "I missed my family and my home, but I don't regret having lost my adolescence. I had one dream: I wanted to be a singer."
Dion at the age of 18
At age 12, Dion collaborated with her mother and her brother Jacques to compose her first song, "Ce n'était qu'un rêve" ("It Was Only a Dream"). Her brother Michel Dondalinger Dion sent the recording to music manager René Angélil, whose name he discovered on the back of a Ginette Reno album.Angélil was moved to tears by Dion's voice, and decided to make her a star. In 1981, he mortgaged his home to fund her first record, La voix du bon Dieu("The Voice of the Good God"), which later became a local number-one hit and made Dion an instant star in Quebec. Her popularity spread to other parts of the world when she competed in the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan, and won the musician's award for "Top Performer" as well as the gold medal for "Best Song" with "Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi" ("I Have So Much Love for You").
By 1983, in addition to becoming the first Canadian artist to receive a gold record in France for the single "D'amour ou d'amitié" ("Of Love or of Friendship"), Dion had also won several Félix Awards, including "Best Female performer" and "Discovery of the Year". Further success in Europe, Asia, and Australia came when Dion represented Switzerland in the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Ne partez pas sans moi (Don't Leave Without Me) and won the contest by a close margin in Dublin, Ireland. However, American success was yet to come as she was at that point exclusively a Francophone artist. At eighteen, after seeing a Michael Jackson performance, Dion told Angélil that she wanted to be a star like Jackson. Though confident in her talent, Angélil realized that her image needed to be changed in order for her to be marketed worldwide. Dion receded from the spotlight for a number of months, during which she underwent dental surgery to improve her appearance, and was sent to the École Berlitz in 1989 to polish her English.
In 1989, during a concert on the Incognito Tour, Dion injured her voice. She consulted the otorhinolaryngologist William Gould, who gave her an ultimatum: have immediate surgery on her vocal cords, or do not utilize them at all for three weeks. Dion chose the latter and underwent vocal training with William Riley.
1990–92: Unison, Dion chante Plamondon and Celine Dion
Dion's earlier English releases
"Where Does My Heart Beat Now" (1990)
"Where Does My Heart Beat Now", Dion's first North American hit, was 1980s soft rock. (Note the prominence of the electric guitar). It contrasts with the style of subsequent efforts.
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Two years after she learned English, Dion made her debut into the Anglophone market with Unison (1990), the lead single having originally been recorded by Laura Branigan. She incorporated the help of many established musicians, including Vito Luprano and Canadian producer David Foster. The album was largely influenced by 1980s soft rock music that quickly found a niche within the adult contemporary radio format. Unison also hit the right notes with critics: Jim Faber ofEntertainment Weekly wrote that Dion's vocals were "tastefully unadorned", and that she never attempted to "bring off styles that are beyond her". Stephen Erlewine of AllMusic declared it as, "a fine, sophisticated American debut." Singles from the album included "(If There Was) Any Other Way", "The Last to Know", "Unison", and "Where Does My Heart Beat Now", a mid-tempo soft-rock ballad which made prominent use of the electric guitar. The latter became her first single to reach the top-ten on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number-four. The album established Dion as a rising singer in the United States, and across Continental Europe and Asia. In 1991, Dion was a featured soloist in Voices That Care, a tribute to American troops fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Dion's real international breakthrough came when she duetted with Peabo Bryson on the title track to Disney's animated film Beauty and the Beast (1991). The song captured a musical style that Dion would utilize in the future: sweeping, classically influenced ballads with soft instrumentation. Both a critical and commercial hit, the song became her second U.S. top-ten single, and won the Academy Award for Best Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal."Beauty and the Beast" was featured on Dion's 1992 self-titled album, which, like her debut, had a strong pop rock influence combined with elements of soul and classical music. Owing to the success of the lead-off single and her collaborations with David Foster and Diane Warren, the album was even more well-received commercially than Unison. Other singles that achieved moderate success included "If You Asked Me To" (a cover of Patti LaBelle's song from the 1989 movie Licence to Kill) which peaked at number-four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the gospel-tinged "Love Can Move Mountains", and "Nothing Broken but My Heart".
Also during this time, Dion released the Francophone album Dion chante Plamondon. The album consisted mostly of covers, but featured 4 new songs: "Des mots qui sonnent", "Je danse dans ma tête", "Quelqu'un que j'aime, quelqu'un qui m'aime" and "L'amour existe encore". It was originally released in Canada and France during the 1991–1992 period, then later received an international release in 1994, the first French Celine Dion album to do so. "Un garçon pas comme les autres (Ziggy)" became a smash hit in France, reaching number-two and being certified gold. In Quebec, the album was certified Gold the day it was released.
By 1992, Unison, Céline Dion, and numerous high-profile media appearances had propelled Dion to superstardom in North America. She had achieved one of her main objectives: wedging her way into the Anglophone market and achieving fame. However, while she was experiencing rising success in the U.S., her French fans in Canada criticized her for neglecting them. She would later rebuff these criticisms at the 1991 Félix Awards show, where, after winning "English Artist of the Year", she openly refused to accept the award. She asserted that she was—and would always be—a French, not an English, artist. Apart from her commercial success, there were also changes in Dion's personal life, as Angélil, who was twenty-six years her senior, transitioned from manager to lover. However, the relationship was kept a secret as they both feared that the public would find their relations inappropriate.
1993–95: The Colour of My Love and D'eux
In 1993, Dion announced her feelings for her manager by declaring him "the colour of [her] love" in the dedication section of her third English-language album The Colour of My Love. However, instead of criticizing their relationship as Dion had feared, fans embraced the couple. Eventually, Angélil and Dion married in an extravagant wedding ceremony in December 1994, which was broadcast live on Canadian television.
As with most of her catalog, The Colour of my Love had overriding themes of love and romance. It became her most successful record up to that point, selling more than six million copies in the U.S., two million in Canada, and peaking at number-one in many countries. The album also spawned Dion's first U.S., Canadian, and Australian number-one single "The Power of Love" (a remake of Jennifer Rush's 1985 hit), which would become her signature hit until she reached new career heights in the late 1990s. The single "When I Fall in Love", a duet with Clive Griffin, achieved moderate success on the U.S. and Canadian charts, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning one. The Colour of My Love also became Dion's first major hit in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom. Both the album and the single "Think Twice" simultaneously occupied the top of the British charts for five consecutive weeks. "Think Twice", which remained at number-one for seven weeks, eventually became the fourth single by a female artist to sell in excess of one million copies in the UK, while the album was eventually certified five-times platinum for two-million copies sold.
Dion kept to her French roots and continued to release many Francophone recordings between each English record. Generally, they achieved more credibility than her English-language works. She released À l'Olympia, a live album that was recorded during one of Dion's concerts at the Paris Olympia in 1994. It had one promotional single, a live version of "Calling You", which peaked at seventy-five on the French Singles Chart. She also recorded a bilingual version of Petit Papa Noël with Alvin and the Chipmunks for the 1994 holiday album A Very Merry Chipmunk. D'eux (also known as The French Album in the United States), was released in 1995, and it would go on to become the best-selling French-language album of all time. The album was mostly written and produced by Jean-Jacques Goldman, and amassed huge success with the singles "Pour que tu m'aimes encore" and "Je sais pas". "Pour que tu m'aimes encore" reached number 1 in France and stayed at the top position for twelve weeks. It was later certified Platinum in France. The single also reached the top ten in the UK and Ireland, a rare accomplishment for a French song. The second single off the album, "Je sais pas", reached number-one on the French Singles Chart as well and was certified Silver there. These songs would later become "If That's What It Takes" and "I Don't Know" on Dion's next English album, Falling into You.
During the mid-1990s and onward, Dion's albums were generally constructed on the basis of melodramatic soft rock ballads, with sprinklings of up-tempo pop and rare forays into other genres. She collaborated with many renowned writers and producers such as Jim Steinman and David Foster, who helped her to develop a signature sound.While critical reviews fluctuated, Dion's releases performed increasingly well on the international charts, and in 1996 she won the World Music Award for "World's Best-selling Female Recording Artist of the Year" for the third time. By the mid-1990s, she had established herself as one of the best-selling artists in the world.
1996–99: Falling into You, Let's Talk About Love and S'il suffisait d'aimer
Musical diversity of Falling into You
"Falling into You" (1996)
The title track was noted for its considerable use of percussion instruments and the saxophone.
"Call the Man" (1996)
One of the final tracks on the album, "Call the Man", features a choir chanting and humming in an African language.
"I Don't Know" (1996)
Falling into You contained outlandish musical effects, as epitomized by the single "I Don't Know."
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From the On ne change pas album
"On ne change pas" ("We don't change") (1998)
This song's theme is centred on childhood memories (esp. from Céline's childhood in Charlemagne, Canada) and how people's "inner child" remains.
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Falling into You (1996), Dion's fourth English-language album, presented the singer at the height of her popularity, and showed a further progression of her music. In an attempt to reach a wider audience, the album combined many elements, such as complex orchestral sounds, Africanchanting and elaborate musical effects. Additionally, instruments like the violin, Spanish guitar, trombone, the cavaquinho and saxophone created a new sound. The singles encompassed a variety of musical styles. The title track "Falling into You" and "River Deep – Mountain High" (a Tina Turner cover) made prominent use of percussion instruments; "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (produced by its writer Jim Steinman) and a remake of Eric Carmen's "All by Myself" maintained a soft-rock atmosphere, combined with the classical sound of the piano; and the number-one single "Because You Loved Me", which was written by Diane Warren, was a pop ballad that served as the theme to the 1996 film Up Close & Personal.
Falling into You garnered career-best reviews for Dion. While Dan Leroy wrote that it was not very different from her previous work, and Stephen Holden of The New York Times and Natalie Nichols of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the album was formulaic, other critics, such as Chuck Eddy of Entertainment Weekly, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AMG and Daniel Durchholz, lavished the album as "compelling", "passionate", "stylish", "elegant" and "remarkably well-crafted". Falling Into You became Dion's most critically and commercially successful album: it topped the charts in many countries and became one of the best-selling albums of all time. In 2013, CBC Music ranked Falling into you 33rd in their list of the 100 greatest Canadian albums ever. In the United States, the album reached number-one, and was later certified 11x Platinum for over 11 million copies shipped. In Canada, the album was certified diamond for over one million copies shipped. The IFPI certified Falling into You 9x Platinum, an accolade that has been given to only two other albums in history, with one of the two being Dion's own album, Let's Talk About Love. The album also won Grammy Awards for Best Pop Album, and the academy's highest honor Album of the Year.Dion's status on the world stage was further solidified when she was asked to perform "The Power of the Dream" at the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. In March 1996, Dion launched the Falling into You Tour in support of her new album, giving concerts around the world for over a year.
Céline Dion on stage with her dancers performing "River Deep – Mountain High" on the Taking Chances World Tour in September 2008.
Dion followed Falling into You with Let's Talk About Love (1997), which was publicized as its sequel. The recording process took place in London, New York City, and Los Angeles, and featured a host of special guests, such as Barbra Streisand on "Tell Him"; the Bee Geeson "Immortality"; and world-renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti on "I Hate You Then I Love You". Other musicians included Carole King, Sir George Martin, Bryan Adams and Jamaican singer Diana King, who added a reggae tinge to "Treat Her Like a Lady". As withFalling into You, Let's Talk About Love was a major success for Dion, reaching number-one all over the world, attaining platinum status in twenty-four sales territories, and becoming the fastest selling album of her career. In the United States, the album topped the chart in its seventh week of release, and was later certified 10x Platinum in the U.S. for over 10 million copies shipped. In Canada, the album sold 230,212 copies in its first week of release, which became, and still is, a record. It was eventually certified diamond in Canada for over 1 million copies shipped. The most successful single from the album was the classically influenced ballad "My Heart Will Go On", which was written and composed by James Horner and Will Jennings, and produced by Horner and Walter Afanasieff. Serving as the love theme for the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, the song topped the charts across the world, and became Dion's signature song; as well as winning the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. The song also garnered Dion two Grammy Awards for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" and the most coveted "Record of the Year", (the song itself won four awards, but two were presented to the songwriters). "My Heart Will Go On" and "Think Twice" made her the only female artist in the UK to have two singles to sell more than a million copies. In support of her album, Dion embarked on the Let's Talk About Love Tour between 1998 and 1999.
Dion ended the 1990s with three more extremely successful albums: the Christmas album These Are Special Times (1998), the French-language album, S'il suffisait d'aimer, and the compilation album All the Way... A Decade of Song (1999). On These Are Special Times, Dion co-wrote the song "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day" along with Ric Wake and Peter Zizzo. The album was her most classically influenced yet, with orchestral arrangements found on virtually every track. The album featured the single "I'm Your Angel", a duet with R. Kelly, which became Dion's fourth U.S. number one single, and a smash hit across the world. All the Way... A Decade of Song drew together her most successful hits coupled with seven new songs, including the lead off single "That's the Way It Is", a cover of Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", and "All the Way", a duet with Frank Sinatra. All the way became one of the best-selling compilation albums of all time, reaching number-one in the United States for three weeks. The album was later certified 7x Platinum in the U.S. for 7 million copies shipped. It also topped the charts in the UK, Canada, and Australia. Her last French-language studio album of the 1990s, S'il suffisait d'aimer, was very successful as well, topping the charts in every major French-speaking country, including France,Switzerland, Belgium Wallonia, and Canada. In France, the album was certified diamond, selling 1.5 million copies. By the end of the 1990s, Celine Dion had sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and had won a slew of industry awards. Her status as one of the music industry's biggest pop divas was further solidified when she was asked to perform on VH1's Divas Live special in 1998, with superstars Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain and Mariah Carey. That year she also received two of the highest honours from her home country: "Officer of the Order of Canada for Outstanding Contribution to the World of Contemporary Music" and "Officer of theNational Order of Quebec". A year later she was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame, and was honoured with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
Starting from the mid-nineties, the pop rock influence that was more noticeable in her earlier releases, was replaced by a more mature feel. Additionally, the recurring theme of "love" dominated most of her releases, which led to some critics dismissing her music as banal. Other critics, like Elysa Gardner and Jose F. Promis, praised her voice during this period, describing it as a "technical marvel". Steve Dollar, in his review of These Are Special Times, opined that Dion was a "vocal Olympian for whom there ain't no mountain—or scale—high enough."
2000–03: Hiatus, A New Day Has Come, One Heart and 1 fille & 4 types
After releasing and promoting thirteen albums during the 1990s, Dion stated that she needed to settle down, and announced on her latest album All the Way... A Decade of Song, that she needed to take a step back from the spotlight and enjoy life. Angélil's diagnosis with throat cancer also prompted her to hiatus. While on break, Dion was unable to escape the spotlight. In 2000, the National Enquirer published a false story about the singer. Brandishing a picture of Dion and her husband, the magazine misquoted Dion, printing the headline, "Celine — 'I'm Pregnant With Twins!'" Dion later sued the magazine for more than twenty million dollars. The editors of theEnquirer printed an apology and a full retraction to Dion in the next issue, and donated money to the American Cancer Society in honor of Dion and her husband. A year after the incident, after undergoing fertility treatments, Dion gave birth to a son, René-Charles Dion Angélil, on 25 January 2001, in Florida. Following the September 11 attacks, Dion returned to the music scene, and in a televised performance sang "God Bless America" at the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes. Chuck Taylor ofBillboard wrote, "the performance... brings to mind what has made her one of the celebrated vocalists of our time: the ability to render emotion that shakes the soul. Affecting, meaningful, and filled with grace, this is a musical reflection to share with all of us still searching for ways to cope." Dion would perform it again in 2003 during pregame festivities for Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.
In December 2001, Dion published her autobiography, My Story, My Dream which chronicled her rags to riches story.
Dion ended her three-year sabbatical from the music industry with the aptly titled album A New Day Has Come, released in March 2002. The album was Dion's most personal yet, with songs focusing on her motherhood and maturation as a woman such as "A New Day Has Come", and "Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)". She stated: "becoming a mother makes you a grown-up." She stated, "A New Day Has Come, for Rene, for me, is the baby. It has everything to do with the baby...That song "A New Day Has Come" represents very well the mood I'm feeling right now. It represents the whole album." A New Day Has Come debuted at number one in over 17 countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada. In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 527,000 copies; marking her first number one debut on the chart, as well as the highest debut sales week of her career in the US. It was eventually certified 3x Platinum in the United States, and 6x Platinum in Canada.
Dion performing "God Bless America" with members of the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, 2002.
While the album was commercially successful, critical reviews suggested that it was "forgettable" and the lyrics were "lifeless". Both Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone magazine, and Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, stated that Dion's music had not developed much during her break, and classed her material as trite and mediocre. Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine called the album "a lengthy collection of drippy, gooey pop fluffer-nutter." The first single off the album, A New Day Has Come peaked at No.22 on the BillboardHot 100 charts, being an airplay-only release. On the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks, however the song spent 21 consecutive weeks at number 1, breaking the record for the longest span at the top. The previous record holders were Phil Collins' You'll Be in My Heartand Dion's own Because You Loved Me, both of which lasted nineteen weeks at number 1. During 2002, she performed for many benefit concerts, including her second appearance on VH1 Divas Live, a concert to benefit the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, alongside Cher,Anastacia, Dixie Chicks, Mary J. Blige, W