Celine Dion Biography
Born in Charlemagne (a small town 30 miles east of Montreal, Quebec, Canada), Celine 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, Celine 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, Celine 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 Celine, that he became determined to make her an internationally known talent – he even mortgaged his house to finance the recording of Celine’s debut album!
Celine 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, Celine 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, Celine 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 Celine 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”.
Celine’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 Celine’s second English language album, called simply ‘Celine 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, Celine Dion and René Angélil were married at Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal.
At this time, the Celine 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,’ Celine achieved what everyone thought was impossible – introduced French music to the upper reaches of the British charts. The world had truly discovered Celine 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 Celine has time for little else. Not the case when it comes to an important cause. Celine has used her talents to further the cause of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. In fact, one of Celine’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 30 million copies worldwide.
‘Let’s Talk About Love’ is the follow-up to Celine’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 Celine’s fans.
In a stunning back-to-back achievement, ‘Let’s Talk About Love’ went on to match the 30 million worldwide sales of its predecessor; ‘Titanic’ also sold over 30 million copies worldwide. It is the all-time best-selling orchestral soundtrack in recording history. Celine 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 Celine 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. Celine first introduced her fans to the album’s title track during her Let’s Talk About Love World Tour.
Celine’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,” Celine’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: Celine…The Authorized Biography. After travelling with Celine 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. Celine and Georges-Hébert Germain later collaborated once again on Celine Dion…My Story, My Dream. Released in 2000, Celine recounts her story in her own words and straight from her heart. The autobiography is an exquisitely detailed portrait of Celine backstage, on the road, and in the recording studio.
‘All The Way…A Decade Of Song’ is a collection of Celine’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 Celine’s all-time favourite singers, the late Frank Sinatra.
On New Year’s Eve 1999, in Montreal, Celine 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 Celine’s hiatus, a compilation album, ‘The Collector’s Series…Volume One,’ was released in October 2000. Among Celine’s greatest hits and best-loved recordings, the album also includes “The Power of the Dream” which Celine 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 Celine 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 Celine’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, Celine 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… introduced 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…, Celine 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 Celine’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 album 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.
In the following year on June 15, 2004, Celine released her wildly anticipated live CD, ‘A New Day…Live in Las Vegas.’ This album featured two previously unreleased studio tracks, “You And I” and “Ain’t Gonna Look The Other Way” and 13 live tracks from Celine’s incredibly successful Las Vegas show, A New Day… Fans cherish the live album as it gives them the opportunity to re-live the energy from A New Day… over and over again.
Celine teamed up with famed baby photographer Anne Geddes for one of the most incredible artistic collaborations of all time…the Miracle project. ‘Miracle’ was released in October 2004. Celine and Anne worked together for many months to produce a stunning collection of images and powerful songs celebrating the bond of love between mother and child. The body of work touched the hearts of people throughout the world. The Miracle CD includes the all-new title track plus 12 other new and time-honoured classics such as “Beautiful Boy” and “What A Wonderful World”. The Miracle CD/DVD box set includes a 60-page version of the Miracle book and a “making-of-the-CD” DVD. The 180-page Miracle book, which includes the CD and “making-of-the-book” DVD reached the New York Times Best-Seller List.
Celine’s first French language ‘Best Of’ album ‘On ne change pas,’ was released in October 2005. This beautiful 2-disc compilation features Celine’s biggest French hits as well as three new songs including “Je ne vous oublie pas,” “Tous les secrets” and “I Believe In You” (a duet with Il Divo). ‘On ne change pas, the DVD’ is a collection of Celine’s greatest French video-clips and also includes one hour of bonus material.
October 2005 also marked the release of a truly unique book project encompassing Celine’s life in words and pictures. ‘Celine Dion: For Keeps’ is an intimate look into Celine’s personal and professional life from her childhood days though to her spectacular show in Vegas. Author Jenna Glatzer spoke with Celine, her family, close friends and associates during the course of a year to come up with a detailed and accurate story of her life. The result is a treasury for Celine’s fans: a book which documents Celine’s life and times, featuring rare photographs and removable mementos from Celine’s personal collection.
Due to the unprecedented sold-out success of Celine’s Las Vegas show, the original three-year engagement was extended an additional two years. On December 15th, 2006, Celine announced that she was entering the last year of performances with the final curtain set to rise and fall on December 15th, 2007.
Celine made her fifth Oscar ceremony appearance at the 79th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 25th, 2007, performing as part of an elegant tribute honoring famous Italian composer, Ennio Morricone. Celine also recorded the song, “I Knew I Loved You,” for the tribute album, “We All Love Ennio Morricone,” a CD saluting Mr. Morricone’s career achievements as one of the premier composers of music in film. The album included such notable artists as Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, Andrea Bocelli and Yo-Yo Ma.
In May 2007, Celine released ‘D’elles’, her first French-language studio album in 4 years. This collection of songs that centers around the theme of ‘Woman’ features lyrics written by the most influential female book authors from France and Quebec. ‘D’elles’ was an instant success, being certified 2X platinum during the same month in which it was released and reaching #1 in Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland. Celine’s long-time friend and collaborator, Jean-Jacques Goldman acted as music supervisor on this project and Jacques Veneruso, David Gategno, Erick Benzi, Gildas Arzel, Marc Dupré and Jean-François Breau contributed to the musical score.
Shortly after the release of ‘D’elles’, Celine was back in the studio recording songs for her next English studio album, ‘Taking Chances’. A month before ‘Taking Chances’ was released, Celine announced that after she finished her 5-year run in Las Vegas, she would embark on a brand new world tour starting on February 14, 2008!
The album that everyone was talking about was finally released in November 2007. ‘Taking Chances,’ pooled the talents of top songwriters and producers including Linda Perry, Dave Stewart, Ben Moody, Ne-Yo, John Shanks, Kara DioGuardi, Kristian Lundin, Anders Bagge and Peer Astrom, Aldo Nova, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart and Chris Neil. Celine set out in a bold new creative direction with ‘Taking Chances’, perhaps the most personal and revelatory collection of songs and performances in her fabled career. Fans around the world have embraced this new era in Celine’s extraordinary career with sales around the world placing ‘Taking Chances’ in the Top 10 sales charts in well over a dozen countries, including #2 chart debuts in France, Japan, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, and propelling the album to the number #1 position on Billboard’s pan-European top 100 sales chart.
In December Celine released a deluxe five hour double-DVD commemorating the historic five-year sold-out run of A New Day… The ‘Celine Dion: Live in Las Vegas’ DVD made history as the only music DVD to be certified Triple Diamond status in Canada. Celine was back at the top of the charts with her Triple Diamond DVD, her 4X platinum selling album, ‘Taking Chances’ and her #1 debut album, ‘D’elles’, which reaffirmed her status as one of the most successful international artists of all time.
Celine took the stage for her final performance of A New Day… on December 15, 2007. The spectacular Las Vegas show that had been seen by nearly 3 million fans at 717 performances since its premier in March 2003 had come to an end. But Celine was about to embark on a new adventure…her brand new Taking Chances World Tour! Celine promised fans another spectacular live concert event directed by famed director/choreographer Jamie King. Celine’s performances of her biggest hits along with songs from her new albums, ‘D’elles’ and ‘Taking Chances’ were accompanied by a visual feast of colour, fashion, dance and surprise. The ‘Taking Chances World Tour,’ would take Celine to countries that she had never been to before, beginning in South Africa and then making stops in Asia, Australia, Europe, USA and Canada.
On August 22, 2008, Celine performed a once-in-lifetime concert on the legendary Plains of Abraham in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, Over 250,000 fans gathered on the historic site to see Celine and her specially chosen guests on stage. Celine thrilled the crowd with a selection of her French-language songs, as well as multiple duets with her guests: Garou, Marc Dupré, Éric Lapointe, La Famille Dion, Mes Aïeux, Zachary Richard, Dan Bigras, Nanette Workman, Claude Dubois, Jean-Pierre Ferland and Ginette Reno. In November 2008, Distribution Sélect released the DVD of this exceptional concert in Quebec. The ‘Céline sur les Plaines’ DVD reached the #1 position on the Quebec charts the first week of its release and boasted the highest entry sales numbers for all DVDs in Canada for 2008.
In October 2008, Columbia Records released two special edition CDs featuring Celine’s career-spanning repertoire. ‘My Love…Essential Collection’ is a single disc featuring 17 songs, consisting of Celine’s biggest hits….songs such as the international chart-topper “All By Myself” (her unforgettable interpretation of the groundbreaking Eric Carmen power ballad), “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” (Celine’s first English-language single), her landmark 1996 Olympic Ceremonies performance of “Power of the Dream”, the brand-new never-released “There Comes A Time,” and the newly recorded lead track “My Love”. This lead track, a semi-autobiographic song written for Celine by Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Dixie Chicks, Gwen Stefani) became a show-stopper every night during Celine’s sold-out World Tour.
The two-disc edition, entitled ‘My Love…Ultimate Essential Collection’, is a 26 song set, that has been further expanded to include rarities like “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman,” “The Prayer” (a duet with Andrea Bocelli), “Tell Him” (a duet with Barbra Streisand), “I Knew I Loved You,” “Dance With My Father”, and “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” (the biggest song of Celine’s French career).
Celine’s ‘My Love…’ anthologies cover virtually every single aspect of her extraordinary career, including fan favourites, a definitive assemblage of chart-topping international successes, as well as new and unreleased recordings culled from once-in-a-lifetime experiences that Celine has participated in over the years.
Celine’s ‘Taking Chances World tour, her first worldwide concert tour in over nine years, played to sold-out stadiums and arenas throughout 2008. By its completion, at the end of February 2009, it had crossed 5 continents, 23 countries, and 93 cities, en route to playing for an audience of over 3 million people. The tour’s success was undeniable. In North America it was the #2 tour of 2008 (based on ticket sales). In Europe, Celine performed in huge sold-out stadiums including Dublin – 64,000 people, (tickets sold out in one day), Amsterdam – 50,000 people and Copenhagen – 42,000 people.
For a limited engagement in February 2010, ‘Celine Through the Eyes of the World’ brought Celine’s 2008-2009 Taking Chances World Tour to movie theaters. This special motion picture event gave Dion fans who attended the extremely popular tour another chance to experience the magical event, this time from a vantage unparalleled by any ticket. ‘Celine: Through the Eyes of the World’ opens a window into the real life, both on-stage and off, of the best-selling female recording artist of all time
A home edition of the acclaimed feature film, newly expanded for its DVD release, and ‘Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert,’ a DVD/CD of live performances from Celine’s record-breaking world tour were released in May 2010. Clocking in at three hours, the home version of ‘Celine: Through the Eyes of the World’ includes an additional hour’s worth of footage not seen in the film’s limited theatrical run. ‘Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert’, a DVD/CD souvenir combination set featuring 25 show-stopping performances, is available in both French and English. Both versions were recorded in Montreal and Boston.
As did Celine’s tour, the corresponding DVDs enjoyed great success worldwide. In Canada the three new DVD releases debuted at the top three on the Music Video Chart. ‘Celine Through the Eyes of the World’ entered at #1. The concert DVD/CD ‘Tournée Mondiale Taking Chances: Le Spectacle’ entered the chart at #2 followed by the English version, ‘Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert’ at #3.
In the USA and the UK, ‘Celine Through the Eyes of the World’, reached #1 on the DVD sales chart. It reached #2 in France, Belgium, South Africa, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland!
On October 23, 2010, Celine’s family grew again. In West Palm Beach, Florida, Celine gave birth to two adorable twin boys weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces and 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Nelson and Eddy were baptized on March 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, just days before Celine’s grand return to the stage.
On March 15, 2011 Celine made a triumphant return to the stage of The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The new show, directed by long time Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich, includes Celine’s biggest hits mixed with timeless classics and pays tribute to some of the most celebrated songs and artists of all time. Featuring 31 musicians, consisting of a full orchestra and band, the show is set to a visually stunning presentation designed exclusively for the 4,300 seat state-of-the-art venue.
During the first year of this current residency at Caesars Palace, Céline has played to sold out audiences every night, and within a month of her return, the show reached the Number #1 position on the Billboard BOXSCORE chart which lists the highest grossing concerts in North America. With this new engagement at Caesars, Celine does 70 performances per year. From the very first day it opened, the show has been receiving rave reviews from critics all over the world.
On November 5, 2012, Celine released her new French-language album ‘Sans attendre’. After a 5-year wait, fans were treated to a wonderful collaboration between Celine and top artists in the francophone music industry such as Luc Plamondon, Jacques Veneruso, Maxime Le Forestier and Stanislas. The album features duets with distinguished artists: Jean-Pierre Ferland, Johnny Hallyday and the late Henri Salvador.
Celine described the album as an invitation into her home and fans responded. The first single “Parler à mon père”, maintained the #1 position for 9 weeks on Quebec charts. Celine’s very personal album was certified Diamond in France, with over 500,000 copies sold, marking a grand return for Celine and solidifying the strong bond between Celine and her fans.
Following the release of ‘Sans attendre’, Celine embarked on a mini promotional tour in France with a stop in Germany where she received her 3rd BAMBI Award celebrating her long-standing musical career. She impressed the audience with a powerful performance during the ceremony that evening. The promotional tour took Celine to the sets of major television shows where her performances continued to win over audiences.
Celine left Europe, after confirming her status as a major figure in the music industry, to return to the stage of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for a new series of shows.
In October 2013 ‘Sans attendre’ earned two Félix Awards: Best-Selling Album Of The Year and Adult Contemporary Album Of The Year.
A year after the release of ‘Sans attendre’, Celine released the much anticipated ‘Loved Me Back To Life’, her first English-language album in six years. For this album, Celine worked with a team of exceptional producers and songwriters resulting in an absolutely amazing collection of songs, including two fabulous duets with two very talented artists: Stevie Wonder on “Overjoyed” and Ne-Yo on “Incredible”.
Celine treated fans to a special intimate performance of her new songs at the Edison Ballroom in New York City on October 29, 2013. She promoted her album on numerous North American daytime and late-night talk shows, stunning the audiences with her performances.
‘Loved Me Back to Life’ is an international success! It debuted at #1 in Canada and was certified triple platinum – the highest sales chart debut for any album in Canada since 2008. It also reached #1 in Belgium and Holland and went to #2 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. In the UK the album debuted at the #3 position on the Official Albums Chart and was certified gold just three weeks after its release. The album reached the top 5 in France, Switzerland, Austria and Middle East and on iTunes it reached #1 in 44 countries.
Following the release of ‘Loved Me Back To Life’, Celine embarked on a promotional tour in Europe which took her to the UK, Germany and France and was followed by a mini-concert tour with two back to back sold-out shows in Antwerp, Belgium and seven sold-out shows in Paris, France.
On July 27, 2013, Celine performed before a crowd of 40,000 fans on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. During this unforgettable one-night only concert, Celine performed her biggest French and English language hits for an enthusiastic audience. It was a monumental week for Celine, as while in Quebec City for the concert, she was presented the insignia of Companion of the Order of Canada and René was presented the insignia of Member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General in a ceremony at the Citadelle.
In May 2014, a recording of her spectacular live concert, ‘Céline une seule fois/Live 2013’, was released on DVD and Blu-ray. ‘Céline une seule fois / Live 2013’ reached top ten on the album charts in France, Canada and Belgium.
In August 2014, Celine made the difficult decision to postpone all of her show business activities in order to focus on her family and their health. But Celine’s extraordinary journey is far from over; this much needed break will allow Celine to come back stronger than ever for the next chapter of her career!
March 2015, following a few months in retreat, Celine gave a special interview with Good Morning America where she talked about René’s health and her upcoming return to Las Vegas.
She appeared at the Billboard Music Awards in May, and sang a duet with Andrea Bocelli at the Power Of Love Gala in June.
Celine’s shows in Vegas resumed at the end of August, soon after the release of a duet with singer Fred Pellerin for the film La Guerre Des Tuques 3D.
In December, Celine performed in two television specials: Sinatra 100 – An All-Star GRAMMY Concert, (a tribute to Frank Sinatra) and Michael Bublé’s Christmas In Hollywood.
After spending the holidays with his family in Vegas, René passed away on January 14 2016. A State Funeral was were held in Montreal on January 22 and a Celebration Of Life followed in Las Vegas.
The music industry lost one of the greatest managers of all times.