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Celine Dion is of French Canadian descent who grew up in a poor but happy home in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. She has thirteen older sibling, and they were blessed to have supportive and loving parents Adhémar Dion and Thérèse Tanguay. Music had been an integral part of her family, and she was named after the song Céline by Hugues Aufray. Growing up, Celine had only one dream: To be a singer.
At the age of 12, “Ce n'étai qu'un rêve” (“It Was Only a Dream") was Dion’s first song, a collaboration with her mother and brother Jacques. Her other brother Michel Dondalinger Dion discovered music manager René Angélil at the back of an album by artist Ginette Reno, and sent Dion’s recordings to him. Angélil was deeply moved to tears and mortgaged his house to make Dion a star and funded her first record “La voix du bon Dieu” (“The Voice of The Good God”). It made Dion an instant star in Quebec, and earned fame and recognition by winning “Top Performer” and “Best Song” in the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan.
In 1983 Dion’s “D'amour ou d'amitié” (“Of Love or of Friendship”) had made her the first Canadian artist to receive a gold record in France. She was also a winner of several Félix Awards including “Best Female Performer” and “Discovery of the Year.” In the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Dion represented Switzerland and won.
At eighteen, Dion saw Michael Jackson perform and told Angélil she wanted to be just like him. Angélil was confident that Dion could achieve that goal, but she quietly withdrew to have dental surgery and to attend the École Berlitz in 1989 to improve her English. In 1989 Dion injured her voice in the concert of the Incognito Tour, and was advised by otohinolaryngologist William Gould to rest her voice for three weeks instead of surgery and went for vocal formation and training with William Riley to learn how to sing properly.
After two years of learning English, Dion debuted in the Anglophone market with “Unison,” originally recorded by Laura Branigan with help from Vito Luprano and Canadian producer David Foster. The lead single won admiration from critics Jim Faber and Stephen Erlewine. The album successfully established Dion in the U.S., Continental Europe and Asia.
In a tribute to American troops fighting in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Dion was a soloist in “Voices That Care.” But the real international breakthrough for the star is her duet with Peabo Bryson on the Disney’s all-time favorite film “Beauty and The Beast.” The title soundtrack song won the Academy Award for Best Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The Francophone album Dion Chante Plamondon was released in 1991, but it was originally released in Canada and France in 1991-1992 and was an international release in 1994. It was certified Gold in France and Quebec.
In 1992, Dion had reached her goal to be embraced by the Anglophone market through the single Unison, her self-titled debut album and numerous media appearances. But her fame in the U.S. caused her French fans in Canada to feel neglected, but she made it up to them by refusing to accept the award English Artist of the Year at the Felix Award show. She explained that she will always be a French artist, not an English one. Aside from her musical success, Dion and her twenty six years older manager Angélil had became lovers in secret. In 1994, Dion finally made the decision to declare her love for Angélil through the dedication section of her third English-language album “The Colour of My Love.” In December the next year, the couple got married and it was broadcasted live on Canadian television. The Colour of My Love sold two million copies worldwide and was certified five times platinum.
Dion is deeply in touch with her French roots, releasing the live album “A l’Olympia,” recorded at the Olympia Theater in Paris, 1994. Another album “A Very Merry Chipmunk” was released in 1994, and by 1995 she released the album “D’eux,” which was mostly written and produced by Jean-Jacques Goldman. Dion’s collaboration with Jim Steinman and David Foster in mid-1990’s helped her win the 1996 World Music Award for “World’s Best-Selling Canadian Female Recording Artist of the Year” for the third time. Dion’s fourth English album “Falling into You” was certified eleven times Platinum for shipping over 11 million copies in the U.S., certified Diamond in Canada, and nine times Platinum by the IFPI. It also won the Grammy Awards for Best Pop Album and Album of the Year. Dion also performed at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and by March launched the “Falling Into You Tour.” In 1997 Dion released the album “Let’s Talk About Love” which was certified ten times Platinum in the U.S. The single and main soundtrack for the film Titanic “My Heart Will Go On” won Dion two Grammy Awards, Academy Award and Golden Globe. Dion went on a “Let’s Talk About Love Tour” between 1998 and 1999. Dion released three more albums, the “These Are Special Times” (1998), “S'il suffisait d’aimer” and “All The Way…A decade of Song” (1999). She also received the highest honors of “Officer of the Order of Canada for Outstanding Contribution to the World Of Contemporary Music” and “Officer of the National Order of Quebec”. She was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame and received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. On January 25, 2001, René-Charles Dion Angélil was born in Florida to proud parents Celine and René. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dion returned to the spotlight and sang “God Bless America” at the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes. And on December 2001, Dion released her autobiography, “My Story, My dream.”
On March 2002 Dion released the album “A New Day Has Come” which was certified three times Platinum in the U.S. and six times Platinum in Canada. Then on 2003 she released the album “One Heart,” followed by the English-language album “Miracle,” which was certified Platinum by the RIAA. In October 2003 Dion released the Francophone album “1 fille & 4 types” (1 Girl & 4 Guys). The album was certified 2x Platinum in France. And by 2004 Dion received a rare award of the Chopard Diamond Award from the World Music Awards. Dion made the smartest choice of signing a contract for a three-year, 600-show to appear in A New Day at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. She began on March 25, 2003 and was attended by many stars like Dick Clark, Alan Thicke, Kathy Griffin and Justin Timberlake. Then on December 10, 2007, the DVD Live in Las Vegas-A New Day was released. Her latest album “D’elles” (About Them) was released on May 21, 2007. It was a French-language album which was certified double Platinum in Canada. Then on November 12 Dion released an English album “Taking Chances” in Europe, the next day in North America. And on February 14, 2008, she launched her year-long worldwide “Taking Chances Tour.”
In 2008 Dion was nominated for six Juno Awards, bringing her total nominations to date to 59. On August 22, 2008 she performed a free show on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Canada. The concert was called “Céline sur les Plaines” and was released on DVD on November 11, 2008 in Quebec, and in France on May 20, 2009. Dion also released the “My Love: Essential Collection” of her greatest English Language hits thus far. Dion was named the 20th best-selling artist of the decade in the U.S., and the 2nd best-selling female artist of the decade in the U.S. on May 2009. Then on February 17, 2010 Dion released a documentary film “Celine: Through the Eyes of the World.” It was then released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 4, 2010 with the CD/DVD “Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert.” The Los Angeles Times revealed on January 2010 Dion at the top spot for the largest earners with $US747.9 million from 2000-2009. In addition, Dion was named Artist of the Decade in Quebec in 2009, and in May 2010 Harris Poll, Dion was named the most popular musician. In the February 2010 People Magazine, Dion said she will return to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for Celine, beginning March 15, 2011. Before the return to Las Vegas, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Celine Dion is a celebrated performer, with a voice that shakes the soul and a performance filled with emotion and meaning. A great artist whatever language she performs in.