Céline Dion est une chanteuse-interprète canadienne née le 30 mars 1968 à Repentigny, Lanaudière, (Québec).
En plus de 25 ans de carrière, elle a produit 25 albums en français et en anglais et vendu entre 150 1 et 230 millions de disques 2 suivant les estimations. Elle est l’artiste canadienne ayant vendu le plus grand nombre de disques. Ses albums Falling into You et Let’s Talk About Love sont les albums occidentaux les plus vendus au Japon et en Afrique du Sud[réf. nécessaire] après Thriller de Michael Jackson. Elle possède le record de l’album francophone le plus vendu de tous les temps avec D’eux, qui s’est vendu à près de 8 millions d’exemplaires.
Céline Marie Claudette Dion OC, OQ, (born March 30, 1968) is a Canadian singer and occasional songwriter and actress. Born to a large, impoverished family in Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion became a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and would-be husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record.In 1990 she released the anglophone album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in North America and other English speaking areas of the world.
Céline Dion est née le 30 mars 1968 à Charlemagne, ville près de Montréal au Québec dans laquelle elle a grandi. Sa mère, Thérèse Tanguay, violoniste et son père Adhemar Dion, accordéoniste ont eu 14 enfants, et Céline Dion en est la dernière. Son enfance fut bercée par la musique (chacun des membres de sa famille joue d’un instrument) et c’est à l’âge de cinq ans qu’elle chante pour la première fois devant public pour le mariage de son frère (où elle interprète Mamy Blue popularisé par Roger Whittaker). Elle chante à sept ans des chansons de Ginette Reno au restaurant de ses parents.
En 1980, sa mère envoie une cassette musicale à René Angélil, impresario de Ginette Reno et figure du monde musical au Québec. Peu après, elle interprète devant lui la chanson Ce n’était qu’un rêve, écrit par sa mère. René Angélil croit en sa voix et hypothèque sa maison pour financer la carrière de la jeune fille. En 1981 sort son premier album intitulé la Voix du bon Dieu (du parolier français Eddy Marnay), qui connaît un succès au Québec. L’année suivante, elle participe et gagne la médaille d’or au Festival mondial de la chanson de Tokyo. Des titres comme la Religieuse, D’amour ou d’amitié et Ce n’était qu’un rêve contribuent à accroître la renommée de la chanteuse.
Elle est choisie pour représenter la jeunesse de son pays pour la venue du pape Jean-Paul II au Stade olympique de Montréal le 11 septembre 1984 : elle chante Une colombe devant 65 000 personnes.
La même année sort un deuxième album, Les Oiseaux du bonheur, précédé du single Mon rêve de toujours. En novembre 1984, elle fait la première partie à l’Olympia de l’humoriste français Patrick Sébastien.
En 1985, elle participe à divers projets discographiques collectifs comme le disque pour l’aide à l’Éthiopie ou des bandes originales de film. Elle reçoit à nouveaux cinq Félix. En 1986, alors qu’elle n’a que dix-huit ans et qu’elle vient de sortir un nouveau single, Billy, elle décide de se retirer de la scène pendant un certain temps afin de repenser son apparence et d’apprendre la langue anglaise.
À la suite de cet intermède, le compositeur et auteur italien Romano Musumarra lui écrit Je ne veux pas. Ce 45 tours est le dernier publié par la maison de disque Pathé.
En 1987, elle produit l’album Incognito, qui devient un énorme succès. Remarquée par des compositeurs suisses (Atilla Serefthug et Nella Martinetti) et belge (Marc Lerchs), elle est choisie pour représenter la Suisse au Concours Eurovision de la chanson en chantant Ne partez pas sans moi. Elle gagne le concours à Dublin, le 30 avril 1988. Tout naturellement, ce passage à l’Eurovision favorise sa carrière en Europe.
Carrière mondiale et ascension vers le succès
Après le succès d’Incognito, Céline Dion s’engage dans une carrière internationale: c’est David Foster qui va l’y conduire avec son premier album anglophone, Unison, sorti en 1990, vendu à plus de 3,5 millions d’exemplaires dans le monde. Le titre Where Does My Heart Beat Now est la première chanson à décoller aux États-Unis. D’autres titres seront extraits de Unison: If there was any other way, Don’t let me be the last, Unison.
À partir de cette période, Céline Dion s’oriente vers l’international avec des reprises R&B et des nouveaux morceaux, écrits notamment par Diane Warren, une compositeure connue pour ses ballades. Le deuxième album anglophone de Céline Dion, simplement appelé Celine Dion sort le 30 Mars 1992, jour de son 24e anniversaire. Cet album sera porté par le succès de la chanson thème du classique de Walt Disney The beauty and the beast, chantée en duo avec Peabo Bryson. Alan Menken, son compositeur, remportera notamment un oscar et un grammy award pour ce titre. Au total, Celine Dion s’est vendu à 6 millions d’exemplaires à ce jour. Seront également extraits de cet album : Nothing broken but my heart, Water from the moon, If you asked me to, Love can move mountains.
En Novembre 1993 sort son troisième album anglophone, intitulé The colour of my love. Porté par de nombreux succès (The power of love, Think twice, The colour of my love), l’album connaîtra un succès, avec plus de 17 millions d’exemplaires vendus à travers le monde.
En 1995 sort D’eux, son premier album francophone depuis 4 ans et écrit par Jean-Jacques Goldman. L’album rencontre un succès phénoménal, puisqu’il se vendra à plus de 7 millions d’exemplaires dans le monde, se classant ainsi comme l’album francophone le plus vendu.
L’album Falling into you sort en mars 1996. Il comporte de nombreux succès : Because you loved me (BO de Up and personal), It’s all coming back to me now, River deep mountain high, et la reprise de All by myself. Falling into you s’est vendu à ce jour à plus de 30 millions d’exemplaires dans le monde, faisant de la chanteuse la plus grande vendeuse de disques de l’année 1996.
En 1997, ses disques et son interprétation de la chanson de James Horner et Will Jenning My Heart Will Go On, écrit pour le film Titanic, constituent un nouveau palier, avec plus de 27 millions de singles vendus. Cette chanson fait partie de l’album Let’s Talk About Love, sorti en Novembre 1997. Dans cet album, elle chante avec le ténor Luciano Pavarotti, les Bee Gees et la chanteuse Barbra Streisand. Après le succès de l’opus Falling into you, Let’s talk about love se vendra lui aussi à plus de 30 millions d’exemplaires.
En 1998, la collaboration Céline Dion – Jean-Jacques Goldman donne naissance à l’album S’il suffisait d’aimer, qui remportera aussi un succès, puisqu’il se vend à 3,5 millions d’exemplaires. Fin 1998, elle sort un album de Noël intitulé These are special times et en juin 1999 elle remplit le Stade de France.
Le soir du 31 décembre 1999, après 18 ans de carrière ininterrompue, elle se retire temporairement de la scène publique pour tenter d’avoir un enfant. Le 25 janvier 2001, dans un hôpital de Palm Beach en Floride, elle donne naissance à un petit garçon prénommé René-Charles Dion Angélil. Pendant cette absence, elle participe néanmoins à l’album du chanteur québécois Garou, devenu le protégé de son mari René Angélil, en enregistrant le duo Sous le vent.
Céline Dion a également beaucoup participé à diverses œuvres, tels qu’une collection en 1995 de chansons de Carole King appelée Tapestry Revisited, à la comédie musicale de Plamondon Starmania, à un hommage à Sir George Martin, producteur des Beatles (elle chante Here, There, and Everywhere) ou encore à un hommage au parolier Eddy Marnay, où elle révèle sa personnalité jazz.
Une pause pour un enfant
En 1999, Céline Dion, annonce son intention de faire une pause dans sa carrière après l’an 2000. Cette décision, d’abord motivée par le désir d’avoir un enfant, sera confirmée après la découverte du cancer (dont il guérira) de celui-ci. Elle annonce de plus qu’elle fera ses adieux à son public lors d’un grand concert le 31 Décembre 1999 au centre Molson de Montréal.
Dans le courant de l’année 2000, elle fait savoir qu’elle est enceinte. Elle accordera d’ailleurs deux interviews à ce sujet (une à Michel Jasmin, l’autre à Michel Drucker) en Décembre 2000. Le 25 janvier 2001, elle donne naissance à René-Charles, qui sera baptisé devant des milliers de spectateurs en liesse à Montréal. Parallèlement à sa nouvelle vie de mère, elle travaille déjà dès l’été 2001 à l’élaboration de son futur album, A new day has come.
Malheureusement, les Attentats du 11 septembre 2001 l’obligent à chanter de nouveau lors d’un téléthon hommage aux victimes. Aux côtés de stars telles Mariah Carey ou Phil Collins, elle y interprètera la chanson God bless America.
Retour à la chanson
En 2002, après une absence de deux ans, elle revient sur le devant de la scène avec un nouvel album, A New Day Has Come. Classé en tête des ventes dans de nombreux pays dont la France, les États-Unis, la Pologne et l’Angleterre, l’album rencontre néanmoins un succès moins important que les précédents, se vendant tout de même à 10 millions d’exemplaires. Le suivant, One Heart, se vendra quant à lui à 5 millions d’exemplaires.
Elle signe un contrat de trois ans pour chanter à Las Vegas, au Coloseum du Caesar’s Palace. Ce spectacle dirigé par le créateur belge Franco Dragone s’appelle A new day et débute le 25 Mars 2003. Le spectacle mêle chant, théâtre et danse, le tout sur un fond virtuel reproduit sur le plus grand écran du monde.Le succès du spectacle est tel qu’elle signe pour une année de plus en 2004. Le contrat l’engage jusqu’au 15 décembre 2007. La salle (d’environ 4 100 places) est pleine tous les soirs depuis plus de deux ans.
En 2003, elle interprète une chanson de la bande originale du film Le Sourire de Mona Lisa avec une reprise de Frank Sinatra, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.
En 25 ans de carrière, Céline Dion a vendu 175 millions d’albums (230 millions avec les singles – selon SonyMusic). En 2004, Elle a reçu un Diamand Award soulignant cet exploit.
La chanteuse a fait son grand retour sur la scène internationale pour le 22 mai 2007, date à laquelle est sorti un nouvel album francophone intitulé D’Elles en collaboration avec 7 écrivains françaises et 4 écrivains québécoises, précédé par un premier single, Et s’il n’en restait qu’une, suivi par Immensité. L’album est de nouveau supervisé par Jean-Jacques Goldman, bien qu’il ne participe ni à la composition, ni à l’écriture. Cet album a été bien accueilli au Canada, et plus particulièrement au Québec, puisqu’il s’y est vendu à plus de 150 000 exemplaires, dépassant ainsi les ventes de A new day has come, son dernier grand succès. En revanche, D’elles a reçu un accueil plus froid en France (seulement 200 000 ventes).
Un nouveau tournant dans sa carrière et une nouvelle tournée mondiale
Un nouvel album anglophone nommé Taking chances est annoncé pour le 12 novembre 2007 dans le monde. Le DVD de son spectacle à Las Vegas, enregistré fin janvier 2007, est quant à lui prévu pour décembre 2007.
Pour souligner son retour, Céline entamera en février 2008 une grande tournée mondiale, la première depuis 9 ans. Elle se produira tout d’abord en Afrique du Sud (où elle n’a encore jamais fait de concerts), mais aussi à Paris Bercy pour 6 dates, à Nice, à Zurich, à Genève, à Anvers, en Chine, aux États-Unis, au Canada…
Céline Dion participe également à de nombreux événements caritatifs, tel la lutte contre la mucoviscidose (maladie dont sa nièce Karine, décédée en 1993 à l’âge de 16 ans, était atteinte) ou, plus récemment, pour aider les sinistrés d’Asie du Sud.
Albums vendus au Québec
Les albums des années 1980 (Incognito, Mélanie, les Chansons en or, etc.) : 1 025 000
Unison : 235 000
Dion Chante Plamondon : 220 000
Céline Dion : 300 000
The Colour of my Love : 300 000
Céline Dion à l’Olympia : 125 000
D’eux : 650 000
Falling into you : 375 000
Live à Paris : 200 000
Let’s Talk About Love : 400 000
S’il suffisait d’aimer : 460 000
These are a Special Times : 300 000
Au cœur du stade : 50 000
All the Way. A Decade of Songs : 315 000
The Collector’s Series Volume One : 45 000
A New Day has Come : 150 000
One Heart : 75 000
Une fille et 4 types : 90 000
A new day live in las vegas : 10 000
Miracle : 20 000< On ne change pas : 300 000 D'elles : 164 000 Autres compilations : 180 000 Discographie
13 novembre 2007 : (en) Taking Chances
21 mai 2007 : (fr) D’Elles (200 000 en France ,150 000 au Canada[réf. nécessaire]).
2005 : (fr) On Ne Change Pas (Best of en français) (1 million d’exemplaires, dont 160 000 au Canada et 600 000 en France, ainsi que 60 000 en Suisse).
2004 : (en) Miracle (2 million d’exemplaires, dont 900 000 aux États-Unis, ainsi que 150 000 en France et au Royaume-Uni).
2004 : (en) A New Day : Live In Las Vegas (scène) (1 million d’exemplaires)
2003 : (fr) 1 Fille & 4 Types (avec Jean-Jacques Goldman) (2 million d’exemplaires, dont 800 000 en France et 75 000 en Suisse).
2003 : (en) One Heart (6 millions d’exemplaires, dont 300 000 au Canada, 2 millions aux États-Unis, 300 000 en France, 150 000 en Allemagne et 170 000 au Royaume-Uni.
2002 : (en) A New Day Has Come (15 millions d’exemplaires, dont 3,4 millions aux États-Unis, 600 000 au Canada et 3,5 millions en Europe).
2000 : (en) The collector’s series Vol 1 (Best of en anglais) (2,5 millions d’exemplaires, dont 900 000 aux États-Unis, 100 000 au Canada et 150 000 en France).
1999 : (en) All the way: a decade of song (24 millions d’exemplaires, dont 9,5 millions aux Etats-Unis, 1 million au Canada et 5,3 millions en Europe).
1999 : (fr) Au coeur du stade (album live) (1 million d’exemplaires).
1998 : (en) These are special times (10 millions d’exemplaires, dont 5 millions aux Etats-Unis, 1 million au Canada et 1,5 million en Europe)
1998 : (fr) S’il suffisait d’aimer (avec Jean-Jacques Goldman) (4.5 millions d’exemplaires, dont 1,7 million en France et 500 000 au Canada)
1997 : (en) Let’s talk about love (34 millions d’exemplaires, dont 11,5 millions aux États-Unis, 1,8 million au Canada et 10 millions en Europe)
1996 : (fr) Live à Paris (album live) (2,8 millions d’exemplaires, dont 700 000 en France et 200 000 au Canada)
1996 : (en) Falling into you (30 millions d’exemplaires, dont 12,5 millions aux États-Unis, 1,5 million au Canada et 8 millions en Europe)
1995 : (fr) D’eux (avec Jean-Jacques Goldman) (9 millions d’exemplaires, dont 4,5 millions en France et 750 000 au Canada).
1994 : (fr) Celine Dion à l’Olympia (album live) (1,2 million d’exemplaires, dont 300 000 en France et 150 000 au Canada).
1993 : (en) The colour of my love (17 millions d’exemplaires, dont 6 millions aux États-Unis, 1,8 million au Canada et 5 millions en Europe).
1992 : (en) Celine Dion (album éponyme) (6 millions d’exemplaires, dont 3,4 millions aux États-Unis et 1,2 million au Canada).
1992 : (fr) Dion chante Plamondon (1,2 million d’exemplaires, dont 600 000 en France et 225 000 au Canada).
1990 : (en) Unison (3,5 millions d’exemplaires, dont 1,5 million aux États-Unis, 800 000 au Canada et 100 000 en France).
1987 : (fr) Incognito
Jean-Jacques Goldman « J’irai où tu iras » – D’eux (1995)
Luciano Pavarotti « I hate you then I love you » – Let’s Talk About Love (1997)
Destiny’s Child « Emotion », « When The Wrong Ones Love You Right » – Live (2002)
Barbra Streisand « Tell him » – Let’s Talk About Love (1997)
R. Kelly « I’m Your Angel » – These Are Special Times (1998)
Frank Sinatra « All the way » – All The Way…a Decade Of Song (1999)
Bee Gees « Immortality » – Let’s Talk About Love (1997)
Elton John « Saturday Night’s », « Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest World » – Live (2006)
Elvis Presley par ordinateur « If I Can Dream » – Live (2007)
Maria Callas par ordinateur « La Diva » – D’elles (2007)
Andrea Bocelli « The Prayer » – These Are Special Times (1998)
Josh Groban « The Prayer » – Live (2002)
Garou « Sous le vent » – Single (2001)
Bryan Adams « Everything I do, I do it for you », « It’s Only Love » – Live (1999)
Johnny Halliday « L’envie »(2005)/ »blueberry hill » – Live (2007)
Henri Salvador « une chanson douce » – Live (2003)
Charles Aznavour « toi et moi » – Live (2003)
Alain Delon « Paroles, Paroles, Paroles » – Live (1997)
Anastacia « You Shook Me All Night Long » – Live (2002)
Aretha Franklin « You Make Me Feel », « Testimony » – Live (1998)
Carole King « The Reason » – Let’s Talk About Love (1997)
Johnny Hallyday « L’Envie », « Bluberry Hills » – Live (2005/2007)
Il Divo « I Believe In You » – On ne Change Pas (2005)
Claude Dubois « Si Dieu existe » – (avril 2007)
Richard Cocciante « L’amour existe encore »
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Dion first gained international recognition in the 1980s after she won both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. After a series of French albums in the early 1980s, she signed on to Sony Records in 1986. Under the guidance of her husband, she achieved worldwide success with several English and French albums, ending the decade as one of the most-successful artists in pop music. After releasing over twenty-five albums over two decades, Dion announced a temporary retraction from entertainment in 1999 in order to start a family and spend time with her husband. She returned to the music scene in 2002, and a year later, she signed a four-year contract to perform nightly in a five-star theatrical show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.
Dion’s music has been influenced by various genres, which range from pop, soul and rock to gospel and classical, and while her releases have often received mixed critical reception, she is renowned for her technically skilled and powerful vocals. In 2004, after accumulating record sales in excess of 175 million, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award from the World Music Awards show for becoming the « Best-selling Female Artist in the World. »In April 2007 Sony BMG announced that Celine Dion had sold over 200 million albums worldwide.
Life and music career
Childhood and early beginnings
The youngest of fourteen children born to Adhémar Dion and Thérèse Tanguay, Céline 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, as she grew up singing 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. »
At age twelve, 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 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.He mortgaged his home to fund her first record, La voix du bon Dieu (a play on words « The Voice of God/The Road to God, » 1981), which became a local number-one record 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 Go Without Me ») and won the contest in Dublin, Ireland. However, American success was yet to come, partly because she was 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, Angelil 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 a physical makeover, and was sent to the École Berlitz School in 1989 to polish her English language. This marked the start of her Anglophone music career. According to an episode of VH-1’s Behind The Music, she learned English in just three months.
1990–1992: Career breakthrough
A year after she had learned English, Dion made her debut into the Anglophone market with Unison (1990). 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 hit the right notes with critics: Jim Faber of Entertainment 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 All Music Guide 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 chart 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 also a 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 rock influence combined with elements of soul and classical music. Owing to the success of the lead-off single and her collaboration with Foster and Diane Warren, the album was as well received as 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. » As with Dion’s earlier releases, the album had an overtone of love.
By 1992 Unison, Céline Dion, and 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 regain her fan base at the Felix 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, transited from manager to lover. However, the relationship was kept a secret as they both feared that the public would find their relations inappropriate.
1993–1995: Popularity established
In 1993 Dion announced her feelings for her manager by declaring him « The colour of [her] love » in the dedication section of her third Anglophone 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 it was dedicated to her manager, the album’s motif focused on love and romance. It became her most successful record up to that point, selling over 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. Subsequent singles, such as « When I Fall in Love, » a duet with Clive Griffin, and « Misled » failed to reach the upper tier of the pop charts in the U.S., but were moderately successful in Canada. The Colour of My Love also became Dion’s first bona fide hit in Europe, and in particular 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 U.K., 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. These included Dion chante Plamondon (1991); À l’Olympia (1994), a live album that was recorded during one of Dion’s concerts at the Olympia Theatre in Paris; and D’eux (1995 — also known as The French Album in the United States), which would go on to become the best-selling French album of all time. As these albums were in French, the worldwide commercial success was limited. However, Dion’s Francophone fans embraced each release, and generally, they achieved more credibility than her Anglophone works.
The mid-1990s was a transitional period for Dion’s musical style, as she slowly diverged from strong rock influences and transitioned into a more pop and soul style (though the electric guitar remained a central part of her music). Her songs began with more delicate melodies that used softer instrumentations, and built up to strong climaxes, over which her vocals could be displayed. This new sound received mixed reviews from critics, with Arion Berger of Entertainment Weekly accusing her of preferring vocal acrobatics over dynamics and embarking on a trend of uninspiring, « crowd-pleasing ballads. « Resultantly, she earned frequent comparisons to artists such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. There were also signs that her work was becoming more clichéd: critically, The Colour of My Love was not consistent with earlier works.However, while critical praise declined, Dion’s releases performed increasingly well on the international charts, and in 1996 she won the World Music Award for « World’s Best-selling Canadian 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, among female performers such as Carey and Houston.
1996–1999: Worldwide commercial success
Falling into You (1996), Dion’s fourth Anglophone 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 ornate orchestral frills, African chanting, and outlandish 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 » (a remake of Jim Steinman’s song) and a remake of Eric Carmen’s « All by Myself » kept their soft-rock atmosphere, but were 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 maudlin 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 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. It 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.
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 Gees on « Immortality »; and world-renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti on « I Hate You Then I Love You. »Other musicians included Carole King, Sir George Martin, and Jamaican singer Diana King, who added a reggae tinge to « Treat Her Like a Lady. » As the name suggests, the album had the same theme as Dion’s preceding albums— »love. » However, emphasis was also placed on « brotherly love » with « Where Is the Love » and « Let’s Talk About Love. »The most successful single from the album became the classically influenced ballad « My Heart Will Go On, » which was composed by James Horner, and produced by Horner and Walter Afanasieff. Serving as the love theme for the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, the song topped the charts in many countries across the world, and became Dion’s signature song. In support of her album, Dion embarked on the Let’s Talk About Love Tour between 1998 and 1999, which received mixed reviews.
Dion ended the 1990s with two more successful albums— the Christmas album These Are Special Times (1998), and the compilation album All the Way… A Decade of Song (1999). On These Are Special Times, Dion became more involved in the writing process. The album was her most classically influenced yet, with orchestral arrangements found on virtually every track. « I’m Your Angel, » a duet with R. Kelly, became Dion’s fourth and final U.S. number one single, and another hit single 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.
By the end of the 1990s, Celine Dion had sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and had won a slew of industry awards. Her status as one of the biggest divas of contemporary music 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 honors from her home country: « Officer of the Order of Canada for Outstanding Contribution to the World of Contemporary Music » and « Officer of the National 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. She also won the Grammy Awards for « Best Female Pop Vocal Performance » and the most coveted « Record of the Year » for « My Heart Will Go On » (the song won four awards, but two were presented to the songwriters).
Compared to her debut, both the quality and sound of Dion’s music had also changed significantly. The soft-rock influences on her earlier releases were no longer prominent; they were replaced by more soul/adult contemporary styles. However, the theme of « love » remained in all her releases, and this led to many critics dismissing her work as banal. In a scathing review of Let’s Talk About Love, Rob O’Connor wrote:
What never ceases to amaze me is how the trite-est, most cliché-ridden music often takes an assembly-line of lauded music industry professionals to perfect… Sinking ships are what I imagine as this tune [« My Heart Will Go On »] plows onward of four-plus minutes, and this album feels as if were never to end. Is it no wonder why I have such fears of going to the dentist?
Dion was also criticized for some of her remakes and duets. « The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face » and « All the Way » were described as disastrous and « creepy » by both Allison Stewart of The Chicago Tribune and Erlwine of All Music Guide. Even though she was still praised for her vocal abilities (Elysa Gardner of L.A Times called her voice a « technical marvel, ») the much-favored vocal restraint heard on her early releases had also waned, and Steve Dollar, in reviewing These Are Special Times wrote that Dion was a « vocal Olympian for whom there ain’t no mountain—or scale—high enough. »
2000–2002: Career break
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 over twenty million dollars. The editors of the Enquirer 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 January 25, 2001 in Florida.
Following the September 11, 2001 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 of Billboard 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. »
2002–2003: Return to music
Dion’s aptly titled A New Day Has Come, released in March 2002, ended her three-year break from the music industry. The album was Dion’s most personal yet, and established a more mature side of Dion with the songs « A New Day Has Come, » « I’m Alive, » and « Goodbye’s (the Saddest Word), » a change that resulted from her new-found maternal responsibilities, because, in her own words, « 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. » While the album achieved commercial success, critical comments 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 matured during her break, and classed her music as trite and mediocre. Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine called the album « a lengthy collection of drippy, gooey pop fluffer-nutter. »
Drawing inspiration from personal experiences, Dion released One Heart (2003), an album that represented her appreciation for life. The album largely consisted of dance music — a deviation from the soaring, melodramatic ballads, for which she had once been given mixed reception. Although it achieved moderate success, One Heart hinted at Dions’ inability to overcome the creative wall that she had hit, and words such as « predictable » and « banal » appeared even in the most lenient reviews. A cover of Roy Orbison’s « I Drove All Night, » released to launch her new advertising campaign with Chrysler, incorporated dance-pop and rock and roll and was called reminiscent of Cher’s 1980s work. However, it was dismissed as Dion trying to please her sponsors.
By the mid 2000s Dion’s music had changed to the point where her releases possessed maternal overtones. Miracle (2004), a multimedia project conceived by Dion and photographer Anne Geddes, had a theme centering on babies and motherhood. The album was saturated with lullabies and other songs of maternal love and inspiration, the two most popular being covers of Louis Armstrong’s « What a Wonderful World » and John Lennon’s « Beautiful Boy. » The reviews for Miracle were generally weak: while Charles Taylor of Billboard magazine wrote that the single « Beautiful Boy » was « an unexpected gem » and called Dion « a timeless, enormously versatile artist, »Chuck Arnold of People Magazine labeled the album as excessively sentimental, while Nancy Miller of Entertainment Weekly opined that « the whole earth-mama act is just opportunism. »
The Francophone album 1 fille & 4 types (1 Girl & 4 Guys, 2003), fared better than her first two comebacks, and showed Dion trying to distance herself from the « diva » image. She recruited Jean-Jacques Goldman, Gildas Arzel, Eric Benzi, and Jacques Veneruso, with whom she had previously worked on two of her best selling French albums S’il suffisait d’aimer and D’eux. Labeled « the album of pleasure » by Dion herself, the cover showed Dion in a simple and relaxed manner, contrary to the choreographed poses usually found on her album covers. The album achieved relative critical success: reviewer Stephen Erlwine of All Music Guide wrote that Dion was « getting back to pop basics and performing at a level unheard in a while. »
Though her albums were relatively successful, signs of a decline began to appear in the poorer critical reception of The Collector’s Series Volume One (2000), A New Day Has Come (2002), and One Heart (2003). The mass appeal of Dion’s later works had declined due to the nature of the themes. Her songs received less airplay as radio became less embracing of balladeers like Dion, Carey and Houston, and was focused on more up-tempo, Urban/Hip-hop songs. However, by 2005 Dion had accumulated sales of over 175 million records, and received the Chopard Diamond World Music award for becoming the best-selling female artist in the world.
2003–present: A New Day… Live in Las Vegas
In early 2002 Dion had announced a three-year, 600-show contract to appear five nights a week in an entertainment extravaganza, A New Day…, at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. This move was seen as « one of the smartest business decisions in years by any major recording artist » given the relatively poor performance of her current releases. She conceived the idea for the show after seeing O by Franco Dragone early in her break from recording, and began on March 25, 2003, in a 4000-seat arena designed for her show. The show, put together by Dragone, is a combination of dance, music, and visual effects. It includes Dion performing her biggest hits against an array of dancers and special effects.
Reviewer Mike Weatherford felt that, at first, Dion was not as relaxed as she should be, and at times, it was hard to find the singer among the excessive stage ornamentations and dancers. However, he noted that the show has become more enjoyable, due to Dion’s improved stage-presence and simpler costumes. The show has also been well-received by audiences, despite the complaints of expensive tickets; the show has sold out almost every night since its 2003 opening. According to Pollstar, Dion had sold 322,000 tickets and grossed US$43.9 million in the first half of 2005, and by July 2005, she had sold out 315 out of 384 shows. By the end of 2005, Dion grossed over US$76 million, placing sixth on Billboard’s Money Makers list for 2005. A New Day… was the 6th biggest selling tour in America in 2006. Because of the show’s success, Dion’s contract was extended into 2007 for an undisclosed sum. On January 5, 2007 it was announced that the show would be ending on December 15, 2007, with tickets for the period after October 2007 having gone on sale from March 1. The A New Day… DVD will be released on 11 December 2007.
In 2005, Dion released her first comprehensive greatest hits album in French, On ne change pas, which features three new songs, including a duet with Il Divo called « I Believe in You ». Her latest French language album D’elles, released on May 21, 2007, debuted at the top of the Canadian album charts, selling 72,200 copies in its first week. It marked her tenth number-one album in the SoundScan era, and her eighth to debut at the top position. In Canada, the album has been certified 2x platinum, and within first week has already shipped half a million units worldwide. D’Elles reached also No. 1 in France and Belgium. The first single « Et s’il n’en restait qu’une (je serais celle-là) » debuted at the top of the French singles chart a month earlier.
Dion has finished working on a new English album Taking Chances, which will be released on November 12 in Europe, and on the 13th in North America. Her first studio album since 2003’s One Heart, the album will feature pop, R&B, hip-hop, and rock inspired music. Dion has collaborated with R&B/Hip-hop producer Timbaland, ex-Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody, as well as Kristian Lundin, Peer Astrom, Linda Perry, and R&B singer-songwriters Ne-Yo and R. Kelly. Dion stated, « I think this album represents a positive evolution in my career […] I’m feeling strong, maybe a little gutsier than in the past, and just as passionate about music and life as I ever was. »
Artistry and image
Dion grew up listening to the music of Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Anne Murray, Barbra Streisand, and the Bee Gees, all of whom she would eventually collaborate with. During her younger years, which she spent performing in her parents’ piano bar along with her other siblings, she also performed many songs by Ginette Reno and other popular Quebecois artists. She has also expressed appreciation for Edith Piaf, Sir Elton John, and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, as well as many soul singers of the 1960s, 70’s and 80’s, including Roberta Flack, Etta James and Patti Labelle, whose songs she would later rerecord. Her English-language material has been influenced by numerous genres, including pop, rock, gospel, R&B and soul, and her lyrics focus on themes of poverty, world hunger, and spirituality, with an overemphasis on love and romance.After the birth of her child, her work also began to emphasize maternal bond and brotherly love.
Dion has faced considerable criticism from many critics, who state that her music often retreats behind pop and soul conventions, and marked by excessive sentimentality. According to Keith Harris of Rolling Stone magazine, « [Dion’s] sentimentality is bombastic and defiant rather than demure and retiring….[she] stands at the end of the chain of drastic devolution that goes Aretha-Whitney-Mariah. Far from being an aberration, Dion actually stands as a symbol of a certain kind of pop sensibility — bigger is better, too much is never enough, and the riper the emotion the more true. » Dion’s francophone releases, by contrast, tend to be deeper and more varied than her English releases, and consequently have achieved more credibility.
Dion is often regarded as one of pop music’s greatest and most influential voices, and according to some sources, she possesses a five-octave vocal range. In MTV’s « 22 Greatest Voices in Music » countdown, she placed ninth (sixth for a female), and she was also placed fourth in Cove magazine’s list of « The 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists. »Upon her debut, many critics had welcomed her restrained vocal inflections, and she was praised for her technical virtuosity and intensity. As Charles Alexander of Time writes, « Her voice glides effortlessly from deep whispers to dead-on high notes, a sweet siren that combines force with grace. »As her music progressed, however, Dion’s vocal performances came to resemble more closely those of her contemporaries, especially Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, and she was heavily criticized for oversinging and for lacking the emotional intensity that once was a part of her earlier work. One critic noted that the emotion, « seems to have been trained right out of her lovely voice, » leaving her with « more voice than heart. »
Many critics have stated that Dion’s involvement in the production aspect of her music is fundamentally lacking, which results in her work being overproduced and impersonal. Additionally, while she came from a family in which all of her siblings were musicians, she never learned to play any musical instruments. However, she did help to compose many of her earlier French songs, and had always tried to involve herself with the production and recording of her albums. On her first English album, which she recorded before she had a firm command of the English language, she expressed disapproval of the record, which, according to her, could have been avoided if she had assumed more creative input. By the time she released her second English album Celine Dion, she had assumed more control of the production and recording process, hoping to dispel earlier criticisms. She stated, « On the second album I said, ‘Well, I have the choice to be afraid one more time and not be 100 percent happy, or not be afraid and be part of this album.’ This is my album. »She would continue to involve herself in the production of subsequent releases, helping to write a few of her songs on Let’s Talk About Love (1997) and These Are Special Times (1998).
Despite her success, Dion is often the subject of media ridicule and parody. She is frequently impersonated on shows like MADtv, Saturday Night Live and South Park for her strong accent, as well as her conservative nature and on-stage movements. She is also heavily mocked in her home country of Canada on popular shows Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. However, Dion has stated that she is unaffected by the comments, and has even stated that she is flattered that people take the time to impersonate her. She even invited Ana Gasteyer, who parodied her on SNL, to appear on stage during one of her performances.
Dion is rarely the center of media controversies. However, in 2005, following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, she appeared on Larry King Live and tearfully criticized U.S. President George W. Bush regarding the Iraq War and his slow response in aiding the victims of Hurricane Katrina: « How come it’s so easy to send planes in another country, to kill everyone in a second, to destroy lives? We need to be there right now to rescue the rest of the people. » She later claimed, « When I do interviews with Larry King or the big TV shows like that, they put you on the spot, which is very difficult. I do have an opinion, but I’m a singer. I’m not a politician. »
Dion became an entrepreneur with the establishment of her franchise restaurant « Nickels » in 1990. She has since divested her interests in the chain and was no longer affiliated with Nickels as of 1997. She also has a range of eyewear and a line of perfume, manufactured by Coty, Inc.. In October 2004, Canada’s national air carrier Air Canada hired Dion as part of the new promotional campaign as the airline unveiled new in-flight service products and new aircraft livery. « You and I, » the theme song sung by Dion, was written by advertising executives working for Air Canada.
Dion has actively supported many charity organizations worldwide. She has promoted the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) since 1982 and became the foundation’s National Celebrity Patron in 1993. She has an emotional attachment to the foundation; her niece Karine succumbed to the disease at the age of sixteen. In 2003, Dion joined a number of other celebrities, athletes and politicians including Josh Groban and Yolanda Adams to support « World Children’s Day », a global fundraising effort sponsored by McDonald’s. The effort raised money from over 100 countries and benefited many orphanages and children’s health organizations. Dion has also been a major supporter of the T.J. Martell Foundation, the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, and many health and education campaigns. She also donated $ 1 million to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and held a fund-raising event for the victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, raising over a million dollars.
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