C?line Marie Claudette Dion (·)), CC, OQ (born March 30, 1968) is a Canadian singer, occasional songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur. Born to a large, impoverished family in Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband Ren? Ang?lil 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.
Dion had first gained international recognition in the 1980s by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. 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 Ang?lil, 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 temporary retirement 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, Las Vegas.
Dion's music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. While her releases have often received mixed critical reception, she is renowned for her technically skilled and powerful vocals. Dion is the best selling Canadian artist of all time; and her 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. 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 Adh?mar Dion and Th?r?se Tanguay, both of French Canadian descent, C?line Dion was raised a Roman Catholic in a poverty-stricken, but, by her own account, happy home in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. Music had always been a part of the family (Dion was named after the song "C?line", recorded by French singer Hugues Aufray two years before her birth), 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'?tait qu'un r?ve" ("It Was Only a Dream"). Her brother Michel Dondalinger Dion sent the recording to music manager Ren? Ang?lil, whose name he discovered on the back of a Ginette Reno album. Ang?lil 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 Way of 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'amiti?" ("Of Love or of Friendship"), Dion had also won several F?lix 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 by a close margin 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 Ang?lil that she wanted to be a star like Jackson. Though confident in her talent, Ang?lil 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 ?cole Berlitz in 1989 to polish her English. This marked the start of her English-language music career.
Career breakthrough: 1990-1992
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.
"Beauty and the Beast"(1991)
"Beauty and the Beast" was largely influenced by classical music, which became a key feature of Dion's later work.
Two years after she had learned English, Dion made her debut into the Anglophone market with Unison (1990) originally 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 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 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 10 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. Also during this time, Dion released the Francophone album Dion chante Plamondon (1991). The album consisted mostly of covers, but included 4 new songs, which included "Des mots qui sonnent," "Je danse dans ma t?te," "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, but then got an international release in 1994, the first French Celine Dion album to do so. "Un gar?on pas comme les autres (Ziggy)" became a smash hit in France, reaching number 2 and being certified gold. In Quebec, the album was certified Gold the day it was released. To date, Dion chante Plamondon has sold 1.5 million records worldwide.
By 1992 Unison, C?line 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 F?lix Award 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 Ang?lil, 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.
Popularity established: 1993-1995
In 1993, Dion announced her feelings for her manager by declaring him "the colour of 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, Ang?lil 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 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, 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 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 Anglophone works. She released ? l'Olympia, a live album that was recorded during one of Dion's concerts at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, in 1994. It had one promotional single, a live version of "Calling You", which peaked at seventy-five on the French Singles Chart. 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 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 in France. 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, Dion's albums continued to be constructed on the basis of melodramatic ballads, but also with up-tempo pop and adult contemporary themed music. She collaborated with talented craftsman such as Jim Steinman and David Foster who helped her devise more adult contemporary songs. Critics like Charles Alexander of Time, enjoyed Dion's musical style, stating, "that voice glides effortlessly from deep whispers to dead-on high notes, a sweet siren that combines force with grace." Others, like Arion Berger of Entertainment Weekly, stated that Dion's songs lack emotion and "neither call for nor receive a personal touch." Resultantly, she earned frequent comparisons to artists such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. According to some critics though, the songs in The Colour of My Love weren't as consistent with others from her eponymous album, but were nevertheless quite successful due to the songwriting and Dion's "powerhouse performances". Nonetheless, 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 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.
Worldwide commercial success: 1996?1999
Musical diversity of Falling into You
"Falling into You" (1996)
The slow-tempo 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."
It's All Coming Back to Me Now
"It's All Coming Back to Me Now" was a power ballad that fused orchestral flourishes with 1980s rock music.
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 complex orchestral sounds, African chanting 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" (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 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. 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 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 singles "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 two more extremely 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. She 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. "I'm Your Angel", a duet with R. Kelly, became Dion's fourth 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 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 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).
During this time, the pop-rock genre that was most noticeable in her earlier releases, was replaced by a more adult contemporary feel. However, the theme of "love" remained in most of her releases, which led to some critics dismissing her music as banal. Some critics, like Elysa Gardner, praised her vocals during this period, desribing it as a "technical marvel". However, others, like Steve Dollar, who reviewed These Are Special Times, stated that Dion is a "vocal Olympian for whom there ain't no mountain?or scale?high enough."
Career break: 2000-2002
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. Ang?lil'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 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, Ren?-Charles Dion Ang?lil, 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." In December 2001, Dion published her autobiography, My Story, My Dream which chronicled her rags to riches story.
Return to music: 2002-2003
Dion performing "God Bless America" with members of the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, 2002.
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." A New Day Has Come debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 ? Dion's first? and was eventually certified 3x Platinum in the U.S.
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 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." The first single off the album, A New Day Has Come peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 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 Heart and Dion's own Because You Loved Me, both of which lasted nineteen weeks at number 1. During 2002, she performed for many benefit concerts, the famous VH1 Divas Live, a concert to benefit the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, alongside Cher, Anastacia, Dixie Chicks, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, and Stevie Nicks.
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 the album achieved moderate success, One Heart was met with mixed criticism, and words such as "predictable" and "banal" appeared even in the most lenient reviews. A cover of the 1989 Cyndi Lauper hit "I Drove All Night", released to launch her new advertising campaign with Chrysler, incorporated dance-pop and rock and roll. The advertising deal itself, however was met with mixed criticism, with some stating that Dion was trying to please her sponsors. However, people like Bonita Stewart, who was the director of Chrysler Group Marketing Communications stated that "Chrysler was taken by how her appeal crossed ethnic lines." She also added, "She brings sophistication, refinement, romance and passion to the brand."
After One Heart, Dion released her next English Language studio album, Miracle (2004). Miracle was a multimedia project conceived by Dion and photographer Anne Geddes, and had a theme centering on babies and motherhood. The album was filled 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 mixed. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic.com gave the album three of out five stars, stating, "The worst you can say about the record is that there are no surprises, but the audience for this record doesn't want surprises; they want comfort, whether it arrives in polished music or artsy photos of newborns, and Miracle provides both, which makes it appealing for those expectant or new mothers in Dion's audience. Chuck 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, however, labeled the album as excessively sentimental, while Nancy Miller of Entertainment Weekly opined that "the whole earth-mama act is just opportunism, reborn". Miracle debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and number one in Canada , and was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA.
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 widespread commercial success in France, Canada, and Belgium where it reached No. 1. In France, the album debuted at number one and was later certified 2x platinum after selling over 700,000 copies. Reviewer Stephen Erlwine of Allmusic wrote that Dion was "getting back to pop basics and performing at a level unheard in a while."
Though her albums were commercially successful, they did not achieve the sales or the reception of her previous works. Albums like The Collector's Series, Volume One (2000), and One Heart (2003) did not perform as well critically.. 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 2004, Dion had accumulated sales of more than 175 million albums worldwide, and received the Chopard Diamond Award from the World Music Awards for her achievements. According to the official World Music Awards website, the award is rare; it's not even "presented every year" and an artist can only be presented with the award for selling "over 100 million albums during their career."
A New Day... Live in Las Vegas: 2003-2007
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 The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. This move was seen as "one of the smartest business decisions in years by any major recording artist". 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 4,000-seat arena designed for her show. Many stars attended opening night including Dick Clarke, Alan Thicke, Kathy Griffin, and Justin Timberlake, who hosted the television special. The show, put together by Dragone, was a combination of dance, music, and visual effects. It included 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 had become more enjoyable, due to Dion's improved stage-presence and simpler costumes.
The show was also well-received by audiences, despite the complaints of expensive tickets; the show routinely sold out until its end in late 2007. Ticket prices averaged $135.33. The show was choreographed by Mia Michaels, who is a world renowned choreographer. According to Pollstar, Dion 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 more than 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 end on December 15, 2007, with tickets for the period after October 2007 having gone on sale from March 1. During its entire run, the show accumulated a total gross of $400 million, while being seen by nearly 3 million fans. The Live in Las Vegas - A New Day... DVD was released on December 10, 2007 in Europe and the following day in North America.
Back to studio and world tour: 2007-present
C?line Dion on stage during a concert in Montr?al, Canada, August 2008.
Dion's latest French language album, D'elles (About Them), 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 the first week had already shipped half a million units worldwide. D'Elles also reached No. 1 in France and Belgium. The first single "Et s'il n'en restait qu'une (je serais celle-l?)" ("And If Only One Woman Stayed (I Would be That One)") debuted at the top of the French singles chart a month earlier. She released her latest English album Taking Chances on November 12 in Europe, and on the 13th in North America. Her first English studio album since 2003s One Heart, it features pop, R&B, and rock inspired music. Dion has collaborated with John Shanks, ex-Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody, as well as Kristian Lundin, Peer Astrom, Linda Perry, Japanese singer Yuna Ito, and R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo. 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." She launched her year-long worldwide Taking Chances Tour on February 14, 2008 in South Africa, performing 132 dates in stadiums and arenas across five continents.
Taking Chances Tour was a great success in the United States, reaching the Number 1 spot on the Billboard Boxscore and sold out every concert in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, she appeared on Idol Gives Back for a second year in a row. C?line Dion was nominated for 6 Juno Awards in 2008, leading the group of Canadians to receive this honour. Dion has added to her 53 previous nominations. Her nominations included Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year (for Taking Chances), Francophone Album of the Year (for D'elles) and Album of the Year (for both Taking Chances and D'elles). The following year, Dion was nominated for 3 Juno Awards including the Fan Choice Award, Song of the Year (for Taking Chances), and Music DVD of the Year (for Live in Las Vegas - A New Day...)
On August 22, 2008, Celine Dion presented a free show, exclusively francophone, outside on the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec City, Canada, for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. The celebration gathered approximately 490,000 people (total with TV broadcast). The concert, called C?line sur les Plaines, was released on DVD on November 11, 2008 in Quebec and was released on May 20, 2009 in France. The end of October saw the worldwide release of her first ever comprehensive English greatest hits album called My Love: Essential Collection.. The album is available in two different editions: a one-disc and two-disc edition, called My Love: Ultimate Essential Collection.
In May 2009, Celine Dion was named the 20th best selling artist of the decade in the United States and the 2nd best selling female artist of the decade in the United States, selling an estimated 17.57 million albums. In June 2009, Forbes Magazine reported that Celine Dion earned $100 million during 2008, second only to Madonna. She was scheduled to return to Las Vegas in 2010, but as of her pregnancy, this may not be possible.
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 Qu?b?cois artists. She has also expressed appreciation for ?dith Piaf, Sir Elton John, Cher, Tina Turner 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.
Describing her voice, The New York Times writes
Ms. Dion...is a belter with a high, thin, slightly nasal, nearly vibratoless soprano and a good-sized arsenal of technical skills. She can deliver tricky melismas, produce expressive vocal catches and sustain long notes without the tiniest wavering of pitch. And as her hit duets...have shown, she is a reliable harmony voice."
?Stephen Holden, The New York Times.
Dion has faced considerable criticism from many critics, who state that her music often retreats behind pop and soul conventions, and is marked by excessive sentimentality. According to Keith Harris of Rolling Stone magazine, " sentimentality is bombastic and defiant rather than demure and retiring.... 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 most influential voices and she possesses a five-octave vocal range. In a countdown of the "22 Greatest Voices in Music" by Blender Magazine and MTV, 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".
"My Heart Will Go On" (1998)
One of Dion's biggest hits, and one of the biggest hits of the 1990s, "My Heart Will Go On" has received equal degrees of praise and disapproval from critics and fans alike.
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 instruments professionally. 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 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% 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).
Dion is often the subject of media ridicule and parody, and is frequently impersonated on shows like MADtv, Saturday Night Live, South Park, Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes for her strong accent and on-stage movements. However, Dion has stated that she is unaffected by the comments, and 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. While she is rarely politically outspoken, in 2005 following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Dion appeared on Larry King Live and tearfully criticized the U.S. government's slow response in aiding the victims of the hurricane: "There's people still there waiting to be rescued. To me that is not acceptable...How can it be so easy to send planes in another country to kill everybody in a second and destroy lives. We need to serve our country." After her interview, she stated, "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."
Celine Dion star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Dion became an entrepreneur with the establishment of her franchise restaurant "Nickels" in 1990. She has since divested her interests in the chain and is 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. In 2003, Dion signed a deal with Coty to release Celine Dion Parfums. In April 2009, Dion also released her sixth fragrance, Chic. Since its creation in 2003, Celine Dion Parfums have made over $500 million in retail sales.
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 more than 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 more than $1 million. After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Celine Dion donated $100,000 to China Children & Teenagers' Fund and sent a letter to show her consolation and support.
In January 2004, Celine Dion received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She dedicated her star to her father, who died the month prior. In 2007, Celine Dion was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 5th richest woman in entertainment with an estimated net worth of US$250 million. She also received France's highest award, the L?gion d'honneur, in May 2008. In August 2008, she received an honorary doctorate in music from the Universit? Laval in Quebec City.