Celine Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Québec, a little town 50 kilometers from Montréal. She was the 14th child of Thérèse Tanguay and Adhémar Dion. The Dion family was a humble one of modest means, but never lacked for love. The house was jam-packed with children, and Celine’s mom even had to lay her littlest one to sleep in a drawer.
Already, the legend had begun …
The entire family shared the same passion: music. The parents and children even formed a group that performed concerts in the area. From her earliest childhood, Celine would join in. Thérèse swiftly noted her baby’s remarkable talent. All of her children were gifted, but Celine was exceptionally so.
At the age of 12, she wrote her first song, with the help of her mother and her brother Jacques: "Ce n’était qu’un rêve." But it certainly was not just a dream! And thanks to her mother, that dream would start to become a reality. Thérèse sent a cassette of the song to impresario René Angélil. She chose him because he had managed the career of the family’s idol, Québécois singer Ginette Reno. In fact, Reno had just informed Angélil that she would no longer require his services. He was about to realign his career when he heard the cassette that would change his destiny, and the destiny of a young girl from Charlemagne.
He invited her to an appointment in his office, handed her a pencil and said, “Here’s your microphone. Now sing as though you were in front of a sold-out audience.” Celine sang. On the spot, René became her biggest fan. It was the beginning of the most wonderful artist-manager relationship in the history of show business.
On June 19, 1981, Celine Dion sang on TV for the first time, on Michel Jasmin’s talk show. The Québécois audience immediately adopted her. Everyone was convinced that she would go far, but no one could have imagined what was to come.
René Angélil believed so completely in his young protégée that he mortgaged his house to finance her first album. It was the finest bet the great gambler ever made. Lyricist Eddy Marnay, who had worked with some of the world’s greatest vocalists including Édith Piaf, Yves Montand and Barbra Streisand, agreed to write songs for Celine. The first time Marnay heard Celine sing, he exclaimed: “It’s the voice of the Good Lord!” La voix du bon Dieu would become their first hit.
In 1982, Celine won the gold medal at the 13th Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo. She sang "Tellement j’ai d’amour pour toi", written by Marnay and Giraud, for an audience of 115 million TV viewers. She was just 14.
Next, she made her first appearance on TV in France, on famed program Champs-Élysées hosted by Michel Drucker. To this day, the entire country recalls the moment when the host announced to his audience: “Remember her name: Celine Dion!” In 1983, she became the first Canadian to be awarded a gold album in France. It would not be her last.
That same year, at the ADISQ gala recognizing the finest in Québécois music, she won her first 4 Félix Awards. She has won a record 45 to date.
On September 11, 1984, in Olympic Stadium in Montréal, an audience of 60,000 watched Celine sing "Une colombe" in front of Pope John Paul II. A moment of grace. Two months later, she performed in the Olympia in Paris, opening for fanciful singer Patrick Sébastien for five weeks. In 1985, she launched a major tour of Québec. From show to show, the young singer was evolving into a true performer.
And then, she and her manager decided the time was right to take a break. An artist on the rise, Celine withdrew from live performance for 18 months. It was another daring gamble. Would she be forgotten like so many child stars before her, never able to recapture the success of their debut? In fact, the opposite was true. When she returned, her audience met a Celine transformed, more solid than ever, having perfectly mastered English, topping the charts with the album marking her metamorphosis: Incognito. The title track was written by Luc Plamondon, a talented lyricist in tune with his era. Celine was no longer a child singer – she was the voice of her time. Incognito sold over half a million copies. It was the first album produced with her new record label, CBS, which would become Sony Music; the same label as Michael Jackson. Celine was in the major leagues.
In 1988, in Dublin, Ireland, she won the prestigious Eurovision contest before an audience of 600 million TV viewers. That moment was the beginning of her global conquest.
In 1990, she successfully entered the American market with her first album in English, Unison. Certified gold in the U.S., the single "Where Does My Heart Beat Now" reached #5 on the charts. She was welcomed to The Tonight Show by host Jay Leno, who predicted she would go on to an extraordinary career. At Canada’s Juno Awards, recognizing the finest in Canadian music, she won the Juno for Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year.
In the autumn of 1991, she launched the album Dion chante Plamondon, certified gold on the day of its release.
With her career unfolding like a fairytale, the singer made her own American dream come true thanks to the theme song for a Walt Disney film. "Beauty and the Beast", performed as a duet by Celine and Peabo Bryson, hit #1 on charts worldwide, winning a Grammy Award and an Academy Award. On March 30, 1992, her 24th birthday, Celine sang with Peabo during the Oscars broadcast.
The day after the Oscars, Celine launched her second English-language album on The Tonight Show. The Wall Street Journal proclaimed Celine as a “once-in-a-generation voice.”
As 1993 began, Celine sang “The Power of Love” for President Clinton at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the power of love was what drove the Dion-Angélil duo. In November, upon the release of the album The Colour of My Love, Celine revealed to her audience that she was in love with René.
The single “The Power of Love” remained at #1 on the Billboard charts for 4 weeks. In England, both the single “Think Twice” and the album held the #1 spot on the hit parade for 5 weeks, equaling a record held by The Beatles. The Colour of My Love was certified as a diamond album in Canada for racking up sales of over one million copies.
On December 17, 1994, Celine married the love of her life, René Angélil, in Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal. It was a wedding fit for a princess, as spectacular as it was sincere. The legend rolled on; so did the honeymoon with her audience.
In 1995, Celine Dion teamed up with singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman to create one of the great masterpieces of francophone music: the album D’eux. It would go on to become the biggest-selling French album in history, selling 10 million copies around the world, with a series of classics forever etched in our memories: “Pour que tu m’aimes encore“, “Je sais pas“, “Les derniers seront les premiers“…
D’eux also included the moving song “Vole“, dedicated to the memory of Karine, Celine’s niece, who died at the age of 16 after a long struggle with Cystic Fibrosis.
In February 1996, Celine triumphed at the Victoires de la Musique, the French version of the Grammy Awards, winning the Victoires awards for Song of the Year (Pour que tu m’aimes encore) and Female Vocalist of the Year.
In March of the same year, Celine launched the album Falling Into You. It would go on to become the biggest-selling album of 1996 worldwide. Hitting #1 in 11 countries, the album went on to win two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Falling Into You has sold over 30 million copies.
On July 19, 1996, for a TV audience of 3.5 billion viewers, Celine Dion sang “The Power of the Dream“ during the Opening Ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympic Games. It was the ultimate triumph: she was now the most famous singer on the planet.
In March 1997, Celine Dion became the first artist to perform two songs during the Oscars. She sang her own hit “Because You Loved Me“, theme song from the film Up Close and Personal, and replaced an ailing Natalie Cole at a moment’s notice, performing “I Finally Found Someone“, the theme song from the film The Mirror Has Two Faces. The woman has nerves of steel.
In November 1997, Celine released her 18th album, Let’s Talk About Love, featuring collaborations with Luciano Pavarotti, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Carole King and Sir George Martin. What a constellation of stars! Let’s Talk About Love also included the momentous single “My Heart Will Go On“, theme song from the mega-production Titanic. The song would become the jewel of Celine’s repertoire.
She performed it majestically during the 70th Academy Awards. “My Heart Will Go On“ won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The original soundtrack to Titanic became the best-selling soundtrack in history, selling 30 million copies, equaling the sales of the album Let’s Talk About Love, which also included the hymn to Jack and Rose's love affair. A titanic feat.
In February 1998, Celine launched the album “S’il suffisait d’aimer“, created with her close collaborator Jean-Jacques Goldman. The title song became an instant classic in the francophone repertoire. Just before the end of the year festivities, she offered her fans a gift: the album These Are Special Times. The same year witnessed the publication of her first official biography, written by George Hébert-Germain.
The Let’s Talk About Love world tour was a massive triumph, culminating in two evenings at Stade de France, à Paris, attended by 180,000. René, now battling cancer, missed the events. Celine paid tribute to him during the show, receiving a standing ovation. René beat the disease and was onstage at the Centre Molson in Montréal on December 31, 1999 to kiss his sweetheart in the last seconds of the millennium. The extraordinary concert was the last before Celine took a well-deserved rest.
On January 25, 2001, Celine achieved the most important role of her life: mother! René-Charles Angélil was born at 1 a.m., weighing 6 lbs., 8 oz.
Just over a year later, Celine launched the album A New Day Has Come. It landed at #1 on the charts in 17 countries including Canada, France, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.
And then René, the visionary, made another gamble, one only Celine could win. He created a new show in Las Vegas in a 4000-seat theater specially conceived just for her in Caesars Palace, presenting it as a residency, five nights a week, for a minimum of three years. A spectacle including dancers and special effects directed by Franco Dragone, the renowned creator behind 10 Cirque du Soleil productions. The show, A New Day…, is a revolution. It forever changed the face of the entertainment capital.
The premiere was held on March 25, 2003, the farewell almost 5 years later, on December 15, 2007. Over 700 sold-out performances for 3 million spectators! Once again, the gamble paid off. The DVD Celine Dion Live in Las Vegas became the only triple-platinum certified music DVD in Canada.
During her residency in Vegas, Celine somehow found the time to release the albums One Heart, Une fille & 4 types, the live album A New Day… Live in Las Vegas, the concept albums Miracle and D’elles, the compilation On ne change pas, and Taking Chances.
She also managed to appear as part of the Oscars on February 25, 2007 for a 5th time, participating in the tribute to one of the greatest of film composers, Italy’s Ennio Morricone.
With her Las Vegas farewell barely over, Celine embarked anew on global conquest. Her tour opened on February 14, 2008 in South Africa, then rolled through Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada and the U.S. 5 continents, 23 countries, 93 cities, 3 million spectators. The 2nd most profitable North American tour of 2008. The film, Celine: Through the Eyes of the World, immortalized the world tour, presenting it as a family trip. We follow Celine and her loved ones through every stop. The DVD landed at #1 on the charts in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
On August 22, 2008, Celine triumphed in front of 250,000 fans assembled on the Plains of Abraham for a unique concert unique as part of the festivities surrounding the 400th anniversary of Québec City. She performed many duets with each and every one of her special guests but above all, she finally got to sing with one of her all-time favourite idols.
The biggest-selling female singer in music history took a break for her second pregnancy. And since she never does anything by half measures, on October 23, 2010, she gave birth to twins: Nelson and Eddy! They were baptized on March 5, 2011, in Las Vegas, just 10 days before her highly anticipated return to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Celine returned to the theatre to present a brand-new show directed Ken Ehrlich, the producer of the Grammy Awards. Las Vegas got its diva back. The entire city walked just a little taller. Her second residency in the Colosseum broke all box office records. The show landed at the top of the rankings in the Billboard Boxscore, the North American concert bible.
In November 2012, Celine presented her new album Sans attendre, singing duets with the icons of francophone song: Johnny Hallyday, Jean-Pierre Ferland and the late Henri Salvador. The album, certified diamond in France, was the biggest-selling album of the year in Québec.
In 2013, Celine launched the album Loved Me Back To Life, eagerly awaited by her fans all over the world. It held the #1 spot on the iTunes charts in 44 countries and reached #2 on the Billboard Top 200.
In July 2013, Celine returned home, presenting the concert-event Celine une seule fois on the Plains of Abraham in Québec City.
And then at the end of 2013, shocking news: René had began to battle cancer again.
Several months later, in 2014, Celine announced that she was postponing all her engagements to stay close to her husband, who was bravely fighting cancer. Celine went home to take care of her man and her family.
After spending a few months by René’s bedside, her sweetheart asked her for a favour: he wanted to see her onstage again. He wanted to hear her sing again. And so Celine re-started her residency at Caesars Palace. Diva by night; mother, wife and caregiver by day.
On January 14, 2016, René Angélil, the most famous impresario in the world, passed away. Millions and millions of fans were in mourning. Never before had a man in the shadows held such an important place in the hearts of the people. Fate would hand Celine a double blow, as two days later, her brother Daniel died.
On January 22, Angélil was buried after a national funeral in Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal, the very same place where, 22 years earlier, Celine and René had been united, for better or for worse, until death do us part.
The evening before, during the lying in state, Celine had received condolences from thousands of fans. Every decision René had made regarding Celine’s career was guided by his concern and desire to please her audience. Respect for the audience is the greatest legacy this distinguished man has bequeathed to the artistic community. And Celine burns with that same flame.
And that is why, on February 23, 2016, several weeks after the death of her husband, Celine took to the stage of Colosseum again. She knows that her fans count on her to illuminate their lives, and she counts on them to illuminate hers. The opening of the concert, relayed on the Internet, captured the heart of the online world.
On May 22, at the Billboard Music Awards, Celine sang “The Show Must Go On“ and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Icon Award by her son, René-Charles. Rarely has there been an award presentation so moving, so full of tender and sincere emotion.
On May 24, she launched the first single from her new French-language album. Written by Jean-Jacques Goldman, it is a tribute to René, entitled "Encore un soir". The song rocketed to #1 on every chart in the French-speaking world.
In the summer, Celine completed a 28 sold-out show tour of Europe and Québec before returning to Las Vegas for another series of performances.
In August, Sony Music released Encore Un Soir Celine’s first French-language album in four years. Encore un soir topped the charts in France, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland, and was certified Diamond in France, Double-Platinum in Canada and Platinum in Belgium and Switzerland. Encore un soir also became Celine’s first French-language album to appear on the US Billboard charts.
Celine began 2017 by continuing her residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Projects followed one another as Celine launched the Celine Dion Collection, a line of handbags, luggage and accessories and released "How Does Moment Last Forever", theme song of the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
In May, Celine attended the prestigious Met Gala in New York where she shined in an Atelier Versace outfit designed by Donatella Versace. Later that month, Celine hit the stage at the Billboard Music Awards to sing her mega hit "My Heart Will Go On" in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the movie Titanic.
In the summer of 2017, Celine took a break from her Las Vegas residency to tour across Europe and the United Kingdom with 25 sold-out shows in 15 cities. She broke records across the UK as the highest grossing artist at each UK venue and garnered critical acclaim.
After this triumphant trip to Europe, Celine returned to Caesars Palace for a new series of shows to end 2017.
In May 2018, the song "Ashes", from the soundtrack of the Deadpool 2 movie, was released along with the official video, directed by David Leitch. The video features Deadpool himself and was filmed in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, the very venue where Celine hosts her Las Vegas residency show.
That summer Celine embarked on a two-month tour of the Asia-Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand – the first time in 20 years! Celine returned to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in September 2018 and announced that more than 15 years after the premiere of her first critically-acclaimed Las Vegas residency, her second production Celine at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace would end on June 8, 2019.
In November 2018, Celine and kids wear brand NUNUNU launched a new children’s fashion brand CELINUNUNU featuring gender-neutral styles and a minimalistic colour palette.
2019 promises to be the beginning of a new era. Celine, named L'Oréal's newest global spokesperson, will begin her Courage World Tour in the fall after ending her legendary Las Vegas residency. During her last show in Las Vegas Celine debuted “Flying On My Own” a new upbeat, empowering track from her forthcoming album.
The much anticipated Courage World Tour kicked-off three months later on September 18, in Celine’s home province of Quebec and continues through to the fall of 2020 hitting nearly 100 cities around the world.
On November 15th, Celine releases her first English album in 6 years, “Courage”, an eclectic album representing Celine’s new artistic direction. The album includes the hits “Imperfections”, “Lying Down” and “Courage” all released on the same day that her massive world tour was launched.
A woman of destiny, following her path.
After over 35 years as a performing and recording artist, Celine Dion has become a legend of popular music, one of the most powerful and moving voices ever heard. An honest woman who sings from the heart. It’s as simple and true as that – as simple and true as Celine.