Céline Marie Claudette Dion, CC OQ ChLD (/ˈdiːɒn/; French: [selin djɔ̃] ( listen); born 30 March 1968) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, entrepreneur and occasional actress. Born into a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record. In 1990, she released the English-language album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in North America and other English-speaking areas of the world.
Dion first gained international recognition in the 1980s by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest where she represented Switzerland. 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 Angélil, 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 hiatus 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, Paradise, Nevada.
Dion's music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. Her recordings are mainly in French and English, although she also sings in Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. While her releases have often received mixed critical reception, she is renowned for her technically skilled and powerful vocals. Dion has won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for Falling Into You and Record of the Year for "My Heart Will Go On". She is the second best-selling female artist in the US during the Nielsen SoundScan era, with her albums Falling Into You and Let's Talk About Love both certified Diamond in the US, In addition, her 1995 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. Dion remains the best-selling Canadian artist in history and one of the best-selling artists of all time with record sales of more than 200 million copies worldwide
Life and career
1968–1989: Early life and career beginnings
Dion was born in Charlemagne, Québec, Canada, the youngest of 14 children of Thérèse (née Tanguay), a homemaker, and Adhémar Dion, a butcher, both of French-Canadian descent. 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 (Dion was named after the song Céline, recorded by French singer Hugues Aufray two years before her birth ). On 13 August 1973, (at the age of five) the young Céline made her first public appearance at her brother Michel's wedding, where she performed Christine Charbonneau's song Du fil des aiguilles et du coton. Thereafter, she continued to perform 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 12, 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 Dondalinger Dion 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. In 1981, he mortgaged his home to fund her first record, La voix du bon Dieu ("The Voice of the Good God"), which later became a local number-one hit 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 Leave Without Me) and won the contest by a close margin in Dublin, Ireland. However, American success was yet to come as she was at that point 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, Angélil 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 École Berlitz in 1989 to polish her English.
In 1989, during a concert on the Incognito Tour, Dion injured her voice. She consulted the otorhinolaryngologist William Gould, who gave her an ultimatum: have immediate surgery on her vocal cords, or do not utilize them at all for three weeks. Dion chose the latter and underwent vocal training with William Riley.
Celine Dion is regarded as one of pop music's most influential voices. Linda Lister describes Dion as a reigning Queen of Pop for her influence over the record industry during the 1990s. Her music and vocal style, alongside that of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, have been said to shape how the bulk of modern female pop vocalists sing. These three singers have been widely credited with reviving the power ballad, and in doing so reshaping the adult contemporary radio format, making it one of the most popular formats of the 1990s and early 2000s. According to producer, musician, and former American Idol judge Randy Jackson, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are the voices of the modern era. Cultural critic Carl Wilson notes that Dion's "fame and influence is also renewed and expressed regularly these days by American Idol, the largest mass musical phenomenon of the past decade, where Celine's stood solidly in its pantheon of singers for young people to emulate". Many contestants on the countless televised talent competitions that have risen at the turn of the millennium often emulate Dion, Houston and Carey and cite them as idols.
Many artists have either mentioned Dion as a major influence or as one of their favorite singers including: Britney Spears, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Christina Aguilera, Frank Ocean, Adele, Josh Groban, Delta Goodrem, Jordin Sparks, Charice, Leona Lewis, Jessie J, Jojo, Lea Michele,[better source needed] Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Regine Velasquez, Taylor Swift,Vanessa Hudgens,The Canadian Tenors, Faith Hill, Katy Perry, Sevyn Streeter, Kelly Clarkson, Helena Paparizou and Lara Fabian, among many others. In the liner notes of Lara Fabian's album Toutes les femmes en moi, Fabian expressed how she had idolized Dion since her adolescence, even writing: "I would follow note by note your musicality, your passion, sung like only your voice can give colors to the harmony." Country singer Martina McBride is widely heralded by the press as the Celine Dion of Country music.
Numerous artists have also praised Dion's voice, singing ability or expressed an interest in working with her including Placido Domingo, Beyoncé,Carlos Santana, Elton John, One Republic, Coldplay, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger, Ne-Yo, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti,Bee Gees, Sir George Martin, Justin Bieber, Jean-Jacques Goldman and Cher. According to Timbaland "Celine has such a beautiful, mesmerizing voice. She is so talented. I think we could create something that is a classic like she is already." Josh Groban remarked "She's a powerhouse. In this day and age, when more and more studio-produced, tiny-tiny voices are being rewarded... she has this extraordinary instrument.". "Celine is the best singer by far of her generation" according to Diane Warren, an opinion shared by Quincy Jones, Tommy Mottola and David Foster. Moreover, Shania Twain and Jennifer Lopez have praised Celine Dion's dynamic stage presence with Jennifer Lopez commenting on American Idol: "Celine gets on stage, she owns the stage, she runs all over that stage, she stops that stage."
On a cultural level, Dion is credited for introducing francophone music to many non-francophone countries around the globe. Her albums D'eux and S'il suffisait d'aimer remain the best selling francophone albums in history gaining unprecedented success in non-Francophone markets such as the United Kingdom, Poland, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Japan and New Zealand. According to RFI Musique, Celine "has done her bit for French music over the years, assuring the success of French songs which would probably never have got beyond Francophone borders without her... Without Celine French record sales would be dramatically lower!"In 2008 Dion received the Legion of Honour from Nicolas Sarkozy further proving her cultural impact. Sarkozy praised Celine and stated: "France thanks you because your talent and success have contributed to the influence of the French language outside our borders".
Dion is also credited for both revitalizing and revolutionizing the entertainment scene in Las Vegas with the gargantuan successes of her residencies there. She managed to re-popularize the Las Vegas "residency" as a desirable way for top artists to essentially tour in place, letting their fans come to them. Over the years, fellow established icons such as Elton John, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Cher and Shania Twain followed suit. According to Gary Bongiovanni, president and editor-in-chief of Pollstar "Celine redefined what artists can do in Las Vegas, helping to make it arguably the busiest entertainment city in the world." By 2013, even the much-younger pop star Britney Spears had announced a Vegas residency, further cementing the extent of Dion's influence on the city as an entertainment capital.[better source needed] Kurt Melien, vice president of entertainment at Caesar's Palace stated "Celine was a pioneer without question..Twenty years ago, we couldn't have got someone the stature of Britney Spears to appear in Vegas. Stars likes her would never have considered it if Celine hadn't paved the way. She changed the face of modern Vegas." Regarding her financial impact on Las Vegas, Stephen Brown, director of the Centre for Business and Economic Research in Las Vegas, commented "People will come to the city just for her and they will spend money and as a consequence, she has an outsized impact on the economy", then adding "Bigger than Elvis, Sinatra and Liberace put together? Definitely.". Estimations indicate that Dion's show will create up to 7,000 indirect jobs and around $114 million worth of new economic activity in each of the three years for which she has been contracted.
In 1999, Dion received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame ,she also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2004 She dedicated her star to her father, who died the month prior. In May 2003, Dion placed at number ten on VH1's list of "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era", She was also ranked at number 64 on their list of the "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time". Falling into you is on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Definitive 200 list My Heart Will Go On was included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, Dion was ranked by Forbes as the 5th richest woman in entertainment with an estimated net worth of US$250 million, though the ranking omitted non-working or retired celebrities. In August 2008, she received an honorary doctorate in music from the Université Laval in Quebec City.
In October 2010, Dion was named a Goodwill Ambassador, a program created by the UN in 1999, sharing this accolade with Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon. Dion also received several state decorations. In 2004, she was awarded Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, and she was given France's highest award, the Légion d'honneur, by President Nicolas Sarkozy in May 2008. On 26 July 2013, Dion was awarded with the highest rank of the Order of Canada,the Companion of the Order of Canada,by the Governor General of Canada and the investiture ceremony was held at Citadelle of Quebec, the same year she was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame.
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