Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Dion, Céline (Marie Claudette )free

  • Colette Simonot

(b Charlemagne, PQ, March 30, 1968). Canadian singer. She grew up in a large musical family in Quebec and performed at her parents’ piano bar as a child. At 12 she composed her first song with her mother and brother and sent a demo to René Angélil, who became her manager. Her first album, La voix du bon dieu (Super Étoiles/Saisons, 1981), was a hit in Quebec. Dion gained international attention by winning the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo in 1982. The following year she became the first Canadian to earn a gold record in France and she won the first of many Félix Awards, a Quebec music prize. Dion released a series of French albums in the early 1980s and signed with CBS Records Canada in 1986. Determined to break into the English market, she learned English, updated her image, and adopted a new upbeat sound. In 1988 she won first prize at the Eurovision Song Contest, increasing her international stature considerably. Two years later, she released her first English album, Unison (Columbia/Epic, 1990), featuring “Where does my heart beat now,” which reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. “Beauty and the Beast,” a Disney duet recorded with Peabo Bryson, was featured on Celine Dion (Columbia/Epic/550, 1992), along with number one hit, “If you asked me to.” “Beauty and the Beast” was Dion’s second US top ten single and won an Oscar and a Grammy. In 1992 Dion experienced a turning point in her career, as she reached international superstardom and won countless awards. Her next album, The Colour of my Love (Columbia/Epic/550, 1993), featured the hit single “The Power of Love,” which became one of her signature songs. At the end of 1994, Dion and Angélil married in a highly publicized wedding in Montreal. D’eux (Columbia/Epic, 1995), known as The French Album in the United States, became the best-selling French album of all time, with singles “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” and “Je sais pas.” Dion reached the height of her popularity with the Grammy-winning recording Falling into You (Columbia/Epic/550, 1996), which featured the hits “Because you loved me,” “It’s all coming back to me now,” and “All by myself.” This album garnered the best reviews of her career, described as compelling, passionate, and well crafted. Let’s talk about love (Columbia/Epic/550, 1997) was the fastest-selling album of Dion’s career. It featured the Grammy-winning song “My heart will go on,” the love theme from the film Titanic, which topped charts worldwide. After a hiatus to start a family, Dion returned with A new day has come (Columbia/Epic, 2002), which was commercially successful but panned by critics. One Heart (Columbia/Epic, 2003) comprised dance music, deviating from her usual romantic ballads. In 2003 Dion relocated to Las Vegas, where she worked for five years at Caesar’s Palace, during which she released D’elles (Columbia/Epic, 2007), which topped the Canadian, French, and Belgian album charts. Critics have often claimed that Dion’s music is formulaic, conventional, impersonal, and excessively sentimental, with overblown arrangements. However, she continues to gain accolades for her technical virtuosity, fresh timbre, clear high notes, and expressive phrasing.

Bibliography

  • G.-H. Germain: Céline: the Authorized Biography (Toronto, 1998)
  • F. Demers: Céline Dion et l’identité québecoise (Montreal, 1999)
  • L. Grenier: “Regulating Circulation, Policing Valorisation, Situating Fame: the Location of International Pop Star Céline Dion,” Changing sounds: New Directions and Configurations in Popular Music, eds. T. Mitchell and P. Doyle with B. Johnson (Sydney, 2000), 263–66
  • A. Oberhuber and R. Poulin: “Popularité, identité et internationalisation: les phénomènes Plamondon et Dion,” Les frontières improbables de la chanson, ed. S. Hirschi (Valenciennes, 2001), 333–49
  • J. Beaunoyer and J. Beulne: Et Angélil créa Céline: biographe (Montreal, 2004; Eng. trans., 2004, as René Angélil: the Making of Céline Dion: the Unauthorized Biography)
  • C. Wilson: Let’s Talk about Love: a Journey to the End of Taste (New York, 2007)