Celine Dion Biography
Céline Marie Claudette Dion (OC, OQ) (born March 30, 1968) is a Canadian Grammy and Juno award winning pop singer and occasional songwriter and actress. She began her career in the early 1980s as a French singer before breaking into the international music scene in the 1990s.
Dion was born to a large, impoverished family in Charlemagne, Québec. She achieved success in francophone Canada after her manager and future husband, René Angélil, mortgaged his home in order to finance her first record. She later gained recognition in parts of Europe and Asia after she won both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. In 1990 Dion established a foothold in the anglophone music market with the release of Unison, published by Epic Records. During the 1990s she achieved worldwide fame and success with several English and French records, of which her most successful were Falling into You (1996) and "My Heart Will Go On" (1998), the theme to the 1997 film Titanic. In 1999 she announced a temporary break from entertainment in order to focus on her husband, who was diagnosed with throat cancer.
Following a three-year hiatus, Dion returned to the music scene with the release of the aptly titled A New Day Has Come. By 2004 she had accumulated record sales of 175 million, and was presented with the Chopard Diamond award from the World Music Awards show for becoming the Best-selling Female Artist in the World. As of 2003 Dion has performed nightly in her show A New Day at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, under a contract that extends through 2007. Dion's music has been influenced by various genres, which range from pop and rock to gospel and classical, and she is noted for her technically skilled and powerful vocals.
Dion is often held in regard for her vocal talents, which has influenced the singing styles of others such as Jessica Simpson and Kelly Clarkson. 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." In MuchMoreMusic's "Top 20 Divine Divas" program, Dion ranked at number three, behind Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. They also described her voice as "one of the most powerful vocal workouts ever to be recorded."
While industry officials note her for her vocal talents, Dion is often the subject of media ridicule, and is frequently impersonated on shows like MADtv, Saturday Night Live and South Park for her French accent, as well as her conservative nature and on-stage movements. However, Dion seems unabashed by media ridicule: "I'm flattered when they take the time to impersonate you," she says. "I think it's a good sign." 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 an advertising executive 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 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.
Dion has donated proceeds from selected performances of her Las Vegas show to various charitable causes.