Céline Dion (1968-)

Céline Dion

Year Born: 1968

Year of Induction: 1999

Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Dion, Céline (1968- )

Céline Dion, world renowned singing superstar was born March 30, 1968 in the small town of Charlemagne, on the east end of Montreal Island. The youngest of 14 children, the woman whose voice and face are recognized around the globe made her first “public appearance” at the age of five, standing on a table to sing a song by Ginette Reno for family. At the age of 12, Céline told her mother she had decided on only one career: music.
Her mother promptly arranged for her daughter to record a song, and sent it to a well-known Montreal agent and manager, Rene Angelil.  Impressed, Angelil asked the young teenager to sing for him in person in 1982. He then proceeded to mortgage his house to fund the recording of her first two albums. In 1994, Angelil, 26 years older than his protegé, married her.

Dion has since recorded at least 35 albums involving more than 120 different composers, primarily in French and English. However, she has also sung in Spanish and Japanese. She spoke only French until 1989 when Angelil suggested she take English lessons in preparation for an international career .

Beginning in 1983, she was given numerous awards for her work by Quebec (noteably ADISQ) and European associations and groups, and in 1991 won her first two Juno Awards for Female Singer of the Year and Album of the Year  (Unison). The floodgates opened as she began getting significant airplay in the United States radio and video markets.

Among her other trophies and statuettes are those from the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Eurovision, Golden Globe Awards, Grammy Awards, Irish Recorded Music Awards, MuchMusic Awards, two Oscars, the People’s Choice Awards, the World Music Awards and the VH-1 Video Awards.

Dion’s contribution to awareness of Quebec and Canada around the world also earned her induction as an Officer into the Order of Quebec and as a Member of the Order of Canada, both in 1998. In 1999, she became the third singer inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame, following Anne Murray and Brian Adams in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

She set a record for the biggest hit ever recorded by a Canadian in February, 1994 when The Power of Love remained at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart for four consecutive weeks.

Despite a grueling schedule that sometimes saw more than 115 concerts in a one year, Céline and her husband maintained a  strong link to charitable works and causes. Céline was the spokeperson for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a disease which claimed the life of one of her teenaged nieces. She also performed benefit shows and donated revenue from record sales to assist pediatric AIDS research, Canadian Olympic athletes, breast cancer research and victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Celine Dion was inducted into the CAB Hall of Fame in 1999.  In July 2013 she was elevated within the Order of Canada by being made a Companion of the Order, the Order’s highest level.  At the same time her husband, René Angélil, was made a Member of the Order.

Rene Angélil had suffered a heart attack in 1991 at age 49, and in 1999 he was diagnosed with throat cancer, but appeared to have made a full recovery.  However, the cancer returned in 2013, and in August 2014 Celine cancelled all her performance commitments, including a residency in Las Vegas, so that she could spend time with her ailing husband. After a brief return to Vegas in August 2015, by January 2016 she had again cancelled all appearances, and was with her husband when he died on January 14, 2016.    She returned to Vegas later in the year.

Written by Pip Wedge – June 2016