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Céline Dion News: Video Shows Pop Star Singing at Grammys
Turns out there was more to Céline Dion’s surprise appearance at the 2024 Grammy Awards than what TV cameras captured. Dion, who currently isn’t performing due to her neurological disorder stiff person syndrome, showed off her vocals backstage in a viral Instagram video from the ceremony on February 4. In the clip, the 55-year-old is seen sharing riffs and runs with singer and songwriter Sonyae Elise.
Before her backstage jam session, Dion was revealed as a mystery presenter for the final award of the night, Album of the Year, and took the stage to a standing ovation before presenting the trophy to Taylor Swift. The two also shared an embrace backstage.
Who Is Céline Dion?
Céline Dion is a French-Canadian singer known for her power ballads, including the Academy Award–winning theme song “My Heart Will Go On” from the 1997 film Titanic. A star from a young age, Dion had recorded nine French albums and won numerous awards by the time she was 18. She delivered her first English-language album, Unison, in 1990. Dion’s real breakthrough into pop music stardom came in 1992 when she recorded the theme to Disney’s hit animated feature Beauty and the Beast. Her No. 1 hits include “The Power of Love,” “Because You Loved Me,” and “I’m Your Angel.”
FULL NAME: Céline Marie Claudette Dion
BORN: March 30, 1968
BIRTHPLACE: Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada
SPOUSE: René Angélil (1994-2016)
CHILDREN: René-Charles, Eddy, and Nelson
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Aries
Early Life and French Albums
Céline Marie Claudette Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. The youngest of 14 children of Adhemar and Therese Dion, she grew up in a close-knit musical family. Her parents formed a singing group, Dion’s Family, and they toured Canada when Céline was still an infant. They later opened a piano bar, where 5-year-old Céline would perform to the delight of customers.
At the age of 12, Dion recorded a demo tape of a song she wrote with her mother. They sent the tape to the manager and producer René Angélil, who handled the career of popular French singer Ginette Reno. After hearing the tape and inviting Dion to perform for him in person, Angélil signed her immediately under the condition that he would have complete control over her career. He mortgaged his own home to finance her debut album, La Voix du bon Dieu.
By 18, Dion had recorded nine French albums and won numerous Felix and Juno awards, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award. In 1988, she won the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, and her performance was broadcast live in countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and Japan. After this taste of international acclaim, she began looking to the south and American stardom.
American Breakthrough: Beauty and the Beast
Dion recorded her first English-language album, Unison, in 1990. Like most of her English-language albums, it was a collaboration with the songwriter-arranger-musician David Foster. Driven by the Top 5 single “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” Unison sold more than one million copies worldwide.
Dion’s real breakthrough into pop music stardom came in 1992, when she recorded the theme to Disney’s hit animated feature Beauty and the Beast, a duet with Peabo Bryson. The song, “Beauty and the Beast,” made it to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won both a Grammy and an Academy Award.
It was featured on her second English album, Celine Dion, which became her first gold record in the United States and sold more than 12 million copies internationally. Another hit from the album “If You Asked Me To” made it to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart. The undeniable success of her self-titled effort allowed Dion to launch her first headlining tour in the United States.
“The Power of Love” and “Because You Loved Me”
Dion quickly capitalized on her newfound fame, releasing the top-selling The Colour of My Love in 1993. The album showcased the romantic power ballads that Dion had become known for, including “When I Fall in Love,” which was featured on the soundtrack for the hit film Sleepless in Seattle, and “The Power of Love,” her first single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Dion’s international stardom was solidified by her performance of “The Power of the Dream,” at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. That same year, her album Falling Into You, including the No. 1 hit “Because You Loved Me” (from the soundtrack to Robert Redford’s sentimental 1996 film, Up Close and Personal), won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Pop Album.
Titanic and “My Heart Will Go On”
The following year, however, would hold even greater glory for Dion, with the release of the blockbuster film Titanic (1997), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Dion sang the film’s theme song, “My Heart Will Go On.” The film raked in a record number of Oscar nominations—it won 11, including the award for Best Song—and Dion’s ballad became ubiquitous on radio stations around the world.
Included on both the Titanic soundtrack album and Dion’s own Let’s Talk About Love (1997), “My Heart Will Go On” shot to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100—marking the singer’s third No. 1 hit—and sold a combined 50 million records worldwide. Let’s Talk About Love also featured collaborations with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti, the Bee Gees, and Bryan Adams.
“My Heart Will Go On” kept some of its popularity over the following decades, even becoming the subject of an internet meme in which it is played over video clips out of context or to add emphasis to particularly significant moments.
Late ’90s: Awards and Tours
Dion received the National Order of Quebec, her province’s highest honor, in April 1998. Later that year, she appeared alongside Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, and Shania Twain on the high-profile televised concert Divas Live on VH-1.
While touring relentlessly and recording several albums (including S'il Suffisait d'Aimer and a holiday album, These Are Special Times, both released in 1998), Dion was well-rewarded at the Billboard Music Awards in late 1998, where she won six awards, including for Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for 1997’s Let’s Talk About Love.
Her extensive 14-country tour, which began in the summer of 1998, culminated in a gala concert in Montreal on December 31, 1999, in honor of the new millennium. Dion scored her fourth No. 1 hit with “I’m Your Angel,” a duet with R&B singer R. Kelly featured on These Are Special Times.
Husband and Children
In 1994, Dion merged her personal and professional life when she married her manager, René Angélil, who was 26 years her senior. Angélil and his second wife had divorced in the 1980s, and around this same time, he and Dion had begun a romantic relationship. The couple became engaged in 1991 and tied the knot at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica in an elaborate ceremony that was celebrated throughout Canada.
In early 2000, Dion announced that she was taking time off from her career in order to focus on her family. She and Angélil had been trying to have children for years, and eventually decided to use in vitro fertilization to conceive. In May 2000, Dion underwent two small operations at a fertility clinic in New York to improve her chances of becoming pregnant.
Her efforts were successful, and on January 25, 2001, Dion gave birth to a boy, René-Charles. She revealed in interviews that she had stored another fertilized egg in the fertility clinic and planned someday to give her son a sibling. On October 23, 2010, at age 42, Dion gave birth to twin boys, Eddy and Nelson.
Global Fame and Vegas Residencies
After a two-year hiatus, Celine Dion returned in March 2002 with A New Day Has Come, which topped the charts in more than 17 countries. A year later, she began a much-hyped 36-month engagement at Caesars Palace, the famous Las Vegas hotel and casino. Dion simultaneously released the album One Heart, which did not fare as strongly as its predecessor.
Dion returned to creating French-language albums with 2003’s 1 Fille & 4 Types. Partnering with photographer Anne Geddes, she had a hit with the children’s music album Miracle: A Celebration of New Life (2004). In 2007, Dion released two albums: Taking Chances, which nearly reached the top of the pop album charts, and D’Elles, another French-language recording.
While no longer dominating the charts as she once did, Dion remained a popular entertainer. In June 2009, Forbes reported that the singer had earned approximately $100 million the previous year, making her the second-highest earning musician on the magazine’s list after Madonna.
Dion’s follow-up albums included the French-language Sans attendre (2012) and Encore un soir (2016), as well as Loved Me Back to Life (2013) for English-speaking fans. She also embarked on another residency at Caesars Palace in 2011.
Health Problems and Husband’s Death
In August 2014, Dion canceled all of her shows scheduled through March 22, 2015, to focus on her husband and her children. Angélil was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999, after which he was successfully treated. But his cancer had returned. “I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband’s healing, and to do so, it’s important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children,” the singer said in a statement.
The superstar also dealt with her own health issues in 2014: According to a press release, she had “inflammation in her throat muscles” which prevented her from performing in her Las Vegas show.
In a 2015 interview with USA Today, the singer spoke about her husband’s cancer treatment: “When you see someone who is fighting so hard, it has a big impact on you. You have two choices. You look at your husband who’s very sick and you can’t help, and it kills you. Or you look at your husband that’s sick and you say, ‘I got you. I got it. I’m here. It’s going to be just fine.’” On January 14, 2016, Angélil died at the age of 73 in the family’s Las Vegas home.
New Tours and Albums
Recovering from her loss, Dion returned to the stage for what became an annual summer tour beginning in 2016. She also resumed her Las Vegas residency, before the long-running show concluded in June 2019.
That September, Dion released three new singles and embarked on a world tour in support of her upcoming album. Fans were thrilled to receive her first English-language studio album in six years, with Courage debuting atop the Billboard 200 in November.
The tour was paused at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and would continue to face postponements and cancellations over the next three years because of Dion’s health.
In April 2023, Dion released her first new song in four years with “Love Again,” the title track to a romantic comedy film of the same name. She appeared in the film and also contributed four additional new songs to the soundtrack.
Stiff Person Syndrome Diagnosis
In December 2022, Dion revealed that she had been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome. SPS is an autoimmune condition that causes severe muscle tightness and spasms, with some patients even experiencing symptoms such as double vision, lack of coordination, and slurred speech. It is believed to affect only one to two out of every million people.
Dion said in a video clip she had been experiencing spasms that affected her everyday life, including her ability to walk and properly use her vocal cords. As a result, she postponed the spring 2023 leg of her world tour to the following year and canceled eight more performances.
In May 2023, Dion announced that the rest of the tour—42 dates through April 2024—was canceled because she couldn’t “successfully prepare for and perform” its remainder during her treatment for the incurable ailment. Despite a report that her touring career was in jeopardy, she released a statement telling fans, “I’m not giving up, and I can’t wait to see you again!”
In September 2023, her sister Claudette revealed the singer experiences uncomfortable spasms, and that there was “little that we can do to support her, to alleviate her pain.” Just a few months later in December, Claudette told 7 Jours Céline had lost control of her muscles—casting more uncertainty over the singer’s overall health and a potential comeback.
Despite such setbacks, Dion made a surprise appearance at the Grammy Awards in February 2024, presenting the Album of the Year award to Taylor Swift. The singer received a standing ovation from attendees. “When I say that I’m happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart,” she said.
I have decided a long time ago that I wanted to be an open book.
After everything is said and done, at the end of the day, it’s about songs.
In life, if you don’t take chances, you’ll never know.
To have success is not hard. To remain the person that you are is the most difficult thing to accomplish... That’s my biggest success.
I want to be professional in my show business life, but I also want to be professional as a mother.
You can’t go back in the past. There are things you can’t fix. But you can make things better.
In terms of music, I can try anything I want, even something that doesn’t work at all, because I’m not putting my career in jeopardy.
I don’t know if the camera likes me, but I do like the camera.
Don’t be so familiar and so much into the details. Keep people dreaming. Close the window, and make them wonder.
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