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24 Facts: Celine Dion

2008-02-04 08:44
Before the facts Album cover gallery
Celine goes from fresh-faced teen to perfume-punting Diva. Check out our album covers gallery tracking this huge star’s development. A photo for every moment

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24 Facts
1. Celine was born in 1968, and is the youngest in a family of 14 children! Yes, she is Catholic.

2. She began performing at an early age – singing in her parents' piano bar "Le Vieux Baril".

3. She and her brother Jacques co-wrote her first song, "Ce n'était qu'un rêve" (Translation "It was just a dream") when she was only 12.

4. Fame turned out to be more than a dream when a home-made recording of song led to her discovery by her future manager.

5. Her parents were poor, but she always said she had a happy childhood. Love counts for a lot.

6. Speaking of love, her manager René Angélil made her a teen star at 13 years old, when he mortgaged his house to finance her first album.

7. This next fact is a little bit weird, but well known: René Angélil and Celine later married.

8. Celine won two major pop music talent contests in the 80s, the 1982 World Popular Song Festival, and the 1988 Eurovision Song contest.

9. She was initially only famous in the French-speaking world - her first few albums were in French – but Sony signed her in 1986, and her fame soon spread like a virus.

10. Celine was inspired to seek out international stardom aged 18, after seeing Michael Jackson on TV.

11. Before launching her international pop career in earnest, manager René Angélil sent her to the École Berlitz School to learn to speak good English (which she did in three months flat) and gave her a physical makeover.

12. She launched her first album Unison to much critical acclaim in the USA, whose critics mostly loved her soft-rock style and "tasteful" vocals.

13. Although Celine's French-speaking fans felt abandoned at first, they were reassured as to her loyalties when she publically turned down a Félix Award for "English Artist of the Year" in 1992, stating that she was always, and would always be a French artist.

14. On the personal front, Celine was not being entirely honest with her fans. She and her manager René had become secret lovers, and were afraid that a public announcement would lead to a scandal, because they'd met when she was so very underage, and he is 20 years her senior.

15. However, she announced her love for René through song in 1993 in a dedication on the album The Colour of My Love, and fans and media embraced the relationship.

16. The Colour of My Love was Celine's first huge record, with combined sales of more than eight million copies in the USA and Canada.

17. Not everyone is a fan. Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield says of 2007's Taking Chances: "Alas, her cat-strangling whine is still a remarkably ugly sound, no matter what she's singing." Our reviewer didn't agree.

18. Commercial research suggests that when Celine Dion music is played in US supermarkets and shopping malls, heterosexual men tend to leave the area within minutes (creating a drop of 53% in male numbers) while women over 40 years old stay and shop for approximately 67% longer than they ordinarily would.

19. Dion's ornate arrangements and vocal gymnastics are perfect for the movies. The soundtrack for the blockbuster Titanic (1997) featured what would become her signature single, "My Heart Will Go On", as well as "Think Twice".

20. Celine Dion, has cleverly followed the current of public opinion when it comes to politics. During "Operation Desert Storm" she sang for the troops. During Hurricane Katrina, she tearfully condemned George Bush's inaction on TV. She backed up her beliefs with money, donating at titanic $1 million to the victims.

21. In 2000, Celine Dion announced her retirement from music. This was prompted by her husband's diagnosis with throat cancer.

22. The National Inquirer claimed that she'd retired in order to have twins. She successfully sued the publication over this false claim. So we had better be careful what we say, too.

23. Celine Dion returned to music in 2002 with new English and French albums, and a 600 show run in Las Vegas.

24. Celine is the Idol-of-the-Idols. South African contestants in the popular reality TV channel frequently cite her as an influence and inspiration. 2007 Idols winner Jody Williams will be Celine's support act on tour in SA this year.

25 – Bonus facts: By April 2007, Celine Dion had sold over 200 million albums worldwide, and scored 15 number 1 singles in America, Canada and France alone.

- Compiled by Jean Barker

(Sources: Wikipedia, Sony-BMG releases, www.celindoin.com and my left thumb)
Check out these 24 facts, some of which are compound. One of them is a false fact (also known as a lie!) Can you spot it? This is all just for fun - no prizes for guessing.


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