“I was in Ottawa in 1989 visiting friends and family and hoping to find some Francophone music at the local record shops which were hard to come by in western Canada. I asked friends in Ottawa for recommendations. La Compagnie Créole and Mitsou were big names there at the time. Everyone I asked, whether Francophone, Anglophone, or Allophone mentioned only one name: Céline Dion. “She’s like Barbra Streisand,” they said. As I was not into adult contemporary or what was called pop vocal music at the time, I didn’t really pay attention. My friends kept inquiring if I managed to pick up a Céline Dion CD. When I said no, they kept insisting with love-struck eyes. But I just couldn’t be persuaded.
“The following year, 1990, I was watching television, some American chat show; I cannot remember which one. Someone was singing live. “Wow … wow … wow,” I thought completely mesmerized by the voice. When the song was done, the host congratulated her as ‘Canadian singer Céline Dion’.”
–A Céline Dion Fan
Céline was 12 years old when, with the hopes and dreams of her large musical family, a tape recording of her song was sent to record producer René Angélil. Two days passed and they didn’t hear back, so they phoned him saying they knew he hadn’t listened to it because if he did he would have called right away. He promised to listen and called back after five minutes asking to meet the singer. Long story short, he mortgaged his own home to finance Dion’s early career. Céline’s debut album La voix du bon Dieu and first single “Ce n’était qu’un rêve” were released in 1981. She was 13. From such a start, Céline Dion went on to become the best-selling Canadian recording artist of all-time. This journey was not without heartbreak. Her manager René Angélil, whom Céline married in 1994, passed away in early 2016 from throat cancer. Just two days later, one of her brothers, Daniel, met the same fate.
Céline Dion dedicated her 26th studio album, Encore un soir, released last week, to her late husband. The album’s title track, penned by French recording artist Jean-Jacques Goldman, was a big success, making the Billboard Hot 100, topping the charts in France and doing well in Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Most of the album tracks are originals. She nicely covers fellow Canadian Robert Charlebois’ “Ordinaire”. The album also contains a remastered version of the beautiful “Trois heures vingt” from her 1984 album Mélanie.
Céline’s official website ran a song submission contest open to all fans. The winner was “À la plus haute branche” written by Daniel Picard which is included on the album. Other writers of the album tracks include French legendary singer-songwriters Francis Cabrel and Serge Lama, Algeria’s Zaho, and Canada’s Marc Dupré. Encore un soir has received positive reviews from the critics. It topped the iTunes Canada chart upon release. iTunes