Like some celebrities, Celine Dion confessed in an exclusive interview with The STAR that she suffered rejection in her struggle for stardom. But unlike the others, Celine explained that she didn’t experience the humiliation of being told to her face that, so sorry, they couldn’t help her. She credited her late husband/manager Rene Angelil for “shielding” her from that embarrassment.
“I thank God that I didn’t have to beg people to give me a chance,” Celine said in Part 2 (STAR, June 3, 2018) of the three-part interview. “I mean, I didn’t have to knock on people’s door to ask them to write a song for me. Nobody wanted to give us money to do a record. My mom wrote songs for me in French and Rene was the one knocking on people’s doors to have me record the songs. In the end, Rene had to mortgage his house to finance my first album.”
Twenty-six years older, Rene became Celine’s manager when she was 13 until they got married when she was 27. Blessed with three children (two of them twins), the marriage was cut short by the death of Rene in 2016 when he lost his battle with skin cancer.
“But Rene will always be with me,” assured Celine. “He is in every song I sing. I see him in the faces of our children. He is with me everywhere I go; he is there in the audience watching me in my concerts. Yes, he will be with me when I go to the Philippines.”
Her concert covers seven Asian countries (Japan, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines), with the two-day schedule to be held next week (July 19 and 20) at the Mall Of Asia (MOA) Arena, produced by AEG with Renen de Guia’s Ovation Productions, presented by PLDT/Smart.
She has apologized for cancelling her concert in Manila in 2014 because she had to be by Rene’s side and she said that she didn’t know if Rene was going to pass away or when. She promised to make up for it by regaling the audience with her well-loved hit songs including My Heart Will Go On, The Power of Love, Because You Loved Me, To Love You More, All By Myself, It’s All Coming Back to Me Now and many more.
The interview with journalists from the seven countries was held last January at a room in the Colosseum (at the Caesars Palace), the 4,300-seater venue built for Celine to the tune of $95M in 2003 when she started her residency there. Two months later (on March 30), Celine was turning Golden Girl. Asked what her birthday wish was (if she still made one now that she has everything), Celine thought for a while and smiled.
“There’s one thing that I’ve been wishing for,” she confessed. “I would love to do cinema. I would love to be an actress. I’ve been wanting to act.”
And what kind of movie would she love to do, if ever?
“Drama,” she replied.
Would she star in a film about her life?
“No,” she shook her head. “I live my life. I don’t want to relive it on the screen. Somebody has to do it.”
In the next breath, she hastened to add, “Not that I don’t want to sing anymore. Singing has always been and will always be my life.”
The youngest of 14 children in a poor part of French-speaking Quebec, Celine grew up in a family steeped in music.
“My influences when I started to sing were my brothers and sisters who are all singers. Both our parents were also musicians; they would bring me to their shows, make me sit on a cloth on the floor while I listened to them sing. I was raised in the songs of their time…The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and many others.”
At age five, recalled Celine, “I was already a performer. If you gave me the microphone, you are done. You would never get back the microphone again. When my brother, who is also my godfather, got married, I sang at the reception. I wore a blue dress given to me by my mother. I was enjoying myself and I think I sang not only one but five songs. I actually did a concert,” she laughed in a demure way. “So nobody can take singing away from my life.”
It flattered her that she’s considered as the yardstick by younger singers — you know, they would say, “I want to be like Celine Dion someday.” How does she feel about it?
Said Celine, “I’m going to answer it as well as I can. First of all, I’m glad that other (younger) artists pronounce my name, maybe because I’ve been in the industry for so long and I’m getting old.”
That made her look back at her own “aspiring” days.
“I looked up to other singers,” she admitted. “Whitney Houston was a big influence on me. I started singing only French songs and my mom told me that if I wanted to be known internationally, I should sing English songs. Whitney and I started in the business pretty much at the same time. I didn’t have enough English songs and I sang some of her songs.”
She recalled that her mom also reminded her to sing (in English) like Michael Jackson so she would get an international audience.
“I’m a big fan of Michael up to now,” said Celine, “and so are my kids. “He came (to the Colosseum) not only to meet me but to be in the audience. Every time I look at the chair where he sat, I still see the expression on his face. It’s so touching and disturbing at the same time.”