Celine Dion

The French Canadian singing sensation Céline Dion dominated the 1990s with her solo albums and performance on the Titanic soundtrack.

Born in Quebec in 1968, Dion’s family loved music and named her after the Hughes Aufray song “Céline.” At five, she made her public singing debut at her brother’s wedding and continued to perform at a local piano bar. With her mother and brother, Dion composed her first song and made her first recording, both of which were sent to manager René Angélil. Angélil, who would eventually marry Dion, mortgaged his house to fund the recording of her debut album, La voix du bon Dieu, which became a hit in Quebec and made her a star. In 1982 she won multiple awards at the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo and, the next year, became the first Canadian to have a gold record in France. While on tour to support her eighth album, 1987’s Incognito, Dion injured her vocal cords and subsequently studied proper singing technique under William Riley. She learned English and released her first English language record, Unison, in 1990. The album became popular on adult contemporary radio stations and resulted in Dion’s first Billboard hit, “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?” She won her first Grammy for the titular duet on 1991’s Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. Through the mid-1990s, Dion continued to release albums in English that earned her massive fame in the United States but alienated her original Canadian fan base. In 1997, Let’s Talk About Love featured “My Heart Will Go On,” which was taken as the love theme from James Cameron’s epic Titanic. Bolstered by the film, Dion won two Grammy Awards in addition to other accolades and embarked on a supporting tour. Through the end of the decade, Dion had sold over 100 million albums globally and decided to take a hiatus from 1999 through 2002. In 2002, she signed a 600-show deal to perform at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which regularly sold out through 2007. The 2014 deaths of her brother and husband led to an indefinite hiatus, but she returned to recording and performance in early 2015.