Celine Dion Shares Her 'World' in New Documentary + Exclusive Video
By Jessica Robertson Posted Apr 15th 2010 11:02AM
Celine Dion picks up the phone at her Florida home. Her voice is instantly perky, bathed in her trademark pronounced French Canadian accent. It's a mere three weeks away from the release Dion's documentary 'Celine: Through the Eyes of the World,' which chronicles the mutliplatinum, Grammy-winning singer's 2008 'Taking Chances' world tour with three hours of backstage, onstage and offstage footage. It's a welcome insight into Dion's universe, which is as big and ever-possible as her voice. And, that's to say, seemingly infinite. Dion spoke with PopEater about the film, her biggest transformation and what almost turned out to be her own personal 'Titanic.'
You just turned 42. How did you celebrate your birthday?
Actually, [it was] pretty intimate. It was very relaxed, which is great. The last one, on tour when I turned 40, it was a big thing. You know, I was in Australia with a lot of people, on top of the world, so it was quite something. And 41, I'm not sure that I remember. [Laughs] But this time, 42 was just with the family -- we were, maybe, 10 people. My mom was here, my son [Rene-Charles, 9], my husband [Rene Angelil], some friends and a few members of my family who happened to be in Florida at the time. It was just a little brunch, very simple. Just perfect.
The simple ones are often the best ones.
It's true. Because you have time to talk and listen and share. When it's very very big, it's overwhelming sometimes. I'm not saying that it's not fun, but all the time, the same thing, it would be too much.
You're releasing your first tour documentary, titled 'Celine: Through the Eyes of the World,' in a couple of weeks, which chronicles your recent 'Taking Chances' tour. What can fans expect from this footage?
It was quite an amazing adventure -- traveling the world. It was very different this time for me to do this tour, for a few different reasons, actually, because there's places that I have never been before -- for example, South Africa, Dubai, Malaysia. That was very very exciting. And [to have] my son on tour with me, and also my mother -- it was a family adventure. As an artist, it was extraordinary to be able to visit and see my fans again. And at the same time, to make, on top of that, the best of it and see the world and see treasures and see beauty -- just see the different ways of living and cultures. It was just so nourishing, you learn so much. We grew. Everyone from this tour grew tremendously.
created 02.06.2009 by S. Kellman
Was it difficult to embark on the tour given you had just wrapped a five-year stint in Las Vegas?
At first we went away with this idea of touring even though I just finished the five years in Vegas. It was a kind of crazy thing -- to go on tour. But I guess it was for the momentum, and I didn't want to postpone. I don't have a tendency to postpone things when they are presented to me, especially when it involves different people -- for example, my mom. No one's getting younger and I really wanted [my mom] to come. We wanted to bring a photographer and a crew, just for us to bring home memories -- to put a little music together and once in a while to have a night of giving ourselves a movie to watch. To say, "Oh, do you remember this?" and "Oh, look at this picture, look at us."
It was kind of ... not intimidating but, you know, a camera crew and photographer taking pictures constantly, you kind of hold back a little bit. But I also have to tell you that it didn't take us very long to feel very comfortable because we became friends and they became part of every move that we were making. I really think that that's why this thing worked because we forgot that they were there and we also knew that this thing was going to stay private. So everything was extremely natural. There's our arguments, there's tension, people get sick, cancel shows, we meet extravagant people, there's ups and downs. They decided that the footage was so good that maybe it was going to be a good idea, if we wanted to, to share it with the fans. To give the fans an opportunity to feel like they're traveling with us, not only for them to see the performance onstage but especially ... I'm sure the fans who are following an artist's career, they're curious about how it is to be on the plane with them, how it is to be at a restaurant with them. We decided to get them a VIP pass, in a way.
They decided to put the movie in theaters for two weeks. And I have to admit that even though we were all in the movie -- it was our movie, our life for a year, our experience with traveling -- when I went to the movie theater and you see yourself, and you see your adventure on a big screen, it's incredible. I laughed, I cried, I remembered things that honestly I had almost forgotten. It was such a treasure. You see my family, you see my hard work, you see the love that I have for the family, for the people that I appreciate in my life that really help me to achieve and to be who I am. You see the world.
Is there one memory in particular, be it with your mother or son, that stands out from the rest of the tour?
Just one moment? Oh, my God ... they had, like, I think 1,000 hours of movies and they just skipped to three hours. You know when we do the safari and my son's eyes are bigger than any tiger you can see ... when my son's starting to lose his baby teeth and celebrating my mom's birthday all together. We don't even remember we're at the end of the world. I think we were in Australia at that time. It was very emotional meeting Mr. [Nelson] Mandela -- meeting with him and my mom, because my mom is my hero and Mr. Mandela is a hero as well. It was just intense. Everything was intense.
You mentioned your five-year residency in Las Vegas with performances every night, and you'll be returning to Sin City in 2011. What was the most rewarding part of that experience for you?
At first, to be given the opportunity as a singer to have an incredible show, to have a coliseum built specifically for the show, the biggest screen in the world, the best dancers. I mean, there were, like, 40-something dancers onstage performing every night -- an amazing visual, theatrical show directed by Franco Dragone, who's done such amazing work with Cirque du Soleil. It was amazing to believe that every single night you sing the same songs and 10 minutes before the show you don't believe that you're about to do the same thing again, and it's like, "Oh, my God," you know? But then the show starts and it's magic again. Obviously, I love what I do -- you have to love what you do. But the magic of show business itself -- knowing that you're surrounded with the best people and people still come night after night to see our show.
Did you have any hesitations taking on a production of such stature and duration?
When we started that show, it was, in a way, against all odds because I thought that, if I may phrase it this way, that the Titanic was going to sink again. I remember before the Titanic came on, the vibe was so negative and so like, "Oh, my God, it's going to be bad." I felt that in Vegas the feeling was not that positive -- I thought that I was going to break my neck, I was having a lot of stress, I was touring the world and now I'm going to be in Las Vegas, and they were like, "What is she doing?" It was a little bit nerve-wracking, but a few months prior to the show, we focused and we followed our instincts and believed in what we were working on. We felt like it was the greatest thing for us. It turned out to be an amazing experience onstage and, at the same time, stability for my family. I just had a baby and we moved to Vegas. He was a year-and-a-half old and I was going to perform every night, and for me to return home every night was a big deal. I never had that before. I had been on the road since I was very, very young. So for me to have a home for five years straight sounds pretty strange maybe, even though I'm performing every night, but I'm still sleeping on the same pillow. It was a big deal to return to my son, which he was really taken care of by my sister Linda, who's the godmother, and her husband, Alain, who's the godfather. I knew that I could go on and do my singing, knowing that the child could have stability, his home, his security -- feeling safe was very essential for me to go on. And it was a perfect experience because I could raise my family, play and have a normal life, if I may say, and feel like a normal mom.
How has being a mother changed you as a person?
Totally. It's not that it transforms you -- it gives you a meaning. I was just, all my life, very focused in serving my voice. When I had my son, it gave me a meaning of, like, this is the best reward that I can ever have. What a great feeling that I feel -- I felt big, I felt strong, rewarded ... I felt like I had such a responsibility. Singing is such a pleasure and it's so fun, but it's not important. Raising a child is extremely important, it's the biggest responsibility you can ever have. He needed me, and I was making a difference in his life, and it made me feel so wonderful. It was so amazing when I gave birth to my son that I didn't want to come back to show business. I loved being a mom so much that I did not want to sing again. I didn't feel the need to. And until I had the spirit that, when he was a year-and-a-half and I wanted to sing in Las Vegas and I could do both -- it was possible to do both -- then it was incredible. It was a balance, it was beautiful.
You mentioned you've been singing and touring since you were 12. Is there any part of you that feels you may have missed out on the adolescent experience?
Well, you talk about normal life -- I'm not quite sure what normal is anymore. The first thing that's not normal, I think, is that I did not go to school until I was, like, 18 years old, for example. I stopped going to school at a very young age, then I took some private school and then I stopped for my career. So that was different and unusual, but it worked for me. I didn't really have friends ... I was very, very focused on my singing and I took singing lessons, still today. I just totally focused on my career and detached myself of any activity or boyfriends or anything. I had my family obviously, thank God, and I had my career that I was focusing on. I went to school to learn English, to even be more busy, and start singing in English and be fortunate with this language, as well. Then I was always extremely busy and active in the music industry. So time flew and I'm 42 now, and it's just ... time just passed so quick. But if I look at a normal teenager -- not that I'm not normal -- but a different life of a teenager who goes to school and has to look for a job and hopefully realized their passion and do what they love, maybe they will start doing that by the age of 23 or 25 or who knows. To start a career at 12 years old is quite unusual, but I don't regret anything.
Many would say your life, up to this point, has been very much a fairy tale. Could you possibly want for more? What is it that you want for the future?
Ooh -- I think I just want to be where I am today. I love my life. I am extremely fortunate. I hope to remain healthy, that would be the main thing. My health will bring me wherever I'm supposed to be. I keep dreaming. I'm positive, I take one thing at a time, I have my wonderful husband and my beautiful son and my entire family -- we're very close -- and honestly there's nothing else for me to wish for. I want to be, in 10 years, exactly where I am today: healthy and happy.
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