ARTICLE T. COLE RACHEL
PHOTOGRAPHY SEBASTIAN FAENA
STYLIST CARLYNE CERF DE DUDZEELE
WITH A NEW ALBUM OUT THIS FALL, THE VOCALIST AND VISIONARY TALKS ABOUT HER POP INSPIRATIONS, WORKING WITH THE LIKES OF NE-YO, AND WHY SHE COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT INDUSTRY APPROVAL
Celine Dion is one of the few celebrities who are so famous and whose work is so ubiquitous that they literally require no introduction. Were you to ask her what she does for a living, the 45-year-old megastar would likely say that she is simply a singer, but the magnitude of her achievement—with over 200 million records sold, she is officially the best-selling female pop artist of all time—makes it hard not to see her as superhuman.
“Even if it were to stop now, I don’t think I’d have anything left to prove,” she says of her career. “That’s actually kind of liberating. I have a wonderful family and a good life. I feel like I’m having more fun now than I have ever had.”
Calling from Las Vegas—where she has just wrapped a long run of dates performing her acclaimed show, Celine—the remarkably chatty entertainer seems both relaxed and incredibly happy, and with good reason. In the history of Vegas, only Elvis’s shows have been more successful. Though her 2003 move to the city was seen by some as weird—“They said the Titanic was going to sink again,” she recalls—it has proven to be one of the savviest decisions of her career.
“I’m extremely lucky,” she says. “To be able to perform at this level and still go home to my family every night, it’s really rare. I have the best of both worlds. Performing in Vegas gave me the opportunity to give the best of myself, both as a performer and a mother.”
This fall Dion will release her first English language recording in over six years, a prospect that she finds both exciting and a little bit daunting. Given how radically the landscape of pop music has shifted over the past decade, even the woman routinely touted as the world’s greatest living singer has had trouble finding her place among the Gagas and Beyoncés. The new album, which features songwriting contributions from the likes of Sia and Ne-Yo, as well as a duet with Stevie Wonder, manages the tricky feat of contemporizing Dion’s sound while staying true to what she does best—affirmational pop epics and stadium-size balladry.
“The hardest thing after being in the business for so long is to keep things fresh,” says Dion. “I can’t kid myself. When people come to see me they want to hear the theme song for Titanic, they want to hear “The Power of Love,” and so I’m gonna sing them. Still, I can’t record the same songs again. So what am I gonna do, sing “Because You Love Me” backwards? Start singing Rihanna’s rejects? No one wants to hear that. Working with these great young songwriters makes me feel like a new artist all over again.”
Despite her unparalleled fame, Dion is unpretentious, even (refreshingly) goofy. One gets the impression she’d much rather be discussing the perks of living in Las Vegas (shopping), her fantasy collaborations (Freddie Mercury!), and the pleasure of eating her mother’s grilled cheese sandwiches, back home in Canada, rather than record sales or the entertainment industry.
“I just hope my kids think I’m as iconic as possible,” she says, laughing. “I don’t really care what the industry thinks of me. I just want to respect the music and do a good job. If I can be remembered as a good mother and grandmother and sister and daughter—as a kind person—then that is fine with me.”
LOVED ME BACK TO LIFE IS OUT ON OCTOBER 22
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