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เตรียมพร้อมกับคอนเสิร์ต Celine Dion กันเถอะ [ตอนที่ 6]

เป็นบทสัมภาษณ์ของนิตยสาร Stellar จากออสเตรเลีย เกี่ยวกับคอนเสิร์ตทั้ง 4 รอบที่ออส ตอนนี้ทีมงานกำลังดูอันดับเพลงจากชาร์ต รวมถึงเพลงที่ไม่ติดอันดับ และที่เคยร้องไปเมื่อทัวร์เมื่อ 10 ปีที่แล้วอยู่

TWO years after his passing, Céline Dion still holds her late husband René Angélil’s hand each night. It’s actually a replica of his hand, cast in bronze, that sits backstage at every concert she plays.


“I shake my husband’s hand and knock on wood with him every night before every show,” she tells Stellar in an exclusive interview from her home in Las Vegas. “Even after he’s gone, I still talk to him.”


His chair also still sits vacant at the back of the sound desk; a nod to the position he’d take at every Dion concert, making sure everything went to plan. One thing they never planned for was Angélil’s throat cancer, the disease that would take his life in January 2016, just two days before his 74th birthday.


After he was first diagnosed in 1999, Dion put her career on hold to look after her husband as he recovered from treatment, changing his feeding tube three times a day. Their son René-Charles was born in 2001, with the always candid Dion happy to publicly acknowledge using fertility treatments because she had trouble conceiving.



Keen to reduce her gruelling touring schedule to focus on her husband’s health and raising her son, Dion started a three-year, 600-show residency in Las Vegas in 2003. It ended up running for a fourth year and grossed more than $485 million, the most successful residency in US history. After she miscarried in 2009, Dion gave birth to twin sons the following year — again using IVF — named Eddy (after Eddy Marnay,who produced her first five records) and Nelson (for Nelson Mandela). With her husband in remission, Dion then returned to Vegas in 2011 for another three-year stint.



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Vegas was once dismissed as a career graveyard, but Dion’s stratospheric success there inspired a string of artists — from Britney Spears to Jennifer Lopez and now Lady Gaga — to mount lucrative and credible residencies along its strip. The residency was one of Angélil’s many career masterstrokes; Las Vegas was a special place for the pair, who renewed their vows there in 2000.


But in the middle of her second run, in 2013, Angélil’s throat cancer returned and he was forced to step down from full-time management. Even during what Dion called his “heavy suffering” he encouraged his wife to go back to work. She would return to performing only weeks after his death, breaking down in tears while singing ‘All By Myself’.


“My husband wanted me to go back onstage before he passed, that’s what he wanted the most,” Dion says. “So I went back onstage while he was still alive; he wanted to make sure I could keep going. So I did prove to him yes, I could keep going. I told him I’ve got the kids and that he’s got to trust me, he’s got to relax.



“He taught me so much. He did a great job; what he had been giving to me all his life and all my life will always be with me. He gave me his all. He mortgaged his house to pay for my first album. I guess before he left he wanted to make sure I was fine. I’m trying to prove to him every day I’m fine. Our kids are growing, we feel strong. We’re good.”


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Dion’s new motto is summed up in a song her husband loved that is now a cornerstone of her live shows: Queen’s triumphant ‘The Show Must Go On’. Their marriage, and professional partnership, remain one of the major success stories of modern music. Dion has sold more than 200 million albums and is the most successful Canadian artist of all time with a net worth estimated at around $500 million.


Her career began when Dion’s brother (she’s the youngest of 14 children) sent Angélil (a one-time vocalist turned talent manager) a tape of a 12-year-old Dion singing. In 1981, he indeed mortgaged his house on a mission to make the young Canadian a star — her first album topped the charts in her native Québec. By age 18, Dion wanted Michael Jackson-style global fame; Angélil, now her manager, suggested a dental makeover and some English lessons.


Her international breakthrough came in 1991 on a duet with Peabo Bryson on ‘Beauty And The Beast’, from the hit animated film. A year later Angélil (who had two former wives and three children) and Dion started a personal relationship — with a 26 year age gap — and their 1994 marriage was broadcast on Canadian TV.


Angélil’s funeral was held in the same Montreal church as their wedding, and was also broadcast on TV and live-streamed. A stoic Dion sat by the open casket as hundreds of mourners paid their respects. As with every other part of their life together, her husband had also meticulously planned his funeral. A week shy of turning 15, their son René-Charles (Dion calls him “RC”) read the eulogy in both French and English. “You left me now with enough good memories of you to share with my younger brothers,” he told a global audience. “You are a tough act to follow, but with your help, everything’s gonna be fine. Dad, I promise you here that we’re all going to live up to your standards.”


Dion’s voice bursts with pride as she tells Stellar about the eulogy, pointing out that it was her son’s final chance to talk to his father. “He said, ‘Will there be a lot of people?’ I said, ‘Yes, darling — there will be.’ He got a standing ovation. He found a way to be emotional, be truthful and made people relax a little bit. He was a champ.



“He comes from a showbiz family but he was not born onstage, don’t get me wrong,” Dion continues. “He’s not very comfortable [up there] but he knows very well when the time is right and when the time is not. He knew at the funeral it was time. He’s got a judgement that is really well placed, if I may say so.”


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For his 17th birthday last month, Dion offered her son — a budding singer and rapper — recording time at a state-of-the-art studio. “I thought he might want to record his songs professionally,” Dion says. “He’s got a part of our house that’s like half-garage, half-studio where he does his music. He told me, ‘Mum, I don’t need a studio. Everything is done on a computer, I can record an album in the garage!’ It could have been worse, he could have said I want this and that and this. He didn’t even ask me for a car. He uses his dad’s car. So, so far so good.”


Dion and her family remain in Nevada, so she can return to her own home each night after her shows. She sleeps with her twins (“it helps me more than it helps them”) and has decorated the walls of the bedroom her husband had his treatment in with photos of him and their children.


Now they are older, at seven, Dion is able to embark on more touring commitments outside of Las Vegas. She visited Europe last year, and in July will play Australian shows for the first time in 10 years. “When the kids are more independent it gives Mummy a break too. I sleep with my twins, so when they wake up they know I have a show. They give me a kiss and go into the kitchen and play with my sister, who is their godmother and their nanny. We have a routine now. They’re show-business kids, they know what to do. It works well.”


Dion is also making new music. Her 2016 French release Encore Un Soir was the last record she and Angélil worked on together — the title track was a tribute to him. Her new album will be in English, and René-Charles has offered his opinions on potential songs. Dion even offered him a chance to be on the record.


“I think it’s normal most of the young kids are into rap music,” she says. “Because RC writes his own songs, I said I’d love to put one of them on my album. He said, ‘Mum, we can’t do that, you have a reputation! You make a certain type of music, my type of music is like rap.’ I thought, I get it, because the words in rap can be harsh and tough and maybe wouldn’t fit my style. So I said maybe he could change a few words? He said ‘Mum, rap is all about the words. If I change a few, the song isn’t the same. I can’t do that. It’s very kind, I appreciate it, but I don’t think now is the time. I’m still too young, I don’t think people are ready for it, I don’t want to cause any trouble.’”


After Angélil’s passing, Pink wrote a song for Dion called ‘Recovering’, which is specifically about healing after the death of her husband. It’s also a fixture in her live shows.



“That song helped me get through a lot,” Dion tells Stellar. “I was very touched when she wrote it for me. I am a big fan of hers. I sing it every night onstage; people are cuddling and not talking and really being very quiet. I get into the zone. For me it’s like an anthem, like I’m at church and I’m singing.”


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Adele came to her Vegas show where the pair — major fans of one another — met, but Dion says even mere talk of a potential collaboration “makes me nervous”. The new album will feature more songs by Australia’s Sia — who wrote the title track to her last English album, 2013’s Loved Me Back To Life. “Sia is one of my favourite female artists of all time. She’s been writing me a lot of songs. We either have to do them all and call the album Sia By Céline or we choose the best of them.”


The Australian tour, from July 27 to August 7, won’t be a transplanted version of Dion’s Vegas show, with her team working up a new performance for the occasion.


“We’ve looked at the songs that were on the charts in Australia, the songs that weren’t, and what we played 10 years ago,” she says. “Obviously we’re going to play ‘My Heart Will Go On’, ‘Because You Loved Me’, ‘The Power Of Love’ — I can’t not do those songs.”


‘My Heart Will Go On’ — the ubiquitous blockbuster ballad from Titanic — remains the biggest hit of Dion’s career, but she was not originally keen to record another song for a movie soundtrack, fearing she couldn’t repeat the success of ‘Beauty And The Beast’. The now iconic song, which recently turned 20 years old, went on to win an Academy
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