Céline Dion is a famous Canadian pop singer (born in Quebec on 30 March 1968), who has achieved global success and sold over 200 million albums worldwide. In the mid-nineties Dion was compared with such musical divas as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Her own musical heroes include Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Anne Murray, Barbra Streisand and the Bee Gees.
Dion began her career in French-speaking parts of the world; her powerful voice was first discovered at the tender age of twelve by music manager René Angélil. Céline's debut album, La voix du bon dieu, was released in 1981, and became an instant hit in Quebec. By 1983, Dion had won several of the prestigious Félix awards, including 'Best Female Performer' and 'Discovery of the Year'.
Although she represented Switerland in the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, Dion did not find success in America and other English-speaking countries until the 1990s. After a number of successful French-language albums in the early '80s, Dion signed to major record label Sony Records in 1986. The release of her first English-language album entitled Unison in 1990 allowed Dion to branch out to English-speaking areas, and by 1992 her popularity had soared to superstar status in North America. Her second English album, The Colour of My Love, included The Power of Love, Celine's first number one single for America, Canada and Australia. D'eux was released in 1995, which went on to become France's biggest-selling album of all time. It spawned the smash hit single Je sais pas, which entered at number one in the French singles chart. Impressively, the single Pour que tu m'aimes encore also reached the top ten in the UK singles charts.
Dion's music has undergone several transitions, from soft rock in the early 1980s, to pop and soul in the mid-90s, to more classical influences at the close of the decade. Her 1996 album Falling into You encompassed a range of musical styles and instruments, including the saxaphone, trombone, violin, Spanish guitar, African chanting and orchestral arrangements. Céline's late-90s offerings, most notably These are Special Times (1998), included more orchestral influences, reflecting a turn to slicker, more classical styles of composition.
Along with motherhood came a more mature approach to music, and after a two year break from the music scene, Dion returned in 2002 with A New Day Has Come. This was followed by One Heart in 2003, a dance album that deviated significantly from Dion's earlier rock-infused power balladry. Dion's latest English album, Taking Chances, was released in November 2007. Again, Dion's reluctance to be pigeon-holed is evident with rock, R&B and soul-inspired songs. In August 2008 she performed a free concert in French on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. The concert attracted approximately 490,000 fans. October 2008 saw the release of Dion's greatest hits album entitled My Love: Essential Collection.