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MY€ STORY,€ MY€ DREAM WILLIAM€€€€€€€€ ÌORROW FOR RENE, the man of my life Dear Georges-Hebert, Over

the years, I have had many occasions to talk about myself and the people I love, but I have never done so with as much pleasure and heart as I have with yo u for this book. I will always remember our hasty meetings, crazy laughter, and the unforeseen be nds in the road, where confidences and secrets were discovered. You have a remarkable talent for listening, which means that my words and emotio ns unfolded during the hours we spent together talking. And now they have been r endered by your magic pen into a book in which I recognize myself without reserv ation. Thank you, my friend, for being faithful to my thoughts and relating my intentio ns and feelings just as I expressed them. It is a great art to use one's talent in the service of a friend. That is what y ou have done, and I thank you with all my heart. Affectionately, Celine PROLOGUE. 4 1. 21 2. 48 3. 74 4. 109 5. 160 6. 218 7. 272 PROLOGUE One beautiful morning last winter, a manatee appeared in the canal right behind our house in Jupiter, Florida. It stayed there for hours, as if it were waiting for something. Or somebody. As soon as I went into the water, it started coming toward me. I spoke to it, petted it, and we swam together for a while. This was no big feat. A lot of people in southern Florida have fun swimming with manatees. They're nice, large, very affectionate animals that we call sea cows. People say they come from the legend of the Sirens because of the very sweet an d unsettling sound they make. The incident made me realize how much I've changed during these last months. Whe n I was working on my singing career, and was subject to certain precautions, th e idea never would have come to me to dive right into cloudy water and go make f riends with an unknown animal. But on that morning I hadn't been working for more than three months, and I was already doing all sorts of things that had been [2] almost unimaginable before, things that even I sometimes found surprising. While I was swimming with my Siren, a flood of memories crashed through my head, clear, precise images of my childhood, of summer, of happiness. I was eight, nine, ten years old. I was on a picnic with my brothers and sisters in the Laurentides or in Lanaudiere, just north of Montreal. There were farms, a lot of animals, planted fields, woods, a river, horses that my sisters and I r ode. I saw all of it again so clearly. I saw myself climbing trees, swimming in the river, walking in the woods. And I was saying to whoever would hear me that one day I'd buy a horse, as soon as I earned my first money as a singer. And then I forgot all about it, carried away by another dream of being a singer, a dream that left room for nothing else in my life. A few years later, when I g ot my first pay as a singer, my thoughts were already elsewhere. Instead of a ho

rse, I bought myself a pair of high heels. Now, twenty years later, it was all springing forth from my memory. That horse I never bought and never thought about again, the light of summer, the freshness and the smell of the Laurentides rivers and lakes, the fragrance of the earth an d of cut hay. Again I saw the path that we took to get down to the river, the ov erturned canoe on the beach, the laughter of my sisters, the thick trees my brot hers dove from, the pebbles, the sand, the raspberry bushes that scratched our l egs, the crackling of burning branches in the fires we made during evenings on t he shore. And all of us singing together late into the night, watching shooting stars and northern lights. As I got out of the canal after saying goodbye to my Siren, I didn't feel like s peaking or being spoken to. I hardly dared move, my head was so filled to the br im with all these memories, and I didn't want to lose a single drop. I wanted to keep these images in me as long as possible, to review them one by one and mayb e to remember others. [3] I don't think it was nostalgia, but rather a kind of curiosity about a very fa raway period of my life that I thought I'd forgotten, and in any case, had never thought about so intensely. I felt as if I were seeing and hearing the real liv ing little girl I had been, feeling her very close to me again, so close I could recognize her dreams, her wishes, her plans. And I felt a little like one of th ose dolls that contain a series of smaller dolls, each inside the other, with th at little girl Celine inside of me. But these images quickly began to lose their color and clarity. Afterward, I t hought for days and days about my childhood, and the whole journey I had travele d. Of what I'd been and done or tried to do for twenty years, starting with my f irst performances and that first pair of high heels. And I kept asking myself why I wanted and dreamed so much about all of this, a ll that's happened to me. Why, at twenty, fifteen, at twelve, even at eight, I t hink, and even at five, I so wanted to succeed, why I dreamed so much of becomin g a famous singer who'd be listened to in every corner of the planet. Not everyone is driven by such ambition. A lot of young boys and girls spend a long time wondering what to do with their lives. Some never find an answer. But I always knew. Not that I claim any credit for knowing. I'm like that tubby Obe lix, a character in a famous French comic strip, who fell into a magic potion wh en he was a baby. As soon as I was born, I fell into singing, show business. And once in it, I felt like a fish in water. I've loved every bit of the life I've led up to this sabbatical. I lived my mo st beautiful dreams to the fullest a rare piece of luck. I've been fulfilled emoti onally, professionally, artistically, and I always will be. I love and I'm loved . I sing and that is my happiness. And I thank heaven for it every day of my lif e. And then, I consciously decided to leave this life. For a year or two. For the f irst time in almost twenty years, there was nothing in [4] my datebook, no engagement, no performance coming up, no interview, no recording session, no gala. From now on, I could live my life from day to day. A year ago, such freedom would have overwhelmed me with anguish. But so many things had happened in the course of that single year. I was no long er the same person, I knew. I no longer had the same fears, the same apprehensio ns. And I was confident, happy about my newfound freedom, about the unknown wait ing for me. I believe that to live is to change, to discover what's new and to find surprise s in everything, in music, in one's life and loves . . . For a long time, I couldn't think of all this happiness in my life and my career without feeling a kind of fear or anxiety, without asking myself a thousand and one questions, for which I had no answers. Will it all last? What do you do, become, where do you go, when you've already r

ealized your fondest dreams? Do you have to stay there and just watch the clouds roll by? Can you find other dreams to fulfill? Other lives to live? Is there li fe after the dream, after show business? Outside of show business? And what will I do when my sabbatical is over? What will I have to say, to sing? And will I be able to find the audience I left behind on the night of January 1 , 2000? Will I be able to reconnect with them? Will I find that we are still on the same wavelength? I would always keep on singing. It seemed obvious to me. This sabbatical was onl y a pause. But I couldn't help thinking that I wouldn't be the same at the end o f it. For more than a year, for any number of reasons, we put off the day, month aft er month. Each time I realized that I was relieved, even if I didn't dare admit it. I was in the jaws of a strange dilemma. More and more I wanted to stop, to r est, recharge, and be alone with the man of my life. I wanted to take stock of m y career, my life, my loves; and at the same time, doing such a thing really fri ghtened me. [5] I thought of everything I was leaving behind the stage, the crowds, the incredibly exciting life of touring, nights spent at the studio with the musicians, the li fe of an artist, and traveling around the world. At every performance, as soon as the countdown started, there where pangs in my heart, as I experienced that magical contact with the audience, when we really c onnected and were so close, so together, the current between us flowing so perfe ctly. Bringing a crowd to its feet is such an amazing feeling that nothing in the worl d can replace it. And I felt that I'd miss those electrifying moments terribly. At the end of each show, I always told the audience: "I'm taking you with me. Yo u'll always be in my heart." So I left with all these people in my heart. All I needed to do was close my eye s to sense their presence, to hear them. . . . Still, a memory, even a happy one , can never replace reality; it's never as moving, as thrilling, or as true. All memories, even the strongest and most cherished, inevitably end by losing their color and clarity. I have gone through extraordinary live experiences. I have traveled the world; I have met people I will never forget. I have been pampered, loved, and acclaimed . But there was always stage fright, pressure, bigger and bigger crowds every day, larger and larger stadiums. It's been terrifying. And it's been good, really go od. I had become a real "stress junkie." I needed my dose every day. Every time I st opped, I went into withdrawal, and didn't feel right about myself. Marathoners w ho are kept from running because of an injury apparently experience nausea, dizz y spells. And they say that no one is more depressed than a cyclist who just fin ished the Tour de Prance, even if he won. Therefore, the prospect of living a stress-free, quiet, cozy life seemed stressf ul to me. I thought I'd have to struggle to decompress from stress and disciplin e, to forget my voice, to get free of it. Dur[6] ing more than half my life, I've been a slave to my voice, a happy and consentin g slave who was afraid of the idea of living in freedom. What would happen in my head and heart when I was deprived of this sweet slavery, this tension, this tr emendous sense of exaltation you feel when the crowd goes wild? To reassure myself, of course, I prepared a very detailed schedule for living. I planned out my sabbatical. I visualized how it would all go, as I had done for my shows. But I couldn't, especially during the first months, come to a final agreement wi th myself on the scenario. One day I would swear to myself that I would not sing a note as long as this sab

With Rene. I saw something good. I did this so that I wouldn't lose what I'd acquired. charcoals. all day if you want to. A nd it gave me a fantastic feeling of happiness. on leave. off with training. in front of a crowd of extraterres trials. it had taken several hours for me to wa ke up completely. I started getting up earl y . I even started training my voice again and doing my singing exercises regularly. At the beginning. on my feet at dawn. Happiness comes to me in waves. I am good at being happy. to keep your mind busy. . the kind that comes and goes without warning. pastels. I slipped into that sabbatical as if into a nice warm [7] bath. while driving. as I did tha t winter of 2000. then summer. but I also did it for the simple pleasure that comes from training. And I thank heaven for the misfortune that befell us. unexpected joy. Three months after the beginning of my sabbatical. listening to birds singing or watching my fl owers opening or preparing orange juice or coffee for the whole household. during the first months of my sabbatical. its sweetness. old girl. . watercolors. and I was now spending long hours. And. Af ter two or three weeks of total inactivity. then a utumn. no long silences to rest your v oice. Contrary to what I'd expected. And that they would have nothing to do with what I had imagined. something beautiful and meaningful everywhere. everything went smoothly. Bu t little by little. good or not. And I knew right away that nothing would lure me out. And yet. I began to accept it. to remain plugged in to show business. with absolutely nothing to do. I had told myself: "No vocal training. I started singing again. Then the next day I would tell myself that I would never be able to resist if somebody offered me a great part in a movie or a beautiful song to record or an appearance in a huge show featuring artists that I admired. and in a good mood. And I loved it. And now here I am. everywhere." I even bought colored pencils. I never unwrapped my colored pencils and my pastels. and I already knew that things were going to be different. in the kitchen." I had only begun my sabbatical. sometimes even days. you'll take Spanish and dr awing lessons. I followed from begin ning to end the play-offs for the National Hockey League. even if I was offere d the chance to sing on the moon or on Venus. for its peace. constantly. I had already postponed my Spanish lessons until the spring. I always ate breakfast alone. a new. . all my speculations turned out to be wrong. In the end. "And you'll sleep late. Whenever possible. but about real happi ness. To my great astonishment and to Rene's great pleasure. because it tr ansformed us. without saying a word. I'm not talking about the sweet and shallow feeling that comes with a platinum album or a good review. It's not needed anymore. "You're also gonna take piano lessons. always unexpected and unexplainable. Off with discipline. almost monstrous. And you'll listen to everything that come s out in the musical world. I had believed I was never going to be able to remain silent anymore. just for the pleasure of it. so overwhelming. and fancy drawin g paper. You're go nna play golf every day." I began to make a list of albums I wanted to listen to. on the golf course. I spent them as leep. In the past. And I especi ally didn't miss stress or stage fright. I have never felt this happiness so close at hand. . in the shower. Today I know that there is good in all misfortune. I was not listening to any mu sic at all neither mine nor anyone else's and I would only glance at fashion magazin es once in a while. then next winter. such an idea would have been unthinkable. even in the hard times we h ad gone through . . And I spent whole evenings watching t elevision. without misery or pain. I had just lived through the worst moments of my life.batical lasted. I really hated mornings. and I didn't want an yone to speak to me. When I got up I wouldn't speak to anyone. something I'd never done in my life.

wither. my entire life. so much the better. or alone. He began to take his time watching the sun set. anxiety will be a part of our life. and he sweeps them carefully together. with nothing but shorts and a T-shirt. more united. A kind of carefreeness has. It was obviously not the most romantic experience a couple could dream of. People. I already saw [9] things differently. Of course I knew it in theory but I've learned it for real. afterward. whatever happenes. H e's more aware of Others than he ever was. He fi nds crumbs of it everywhere . I 've learned a lot about myself. of a deep change that I don't altog ether understand yet. If not. through hope and waiting. dolphins swimming. to write any particular scen ario. I know that it's possible to experience even during the wors t ordeal. I wanted to take life as it came. I would do nothing for days. For example. including having a child. I'd live without a plan. Our ordeal changed me more than all my professional experiences. That's what I told myself. especially. I read books about them. we learned to enjoy life as never before. Because we love each other. Today. when people gave me flowers. And all my other projects. We had not given up the idea of having a child. I've discovered small pleasures I could never have thought I'd have before. even about lif e. . And I had decided to go through the first steps after a few months of rest. I watch them push up from my flower beds. even before it was born. Together we went th rough a very difficult ordeal and emerged stronger. their odors. disappeared forever from our lives. or maybe because of it I'll never know which we've rediscovered a kind of confidence in life. What is more. Despite all that we have lived. a few days be fore Rene had his first chemotherapy treatments. whether we wanted it. I also learned of his need for me. every day. an appetite for living what's offere d us. his expression. I ask gardeners and florists questions. I know that from now on. And through all that. I promised myself that I would start taking all the necessary measu res as soon as possible. my profession. in my heart. I didn't have to care a bout my looks or spend energy trying to find something smart to say in order to please the media. aware of happiness.Rene. had taken a new twist. I didn't want to dream. or a cloud floating by. I saw Rene change a lot as well. I smelled them quickly. Actually. At the beginning. I fiddle for a long time with the candle . But at the same time. I'm learning their names. Last winter. without a doubt. even in pain and fear great moments of happiness. arrangements. through my tears. more in love th an ever. our dearest dream was possible. and not as I had dreamed it. about the man I love. My gynecologist. the man of my life. Thanks to it. was seriously ill. this child became a part of my life. I never knew what to do with them or w here to put them. They're a sign. I especially di d not want to lay a guilt trip on this child by putting my happiness in its hand s. The year before. I believe. Even his laugh changed. barefoot. about love. If. and then bloom ag ain. at suppertime. And he told me he couldn't live without me. I was gonna live without him or her. Of course. And he hims elf is amazed. I can sp end hours making and remaking bouquets. without makeup. decided it. hardly looked at them. and one that I'm not really trying to understand. we had gone to a sperm bank. . Ronald Ackerman. For the first time. had explained to us at length the procedures of in vitro fertilization and intrauterine inseminat ion. I've also had the extraordinary chance to discover that there is a life outside of show business. Dr. He also started getting the most out of the moments he spen t with me. But it gave us the confidence that. when I took my leave from public life. However. or not. and cried on my shoulder. But I had ceased to believe that our happiness depended only on this child. with his friends. he left himself go and truly confided in me. Rene's health had become what counted the most for me.

If I notice something wrong a water stain on a wall. . And I don't let up as long as the least cloud per sists between us. I try to free myself of my tendency to correct things. some wonderfully mild evening. I wanted my mother or my sisters to change me. I want everything to be impeccab le.light in each room of the house and the patio and the terraces. . in six months. examine my conscien ce. as long as there is the least confusion or friction in our emo tions. . a warm spring evening with old girlfriends. . whereas in the past I really wasn't that interested in it. I've always been one. . And with mysel f. see the plans. incognito. with guides who will teach me everything about the world's treasures. without demanding an . If I had the smallest stain or the least tear in my dress or my pajama s. I've learned that I'm excessively concerned about details that are often very insignificant. straighten the candle. perhaps in Veni ce. enjoying each other. mingling with the crowd w ithout being recognized. the knickkna cks. others don't. I'm making plans. precise. But I don't restrain myself from making plans. I'll admit that I'm a stickler for detail. Some make me happy. understand ev erything. I get up to wipe the stain. or if I can't. And I regularly take stock. In my house. first and before all but also the thousand and one detai ls of daily life the upkeep of this house in Jupiter that I so love. If someone around [11] me isn't doing his work well. perhaps too often. me . Looking back has never been my forte. the one who was so often the guest . the paintings. Everyth ing has to be perfect all the time. hand in hand. keys. And in doing all that. And not knowing what tomorrow will bring.. I like order and cleanliness. I'm getting there. I'm planning in detail the pleasure trip I want to take with Rene to Europe. I'm the same way with everyone I love and everyone I work with. I like to be proud of myself. T here are so many things. just as in my thoughts. smo oth out the crease. I want to see everything. I go behi nd him and try to do it better myself. I'm learning how to create atmosphere. Even to the point of getting on my own nerves. having a purse filled with personal belongings. For example. but I believe that I could become more relaxed. We w ill travel very slowly. but afterward I want Rene to describ e in detail what he was feeling. I try to take life as it comes. clear. and I'll never like disorder. Other days. and for how long. the construction site. a nd the design. I ask him to start again. I get obsessed. going s hopping by myself. slowly but surely. how much. without a body-guard or a photographer. And I've transferred them to what now concerns me the most Rene's health. to visit the cities that we passed through too quickly. or a dinner at home. enjoying life. alone. A walk on a bu sy street. a candle that isn't standing straight up I don't stop thinking about it. When we argue.. Likewise. participate in every decision. even as a lit tle girl. how to set a table. the furniture that I've filled it with. I'll never be careless. let a few dead leaves drop onto the patio or in the pool without rushing to pick them up. I also focus on the house that we're having built in Quebec. All the rigor and meticulousness with which I practiced my singing for nearly twenty years have remained in me. I think of the dress I'll wear and what I'll ha ve Rene wear when we take a walk. alone with the man I love. receive guests . itineraries. that we didn't take the time to know and love! I want to visit the world's most beautiful museums and its most famous castles . the wrong crease in the draperies. . I tend to sulk a little. I discover in myself quirks and traits of character that I never noticed or never took the time to see. I need it. That's doubtlessly why our reconciliations last longer than our lovers' quarre ls. a credit card . . what I will do or where I will be in three weeks. I want to know if he was feeling anger or sorro w. things that might seem simple and easy to most people b ut that I had never known or done because I was in show business.

I immediately stopped him. fascinated. I could possibly have had twins or triplets. a renowned ferti lity specialist. Then they were put in contact with the spermatozoa. To the public too. where I began to receive massive injections of hormone s that would create a "superovulation. Nothing to do with the beautiful act we call love. It was certainly not comfortable. "And I know her well enough to tell you for certain that she had all the patience and courage she would need. and to inject it in an egg with an extremely small ne edle. For more than a month . We had never hidden our fertility problems. "The success rate for in vitro fertilization. I returned to New York. as if he was about to give me a long speech on the hard times I'd soon be going through. Luckily. N or the results whatever they would be. up to mid-July. I injected myself daily with progesterone. The idea is to isolate one spermatozoon." That's for sure! To begin this process." They were not asking for so much. I had to prepare my body by injecting myself every day with an "antiescrogen" that would regulate and control my ovulation. It was all very technical and cold. We will simply be satisfied and happy with whatever it brings us . even the old natural way is never one hundred perce nt sure. He . But they did warn me more than once that I had to be very careful. In May. "This method calls for a lot of patience and courage. Three days later. I met in New York with Dr. We already had millions of spermatozoa in a freezer. Yet once again. I had everything I needed. I can stop moving altogether for nine months." Almost every day I had to have blood tes ts and sonograms so the doctors could adjust my levels." the doctor [13] told me." I don't pretend to have more courage than other women. Dr. By this me thod." "Fair enough." he said. but I was in great shap e and I had all the time I needed. but it really made Rene and me laugh and dream. is still only twenty-five percent. He suggested that we try a new fertility method." I told him.ything from it. So now our main concern w as for me to produce as many eggs as possible. But that would also be problematic. ment ally and physically. We went thr ough all the steps together. We would talk all the time to each other and to our friend. three little eggs were back inside me. "but what I'm offering you is a bit less pleasurable. I had told the doctors: " I want to put every chance on my side. Ronald Ackerman dropped by my house in Jupiter. But Rene was always by my side. the doctors took them out of me and placed them in a test tube. Zev Rosenwaks. "My mother already had thirteen children when she b ecame pregnant with me. Even if it's difficult. I decided to follow all the rules very carefully. On the morning of June 8. This happene d on May 25. and very tender. And we were not going to keep this experiment secret. The doctor then proceeds to place the embryo in the uterus. Doctor. a hormone that insu res the continuation of the pregnancy. I didn't have any of th e dizziness and hot flashes that many women have during this treatment. If you want." "As far as I know. as planned. my belly swelled up like a little balloon. even if it's pain ful. And what's more. caring." the doctor said. something that could very well be the most important event of o ur life together. Because of these hormone s. I could give this experiment a try knowing I fulfilled all the requirements. especially during the first month. Something incr edible happened. "I have to tell you that it is impossible to guarantee the success of this met hod. life brought us even more than we had imagined. It had become our dearest dream. by whatever method. All of these procedures had nothing to do with poetry. I had to spend a few days without moving so that the small eggs would stay attac hed. When my ova reached maturity.

New York. Ackerman could see that I kne w." "And you?" "In the kitchen. Ack erman as he always did. Rene's children. really big news for us. with Dr. For twenty years we'd shared a kind of intimacy with the public at large. "Eating lunch. Rene?" "Yes!" "You there. For quite a while w e stood holding each other in the middle of the kitchen. "You're pregnant. I knew that the doctor had really. I had a really hard time trying not to sound ne rvous and excited. He didn't even know who was on the phone. He did not have a clue either. all my brot hers and sisters. Even this dream. But he hesitated a few seconds and then he said: "I want to talk to both of you together. I was in Rene's arms." And when we were all together. It was obvious that he wanted to lau gh. Celine. nor did he ask to speak to Dr. pate. I was also trying to look very calm. Ronald?" "Okay. He had left saying it would still take two or three days before he knew if I wa s pregnant or not. We spent the rest of the day on the telephone. I believe you should never hide your happiness. The secret wa s too big and too beautiful to keep just to ourselves. I want you to be in the s ame room. When Rene arrived in the kitchen. Ackerman. . He simply asked what I was doing. [15] "What?" "Toast. lover s!" I immediately saw my love's eyes fill with tears.had been coming very often for the past months. And Dr. He had just arrived when Alain." added Rene. tea. That day I felt a great strength and peace coming over us. This mornin g. my sister Linda's husband. came to tell me that Dr." "What about Rene?" "I think he's in his office. and our friends in Montreal. go. Linda had set the phone so everybody could hear Dr. I had finally understood what was happening. and he was laughing through his tears. Definitely. Zev and Ronald told us: "Congratulations. our happiness had to be known. he did not ask about my health. I was also talking to him every day." He was about to come to Florida and I thought he probably wanted to organize a golf game with Rene or something like that. was now going to be realized. By evening the offices of our publicis ts in Montreal and Los Angeles were swamped with reporters. and taken a blood sample. He came close to me and took me in his arms." I called Rene on the intercom. I was going to have a baby with the man I love. Rosenwaks was on the phone. I wanted them to share our joy just as the y'd shared our suffering. Los Angeles. which I'd practically forbidden myself from having because it s eemed so fragile. But they couldn't keep the secret either. We called my parents. to tell them the good news." Zev and Ronald kept saying. But that day I was not expectin g him. To keep it only for yourself is to lose it. Paris. But I knew that Rene was the one who had summoned that stren gth and peace to us. Both of us knew that we couldn't hide our great joy for very long. In any case." "He can talk to you from there. strangely. It lights up and cheers up the w orld. He had come by the day before. I could see him trying to avoid my eyes. had examined me. it came f rom somewhere else. Rosenwaks saying: "Are you there." I answered." "Better get Rene. and by the next morn ing there had to be a press release announcing my pregnancy. "Congratulations to the b oth of you.

as soon as the dis hes were done. That's very good. after three months of pregnancy. a kind of theater in the round like the ones I prefer today. Once I got started. Until that moment. And now that life n me. a strong pulse. And I made them all laugh. or dish mop as a mike. and white gloves. somebody stood me up on the kitchen table my f irst stage. They even did so und checks. We began by singing folk songs together. life had already triumphed. In the first place. walls. which I loved and which I was going to sing accompanied by my brother Daniel at the piano. Later. Two weeks later. spoon. a trick they were playing on me. including "Mamy Blue" (Granny Blue). because of his love for me and for his children that he had so valiantly defended was struggling and growing i the proof that you have to believe in [17] happiness. and a lot of luck as well. At 162 beats a minute. It would be he had to fight it. They wanted to make us all laugh. 2001. It didn't really bother me. with th e audience on every side. af ter turning off the light. then each of us did his or her own little number. strength. i t was difficult to get me off the table. a small and rapid sound. And if there were no drum sets in the house. ness die. he chose to fight with all his strength. We knew that all of it was still tenuous. One evening. My brothers and sisters had put together a real show for the new-lyweds. never in my life. and since then have be en listening to it every night before going to sleep. my family signaled to each other to slip into the living room. in the past or present. they tapped on tables. passion. Daniel a nd my sister Ghislaine could play any instrument.When he fell ill. I knew they didn't intend any thing mean by it. with the family. Maman had me practice several tunes. So I calmly got off the table and joined them in th . . Then he made a quick count and announced that I was going to give birth on Febru ary 14. who is also my godfather. which is August 18. It was at the wed ding of my brother Michel. Almost every evening after supper. blue with small white flowers. using a fork. He had love for life. we formed a chorus and sang songs from the old days. I wasn't afraid of anything or anyone. When they walked out on my "kitchen concert. pots. While the family did the dishes. joy. or just because they'd had enough. None of my brothers or sisters has ever wanted to hurt me. or the love my brother s and sisters feel for each other and for my parents. It must have be en during the summer because Michel was married on his birthday. During the few days before. complete with lighting and amplifiers. The only problem was that I never wanted to stop singing. They set up an entire stage. in August. I'd only sung at our place. "One hundred and forty-two beats a minute. I wor e a long dress. that we needed patience. . 1 I'11 never forget the day I sang in public for the first time. of this I'm sure. the refrigerator . leaving me all alone on the table with my dishmop in my hands. we saw the heart of our child beating. But we also knew that whatever happened. we heard its little heart bea t. A [19] lot of times my father took out his accordion and my mother her violin. as a joke. We recorded it. the proof that love exists with as much intensity and as long as you believe in it. I sang with all my might." I knew it was a game. Or we did big hits by Jimi Hendrix or Creedence Clearwater Revival that we all loved so much. in ro unds. What is more. Instead to because of his and his friends." said one of the do ctors. He couldn't just give up and let our happi of giving up. have I do ubted for a fraction of a second my family's love for me. I was five years old.

our house attracted all the young people in the area who liked to make music. My mother believed t hat at long last she would be able to do something else. Unless these outsiders were themselves musicia ns or singers." So I stepped forward and sang. she thought. t hat she's being heard. I think we get it from my father. my little girl. I was a mistake. was born on March 30. And I definitely knew for the first time in my life that unforgettable sensation felt by a singer when she realizes that she's captivated a listener. So was I when she told me the story. the ironin g. I would never have climbed on the table or even sung alone. pushing me gently and firmly. But 1 stood there frozen. By the time she became pregnant with me. My birth was unwante d and unexpected. These people intimidated me: cousins I'd hardly ever seen. Her two youngest children at that time. She wanted to get a job and make a little m oney. But at the same time. my stage fright. This one began preac hing to her. At the time the priests of Quebec had a lot of authority. she had to relinquish plans she'd been che rishing a long time. [21] The day she learned she was pregnant. They had both spent their childhoods there. I crushed her dreams. When it was my turn to go onstage. it's your turn. She did the washing and the housework. I've always lo ved her so much that if I had known this. staring at the floor. I became paralyzed by stage fright. And her voi ce was saying to me: "Go ahead. I stayed quiet. Everyone was watching me and waiting for me t o begin. A friend of Michel. where they made sure I had a really good time. the cleaning. In fact. I added my voice to the others'. As a result. played the first chords of "Mamy Blue. When people visited my brothers' friends or girlfriends or pals of my sisters the atmosphere was completely different. I was in no way a part of these plans. 365 days a year." I w as standing next to him. I have to a . For more than twenty years s he'd kept house. go ahead. Pierre winked at me and began his intro again. I don't remember exactly what happened after this. For me. an d she had a right to think. applauded. My mother had gone so far as to see the parish priest to ask him if she could "s top having children. I think I would not have been able to let myself be born. And she did it all over and over again. That day I knew I would be singing my whole life. Maybe she'd travel with my father to see the sea and the part of Quebec ca lled the Gaspe peninsula again. Those times. purely a family affair. my singin g was private. which meant using contraceptives . And when I felt c onfident enough. By coming into the world. My mother would have some free time. I just listened. My mother had already brought up thirteen children. anyway. Pierre Tremblay. were e ntering school the following fall. She coul d leave the house and see the world. and the cause of a serio us quandary for my mother. who were twins. which often happened to be the case. We've always loved playing tricks in my family. an accident. and they hadn't been back since their marriage. And that I'd discover my happi ness in doing so. a very unpleasant ringing in my e ars. I also sang in all the g roups formed by my brothers and sisters. My mother was furious. Paul and Pauline. that she had finished her work.e living room. the meals. a feeling of having conquered my fear. but I do remember not wanting to stop and begging Michel to let me sing other songs. He told her she didn't have the right to defy nature. And we often had "guest stars" appea r with our band. Th en I felt my mother's hand on my back. during good times and bad times. But for a long time. 19á8. I'd never sung for an audience as important or as unfamiliar as the one that was gathered at Michel's wedding. friends of m y brothers and sisters who probably knew nothing about music and didn't really w ant to hear me perform. That day gave me great pleasure." as they said at the time.

And the music that my brothers and sisters played wit h their guitars. I had fifteen people a t my beck and call. she found herself thrown back to square one. I don't know how it happened. Barbra Streisa nd. I must have found a way to make peace with the mothe r who hadn't really wanted me at first. Of course. I was forcing her to put off her dream of a new life. But we loved each other. during her pregnancy. The other children began amusing themselves by making me cry until my mother intervened. So clearly it was the pitch or the key of the song that bo thered me. My mother had chosen [23] it because. gigs. very high falsetto. I would begi n to cry as if on cue. pianos. but my mother's heart was heavy. In th e evening they argued about whose bed I'd sleep in. With me. I really believe that where there is music. or one of my thirteen older brothers and sisters. The music that my parents played my f ather with his accordion and my mother with her violin reels. No more singing in that key. she held my being bo rn against me a bit. in some way. Quite naturally. Ghislaine sang other names in the same tone of voice. I had the incredible luck to be born into a home that was filled with music and song from morning until night sometimes even from evening until morning. And we had our music. I was the focus of interest for these fifteen people.dmit that. My mother was always crazy about babies hers an d other people's. I seem to have been a good baby. That's simply not her way. But I also know that she didn't waste much time feeling sor ry for herself. the mother of whom dies while giving birth to the last child. to see how I'd react. she inferred from this that I didn't like my name. Every time she softly sang my name in a tiny. My sister Ghislaine. who was almost ten. worshiped me. on the scene. I spent the first days. My mother is happy to take care of ev erybody. They watched me. in a way. percussion instruments . Is it any wonder that all of us have remained deeply attached to our childhoods? We were far from rich. But I can't take too much credit for it. a dream she'd thought she w as about to realize. children were always entitled on the day of their birthday t o a big € [22] chocolate or vanilla cake with candles. without a doubt the most attentive and ind ulgent audience I've ever had. where I had been born four days earlier. made a surprising discovery at the time . Felix Leclerc. As my . The twins were celebrating their sixth birthday on the day my mother and I came home from Le Gardeur Hospital. The music of others Janis Joplin. the lively dan ce music called rigadoons. pampered me. And what's more. The eldes t has sacrificed her youth to her brothers and sisters. I didn't cry too much and I quickly began sleeping nights. I succeeded in making my presence felt.. represents what's most beautiful and precious in thi s world. weeks. which in a ddition to health and love. and despite myself. happiness can't be far behind. "Celine" tells the story of the oldest of many c hildren. once again confined to the small world that she so much wanted to leave. I owe my life to that priest. And the years have gone by without her having known love. as well as the presents that my parents had bought them. or maybe months of my life in the arms of my moth er or father. at the bottom of her heart. who'd come to mess up her plans. Jimi Hendrix. the Hugues Aufray song "Celine" was an enormou s success in Quebec and France. Maman le ft me in the arms of my sisters and brothers and made a chocolate cake for the t wins. Somehow I must have won her over. and Ginette Reno as well as our own music. So it was a day of celebration. Jacques Brel. At our place. But they weren't kept from play ing music and singing in all the other keys. but she's never had much sympathy for complainers and crybabies.. but. And I cried just as much. I imagine that despite herself.

to my everyday life and my career. He doesn't want to see misery. misfortune. at any rate he doesn't try to communicate on intimate levels or to know what others are thinking or feeling. Even with his chil dren or with me.. I've even thought that when som ething broke or was cracked in our house. If today I've met the man who has made me happy. or he mixed mus . H e always sees only the good side of things and people. perhaps le ss sure of himself in front of others." as he calls it. His wife is t he authority. She decides. conflicts. so very sweet just like h im. Papa is an extraordinary accordion player. sadn ess. but espec ially to my mother. and th eir beautiful environments. And he's done it. He doesn't see. who ordinarily demanded s o little attention. distance themselves. He loves golf. I've always been very close to my parents. so fluid and joyful. Too much. and less authoritarian as well. I continued to see my mother as a role model. He loves to fish. the ugly side.. he even looked different. to make them forget their cares and worries. his back against the wall of the kitchen or the living room. My father is very good with his hands. He hates going to hospitals . And he was always smiling. He always had a very distinctive way of playing. When he rehearsed alone or with his friends. He just wants everybody to be happy. He can build an entire house lay the foun dation. do all the carpentry. He's always been a master at turning everything into a joke. he was part of an orchestra that played at weddings and holiday celebrations. as well. the "finicky stuff at the end. in Lanaudiere. Even when I reached the age when almost all girls break away from their mothers. perhaps. it "knocked us out. When I was small. the sound of his accordion thrilled me. why it is directly connected to my happiness and my emotional equilibrium. My father's temperament is altogether different from my mother's. What he likes less is all the finishing and detail work. my father reveal ed a lot more about himself to us through his music than he did by talking to us . So I used to listen to him and so did the other members of my family. He gets out his tool chest and puts everything back together. S he was my first manager. try to emancipate themselves or even o penly rebel. he was glad about it. or suffering at home or at the homes of others. suddenly stood out when he played his accordion. He playe d standing up. the electrical wiring. to make people laugh. even when the fish aren't biting. music attracts happiness like the wooden decoys that hunt ers use attract deer or moose. He's much more private and discreet than my mother. essential. For instance. Even when my mother and my sisters were giving birth. unique being chat a mother is. Basically. My father talks a lot. and it's in spice other as well. but most often he does this to entertain. But I believe that in most cases me n just don't like these kinds of situations. or at least more withdrawn. And I think all of us were surprised to see that this man. And that was something we all could fe el. I don't ever remember [25] hearing him complain about something or speak badly about anyone at all. or he kee ps himself from seeing. he goes with the flow. he flees Clement says. She wrote my first songs. it's t hanks to her . my confidante and pal. My father doesn't connect with others as easily as my mother. as well as that irreplaceable. My mother is the pillar of our family. in east Montreal. He put "soul" into the music. When he played. to my brothers and sisters. This explains why family has always been so important to me. not only in our lit tle suburban village of Charlemagne but everywhere in the region in Repentigny. She participates in anything that concerns the family. He did more than play. He was my brothers' idol and they learned a lot from him." Sometimes. She takes care ot the problems. for example. he would improvise. it was prac tically impossible to get him to visit them. put in the windows. even when h e's playing way above par. She was my friend. And I chink that's the bargain he has struck. he detests getting embroiled in them. He likes the peacefulness of these activities. the ins ulation and plumbing everything.

they al l waited for and heard my first words. "And that's exactly what worrie d me the most." claim Maman and Michel. and the car accident that nearly cose me my life when I was two year s old. Playing music is also how he seduced my mother. fores t. who were in the yard. They both knew the same r epertoire of reels. the versions differ somewhat.ical genres and all sorts of melodies. clean the flower beds. He had his accordion. They've spoken to me about it so much that I can say what the weather was li ke cloudy and windy. He sh owed her the chords to "Mockingbird" (L'Oiseau moqueur). They also remember the first songs I sang with them. she her violin. A year later. I saw a woman pushing a baby carriage a blue baby carriage. my mother had been transplanted from the Gaspe peninsula from sea. I can guess well enough how he w ent about it. Then he could feel he had hold of us. Jacques. that maybe I was dead. I've asked myself if the memories I've kept of it were really mine or if I re-created them in my mind based on what my oldest siblings have told me. There was nobody there but policemen finishing their report. he has this unusual talent of entering directly into peopl e's hearts. in front of the house. One of the first days of spring. the door open. My brothers Michel." contests my mother. The earth and the nearby river smelled good. old tunes he'd taught us and rock riffs that my brothers were listening to at the time. . they were married. The ambulance had already left when he arrive d. and so were we. which is in the most remote part of the Mauricie region of Quebec with its factories and smoke. I was playing in my sandbox. everybody remembers the day I was bo rn. When my father plays the accordion. Like him. thirteen childre n in sixteen years quite a figure. [27] I can visualize the scenery perfectly. he was twenty-one. who'd come running out of the house because she thou ght I'd been seriously hurt. from Denise to the twins. Daniel and Jacques tr ied to hold back my mother. I thought it was my sister Denise with her baby Christian. and Daniel were doing spring cleaning in the yard. and pick up the dead b ranches. I was in the middle o f the street when I realized that I'd made a mistake." . "Papa was there. Then me. It wasn't my sister but a neighbor out with her baby. but I had black and blue marks and bad bruises on my a rms and forehead. They played the "Hanging Man Reel" (Le Reel du pendu). I was rea lly fixated on Denise and her baby. he can become dangerously sedu ctive. It was very sunny." maintain Daniel and Jacques. and sky to La Tuque. And then came the children. As a musician. unmoving. When I've tried to recount my childhood. Apparently. Michel threw himself to the ground to get me out of there. and he was happy . That's where they met. Two seconds later. a mistake. a few years lat er. a man standing beside it. My father is the world champion of winkers. as is usually the case with this kin d of story. I ended up in the hospital with a fractured skull and a concussion. "Impossible. unexpected. heard the screech of tires and the cries of t he woman. they were at the scene of the accident. She wasn't crying but her eyes were rolled up into her head. They saw a big black car stopped in the very middle of the rue Notre -Dame. At our house. And he'd wink at us. and me spread out unde r the bumper. All my brothers and sisters witnessed my first steps. My brothers." my brothers will say. From then on. "You were crying your heart out. and they didn't want her to see me. . Through the hedge a very thin hedge that enclo sed the yard. She was seventeen. So I went toward them." I wasn't bleeding either. "She wasn't making a sound. of really touching them. They had to rake up the old grass. "He would have been working at that hour [ at the time he was a meat inspector at the Cooperative Federation of Quebec].

I always know what is happening in the family whether it be with brothers. when he saw the gentleman's face on page three of th e Journal de Montreal. far from my moth er. her memories. I' d always make a big scene. and that we've remembered only the good ti mes we spent together. he couldn't stand being in that house. But sometimes I tell myself that maybe we have forg otten the difficulties and hardships. nephews and nieces who's doing what. who's fighting with whom and why. I was only two years old. his point of view. sometimes I feel as if I really knew my grandfather Dion. and her interpretation. which my father built from the ground up. By "we" I mean my family. It w as the police report. and that we exaggerate them more each time we talk about them. no matter whe re she was or what she was doing. sisters-in-law. where my mother sometimes left me for two or three days. I don't remember any of it. for the first time in my life. The man belonged to the east Montreal underworld. I never wanted to go to bed. my mother. I began to know some old stories almost as well as if I had really lived them because I heard them talked about so much. she visits me often with my father and my aunt [29] Jeanne. But it took years for me to exper ience being alone again. about what's happening to us n ow but also especially about the time when we were all together in the little ho use in Charlemagne. How can I explain that this is the place where happiness lives? And how can I be sure of this? I believe there is something magical about big families. where Rene and I have our house. In addition. Eac h of the older children has his version of the facts. And lots of historians. four tiny bedrooms. si sters. of course. live near me on nearly a permanent basis. who has endle ss energy and likes big cities: New York. he was hit and killed by a train. Until I was eighteen or nineteen. Obviously. After the te rrible death of his father. London. how. who's bought a new car. families that know and share a lot of human warmth. without any modern comforts. Florida. in a children's hospital. no dishwasher (of course). I slept all alone. My relatives went with me on tour for years. h . My father unders tood why a few weeks later. and especially Paris. of course. If I slept at the house of one of my married sisters. we were practically inseparable. Big families have lots of shared history. who thinks she's pregnant. I'm still very connected to my family. to whom fate dealt a "low blow." Just a couple of steps from the house where we were living at the ti me. And he' d been bumped off by other criminals for some alleged crime or other. who's got a cold. We think of that house as if it were a lost paradise that we all dream of returning to as if we wish all sixteen of us could be crammed togeth er. in Jupiter. when I began collecting family souvenirs to put together an alb um for my parents a gift I have yet to finish my father took out of his wallet an ol d piece of pink paper that he'd held on to for more than twenty-five years. where . long b efore I showed up to turn my mother's life upside down. Even today. but actually I n ever lived in that house. an oi l furnace with its hellish smell. when. M anon and Linda. I certainly always want to hear the stories.A few years ago. her eldest sister. no more tha n I do the accident. The others I see regularly when I'm in Montrea l or when they come to Florida or Las Vegas. Through her. When I was small. I wanted to stay near her all the time. For example. And a day doesn't pass that I don't speak to my mother. My brothers Michel and Clement are never very far away. God take h is soul! That evening. espe cially when they go back to the early sixties or even to the mid-fifties. As time passed. We see each other a lot and we talk a great deal. I know the make and color of the car that hit me as well as the name of the ma n who was driving it Jacques Picard. Two of my sisters. brothers-in-law. Wherever I am today. Thanks to this document and to the accounts of my brothers . I think she basically got used to it. with a single bathroom. He'd offered my brothers twenty dollars not to call the police. who was promoted at work.

and between the beds and the chests of drawers. And I was as excited and happy as she was when she succeeded in duplicating the intonations of the singer. on the side facing th e street. I've forgotten the title of the song it was in English and I can't remember the name of the singer. facing an audience that she was welcoming and thanking. Aretha Franklin. Often there was a drum set in the middle of the room. had turned on the record player in our room and she was mimicking a singer's performance over and over again. I went up to it and stayed there. "Your grandfather had just left the house. and between the dormer window a nd the big mirror on the door of the wardrobe. even the cellar door. which occupied almost the entire room. were so close together. my father couldn't stay in the house and see the train that had kille d his father passing by every day. It had begun to rain. tape recorders. who must have been about fifte en years old. when there were no flies anywhere. but even so. She would ask me to set the needle back to the beginning of the song while she got h er breath back. and I didn't [31] like to go' there. She had a phobia about open doors. the walls were covered with posters of actors and singers. Dalida. I liked watching my sisters when they put on their makeup. guitars. next to my parents' room. there was a l arge living room that actually looked more like a music room. Then she'd start again. and Daniel on keyboard) found the music for the song. a sitting room where you barely set foot unless there were important v isitors. Ginette Reno. wires running in all directions. unable to move. which I shared with Pauline and Manon.e doesn't like to talk about what happened. I thought they were beautiful. who'd come to live with us after my grandfather's death. Even today. my broth ers (probably Clement on drums. you had to squeeze through the space between them. too. Ghislaine. tapes. imitating Mireille Mathieu. The kids liked finding themselves in a new house. Jacques on guitar. I prefer kitchens to living rooms." Afterward. on the first floor. and pose d in front of the mirror. On the ground floor. Maman was wonderful to her. Barbra S treisand. The children's rooms were on the second floor. I can tell the story of o ur moving as if I'd been there. There were big trees from which my brothers hung tires to make swings.€€€ That evening. It was a cold. Everybody listened. The men had delivered the furniture and a mattress was complet ely soaked. There was also. even my father and mother. And I felt as if I. It was an old Canadian house with the kitchen next to the main building. I watched her sing in the mirror. and s . I already knew all thes e singing stars. She gave her her own room. So we moved. There was a terrible noise. amps. Before I even started school. two for the girls. mikes. for talking an d playing cards. especially because it had a large yard on the banks of the Assomption River. This was several years before I was born. records. She held an old mike without a wire or a plug. I listened to her all afternoon. But I remember my sister's concentration and determination. could hear the applause. and there was no canvas co vering the truck. When the train st opped. two for the bo ys. even Grandma Dion. even in the middle of winter. The beds. I particularly remember one rainy day. In the larger. and Ghislaine s ang along with them. got dressed. I was sitting on the floor next to her. the car was just a heap of scrap metal. And I was impatient to grow up and do what they were doing. They also sang a lot. a very narrow porch ran along the entire front. At the front. which was v ery busy and noisy. like in the old days. She told us all the time to close them to keep out th e flies. fro m which you had direct access to the sidewalk of the rue Notre-Dame. but she made use of it as if she wer e on a stage. And throu gh the kitchen window I saw my father's car hitting the train. She didn't speak very much. She was already very old and nearly infirm. dark place.

has my heart been so heavy . money doesn't grow on trees. but I absolutely admire those who do it. washed her. We didn't do that kind of thing. I was so angry I no longe r saw anything around me. Several Barbie dolls that I owned cam e from that store. This could last hours. Ghislaine and Claudette. Because I knew that I couldn't go back and remain a baby. Never. There was no way we were going into the treasure chest. One day. it makes you a bigger person. Daniel the piano. comfortable family n est and live every day for hours far away from my mother. I'd been a few times with my mother or with one of my sisters. or Joplin. "Listen. She positioned her self behind the fence and watched me. It was the same. They'd simply left me there. someone. or hollering at me or shouting at me. She seemed delighted. When I saw that there was nothing to hope for as far as my father was concerned. would be singing up stairs in the girl's big bedroom. Another of my sisters was talking on the telephone. For example. stamped my feet." So I threw a real tantrum. This time. especially my father. I began begging my mother. Her authority was enough to set things straight. playing reels as old as the earth itself or doing vers ions of the [33] big hits of the Doors. Once more I see Grandma. spoiled woman. Doing good does you good. And you've already got enough toys at the house. Down below. She took care of her. free. imposed some order on the chaos and everybody ended up making music together. She took several steps back and then left me all alone. I don't know if I'd have the courage and the strength to do something like that. Hendrix. lost. I remember my mother went with me on foot and I held her hand very tight. because there were several kinds of music playing at the sa me time. Even when you couldn't hear yourself think in the house. nothing physical. Yo u could hear me from one end of the mall to the other. I turned a round and saw my parents heading for the exit. she had to pry open my fingers to separate herself fro m me. change d her like a baby. But most often. To me or to the others. Celine. And I hu ng on to my mother. But she s aid no too. My mother did. my father or my mother. I like to hear my mo ther recount that scene of horror. It was s weet and good. only more dramatic. Michel was listening to his jazz records . I had the scare of my life! In thirty seconds. She would smile all the time. my parents were in a hurry. I'm certain that they find pleasure in some part of it. I'd caught up with them. Once w e were in the schoolyard.he moved to the second floor with Papa. And sometimes the TV was p laying over all of that. however. That's the kind of lesson she gave me when I acted like a spoiled child. €€€ All of this made me feel great. which was near us. My mother had told m . She pun ished me with coldness or indifference. I wanted to go to the toy store. completely lost in her thoughts. Not a slap either. I had to leave the cozy. I wanted this life to last forever. It surprises me tod ay that I didn't become a lazy. huddled in her rocking chair. as well. the following year. I think. when I left for grade s chool. I never got a spanking in my whole life. neither from my parents nor from any of my brothers and sisters. And maybe a lit tle deaf. have a way of pu nishing me that was just as efficient as a smack on the cheek. I also cried my heart out the day I entered nursery school. Never by hitting me. She even helped her eat and get dressed. But on that day. Grandma stayed in her rocker and watched he r sons family make music. all evenin g. Jacques would be playing the guita r. when I m ust have been four or five. Clement the drums. Suddenly I realized I was completely alone. whether for family members or as a pro fession. however. I must say I had a very unfettered childhood. I was with my parents at the shopping center in Repe ntigny. my memory has retained a few precise snapshots. my godmother. if not through part of the night. I cried my heart out. and yelled.

a very obedient girl. it wasn't fear of a hos tile or strange world. I had always lived surrounded by adults and children a lot older than me. But at the time. those voices. But most of the time I was alone. one after another. As long as those who are asking are people I love and in whom I have confidence. I wanted to wait up in the kitchen with Manon and Pauline. One night I had a dream. At five or six years old. an d scold them. At Louise's. What's mo re. For me. I'm fascinated by it. talk to them. Forever. I didn't hide my suffering from my mother. we could make toast and hot chocolate. but rather a feeling of boredom. fin d my rhythm and stroke once again. without being able to stop . . who lived near the school and at whose place I had to stay and sleep on Thursdays and Fridays when Maman worked evenings. As far as I was concerned. Not in the middle of a schoolyard full of terrified childre n who knew nothing about nothing. my brothers had put up a punching bag like thos e used by boxers in training. When I came in to eat. When I think of that time. [35] My whole life had been turned upside down. and usually outdoors. Sometimes I punched the bag until my fists and wrists were swollen. an immense sadness. At Louise's everything was modern. I can easily see that in some way. And I'd go back to my punching bag. I would eat dinner at my sister Louise's. change them. I don't think their world interest ed me. I know every child has had to go through the first day of school. Maman's brother. I do wha t must be done. So that I could travel between school and the house . All of a sudden I felt incredibly light. I also played with dolls. where she sold boots. I'm not setting myself up as an example. They did my hair up in buns and braids. I didn't feel capable of finding a way to connect with tiny children and become part of their games (or I thought it was useless to try ). ordered. I can still recapture a little of the extraordinary sensation it gave me. there would have been those familiar noises. I just kept punching. real life existed around them. And everyt hing started happening in slow motion. Especially during summer. Today. My mother wrapped gauze around my wrists. etc. my hands were bleeding. and comfortable. although I myself was a chi ld. I do. From that day on. And I was extraordinarily happy. as if I were running on a rubberized surface. I preferred to be alone. all of that world that I so loved. Louise is sweetness itself. Then I'd put them to bed the proper way in an old wooden chest my uncle Valmont. I thought a bout the house. I'd wash my Ba rbies. Even today when I think about it. I lear ned everything I needed to know from them. t hose smells. A profound sense of bore dom. had made for me. Even when I played. all of us have been torn from our families and found ourselves all a lone on an asphalt playground full of strangers. Near the shed next to the house. I didn't have my bicycl e. I f elt that I'd been exiled.e this was coming. I always found it difficult to connect with children of my age. raincoats. But in the evening. I spent hours hitting it. the daughter of my sister C laudette. forgetting about everything. my strides got larger and larger. like at school. and will always do what I'm asked to. I was running. I was coming home after school. I have never forgotten this dream. I simply believe I wasn't made for this . sometimes with one of my sisters as sparring partner or with my niece Cathy. I was my mother's and my sisters' doll. alone in my bed. And I was. Maman had found work in a department store called American Salvage in east Montreal. who was soon eaten up by guilt (was t his exactly what I wanted?). Very fast. From then on. I'd se t myself up at the foot of the staircase leading to the backyard. just like they do for boxers. and continue to be. When Maman came home from work. polished. I didn't understand anything about it. she bought me a green bicycle. And even if I' d been sent to bed. and put them into poses. have always done. I detested school. I went to eat dinner at Louise's but slept at our house.

and Daniel was playing the accordianpiano. coats. Everything that interested me was so mewhere else. who called herself "Penelope" then. We fell in thick very quickly. I got up despite my fatigue and went to school to sleep. wearing a disguise. shoes. . and especially a part of their music and songs. I'd hear them coming home: they went in to the kitchen. Ghislaine. I stayed apart. and Daniel formed a real rock and rhythm and blues band. I was their number-one fan.€ I often went to b ed very late. their conversations . Liette. Denise sang folk songs and current hits. In school I really didn't look for friends. so I dreamed. The evenings when I didn't go with them. Joliette . they played in a club in Charlemagne: the Bord-de-1'Eau. A. And they brought me t oo. in the studios. and Linda often took me with them to stores and had fun having me try on dresses. When I'd had enough. at home or at the cabaret. They were called "L es Decides" (the Determined Ones) and they had T-shircs made with two D's separa ted by the note "si" ("ti" in English). Later. I slept when there were no more people playing music. the sound of the Hammond orga n. and sisters did. Ghislaine. made toast and coffee. happy. ). I didn't talk very much. It's a mixtur e of cigarette smoke and potpourri. or a complete snob. Jacque s played the guitar. The one I still play today: singing. in my bed. Dion and His Ensemble. I was never a good student. In the playground. the doors to recording studios would fly open for me. and I'd be a singing star. When they we nt on tour in Quebec (to Trois-Rivieres. I went to sleep on a bench. I could hardly open my eyes and follow what was going on in class. even when I was only seven or eight years old. Michel. playing comedy. Maman had warned me: "You can stay up as lon g as you want. which g ave shows in Lanaudiere and east Montreal. The Vieux Baril was the place where I saw real shows for the first time. They were giggling. and bars. whi . Berthier. very fruity. When they were near us. I must have seemed like a lunatic to some of the girls in my class. I w as almost always with them. they'd find me. " doing" show business like my parents. leading the mos t exciting life you could imagine. at four i n the morning. if you get up in the morning for school. They even did some TV shows. I wanted to grow up as soon as possible so I could go with them. a lonely perso n paralyzed by shyness. The D si D (Decides) fell apart. I ate when I was hungry. so Michel formed other groups. That was the game that I got the most pleasure from. and hats. and I listened to them tell Maman about their evening." So in the morning. It was called the Vieux B aril (Old Barrel). Clement was on drums. or if I did go. or to attract anyone. even when I was onl y six or seven years old. putting on a costume and makeup. and made up my face. [37] Mó father and mother had formed a musical group. Like my brother Michel and my sisters Claudette and Ghislaine. I even think that today I c ould recognize the smell of the Bord-de-1'Eau with my eyes closed. I never missed a show. very sugary. Maman had bought a new violin. with a friend of the family named Michel Desjardins. that everyone in the club grew quiet when she launched into "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin or Barbra Streisand' s "The Way We Were. The Eclipse. of course. It was also the place where I first experienced being in a crowd and had my first succe sses outside of the family circle." My parents came to these shows often. I was in mo urning. Or it was at the little club on the riv erbank that my father and sister Claudette had bought. I dreamed that I 'd be on a big stage one day. And it was damp an d warm. After the applause. I was so tired that I nodded out during class. I became part of their games. brothers. Jacques. try to g et ahead. She sang so well. Nor did I even let it be known that I sometimes sang with a band. I was above. the Les Paul Gibson guitar they were so proud of. with so much heart. I missed school regularly. sleeping on a bench. On weekend nigh ts. clubs.they put polish on my nails. . and my family played music and sang there. I have some very clear memories of those evenings. Claudette. had taken up Clement's dr ums.

Most of all. She was talking on the . € At school. if I did n't sink into a half sleep. and one of his songs rose quite high in the charts. and I felt no need or urgency to discover them. Ghislaine and Michel. I was nine years old w hen I learned that my niece Karine had cystic fibrosis. The decor was usually the same: inside the Vieux Baril. the long silences. I saved children from misfortune. "You'll understand when you're older. She was also the first Olympic gymnast to achi eve the highest possible score." I don't remember being excluded from adult conversations. the birds and the bees at least i n theory. As soon as lessons started. then the Show. My parents were astonished to discover that I was no longer afraid of strangers. as well. hunger. to whom they say. I'd plastered the walls of my ro om € [40] with her photos. Or instead. it' s really difficult to hide anything from a child. the customers asked me to sing some songs and gave me pennies. that I could face an audience without a problem. I met her in 1996 at the Olympic Games. I became accustomed to crowds. the one that the oldest can barely tolerate. The one th ey hide certain things from. instead of music. go to bed. the most . The fashion at the time was for frock coats and long.beautiful girl I'd ever seen. I remained a stranger. I lacked the typical curiosity of a girl of that age about matters of love. I admired her rigor and precision. I hadn't even been to school before I learned about all of life's mysteries. At twelve. I thought I was also capable of accomplishing what I wanted to do. I always succeeded. But in a big family. I knew them alr eady. something to see and hear. I knew an incredible number of songs by heart. in the evenin g after supper. €One autumn evening. steady voice. I loved her intense look and her very serious manner. five. an exile. into the darkest part of t he jungle. The only thing they tried to hide from me was misfortune. Michel has a strong. to laughter and bravos. the concentration she put into all her movements. to didn't last long. my parents took the twins and roe to one of the group's show s. no matter what the s ubject. Perhaps that explains why I waited so long. but I was never treated like the very youngest in the family. I left for the moon and started making little movies in my head. I thought there was nothing more beautiful on earth. until the age of twenty longer t han the average to put my theoretical knowledge into practice. Maman had made a whi te satin one with coattails and lapels for Michel. Then he recorded two 45s. Sometimes. Just like they did f or my idols. Having the will to reach the top by training and discipline was an idea I could totally understand. For me Nadia Comaneci was a model and an inspiration. talking onstage under the spotlights. I sat admiring my big brother . or ten years old. who'd become my absolute idol. which had a cer[39] tian following in the cabarets and clubs. but even so. The action was simple: I was singing in a big rock band directed by Daniel or Michel. I don't know if it's because of my mother. whether I was four. I was eight years old." or. I wanted to stay right to the end of the last set. The Show was preparing for a big tour of Quebec. All around me were faces on wh ich I could read the sadness. My mother's eyes were filled with tears. For me she represe nted perfection and she still does. As long as there was action. like Nadia Comaneci. I went to Africa as a missionary. I refused to go home. I couldn't do without them any longer. I was so moved I was trembling and almost cried. tailored double-breasted jackets. And t he people at the tables stopped talking and listened to me. fear. At the Vieux Baril. the lead singer of the group. I was already a famous singer. I was unstoppable. during the Olympic Ga mes in Montreal in 1976. I was a gymnast. "You're too young for this. and he moves well.

And we had just lost Grandma Di on. the liver. I was ten or elev en. the pancreas. I didn't have any friends and I thought that I didn't want any. Death had become a kind of deliverance. The twins were already going out with groups of friends to skate or see show s or films. from the beginning. had been diagnosed with a very serious illness. but in the case of cystic fibrosis. Toward the end. Within a few days. fresh-faced baby of my sister Liette. she was telling them in a low v oice that something terrible had just happened. in my fath er's family. as much for her as for us. My mother and I were alone in the house more and more often. and in Liette's husband's family. of course. through their silence and whispering that Karine. she had to give her massages to empty her lungs of the mucus that had accumulated and was blocking her breathing. And if she did survive. I think that was the worst part: to know that. I know that important progress has been made. She w . The expected life span of children with this disease has more than doubled. But it was a part of life. she'd suffer a lot. Aside from my mother. every day. She discovered that two of the se ven children of one of her cousins living in the United States. we learned that a lot of researchers are interested in that disease. where I'd gone when I was hit by a car. But when death makes itself known at the beginning of a life. it was a losing batt le. my sister Liette surrounded her with constant care. Karine didn't die in several weeks. you can't really talk about deliverance. as some of the doctors had predicted. She was the first child with whom I really enjoyed communicating. My mother got information about everyone that she knew in her family. the ro sy. The doctors had said to have Karin e baptized as soon as possible because she might not live more than a few weeks. She'd been taken by ambulance to Sainte-Justine.€ That's how I learned through my mot her's and father's tears. Everyone cried a lot. of course. It was the first real misfortune to strike our family. This is tru e of all diseases. We who had hated studying now spent whole evenings absorbed in the informatio n the doctors had sent to Liette. Karine was going to occupy an important place in [43] my life. I know there's hope. Grandma went eas ily. everyone in the family had become experts on cystic fibrosi s. the w hole digestive system. For years. had the disease. She had her take her medic ines. But research is progressing slow ly and costs a great deal. Two. five times a day. the hospital for chil dren. But there is still a lot to do. It's more like a cruel and unjus t condemnation. and she'd have to take medicines ever y day of her life. whom she hadn't seen for more than twenty years. she'd never grow. At the very beginning of my career. three . at the end of a long life. All that without any real hope. She probably wouldn't go to school. Nevertheless. had her follow a very strict diet. During the course of my family's study of cystic fibrosis. the odds again st getting it make it still more terrible: it's transmitted to the child only if both parents carry the gene. looking up unusual or scient ific words that you find at the very bottom of the page in such documents. or el se trying to learn the functions and locations of organs and glands that were af fected by or responsible for the illness the lungs. The oldest children rem ember the violent death of our grandfather Dion. to a very little with my [41] bothers and sisters who no longer lived with us. Or with our noses deep in an old French dictionary. I remember all the anatomical diagrams we looked at in th at dictionary in an attempt to understand. and s he'd need constant care. I don't think she really wanted to live. You need to have a serious case of bad luck to develop that disease. I helped raise fu nds for the Quebec Cystic Fibrosis Association.

actually. Maman. and as Ghislaine had taught me. was an entire audience. I don't think Karine talke d about it to anyone. and she had a plan of action. to cry out the rage that she must have had inside her. And during these times. After being the youngest in a f amily of fourteen children. she always made me think of weighty. Maman told me about her project. "And why not even all the way to France someday. She had a good appet ite. One evening. As soon as my song was finished. you'll need an agent. who showed her the patien ce of an angel and an incredible sweetness. Maman was still working outside the house. but because her body couldn't absorb nutritive elements from food. had moved out of the house. after the dishes were done. At five years old. also." Maman told me. I would watch myself in the mirror. I lowered my mike. but every note. this was a dream. I would think. A good agent won't see much of an ything in a girl who just imitates others. She'd never been very interested in my homework and school lessons. She wanted to make me into the kind of singer who could pack the Place des Arts in Montrea l for three weeks in a row and who could tour Quebec and Canada for several mont hs at a time.asn't altogether like the other children." I don't know how such an idea came to her. but today I realize the extent to which my mother has an artist's mind. For me. "If you want to get ahead. She'd watch me sing before the big mirror that Ghislaine no longer used because she. swept the cord behind me. but my mother had gone further than dreaming. The kind I think I would have had if I had been in her place. But first you need your own songs. and I were the only ones left. with the look and the thoughts of an ad ult. anemic. because she had this illness. she has a beautiful voice but she doesn't make good use of it. She'd become a very serious little girl. roller-skate. all her intonations. We'd listen to music fo r hours. behind my reflection. Even in those early days. We'd both go up to the girls' room. But she'd followed my singing progress closely. I don't remember whether we talked about her illness. I knew not only the words. and let them applaud. she didn't speak for days. sh e suggested I try new songs. And her project was: me. full of people watching me. pale." she told me." Our absolute model was Ginette Reno. being chosen by a good one. "Your brother Mic hel knows some. and I spen t hours trying to reproduce them as faithfully as possible. When she came to our place. she rema ined thin. But I know that she had her periods o f despair. because she began to suffocate as soon as she was exposed to the least bit of dust or pollen. burdened in a way that other children weren't. Karine must have known intuitively t hat all rebellion was useless. her in tuition and her instincts were very sharp. I knew all the songs in her album Je ne suis qu'une chanson (I'm Only a Song) by h eart. Except to Liette. She had a deep understanding and an i . deeply moving things of death. as the y did for Ginette Reno at the Place des Arts. because of w hat we knew. She'd th ought it through carefully. Or she said to me: "Don't imitate that singer. Soon Papa. Or maybe she didn't really have the strength to r ebel. probably because of the cl oseness of our ages. But now she had a big plan to turn me into a singing star. Even when she was a baby. who had become one of Canad a's most popular singers. she alrea dy knew how unjust life can be. Maman already had big plans for me. I'd finally become an only child. It's just a matter of choosing a good one I mean. I never saw her run. She gave me advice. with the two of us sitting at the kitch en table. swim. who was then the biggest star in Quebec. 2 Bó the time I was twelve years old. she spoke to me the most. or climb trees like all the other child ren. She wanted me to be like Ginette Reno. sometimes giving me a standing ovation. to the weakest breeze. She couldn't even pet a cat or walk in a field or in a blossoming orchard o r along the riverbank. I would imag ine that behind me.

nnate sense of show business. tattooed rockers that he was sending all over the world. What's more. I began to find my own intonations. about the structu re of a song. P aul Levesque said I'd really impressed him. I put every bit of emotion I had into it. I'd have to prepare some demos. the one wh o'd discover me would realize that I knew something about music. And I couldn't sing the torch songs that an adult would do eith er. At first. Paul also said I needed my own original songs in order to get a record company i nterested in me. whom we used to call Dada. or use honeyed whispe rs where [47] there should have been a cry of rage. One Sunday afternoon. my own voice. for every neighborhood party. At times. I wasn't interpreting the songs. I was doing what my interim agent my mother had recommen ded. Maman signed me up for some amateur contests. and had seen what I was capable of doing. My brothers Jacques and Daniel put together some tapes with the latest hits for me to sing along with. Though€ just a dream. That summer. for the first time in m y life. I was really excited. Not only could I choose which key to sing this so ng in. But over time. my own stuff. He knew as well that the producers wouldn't come to see me sing on a golf course. just show ing what my voice could do. Paul wasn't sure exactly what to do with me. even if I'd never thought of it in such a c lear way. often willy-nilly. I needed ballads that would sound right coming from the mouth of a teenager. And she was also telling me that it was time for me to take a big leap forward toward singing for real. I was completely free. because. so that the good agent would find or rather.. So she had me listen to a melody she'd sketched out. But even so. I couldn't just jump right into heavy metal and start screaming like the big. It wou ld be my first real song. That's why she knew that I needed to produc e several of my own songs. The refrain was perfect. I'll write you some songs. I would use rag ing anguish for words that should have been sung tenderly. But he didn't know any lyricists. Barbra Streisand. I was determined to put my own imprint onto these songs. in my own voice. I was so glad that someone other tha n my family members had heard me. She knew that you can't really judge the value of a singer when she is interpret ing a song that people already know. who handled the careers of several big rock groups in Quebec. I di dn't speak English yet. seemed completely obvious to me. at the tender age of twelve. But Maman couldn't seem to find the link between the . What my mother said that evening. M ichael had brought his friend Paul Levesque. so I didn't understand a single word of what I was singi ng. As a matter of fact. That night I went to bed with the refrai n of the song in my head. I was obsessed with Olivia Newton-John. My brother Michael and my s ister Linda. took me to see her at the Forum in Montr eal. for all the festivals held in play grounds in the area. but I could decide which notes to emphasize. and be able to see that I really could sing. except the ones who wrote in English for his rock groups. Then one day my mother told me: "Little one. More real than I can say." She had already written some lyrics in one of my school notebooks. so beautiful. I started going through her songs using the instrumental arrangements. I'd inevitably fall back into the style of the girl who'd sung the song first. I sang like Ginette Reno. or A retha Franklin. They ran into me and Maman under the big maples that bordered the golf course. at the kitchen table in our house in Charlemag ne. I sang "Let's Get Physical" at a party on a golf course. Nor could he find any musicians to compose melodies that w ere right for me. which syllables to lengthen or trill .. where there wa s a niche for me in show business. and Paul said he would get th em heard.

Paul was less than thirty. was a virtuoso. At the time. and I showed them that it wouldn't work by humming their "big find. Maman sang him her refrain and her verses over the tel ephone. It's one of those technical requirements that can become the bane of any musician. geography. so beautiful. but he was a responsible and meticulo us man. For example. More real than I can say. But I thought they didn' t. my parents signed with him. Paul was kind of culturally incompatible with our family. Naturally. But from the beginning. One day he even had a formal notice sent to my parents requiring them to send me to school regularl y. "Let me try something . which complicated things. histo ry.refrain and the verses. She even had a television show! Paul really couldn't see how he could differentiate me from her. you've got your bridge!" Jacques shouted. To a magic garden I aid stray. Over the days that followed. a rock group whose guitarist. Jacques left late but happy. it doesn't work!" Jacques said. "That's it. [49] €We were so excited that we went through the song. not to say horrified. who was working nights in a nearby bar. he was shocked that I often missed school without anyone at home be ing bothered by it. . half a dozen times. And woke up one enchanted day To hear a harp and violins play. Like Daniel. but I wasn't quite sure. It was just before the ho lidays in 1980. Nathalie Simard. It's called a "bridge" a musical transition that takes yo u back and forth between the refrain and the verses. After a family conference. He knew the law did not permit a twelve-year-old singer to c ompromise her studies for her career. But he liked m y voice. Personally. What's more. but noth ing worked." "She's right. I would have had to sing it out loud or have him play the mel ody on the piano. my broth ers and I put together some demos of "Ce n'etait qu'un reve" (It Was Only a Drea m) and another song that Maman had written called "Grand-maman" (Grandmother). Jacques w as about to leave. Jacques has an incredible memory and ear for music. A couple of times they thought they had it.. A lot of people were comparing him to Jimi Hendrix. and hummed some notes. He immed iately began trying to find a good record company and a competent producer. Ê A few days later. little one. he came over around suppertime with a melody for the verses and some arrangements for the refrain. the music over and o ver. But Paul was worried that the school would report my repea ted absences and that his agent's contract would be revoked. I wasn't interested in school. by our very b ohemian. my family thought Paul Levesque should be my agent. Though just a dream. Jacques and Maman thought they could come up with one easily by winging it or en c riant lapin. The next day. he w as representing Mahogany Rush. She phoned my brother Jacques. and he saw that I could put out an energy that couldn't be beat. The second time this happened. every time one of my sisters or brothers stopped by the house. as we call it. he thought that I knew how to sound moving. who was singing in Montreal. He was astonished. Frank Marino. the words. artistic lifestyle. Paul was much mor e oriented toward this type of macho American hard rock than toward the sentimen tal ballads of a teenager." I said. Maman.. I thought I really had something. in Quebec there was already a girl my ag e. I was only hoping to be free to sing and to forget about math. my mother added: "If you're so smart. He can remember the individual parts of all the instruments after hearing a reco rding two or three times. and all the rest. They tried all sorts of things for an hour. who was very law-abiding and respectful of conventional values. Celine Di on. my mother had them play my song. then find us something better!" Actually. But we still didn't have the link between the refrain and the verses.

" He knew this was no asset because Quebec already had Nathalie Simard. the most important record producer in Quebec. If he doesn' t like our songs. "He could at least answer. "Of course she ca n." After about two weeks. He had produced her album Je ne suis qu'une chanson. Angelil was. Michael picked it up. then hung up and turne d toward me. Once he gets an idea in his head. He called Re ne Angelil's office again and again. it real ly could. He really wasn't sure what category to put me in or what I should be singi ng. but she was furious. my mother made sure that someone was [54] in the house at all times. that that niche in the market is taken. Ginette Reno." Claudett e added." Angelil told my brother that he really hadn't had the time to listen to my demo. who'd met Angelil a few times. "My sister is twelve. Then he laughed. wi th about three hundred thousand copies sold. turned to me. Rene Angelil was already the most important agent in Quebec." she said. The gossip columns said his star. he should tell us why." He scrawled an address on the wall next to the telephone. or Michel had the idea of sending our demo to Rene Angelil. Why would Ange lil want to burden himself with a second singer and get involved in a project in which everything still remained to be done? "All he'd have to do is hear you one time." "The guy probably has other fish to fry. the telephone rang. and said." said Michel. He probably doesn't have the time to listen to every demo tape he gets. Michel didn't speak for a moment. he should return the demo tape. But I do know we all thought it was a good idea." an d "Grand-maman. ten minutes? And it could change your life." Maman told me.Nevertheless. When she got home from work. didn't I tel l you!" he said. "And keep singing. "He could at least be polite. was about to hit France. "Well. She's a real singer. the demo containin g all our hopes that my mother had wrapped in brown paper with a red ribbon and a little bow." "I'd even be surprised if he was looking for new singers to represent. She was already singing in Las Vegas and on American television.. What they said made sense. with no resp onse. there's no changing his mind. "How old's your sister?" he asked. Maman. and she was my idol. What' ll it take. "Now just keep your fingers crossed. "Twelve . And if he is too heartless to tell us. there was still no news." He sent these off to a number of record companies. Michael hung up. I'm telling you. like a present. "You know. I wa s standing behind him and heard him say: "I know you haven't listened to the dem o my sister sent you. and he wouldn't think twice about tak ing you on. Michel is very headstro ng. replied. He was Ginette Reno's age nt. I was really disappointed that we hadn't heard anythin g. I knew all the songs on it by heart. at t he time. ." answered Michael. 'Cause if you had." Ghislaine said. in the studio he produced demos of three songs: "Chante-la ta chan son" (Sing Your Song) a remake of the Jean Lapointe song "Ce n'etait qu'un reve. Wherever and whenever you want. I know he wi ll.. Ma ybe he doesn't listen to any of them. until finally he got him on the phone. "That doesn't make any difference. and. after a pause." Ten minutes later. the biggest-selling record ever in Canada. don't you. Paul was given the task of getting our little package to him. but he would do so in the next few days. Out of fear of missing Rene Ange lil's call. Listen to her and you'll see. I don't know which of us Paul." Finally. you would have already called us. "He's Ginette Reno's a gent." Angelil said. "He'll call back. she took over for Jacque s or Ghislaine or Daniel. but this is no little girl.

their body language. I had faith. gave me a goal in life. mother. the Tanguays. up close. but the whole family's. from my grandparents. hope. my sisters and br others. € I still vividly remember the first time I met Rene Angelil. They told me that one day I'd sing with them on television. accordion or harmonica players. So. into this project that my mother had described for me one evening in our lit tle kitchen. I'd never doubted that things would happen like this. my uncles and aunts. They took me t o restaurants and stores. Ideally. I. sure and certain. at two o'clock. I went to hear them sing almost every night. Truly. possible. I believed in it. determination. My sisters Claudette and Ghislaine. and the big Las Vegas shows. which. I was born into a very special environment. buoyed me along. I thi nk. I carried a fully formed dream inside me. everybody around me has always worked hard. my goal of becoming a great singer seemed reasonable and accessible ma ybe even inevitable. My brothers. For this reason. They also told me about Broadway. And to have known so intimately the people who were my idols wo uld have a profound effect upon my entire life. but that telephone call was going to change our lives. almost all of who m were singers or fiddlers. better than good. And I was deeply happy. mak ing records. isn't given to everybody. and they were my idols. with understan ding that only by working like a dog would I realize my dream. is as necessary as having a voice. In the end. I began doing it with all my strength. and the [53] means to reach it. untouchable beings. For all of that." We didn't know it yet. I told myself that with practice. But I got these things at home: a goal. I put all my talent. on the o ther hand. time. I must admit. And I was completely aware of what I wanted to do in life. I studied their vocal techniq ues. As far as I'm concer ned. I ate with them. I was sure I had everything I needed to succeed. It was my parents. the wish. above all. I would go to see them sing. the man who'd gradua . surrounded by adults who really took care of me. I'd one day be able to perform as well as they did. and most likely. In other words. played with their dresses and high heels. by my thirteen brothers and sisters. school should give young people life goals and ways to attain them. I also had a voice and an ear. And for a long time I thought the whole world felt the same way. And Rene Angelil's When my mother had revealed the career she had mapped out for me. father."Rene Angelil wants to see you this afternoon. saw most of my idols every day. Most people think of their idols as unreachable. That I even had luck. I t hank God every day of my life. at the Place des Arts. that things would be good. I made every sacrifice. In my mind there is no barrier or gap between the world of show business and mys elf. It had been conceived a nd carried by my mother and father. my brother Michel. who brought it to me. energy. their dream. maybe even at the Olympia in Paris. Without a shadow of a doubt. People who. I also knew I had to work hard and this didn't frighten me. And this dream. which. An d I was ready to sacrifice anything or go to any extreme to achieve it. all my ingenuousness and naivete. into this enterpri se. sisters . I'd inherited it at birth. loving it. When I wat ched Ginette Reno on TV or Aretha Franklin or Olivia Newton-John or went to see my b rother Michel or my sister Ghislaine singing at the Vieux Baril. f rom the Dions as much as from my mothers family. They said we'd make records together. charm. aside from health. It was a dream that I hadn't created. w ill. were singing onstage. that's the most precious thing you can have in this worl d. I had i t in my blood at birth. from my father and mother. So I wasn't the one who created this dream. like some powerful river that would carry the story of our family from one end to th e other. even doing a little TV. slept in t he same room with them. I knew that ev erything was logical. No t only mine. Like the music that stays in my head.

He was extremely polite "a gentleman. but I felt that that said everything. Farther on. He wore brown shoes and a brown jacket. in h is office. He too seemed somber. All of a sudden I was feeling very good and confident. There was no other choice. Finally. He asked us to sit down bu t he remained standing. t he balconies. His wife. Anne-Renee. I knew I just had to di ve into it. to get as much space in front of me as possible. € . "Sing us your song. but his voice had a soothing swe etness. To a magic garden I did stray. Apparently (at least according to my mother and Rene). From time to time I even looked at him. To me he seemed sad. And th en. without music. I'd never seen a man cry while listening to someone sing. okay? Like you were singing it at the Place des Arts. The office smelled good. in front of a sad-looking guy whom I hardly knew. without a mike. I think that my mother too was really surprised. Rene wiped his eyes. and by the window. who were ancient history for me. But as an agent for Quebecois artists. He said he'd heard my demos and thought my voice was very beautiful. Rene Angelil was a part of the present. I remember the office being kind of dark and somber. you cou ld see the boxlike building that was Tele-Metropole headquarters." as my mother said." I still didn't really know him. life. as if we hadn't seen anything. as if I could see the audience in their chairs. My mother too was looking at me. the imposing iron structure of the Jacques-Carri er bridge [55] looked like it had just sprung up on the city. without music. This made it hard to see hi s face. There was a silence t hat lasted for what felt like a century. where the tele vision studios are. but eve n so very little light entered the office. Rene had been a big singing sta r with a group called the Baronets. with his back to the window. and me who lived it to remember all of what really happened. suddenly. he sat down and asked me if I wanted to sing for him right there. and I had tapes for accompaniment. my mother. Each of us has his or her own version of the facts and a vision of the places. in the orchestra. But the s tory's been told so many times and by so many people that today it's hard for Re ne. My mother had to turn around to see me. at Rene Angelil. there wa s a backgammon table. But then I coul d see myself singing. Because at one moment I saw that he had tears in his eyes. Diagonally across the street." I'd done this hundreds of times in front of my bedroom mirror. €€Rene was standing behind his desk. okay?" He still wasn't smiling. I then t old myself that we had him. But he wasn't smiling. When I finished. I felt terribly intimidated. During the sixties. In the corner of his office. very warm. I remember that he seemed to address his words to my mother more than to me. "You made me cry. and I w as looking at them straight in the eye. it was my turn to wait through a century of silence. Maybe it was that kind of day outside. who'd been the French version of the Beatles . The man who was saying this about my voice was the same one I'd seen several t imes on TV or in the papers. was also well known as a singer and a television host. in front of two people. I brought the pen to my lips and began singing. Then Maman said: "She's really not used to singing like that.lly occupy such an important place in my career. I wasn't very familiar with the Baronets. there was a big sound system. and heart. I'd also sung dozens of times in amateur contests and playgrounds. But I'd never sung into empty space. in the dress circle. fresh. And woke up one enchanted day. That I re member well. very calming. because there were large windows with a view of the roofs. start singing. behind the door. I sang as if I really wer e at the Place des Arts." Rene handed me an enormous pen and said in a very gentle voice: "Let's say that' s your mike. Then he said. I stood up and put myself in front of the office door.

he had his coat on when he said to my parents: "If you put your faith in me. he told us about a lyricist that he knew. At the time. We were certain that all our neighbors notic ed his arrival at our door. to prepare som e new orchestrations. Mire ille Mathieu. Mic hel. One time. we found out that she wanted to strike out on her own. And about Elvis. In our eyes. I think." a faithful rendition of the Beatles' "Hold Me Tight. We really like to make fun of people." He was always very elegant. which was off-limits to the public at large. we adopt him for life. he'll write for h er as well. And he had a mysterious. really honored to be visited by this man. But Rene came from some where else. his eyes had a "velvety look. He could go on for hour s. From now on he was part of the family. the Beach Boys. He knew all of Elvis's songs by heart and sang whole verses of them with Clement and my mother . But since we're all a bit brazen at our place. It's true that he had magn ificent eyes." He said this time we would do them in a real studio. always discreet ly. before leaving. and maybe Ghislaine) and took us to the Saint-Charles studio in Lo . He passed our test with flying colors. from another world. Then our family talked with him for a long time. And that Rene had been really wounded and humiliated when she left him. with one foot out the door. gestures. facial expressions. That doesn't mean we weren't proud. When someone new turns up at our place we always put him t hrough a kind of test. His parents were Lebanese. peopled exclusively by French speakers. when he came to the house. except what counted for me. exotic sid e to him. My f ather taught us that. born and bred in Quebec. It was called "C'est fou. The first time that Rene set foot i n our house. the rockers of the fifties and sixties. with real violins. he talked for hours about everythin g and nothing. but all of them still lived in the neighborhood. Rene thought we had to rerecord "Ce n'etait qu' un reve" and "Grand-maman. My sisters and mother thought he was really handsome. the Bar onets. In the beginning. like a quiet seducer. That f irst meeting told us to what degree Rene Angelil adored the King. Then. new arrangements. he was treated to a well-rehearsed parody of his old group. Nobody dared to ask him what had happened. he would get serious. a man from France. "He wrote for Edith Piaf. He drove a Buick LeSabre. My brothers had rehearsed one of his big hits. If he comes out of it unscathed. even for Barbra Streisand. Rene told all sorts of stories. mais c'est tout. whom we knew from television. One evening. who was known all over Quebec. famous or not. but we loved listening to him. Yves Montand. Later. Rene really laughe d a lot when he heard this. For us he seemed a ki nd of prince in exile. : The Dions had always lived in a tight-knit little world. He'd asked the pianist Daniel Hetu. imitating the Baronets' voi ces. of course. and a slightly slower tempo. "He's the best. Both he and Rene passed themselves off as journalist s for Radio Canada and were able to follow the funeral procession all the way to the cemetery. Rene had to put up with our tradition of tea sing. and as Denise or Claudette or maybe Ghislaine said. He told us about going to Elvis's funeral in Memphis with Johnny Farago. I had watched my brothers and sisters leave home one after the other." he told my mother. I can guarantee that your daughter will b e an important star in Quebec and France within five years." That evening he told us that he was no longer Ginette Reno's agent. who were also great fans. Rene came to get us (my parents." But in order for him to hear me." Luckily. whose agent he had been. sure of himself. who could write songs for me. with a lot of details. he had an immense amount of class.You've got to be pretty "cool" and have a good sense of humor to be around our f amily without feeling hurt or scared. Farago had made a car eer out of imitating Elvis. When he hears Celine. The first time. Jacques. and he spoke several languages. about the Beatles. and we still [57] played music together evenings and weekends.

I didn't have a boyfriend. After this recording session." Sure. We were too impr essed and terribly intimidated. I always enjoyed talking with Eddy. And he had me study the lyrics for several days until h . with restraint when it was necess ary. exp ectations that are too high. that my fa ther had built a house with his own hands. He asked us a thousand question s. win my trust. and that all of us were musical. you'd think all of us were th e best of the best). It wasn't long before we adopted him too. I'm not sure anyone was truly knocked out by my performance. When he came to me. maybe everything between us would co me to an end. it just carries me. Today. I let my voice go free. Inside it the re's somebody. a very dear friend. as if we were t he most important people in the world. I let him in on all my secrets and told him all my dreams. In order to write songs for me. It'll knock you out." All this buildup definitely gave me the feeling that if I flopped that evening. he said he needed to know me deeply. My life as a teenager was easy enough to describe. I do n't have to push it. He knew how to approach me. when I lis ten to that recording. nearly five times my age. But he quickly became a real pal. but I wished he hadn't made so much out of [59] it. B ut luckily I'm the type of singer who forgets everything after the first few not es and discovers an enormous confidence in herself. but I don't remember putting these particular people through a test. Permanently. who was my universe. everyone believed that all the French were contemptuo us snobs who thought they knew everything about everything. On the contrary. And if someti mes I thought about love." Some of us were at the house. These were the best technicians (to hear Rene. Monsieur Eddy Marnay. He introduced us one by one to the engineers and to Daniel Hetu. With them was Mia Dumont. or should I say. a nd even if he had traveled the planet and knew the biggest stars of the century. a little girl of thirteen who wants to topple the whole world.ngueuil. he told them: "Wait a nd hear her sing. Monsieur Mar-nay's "soul mate. he brought us a song he'd written for me . I also talked a lot about my mother. Telling everybody: "Listen car efully and see what I can do. They'd worked with Ginette Reno and a lot of other singers who had infinitely more experience than me. but I did give it my all. and it certainly has presence. but it's right. In that case. He seemed really amazed that my parents had had fourteen children. But he did this without making fun of me. "La Voix du bon Dieu" (The [61] Voice of the Good Lord). I would have only given half. He was older than my parents. Eddy was very curious about us. j ust a few days after our first meeting. mo re easily than boys and girls of my age. I never connected it to the face of any of the boys I knew. when really they kne w nothing about nothing. Even if he spoke better French than any of us did. if I "bombed" with such experienced people. And everything I said to him seemed to fascinate him. singing with all my strength. always very considerate. much closer to me than Rene was at the time. polite man. But Eddy was a refined. nearly twenty years later. At the time. that we s ang. a type we'd never e ncountered before. in our world. a little worried as well. I rediscover all the passion. One evening Rene brought over his Frenchman. It's pretty terrifying even if it's motivating creatin g for you the biggest challenges you can imagine. often using words whose meaning we vaguely knew but never used. You won't stop raving. he never looked at us with contempt or condescension. and with confidence and heart. Very quickly. I was flattered. I'd soon learn that Rene always had very high expectations. that my mother wrote songs. Actually. things started happening very quickly. Sometimes he corrected me when I used verb tenses incorrectly or mixed up an adv erb with an adjective. a quarter of myself. The voice that I hear sound s awkward at times.

e was sure I really understood them. my first testing of the waters. In all honesty. fifty. how to hold a word right to the end of my brea th. My hair is as curly as a sheep's. I think all three of them knew what Eddy was telling me. We took advantage of the opportunity to launch m y first 45 and to launch me too. with puffed sle eves. "It's the most important talk show in Canada. She spent a lot of time making my face look right." I drank up his words. I realized I wa . where. "They need to be called for and necessary. My sister loves to do hair and makeup for people. We went over every phrase. In fact. Others are only there as links between two ideas or for their sou nd quality. Rene came to our house one day to say that he 'd had the TV host Michel Jasmin listen to "Ce n'etait qu'un reve. I wondered if he'd st opped believing in me. I looked like a clown! My mother. When it was time to rehearse my song. twenty. Then he sang with me." Rene told me. But when we started to work seriously. Maman took an old pair of sandals and dyed them pink. "A million peopl e are going to hear you sing. even in the big de partment stores on the rue Sainte-Catherine. because he was there. Rene. how. like my sisters. three nights of work. but on-k ey. the most popular in Quebec. Rene introduced us to the director." he said. "Never sing lyrics you don't own completely. bite right into. "Too often you drown your w ords in vocalizations. he told me I had a beautiful voice. I'd sung songs in English without understanding a single word. this would be my first real public appea rance. Some wo rds you can cry out. attentive. After the new demos were prepared. And sometimes I used too many ornaments and arabesques. Finally. And in thos e days it was very long. My sister Dada found silk sto ckings the same color pink. I could tell she was nervous. and I got to the studio at Tele-Metropole at least two hours before the show was taped. He told me where. It even bothered him when I told him that. he told me quite frankly that I had several bad habits I had to correct before going to a recording studio." And I was thrilled. it beca me wild. But this time he didn't tell anyone that my singing would knoc k them out. why to pause. To give all its meaning to a word. think about what it contains. Before we went to the recording studio. which she'd done a hundred times before. you'll see. but no matter how hard we looked. We were alone in the living room. If it was badly dried or not arranged properly. he had me spend several days preparing e verything in my head. He was my confidant. and how to take a breath . "You shouldn't sing songs that aren't made for you. for years." and he'd bee n "knocked out" too. especially some of my vowel sounds . and to [53] the other guests. For a moment. when. a hundred times. the floor manage r. my face isn't easy to do. intelligent. It was cold in the studio. Three days. I knew we'd go far together." My mother made me a pink dress that was cinched at the waist. just f or fun. It literally demolished my interpretation of "Ce n'etait q u'un reve. the researchers. the cameramen. I was relieved but also worried. and that I sang with a lot of emo tion. Jasmin's the best. you've got to weigh ea ch word carefully." he told me. Jasmin was willing to do anything to have me on his talk sh ow. in tune with me. when. that you haven't really live d. everything it can mean. But that day. my counselor. or rather. reassuring. Manon did my hair and makeup. He explained that my voice sounded too nasal. others you can murmur. Rene was playing cards with my parents in the kitchen . my friend. And we didn't notice the time passing. His voice was unremarkable. as he called them too mu ch decoration. Some need to sound very detached." Like Rene. we were never able to find matching shoes. He had a solution for everything.

As soon as the song ended." It was like diving into empty space. you have to know what you can do and you have to tell it to the world. I put my best into it. "Go ahead. my fear returned fast and furious. and I don 't think he was shocked or bothered by what I'd said to [65] Michel Jasmin. I tried to concentrate. I imagined myself running out of the studio. and it reassured me a little.s scared stiff in front of cameras. loving me. "If you want to go far." Rene told me. But answering the questions of a TV host. I was standing in the shadows. the cameras kept m oving. For good luck I wanted to knock on wood something Rene often did. Rene looked for some with me. he foun d the pipe of one of the guests. at least a mi llion people were watching and listening to me. I believed so strongly in myself that modesty seemed to dis appear as soon as the subject was my voice. I looked at t he audience filling the studio. My answer must have seemed ridiculously pretentious. A few hours after the TV-show taping. I felt really good. Michel Jasmin mentioned my age. I was totally disoriented. show them you're the best. And that she loves you. He congratulated me warmly. my mother. I don't know why I answered like that. as if it were obvious that I d idn't need any lessons. but the emptiness and the cold. Although later he did want me to take voice lessons. Fer-nand Gignac. that I still had a l ot of things to learn. It seem ed a little too short to me. Luckily." said Monsieur Gignac. black eye of the camera were terrifying. I stared right at the camera. or that my voice would get shaky. Today I realize that unlike Eddy. I saw my profile. Suddenly I realized I had nothing to talk about other than m y love of singing. When I watched myself in the monitor. But I couldn't s ee anything wooden in the studio. all watching me. That would mean cur tains for my career as a famous singer. that was another challenge. I couldn't figure out which one to look at. You've got to dive right into it. aware that. In the shadows I could see my father. in an ashtry. I walked onstage a s if everything were about to collapse around me. Rene encouraged that attitude in me. I watched the broadcast in my parents' liv . I couldn't see anything. never full face. But I so wanted to become a great singer that I'd begun to think I had everythin g I needed to do so. That way. be there. Nothing else." That's what h e thought. From time to time. through it. When Michel Jasmin introduced me to the audience. Rene had a game plan for me to follow. complimenting me on my voice and politely asking if I planned to take singing lessons. but I was well aware. then I'd do the refrain for the camera. Then I'd do it the opposite way round. But as usual. his head very close to mine. as was Eddy. and said my mother and brother had wri tten the song I'd sung. my sisters with their husbands. I felt as if they were all singing in chorus with me. Rene was behind me. But there wasn't any audience there yet. you've got no other choice but to do it. He asked him wha t it was made of. And while I was singing. And at times. my stage fright disappeared. "Briar. like I did when I sang in my bedroom mirror. I'd sing my first verse to the a udience. my brothers with their wives. shaking. he always pu shed me to say loud and clear that I could knock everybody out. And he said: "Go ahea d. I was afraid I'd forget my words. Finally. nothing but empty bleachers tha t could seat about a hundred people. I was happy with my performance and my vi ctory over stage fright. thirteen. or I'd disso lve into tears. as soon as I started to sing. And that I wanted to do it all my life. It was as natural as breathing. Singing I knew. Rene told me. Tell yourself that through its lens you're talking to your mother and she's listening to you. I touched Fernand Gignac's pipe. it's wood. Look at any camera at all and go inside it. I appeared astonished by the question and answered it rather abruptly.

Several times over the summer I sang the national anthems at the beginning of ba seball games at the Olympic stadium in Montreal. I do remember that in the days that followed. I launched into the anthems. I've developed the ability not to keep endlessly looking back. o r Mia. Anne-Renee. and in front of the crowd a nd the television cameras. made out of black patent leather. At the time. the indispensable accessory to c omplete an outfit. we had pizz a or Chinese food delivered. I d on't hold on to useless regrets. in the summer of 1981. I never liked the way cigarettes smelled. his friends Marc Verreault. their friends. I designed dresses and coats for myself. to the Saint-Charles studio. Sometimes he brought along his children. as did my father and several of my brothers and sisters. When I sang. six times. Eddy and Mia were there. the best one of my life. Without comme nt. at his office. The next day. I had to envision the broadcast and watch myself singi ng." Mike in hand. who have opinions on everything and think they have nothing to learn from anybody. But I u tterly hated the interview. too. But I didn't like seeing Maman smoke. it's people who know it all. I bought some high heels. And with several of my brothers and sisters. people from the industry and the media. Ben Kaye. The emcee announced that "O Canada" and the "Stars and Stripes" would be perform ed by a young girl of thirteen. But you really have to. And if there's one thing on this earth that I really hate. who've never been a fraid. However. I must have more than a thousand . Rene had given Mia the responsibility of teaching me how to create a look for the album photos. ladies and gentlemen: Celine Dion. I watched my mother sew and knit. Maman smoked. I went shopping either with my sisters. My passion f or shoes had only begun. And I had fun dressing up in the clothes and high-heeled shoes of my sisters. I remember every recording session as a real celebration. Jacques Des Mara is. Rene came by to take my mother and me. the con trol room was ready to burst with all these people who watched us working. With the very first money I had earned as a singer. I ran right up to the pitcher's mound. which was more terrifying for me than facing big audiences. my godmother. it worked. "Mesdames et messieurs. For years. Two little habits I had to get rid of. Rene put me through this exercise every time I went on TV. always bought something to wear. I did sound pretentious. wearing the uniform of the Montreal Expos. Rene wasn't judgmental about it. In the middle of the night. and sometimes my f ather as well. several others. At the end of the day. except on the way I held the mike too high in front of my mouth and passed it back and forth from one hand t o the other. I had to endure again and again the painful ordeal of watching myself sing and s pout my idiocies to Michel Jasmin. I have no memory of Rene's reaction. [67] Claudette. My sisters Dada and Li ette often took me shopping with her. I watched myself five. On the days I didn't sing. What he really wanted was for me to get used to seeing myself and to become comf ortable with looking at myself as if I were a part of the audience. If certain thing s seemed like a disaster to me. One day Rene decreed that people who wanted to smok e had to go out to the parking lot. at th irteen. surrounded by my brothers and sisters. their children. and his wife. I don't even remember if he was in the room with us. He didn't comment. It isn't easy to do this. Rene always invited a lot of other p eople his cousin Paul Sara. somet imes until the wee hours of the morning. I've always loved fashion. For my birthday and other holidays. I quickly corrected them and didn't think about them anymore. Anne-Renee. we put together two albums: one of origina l songs written by Maman and Eddy. For me they're room. Although I haven't counted. That summer. and one of Christmas songs. I cut out patterns from magazines. When I was little.

With women the choice is limitless . I dreamed of seeing myself walking the runway like a model. although with them the univers e of shoes seems less rich and less changing. should I deny myself this harmless quirk that doe sn't hurt anybody and doesn't harm my career in any way? Wherever I go. wearing a sumptuous d ress that was all feathers and sequins. To me. when I get home. Whenever I had to smile as I did for the album cover photo I opened my lips as littl . disturbingly so. her dreams. we had quite a bit. I've bought the same shoe in every available color. It's a nice sweet g irl who's only thirteen years old. wooden clogs. Thin or fat. or that I would have liked to choose if I'd had the money. not even my parents. "Your clothes have to match what your songs are saying. alligator-skin bootees. It's a distinction I would gladly have done without. even for the meals ordered in the middle of the n ight for the engineers and the audience at the recording studio. and high heels. However. And I can behave in ways that are completely irrational. I realize that what I did was crazy. So did my mother.pairs today. they hung over the corners of my upper lip. even the ones that hurt my feet. my feelings. For school photos I had gotten into the habit of keeping my mouth shut over my p roblem. a long skirt slit high up the thigh. with a boa. But that summer. asking herse lf about love. i t seemed as if we were rolling in money. frilly stuff. but it didn't last long. He was also goi ng to pay for my look. I refused to la ugh or even smile. And in this regard." I might have been disappointed that I wasn't going to be flashier. In every aspect of my professional lif e. Then. I have to control my emotions to the maximum. I'd imagine myself s inging as I descended the great staircase of a music hall. every moment of the day. explained to me how important it was that the firs t images of me presented to the public be right. I also had confidence in Mia and Rene. there was a problem. I liked bright flashy clothes. in every possible and impossible color. My teeth were so long and prominent that even with my [69] mouth closed. And of course. shoes with feathers and s equins. the taxis. Whenever I was with Da da. And I've worn them all a t least once. other footwear in plastic. My collection includes everything candy-pink rain boots. And then one day I told my self that perhaps this was my only quirk. She reminded me of the major th emes of Eddy's songs. the launching. I guess every young girl has dreamed of that at one time or another. we all hav e a vast number of choices every time we go out. I just know that the moment I walk into a shoe store I'm not altoge ther myself. Mia. all women are equal. I got really involved. from what I can tell from the phot os of them in their youth. I've got to be extremely reasonable and disciplined a bout all that I do. telling us about her grandmother. I have a lot of high-heeled shoes that are very chic. anyway. we always seemed to find something hilarious or provocative I'd say almost sin ful about the outfits I chose. I'm sure I would have rigged myself out like a flamboyan t rock star or like an aging vamp. No one else in the fam ily had teeth like that. I look a t the shoes of all the women I meet. But keeping up with fashion costs a lot more money than we were used to having. In my early days. the restaurants. As soon as I began working with Mia on the look I'd have on the albu m." she said. etc. Several ti mes. then. young or old. because I didn't want my teeth to show. If my look had be en left up to me alone. Rene always paid for everything the studi o. all my impulses. The men too. I don't know where I got this obs ession from. When I posed for the album photos. Why. for the photo session. really for the first time. whom Rene trusted absolutely. "They've got to be in line with the story of a very young girl discovering life. I t's part of my profession. But the point wasn't to do clothes and hair for laughs or to shock people. I understood the logic of it. even transparent and fluorescent.

he brought me to the basement of his parents' place. Besides. the more confused I got. It was called "D'Amour ou d'amitie" (Lovers or Friends). Which was probably the case. It was almost as if Eddy had plucked them out of my heart. I w as alone. I knew that big things were in store for me.e as possible. I wanted to understand. No great love possible. When Eddy asked me one day if I was attracted to Sylvain. They all had a lot of stage experience and k new how to stir up the crowd. it passed into my voic e. But also because the journalists didn't really seek me out. because they were so close to me. Other than my mother. and when I sang. It was a real kiss. That one kiss made me very mixed up. my mother told me that Eddy had phoned. And we never kiss ed again. Even a boy who didn't love me back. a real scream. This was because. my sense of discipline. I'd been on television about a dozen times. I guess they were ta ken aback by the discrepancy. At the same time. There was a world between "Ce n'et ait qu'un reve" and "Lady Marmalade" (with its lyric "Voulez-vous coucher avec m . my spirit. but I got ve ry worked up about it. I so much wanted to love a boy. But apart from the love of my family. the story of a teena ge girl dreaming of falling in love. I realized I wasn't. when I went back to school. he was the person who knew me best in the world. Later. but if/ was in love. My life was changing. Especially one who didn't love me back. It had happened on the porch at my sister Claudette's house in Lachenaie. my entire li fe. as if I had nothing to say. 3 Less than a year after appearing on Michel Jasmin's show." they all went to interview Rene and Eddy. I had some great reasons to be happy. after I sang "Ce n'etait qu'un reve" a nd "La Voix du bon Dieu. of course. A nd I began to cry. He'd just written a new song for me. almost a circus act. I probed my heart. which couldn't have interested me less. afterward. And for a long time. I cried again. and I cultivated that sadness. Or else they didn't know how to ask me the right questions. not a long one. even before my mother and my sisters. I believed that I'd always be alone. In addition. Eddy was the first person. These words were tailor-made for me. Even t hough I had the voice of an adult. I simply wanted to be in love. My little rosewater ballads were at the opposite e nd of the spectrum from what they were doing. We ended up almost not speaking. a lot. I still didn't know how to speak to journalists. And I am like an island In the middle of the ocean. A bunch of artists were in the show. my story. I wouldn't have understood it even if he had loved me. a super rock performer. I told myself that perhaps love had forgotten me. This made me very sad. This was me. I didn't think I was very attractive. and my fam ily. the photographer created very soft lighting that con siderably decreased the bumps my teeth made on my lips. to put my feelings in order. Two or three days after this conversation with Eddy. where he spent hoars playing Nintendo while I thumbed through hunting and fishing magazines. to know that I' d kissed a boy. At promotional appearances. When I read the lyrics. Eddy spoke to them about my voice. a semi-punk rocker who was really outrageous. His name was Sylvain. I already had two albu ms out and was working on a third. I remember the launch of that album more clearly than any other that followed. I didn't wonder if he loved me. But the more I thought about it. all a lot older than me. P robably because it was the first. There was Plastic Bertrand. But I had too many projects going to spend much time on a flirtation. I couldn't manage to identif y what I had been feeling. A nd I went on tour with the strangest show I'd ever been part of in all my life. there wasn't any of that kind of love around me or in me. I was barely a teenager. and Nanet te Workman. You'd say that my heart is just too big. pampered it.

what happened. which mea nt I had really to get them to notice me. Halfway through the summer. Rene was behind me. but also. who had been teaching singers and opera singers for a half century. but that evening on the plane to Paris. In ot her words. "You made me cry. I was going to record the first songs of my third album there. he spent a long time explaining that the French hadn't wante d my first album because they thought [73] it wasn't commercial enough. or higher. Rene. But I made a point of not letti ng it show. "It's perfect. I thought the old lady would be impressed by my voice a nd would say I didn't need lessons. but certainly not to the audience attracted by ." I did. a sin ger who also had a strong voice and came from a large family. and I left for Paris. My two albums had been selling well. A nne-Renee. I was kind of out of place. with their technici ans. sisters. The first session was pretty trying." also "Visa pour les beaux jours" (A Visa for the Beautiful Days) and another one tha t Eddy had written for Maman called "Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi" (I Have So Much Love for You). I no longer knew if I was supposed to sing louder. telling me I was the best and that I had to knock them out. who had a restau rant on the rue Cadet in the heart of Paris. to get some idea of what they want.oi. Deep down inside myself. He took me to meet her. I know you can do it. as per his favorite expression. As soon as I'd finished. I think even the crowd was surprised. that I'd surpassed m yself. nor did she show any emotion. our p roduction company. thought not only that my recent albums weren't to the taste o f the French. I sang for him." he told me when he found me backstage. when Rene told me to take some diction and singing lessons. . in fact. telling me he'd return to get me in an hour. st aying where I could see him easily. most important. lower. But that's not. I figured that both Eddy and Rene. their producers. He joined the crowd just below the stage. "That's why we're going to work over there in their studios. "She'll learn to look out for herself." he said. I'm waiting for you to knock me out. But the others had just finished their heavy-duty rock and roll when it was my turn. I didn't do all the shows during that tour." Rene told my mother. even if half the crowd wa sn't listening. She made no comments. I knew I'd sung like I'd never sung before." "Not me. before I went onstage. Then she asked me to sing the same phras e for another half hour.this tour. Maman. "D'Amour ou d'amitie. and then left. I reminded them too much of Mireille Mathieu. she hasn't. One evening. First the one I loved so much. sist ers-in-law went to the Mirabel airport to see us off. she said: "Please begin again. And he knew it too. Guy and Dodo Morali. Eddy and Mia were waiting fo r us in Paris with some friends of Rene's. No reaction." Each evening. "Louder. ce soir?"). between "D'Amour ou d'amitie" and the rantings of Plastic." I sang louder. But I didn't really look at him until toward the end of my song. I turned to him and said: "Nanette's already knocked them out. But a few days after we arrived in Paris. I knew that I'd really moved him. She merely seemed a little bored . who were in agreement with the French produce rs. either positive or negative. It really bothered me." For the first time. my voice had some flaws that needed corr ecting. he informed me that the executives at Pathe-Marconi. At least twenty-five of my family members brothers. Eddy knew an elderly lady named Tosca Marmor. Rene hadn't ever really spoken much about his plans for me. with more emphasis. Celine. thought I sang badly. brothers-in-law. more emphasis. please. Madame Tosca sat down at the piano and made me do scales for at least a half hour.

You have to find the emotion somewhere within you. and friends of Eddy or Mia. even those I didn't unde rstand. in the kind of booth where no one can see them. In spring. I stood right in the middle of the studio. And I applauded too. make them serve you. I would bring her flowers. and sometimes a photographer. a lot of people who apparently didn't have any thing to do at this studio. and vocal cords of steel. I was preparing the recording of "Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi." As our sessions continued. A lot of artists prefer to sing behind a screen . But the presence of all these people didn't bother me at all. I'd missed a lot of courses on . In fact. the group Guy had belonged to in his youth. Some days. and burst out laughing. a big register. pressed against the booth window. but always filled to bursting. stimulated me. Quebecois passing through Paris. But I do know t hat my ego suffered quite a blow that summer. Not then and not today . Even the people who had nothing to do t here. and to the Sco rpions. I finished my seventh year of school. I prayed that something positive would come out of this ordea l. Not me. I found Tosca to be a fantastic. Time has its way On your hair of gray. After the second take. I don't know what Eddy had asked other. she taught me that I still didn't have enough of the tools and s kills to become a great singer far from it. there was a short silence. and I sang for her. proud of me. painful exp erience. very generous and attentive to others. I have so much love for you. we were all ve ry happy together in that little studio. Something magical had happened. The musicians who'd made the orchestra tracks w ere there. It seemed to me that for a moment. It took some time for me to realize that I'd j ust had one of the most important lessons of my whole life. As much as Tosca upset me. but I do know that they say a box er never comes into his own until he's been knocked out once or twice. One evening. The Family Song studio was very small.I left there pretty worried and began asking myself questions about my voice. then everyone in the studio applauded and shouted so loud that the sound reached me in the booth. she ultimately helped me attain a great sens e of peace. You h ave to tame them. she keeps everything inside. People from Pathe-Marconi were there. ab out what I'd been doing with her. wher e we listened again and [75] again to the recordings we'd made during the day. Amon g other things. I know my mother well. all we did was talk about the pleasure and the pain of singing. Madame Tosca taught me not to be afraid of my emotions. I hate boxing and don't know much about it. Rene and I are big weepers. I guess Rene and Eddy thought I was mature enough to handle this little trial. intelligent woman." a very intim ate song." she told me. "Don't let them take you over. glad. and she doesn't cry easily. like the S aint-Charles studio in Montreal. I looked in the crowd for the face of my mother. happy about the path we'd taken. And that can be a terrifying. and this helped me as I went into the studio. we ended up at Guy and Dodo's. but she taught me a lot. To spare others embarrassment . "If that bothers you. I was shattered and was no longer as sure of myself. but not her. we can leave you alone. French people. "And don't be afraid of them. as were the arranger and the composer. Almost every evening while we were in Paris. I also learned that it wasn't enough to have a powerful voice. we li stened to old records by the Baronets that Rene had given to Guy. But a child I'll stay To my very last day. so mething bigger than all of us. But it w as clear she was very moved. I still don't know if it was a deliberate strategy on their part. it reassured me." Eddy told me. for laughs. become their master.

during the next few months. and count with h er mother and her elder sisters as her teachers. I didn't have to insist for very long before my mother l et me skip school. But I didn't really feel at home. and at the end of the movie she wins a place at an elite da nce school. even more different than Rene had imagined in his wildest dreams. One day. And I never tried to make friends because I knew that I'd only be there for a little while. she meets an old lady who used to be a prima ballerina in a classical troupe. or Pauline. Once I'd realized that. dialogue. evening gowns. but I'm convinced she believed I could learn everything as well at home as I could at school.. My name on giant billboards. I was somewhere else. And I alway s had the starring role. But when I was a teenager.. And she never passes an audition. two important events one in Japan. The world has changed a lot since I was a teenager. histo ry. She's had to learn on her own. I don't believe that you can get by and feel good about yourself without an education. the other in . melodramatic romances that brought me to the edge of tears. But most often. Dada. by chance. on another planet. scenery. told me from time to time that they'd seen me on TV or in the newspapers or that they'd heard one of my songs on the radio. I was finishing recording the final songs for my ne w album. Flashdance is the story of a girl who dreams of dancing in a big Broadway show. geography. but because she's poor and has to work hard to earn a living. which would be launched in the fall. I was convinced that my dream wouldn't happen throu gh school. and had learned to read. especially if I had to rehearse a new song by Eddy or if I ha d a show that evening . all al one. At the Saint-Charles studio. opening nights. I told myself that I no longer needed to go t o school to succeed in life. to Eddy's distaste. and every time I went there. Some of them even asked me for my autograph. She tells her never to let others i mpose their vision on her. and a few teachers. She wouldn't really say it out loud. she's never been a ble to go to a legitimate school of dance. She had been born in a town in the remote st part of the Gaspe peninsula. I noticed without much emotion how far I'd fallen behind. thunderous applause. I'm also convinced that there's a lot of pleasure in learning and knowing a lot of things how the world works. I returned again to deepest Africa or to the Amazon. And to fight. did the direction. I'd seen that movie at least five or six times. all that. I wrote the stories. Someti mes I also told myself really sad love stories or morbid. At every theater she goes to. I had other fish to fry. I adored the story ofFlashdance. But above all. write. Boys and girls at the school. never to give up her great dream." I'd learned it by heart. Everybody was super n ice with me. In fact. Except for very rare excepti ons. And these days. And above all. I love to learn about new things. My mother never said it. I'd even go so far as to say that she had more respect for self-taught and self-made people than for people with a lo t of diplomas. The woman sees her dance and tells her that she has a lot of t alent and that she'll find the strength to realize [77] her dream in herself and not somewhere else. I quickly saw that I could never catch up with the other s. To dance. I made up littl e movies in my head. art history. costumes. but I'm sure she believed that when it comes to education your best teache rs are yourself and those you're close to. Rene spoke about organizing a big promotional tour throughout the province of Quebec. But things turned out very d ifferently. I loved everything in this film.a regular basis. I to ok the old lady's advice to heart. alone or with Manon. beginning with the music and the song "What a F eeling. they look down on her because she doesn't know anybody. at a theater in downtown Montreal. I loved it. I imagined myself as a sta r of show business and the movies. Fortunately. and promised myself that o ne day I'd sing it on tour. or even the next day. The girl never gives up. usually playing a girl who looked like a sister of the heroine of Flashdance.

" Then he began to speak to me in a low voice. Do you realize.. who was then about my age. and who'd won the grand prize. "Sure I'm happy. as if he were sharing a very import ant secret. there I w as cold as ice on the other end of the line. he told me: "It'll change our life. He'd just pulled off a major coup in getting his song into the festival in Tokyo. Meanwhile. wh ich sounded close enough for me to feel his breath against my ear. And he wanted him to know why and to b e in agreement as much as was possible. the number of songs that had been submitted (more than a tho usand. even if I didn't know how to show my joy. maybe a month after school started. She'd just hung up and was getting ready to call my brothers and sisters to tell them the news when the telephone rang again. at supper-time. Celine. the number of songs in the finals (about thirty ). He came with my mother and me to see the school principal to explain to him that I couldn't take regular courses because I had a "career" that was too demanding . "And I was t here." Rene told me. I won't be able to control myself and I'll explode. One evening. the exact dates. "I know you're the best singer who'll be over there. but that night he really shook me up. he simply wanted the pri ncipal to know that I wasn't coming back. After-ward he had become an enormous scar in Quebec. Everyone around me c ould be jumping up and down but I stayed cool and calm. It was Rene. the names of the winners from previous y ears. "Frank Sinatra was the one who handed him his prize." I don't think I know how to express my joy. In those days. don't you?" I'd always loved his velvety voice. He said he would be personally responsible for my following this program and passing the examinatio ." Our life! Sî I had to stop going to school. Eddy couldn't have unders tood this because he himself was so overwhelmed with joy. Not only because of what he was saying but because of his tone. Or I'm afraid that if I let myself g o. and she'd go with me.France were going to change my life. That he'd gone t o it a few years back with Rene Simard. He asked him to prepare a special program of studies for me. She told him that of course I would be there. It was an inc redible moment of intimacy. very intimately. Out of politeness. And you know you'll win fir st prize you do. the list of participating countries. Even Time magazine had talked about him. I think I sounded very stupid on the telephone. I shook the hand of Frank Sinatra? . Then Maman added that I thanked him and that I w as happy. you' ll see. gentler tone." Rene told me." "You don't seem to be. He asked to speak to me. Celine?" Maman asked. Maman realized that somethin g [79] important was happening. She told me to let her speak to Eddy and asked him a th ousand questions. I literally froze. He had all the detail s. "Are you happy. First to tell me that the Yamaha World Festival of Popu lar Song was the most important event of its kind in the world. if I remember correctly). as if he and I were all alone in the world.. shouted and laughed. Still. when something ve ry big and exciting happened in my life. Eddy Marnay pho ned from Paris. In an even lower. even though I was at the center of the whirlwind. as if he were announcing bad news. I say "explain" because I'm certain that in Rene Angelil's head there was neve r any question of asking permission. He told us that "Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi" had just been chosen to represent France in a major international competition in Japan at the end of October. She congratulated him. "We don't have any choice. so calm and gentle.

She too would oversee the education and studies of he r daughter. I was deeply humiliated. flattered by his words. But at the same time. I was finally getting out of school. The only pleasant memories I could keep wer e those times Mademoiselle Senechal had asked me to clean the blackboard after c lass.ns of the Quebec Department of Education. And this is exactly what he did. that my song s were played on the radio. Monsieur le Principal?" He even told him that I earned more money in a month than my father made in a wh ole year. And he was taking action. Actually. but I never could understand how these things could hel p me in real life. I was hear ing Rene say that the experiences that I was living were at least as rich in ins tructional value as the courses I could take at school. I was seated a little off to the side on a small. I was sure that Rene k new how to convince the principal to let me leave. stra ight-backed chair. almost all below average. I know that once he's ma de up his mind about something. For the first time. I wou ldn't even have any friends to miss. where I'd recorded an album with established artists. tha t I'd sung on a dozen stages throughout Quebec and met journalists. He said she'd always be by my side. probably he knew math. Rene was paying some attention not only to the singer he was managing but also to the girl I was. I wiped that blackboard with intense concentration until there wasn't a si ngle trace of chalk left on it. One look at my report card and he'd conclude that his li ttle singer was not very intelligent. He was saying that I had engagements not only in France and throughout Canada. He was there to tak e me out of school. Rene didn't even open my report card. near failing. history. He was saying that though all the boys and girls in my class had spent the summe r in Charlemagne or its environs watching TV or working on a farm or at McDonald 's. and anyone who wants to ch ange his mind had better get up pretty early in the morning and had better have some very good arguments. "You do understand me. Listening to him. Sometimes Mademoiselle Senechal took advantage o f this situation to review with me the various lessons we were studying. but also in Japan." he was saying. he spoke quite calmly and gently. Feeling very intimidated. don't you. He also spoke about my mother. composers and arrangers. I was only pretending to be intimidated. lyricists. I was jubilant. he spoke English as well as he spoke French. I'd gone to Paris. I thought of running away. What would Rene think of my performance in school? He was so intelligent and wel l educated. And that I'd never set foot i n school again. i n the whole history of this school. In the principal's office. He wasn't there to find out about my academic performance or even to learn the principal's opinion of me." He even said that I was very intelligent. I did my Little Miss Perfection routine. "All these trips she's [81] taking and people she's meeting are certainly as valuable as the geography cours es and history or economics courses that your school offers. And that's how I finally became a studious and hardworking young girl! Rene never pestered me to follow the education department's study program. But h . Monsieur le Principal. Surely you agree wi th that. I probably had the worst marks in the class. intelligent woman who'd raised fourteen children. I could barely contain my happiness. As usual. a lot of people working for her. that he'd seen me learn songs by heart w ords and music in just a few minutes. of course. I tried my best to repeat them. that she was an incredible. "And she has an accountant. Meanwhile. being very well mannered on my straight little chair with my eyes lowered. he goes right for it. I was overwhelmed and. Today I know him. he'd weighed all the pros a nd cons. But when the principal took out my school records and held out my report card to Rene. and geography.

French stars Yves Montan d.. good taste. t he legend of the "French Elvis. Eddy was going to come directly from Paris. She always knew what to say. chauffeurs. Mia informed us that he'd hurt his back badly. But two days before his departure. Stevie Wonder. Often. The result was tremendous. especially when we were touring. of Barbra Streisand. she turned toward my brother Paul and held out her pack of cigarettes. He told me the legend of Edith Piaf. and Julien Clerc. I saw Ginette Reno quite often. very often. Metal lica . Ben. even Papa. and an acupuncturist. the Beatles and Brian Epstein. Mia went to stay with him in Paris. and he was practically incapable of walkin g. We had to leave for Japan at least a week before the festival so that I could rest after the trip and wouldn't be too affected by jet lag. For hours. Michel Sardou. even the waiters. the geography an d economics of show business. "You can smoke them. He'd been to see a doctor. "I really don't know if I deserve all of this. chance favors some people and not others . Throughout the trip. McCartney. Ben Kaye had been the agent for the Baronets. Julio Iglesias. The next day." she told me the night before we left for Tokyo. He had them all sing. she explained to us that by this gesture. She'd always dreamed of taking big trips. He descri bed all the good and bad shows that he'd seen in Las Vegas or on Broadway. Nana Mou skouri." Johnny Halliday. Smokers w ere banished. visit exotic locales.. she was tryin g to "deserve the trip. And I never heard her complain about missing her ci garettes." Once on board the plane." I never saw her smoke again. interpreters. dre ss. under the veranda.e was determined to teach me show business: the methodology of show business. Certainly. she'd see her daughter sing or "triumph. and me. even the people who at first didn't want a nything to do with it. I'd seen him at work in restaurants in Montreal. I've thought of the symbolic gesture that my mother made on t hat day and about her idea that we have to deserve what happens to us. gifts that heaven makes to some and not to others. But startin g that day. The next day it was worse. Mam an. he'd have them make noises with their mouths or play percussion. behavior. Mia and Ben Kaye we nt with us. He took me to every show th at passed through Montreal. She'd sleep in luxury hote ls. she'd have a lot of people doing her bidding. what to wear. knew all the rules of etiquette. Liza Minnelli. who quickly got the idea and took up the habit of smoki ng his cigarettes outside. He'd never d ared tell her that her cigarette smoke could be harmful to my voice. or throw them out. Manhattan Transfer. at the restaurant. a chi ropractor. Anita Baker. chambermaids. If they refused to sing. I knew he was capable of doing the same kind of thi ngs in Tokyo. my homework. he began to control my environment more and more strictly. when I was at the house. just before boarding the plane. Out of the four. Now only four of us were going: Rene. He was fearless. how to react. I think my mother was the most excited. and what's more . My mother went with us quite often. I'll never smoke again in my life. the Stones. he had a terrific sense of humor. the history of show business. in his car. I don't want them anymor e. He said that this was part [83] of my work. Rene didn't stop congratulating her. guides. Then too there is talent." as Rene put it before an immense a udience. and here finally was her chance. Mia. for every circumstance. give them away. as my enlightened advisor. One of his most amazing stunts consisted of forming a chorus with everyone who happened to be in a particular restaurant. he'd pick up the story of Colonel Parker and Elvis Pres ley again. S . And I want to believe that she's right. Nothing and no one had succeeded in providing a ny relief. I became the most studious little girl in the world.

I mere ly wanted to knock them out. for example. decisive moment in my life . we have no right to. I've always been very disciplined. some of the participants who followed were given applause just as loud as I had. But I probably didn't really understand this need of my mother to "deserve" what was happening to her.o I must and must always deserve the voice that God has given me. In addition to the twelve thousand spectators who filled the Budokan Sunday afte rnoon. Rene. I was one of them. And I tried to forget. However. On Saturday afternoon. I started thinking that there was a good chance I 'd be eliminated before the grand finale. quite different from the excited crowds I'd been p art of at the Forum in Montreal. after the last competition. all the joy and happiness. not even fo r one day or one hour. I sang well. I was still too young. Or perhaps because she had been raised as a Catholic. it holds about t welve thousand people and is located in a magnificent park near the Imperial Pal ace. On the contrary. the judges announced the name s of the ten people who'd be in the grand finale on Sunday afternoon. who has always loved omen s and coincidences. I imagined the crowd I'd have to face as a heart less monster capable of devouring me. Today. I followed all the regimens I was given. It's called the Budokan. to tell myself that this wasn't so important. stayin g silent for long periods to rest my voice. when I'd gone to see Olivia Newton -John or Elton John. it doesn't bel ong to us. In Tokyo. Waves of anguish washed over me as I thought of the moment when I'd have to go o nstage and launch into my song. I heard the applause of the crowd . he kept telling me that this was a crucial. I would have been practically incapable of going onstage. which seemed more intense than it had been for the two boys who had come befor e me. which doesn't come from inst inct but from reason: What we don't deserve. to become preoccupied with such though ts. And this time again we looked at it as a good omen. of course. I fulfilled all my obligations as a singer. On Friday morning. But he adde d that I had no choice. If I had done so. the finals were Friday and Saturday and the grand finale would be on television Sunday. I think. . For the first time in my life. I felt a little out of place and disoriented. You're in the heart of the city. even the crowd . that I'd survive very well without taking home first prize. Reason enoug h to feel weak in the knees. But I was still very nervous. though I performed a little distractedly. that I had to win. which is very well behaved. I would have been too afraid that my voice would become hoars e. But as I left the stage at the end of my song. She knew it instinctively. was thrilled. It doesn't matter how. without forcing my voice. Without cheating. I found myself on an unbelievably vast stage in front of an enormous audience. I was accompanied by a large orchestra of more th an fifty musicians with whom I'd rehearsed for only about ten minutes. each participant has to pic k a number at random. It took me a while to gain full control of my voice. It took place in an amphitheate r where I've since sung several times. Rene didn't try at all to convince me that I had no reason to be afraid. In Tokyo. that the monster I was about to face was terrible. And I also had moments of stage fright. I was impressed by what was happening. He knew it was. I ended up with number five again go. I never broke the rules. The Yamaha festival lasted several days. it's an absolute truth. for me. I didn't know where to look. yet everything is peaceful. there were several million watching the event on television. In order to determine the order of the performances. Our interpreter t old me that the word for this in Japanese is go. and I couldn't hear myself very well. a nd every day I practiced and did my singing exercises with all the application I 'm capable of. I ended up with five. if not louder. This time. [85] This kind of concern and unwavering dedication comes from my mother.

in front of the stage. five would be my lucky number. as if he'd suddenly come to. awarded me the special orchestra prize. He wa s convinced of it: "Just taste it and you'll love it. It was white and made of heavy cotton by Josiane Moreau. A telephone was placed on a pillow between two monit ors. I decided to keep it. and meat loafs. And tame the monster. that the climate was like July in Quebec all year long. choppe d steaks. The musicians. M aybe even knock it out. my stylist at the time. they'd watched me sing "Telleme nt j'ai d'amour pour toi" and then heard the president of the jury announce the name of the winners.Instead of diminishing this monster. Without hesit ation. He handed me the receiver. What I'd seen the previous night and the next morning as a horrible monster the ju dges. while waiting my turn to sing. we'd eat raw fish. It was magnificent. millions of television viewers now seemed like a warm. I knew just how to express my joy. As I walked under the li ghts to sing "Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi. thanks to the coin I was going to win first prize. who also voted. Right at the foot of the stairs leading to the stage. This time. Be fore I rehearsed with them on Friday afternoon. I tied for first place with the Mexican singer Y oshio. Mia. I really felt like a great person." Maman answered. and if possible to shake hands with the conductor and the pianist as well as the first violinist. The fo ur of us stayed hugging each other and crying for quite a while. both of us chose the chicken. Our interpreter and the Japanese people around us looked like they were in shock . I knew it. Out of propriety. "Not on board an airplane." I felt it sliding under the arch of my foot. pasta. When he spoke to me. I remained standing in the wi ngs so that I wouldn't crease my dress. cameras. f riendly presence. Rene told me to greet them and t hank them. Then in the wings. the crowd. where it was dawn. This time I knew that I deserved my happiness. We'd both imagined that Japan was a warm country. "It's for you. a real professional. From now on. I cried a lot. but we knew that they were never spicy enough for his . It had happened on board the plane. Of course I kept crying and crying. I don't think they were used to seeing such public displays of emotion. And Maman and Ben. [87] The next afternoon. he told me that I was strong. I think they really appreciated those polite gestur es. When the awards were announced. For good luck. determined. I picked it up. And Rene really liked her pies." he said. pastas. in front of the audience at the Budokan and the Jap anese television viewers. On the stage. I was sure of it. Rene tried to convince us to try the Japanese dishes." It was Eddy and Mia in Paris. because that was always what he did. It would be my good-luck charm. Maman loved cooking for people. Maman and I had promised Rene that if I won the Yamaha first prize. Then. That evening I went to bed convinced that once I got onstage I'd know how to master my voice. or chicken and some Japanese dishes. so I slid the coin into the side of my shoe. But as was to be expected. and right at the moment wh en the announcer spoke my name. but a little out of season. they turned away and withdrew. I would keep it with me always. Rene and Ben had had this telephone installed by the organi zers of the festival. My dress had no pocket. capable effacing it. The passengers had been given a choice bet ween a Western meal beef. as well. I saw something on the floor that at first I tho ught was a medal. as I'd been trying to do. And I gave E ddy something to celebrate by telling him how much I loved him and how much I ow ed him. I found Rene too crying as though h is heart would break. but was actually a coin. When I saw that the n umber five go was engraved on it. who used a pattern Maman and I found in a magazine. Rene took my hand and led me into the auditor ium.

taste. He always wanted marinades, spices. And there wasn't enough variety, eith er. Rene always wanted everybody around him to like what he liked: [89] gambling, exotic cuisine, Elvis, the Beatles, Coca-Cola. He was always trying to convert his friends. At every chance that presented itself in Montreal or Paris , he took us to Lebanese or Moroccan restaurants. He had us try everything falafel , babaganoush, hummus, shwarma. So while he ate his sushi and sashimi, he extracted that promise from us. I ha d to eat raw fish. I'd have the occasion to do so a few days later. Since I'd won the festival, I 'd been invited to sing at a big gala for high officials and ministers of the Ja panese government. At the banquet that followed, I was sitting at the table of h onor, as were my mother and Rene, but I wasn't next to them. As soon as he could , Rene made a sign to me by raising a piece of raw fish between his chopsticks, as if to say: "It's now or never." I had to keep my promise. I'd already managed to swallow a heavily flavored so up when the worst arrived: slices of raw fish on little balls of rice sushi which de lighted my tablemates. There was also a small bowl of black sauce into which the y would dip their sushi. And wasabi mustard, which looked to me like the split-p ea puree found in Lebanese restaurants. I took a mouthful. And I really thought that my head was going to explode. It was as if I'd just received a strong elect ric shock. Through my tears, I saw all heads turn toward me, even the guests at the other table. My mother and Rene had gotten up to help me. I was brought damp towels to wipe my tears and blow my nose. When my interpreter explained what had happened, eve ryone burst out laughing. But Rene wasn't laughing at all. He stayed near me, on his knees next to my chair, until I could speak. "Are you sure you can sing?" he asked. "Yes." "Try it, let's see." To reassure him and make him laugh, I sang him a tune that was passing through m y head. It was a love song, in a velvety voice. Right up against his ear. "Are you lonesome tonight?" He didn't cry. He became very serious. He held me very tight in his arms and the n went back to his seat without looking at me. I refused the steak and grilled fish that was offered me. After what I'd just li ved through, I was ready to swallow fire! I managed to grab a hunk of very red f ish, a corner of which I dipped in the soy sauce, then I brought it to my mouth. Strange texture, smooth, oily. And not bad tasting at all. The people next to m e kept silent, their eyes lowered to their plates. They'd understood that I was a beginner and, I think, wanted to politely overt their gaze in case I spit the piece back onto my plate. "Mmmm," I said, signaling in an exaggerated way that I thought it was good. All of them smiled. That evening was magnificent. My little blooper with the sushi had created a mar velous atmosphere and put everyone in a good mood. The people sitting next to me began to hold forth about the treasures of Japanese cuisine; they showed me how to hold the chopsticks. Then they asked me a thousand questions about my family , the snow and forests of Canada, the Eskimos, the wolves and bears, the Canadia n Mounties. Since that time, I've loved Japan. I always feel at ease, at home, even if there are language and etiquette barriers, rules and protocols that I often don't und erstand. I love the order that reigns in this world, the special humor of the pe ople, their discretion. At the time, I kept a diary that I'd brought with me. It was my mother's idea, t o keep me occupied. In it I'd listed the birth dates of all the members of my fa mily and my friends. For days, farther away from our home than I'd ever been in my life, I questioned my mother about her childhood, about how she met my father

, the birth of her first children, my birth. [91] Then I set about writing in my diary what happened each day, describing this cou ntry that was at once so strange and so familiar. But I didn't succeed in findin g words to express what I was feeling, or even to describe what I was seeing. Th e phrases were all knocking about in my head. It was all happening too fast. Fas ter, farther away, and at a higher altitude than those little movies I used to f ilm in my head when I was in school. Now I no longer had the time or the inclination to make my home movies. What I w as living was as exciting as what I'd dreamed of for such a long time. Arriving back in Quebec was unforgettable. At the Montreal airport, a crowd was waiting for me with flowers, teddy bears, and velvet frogs. TV cameras were poin ted at me and microphones were thrust toward me. My brother Paul had brought us the newspapers. All of them were talking about the grand prize I'd won in Tokyo. "On TV too," he told me. "They're talking about you everywhere." Reporters had c ome to our house in Pointe-aux-Trembles, where we had just moved, and interviewe d my father. They'd asked for photos of me. They wanted to know how old I was, i f I had a boyfriend, what color my eyes were. The prime minister of Quebec, Rene Levesque, asked to meet me and congratulated me in the name of all Quebecois. I was also invited to join a dozen artists who were part of a mega-show at the Mo ntreal Forum. When I climbed onstage, even before I began to sing, the ten thous and people filling the auditorium stood up to applaud me. That day I made a strange discovery. Most of the people applauding me hadn't e ven seen me sing onstage. A lot of them probably hadn't even known my name ten d ays before. They gave me their applause and ovations not because my singing had impressed them, but because I'd achieved something on the other side of the worl d. This made me feel, in a way, like I owed them something. As if I'd been paid i n advance. Their applause and shouts stimulated me. And for that reason, I sang with my heart, with incredible pleasure. The next day my photo appeared in all t he Montreal papers. Rene was jubilant. It couldn't have been a better time to launch my next album , Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi. With Mia, he prepared an enormous publicity c ampaign. They wanted me to meet all the print, radio, and television media so th ey'd talk about me more. But I never felt I had anything to tell them. The only thing I knew how to do back then was sing. The main thing that intrigued the reporters was that the most brilliant manage r in the country was interested in me and me only. By this point, Rene had broke n all professional ties with Ginette Reno and was occupied solely with my career . He'd known how to surround me with the best writers Eddy Marnay, to be sure, but also Luc Plamondon, who had written one of the songs for the new album. Also, w e had the best arrangers, composers: Francois Cousineau in Quebec and, in France , Hubert Giraud, who'd written the music for one of my most cherished classics, the very beautiful "Mamy Blue" (which I used to sing when I was five years old) as well as the song for my mother which gave the album its name: "Tellement j'ai d'amour pour toi." For the holidays, Rene, his wife, and his children went south. And for the fir st time in months, I had nothing to do for more than two weeks. No engagements, no promos, no TV appearances. After three days, I was at a complete loss as to w hat to do with myself. When Rene was around, he always created a kind of ferment around me. I always had a lot of things to do, concerts to see or give, intervi ews, TV shows, new songs. I was learning things too, discovering them, [93] having all kinds of exciting experiences. I had been sucked into a veritable whi rlwind, and he was its cause, the engine, the initiator. Once he was gone, everything around me became dull and flat. I didn't even go ou

t, except to visit my brothers and sisters with Papa and Maman; the only times I came alive was when we were all singing together. It was like old times, but no w I had a real voice, a real place in the family choir. My brothers and my sisters were all happy about what was happening to me. Howeve r, certain of them, notably Claudette and Michel, my godmother and godfather, we re realizing that when my career took flight, it would probably end their chance s of having their own careers in show business. It was as if all the dreams of t he family had been given to me, who really possessed nothing more than the other s, except luck and an attentive, intelligent, daring manager. For some time, I'd seen my career change not only my own life but also that of t he others around me, especially my mother. But also the life of my father, who, because of me, was often left alone in the house. My mother had quit her job and always accompanied me everywhere, even when it was only a minor TV appearance. She even came along when I went shopping with Mia or Anne-Renee. I wanted her to be there. I needed her to be there. Later, I wondered if my father had born me a grudge for having stolen his wife in that way. But during these holidays, the last I'd experience in our house in Charlemagne, my father was always very gentle with me. He saw that I was sad, but he didn't t ry to understand why, like Maman did. He simply tried to make me laugh, to put s ome other thoughts in my head. One evening when we were alone in the house, he t ook out his accordion and played for me for hours. It must be said that I had all the reasons in the world to be happy. I was becom ing everything I'd dreamed of. Every day, I listened to "D'Amour ou d'amitie" on the radio and also the songs on the Christmas album I had recorded a year before. But it seemed as if that was a tho usand years ago, that I'd sung those songs in another life. I explained my sadness to myself as a result of having nothing better to do. O nly later would I understand that it was really something else. Even before Rene returned to Quebec, he unleashed a new whirlwind that would car ry me even farther away. One evening he phoned to tell me I was going to sing at Midem, the international fair that the record industry held each year in Januar y or February in Cannes, France. "You'll be singing for professionals, nothing but show-business professionals. F rom all corners of the globe." This was the biggest market for the record business in the world. And the best p roducers, lyricists, composers, and journalists on the planet would be there to hear me. On board the plane, he once again told us that my songs didn't always s ell that well in France. They weren't played anywhere on the radio. Not even "D' Amour ou d'ami-tie," which Pathe-Marconi had brought out as a single and which E ddy and Rene had thought was tailor-made for the French. "Eddy doesn't understand," he told us. "He sees it as a personal failure. He's h umiliated. But I know what the problem is. It's that they've never heard you ove r there. When they hear you once, just one time, things will change. You'll see. " Once again he was right. In Cannes, all the artists had to lip-synch using orchestra tracks. For a lot of them, this was hell. Not only did they have to be perfectly synchronized with t he music, they also had to simulate the effort and the emotions. In other words, they had to become actors. But I'd done this thousands of times in front of my bedroom mirror. [95] Besides, I'd always loved singing for people who were in the business. So I was perfectly at ease. At the same time, I knew that I had to give it my best. Pathe-Marconi had pulled out all the stops. "Lay all our cards on the table" was how one of the executiv es put it. All over the Palais des Congres, where the gala took place, I could s ee big posters and banners with my face and name in giant letters. All the disc jockeys, producers, and record archivists from every radio station in France wer

the bla ck pants and white blouse that I'd worn at Cannes. Each of the artists who were going to be on the show had his or her own staff and friends. At the time. I was told to do two songs. Rene hit a car. "Drucker's program is the biggest variety show in Europe. We could still hear the other driver yelling as we climbed into a taxi that would drop us several minut es later at the Champs-Elysees studio. Herbert Leonard. But today he was ju st too nervous. dresses. by this last and only chance I ha d no choice but to seize. such as driving around the Place de 1'Etoile in the opposite direction from the flow of traffic. whose Sunday-night show "the biggest TV show of the fifties and sixties" had had featured all the greats Elvis. He was driving Guy's little car. the red dress Mia had bought for me. And surprisin gly enough. the Stones. holding its breath. captive. Celine Diooooon. With Guy i n tow. fascinated. The day before the recording session. I found myself surrounded by a crew of publicists. we met the executives of the big radio stations in France. . if he puts his arm around your neck and says nice things." The day of the recording. Eddy. if my song didn't make it in France. Mia. he'd make up challenges for himself." He had to explain to me who Ed Sullivan was. rubbing his han ds together as he announced in a nasal voice: "Ladies and gentlemen . A very polite gentleman and lady came to our hotel to present us with an invitation to the Michel Druck er TV show Champs--Ely'sees. The whole thing made us so edgy that I think we were within a ha irsbreadth of losing our marbles. And the girls were still discussing my look. you know. I'd be out of the game altogether. Then. at which point they leaped to their feet to applaud. which was to air in a few days. Rene liked to drive. Rene and I didn't leave until la te. I knew I'd done it. this time. and Guy was in the back. everyone motionless until my song was finished. all kin ds of advisors. jeans. better yet. "That means they've bounced someone off the show for you. and t he entire Pathe-Marconi staff were waiting for us. or. he imitated Sullivan. "Drucker's r eally important. We were in Paris. Especially in Paris. standing up. with his hunched back. I could feel the crowd becom ing attentive. Anne-Renee. and in the wings. if he speaks to you even for only thirty seconds. . where Maman. producers. Even though everyone was unbearably nervous. But what excited Rene even more was the fact that I'd been invited to appear o n the very next broadcast. the Beatles. Before I even finished my song." Overnight. [97] At the circle at the Champs-Elysees. they went around to all the stores again and had me try on sweaters. He's the French Ed Sullivan. There was an unbelievable crowd in the studio. Francis Lemarque. I listened to him recount the life of Sullivan. That very evening. I wouldn't ev en be going back to square one. Right away he turned toward Guy. we all met as usual at Guy and Dodo Morali's restauran t.e there. I could see the faces turned toward me. in the dressing rooms. Nicole Croisille. I was excited by such high stakes. you'll know that you've becom e a big star in Europe. In my suitcase was the cotton dress that had brought me luck in Tokyo. wh o assured us that they'd add my song in their playlists. and othe . "I'll let you take care of this. I understood that. named for the most famous street in Paris. the houndstooth jacket Josian e Moreau had designed for me. The house was brightly lit. For him it was an exciting game. Maybe there'd even be a short interview with Drucker . "If he comes over to see you when you've finished singing and if he takes your hand." And then the two of us started running between the cars. A hai rdresser played around with my hair for hours while a press agent spoke to me ab out Drucker." Rene made sure to tel l me. in the sitting ro om of a big hotel on the Place de la Concorde as." he said.

of whom I saw so little. I knew that it would never be the same with us. and especially Papa. "You know what he said when he introduced you?" he asked me. I was giving interviews l eft and right. that's what Rene was asking for. for a girl who was beg inning to wonder about love. I was still very young. and diamond. like the English punk group who was also part of the show. It had become a custom. In less than a week. Everybody loves you. and spoke to me for a good while." he said. came out of his box and walked toward me. his head bent toward mine. it was rough. I've always felt that show-business profe ssionals were kind to me. You've got to really move him. Midem and Drucker had made me a star in all the French-spea king parts of Europe. In Paris. "You're the best. For days. "You have to impress hi m even more.' " Rene marveled at these few words and repeated them a hundred times that evening. Offstage in the wings. And I'd left with the best they had. I think I impressed Drucker. So. you'll nev er forget the voice you're about to hear. where you concentrate a nd don't really hear what's happening onstage.r well-known French singers were there. I could see he wasn't to o pleased that Michel Drucker had come to congratulate me so quickly. we celebrated at Guy and Dodo's. people recognized me more and more ofte n in the street. And I was still only fifteen years old. It was tailor-made for me. dreamed about. First. and chauff eur-driven cars. So remember this name: Celine Dion. with their dr . ro ok my hand. You're at home here. it's another world. That evening. a so rt of ritual that I wouldn't have wanted to do without. It was a style of life I'd wanted. He wanted to up the ante. he whispered in my ear that I was the best with that voice that I loved so muc h. he said: 'Mesdames et messieurs. congratulating me very wa rmly. puz zling. airplanes. Years later. I already lived a different life. I didn't have the f oggiest idea. expensive chic boutiques. Rene stayed very close to me. stun him. and stayed there until the summer. platinum. I missed those sweet moments we had all shared in the past when we we re part of a very unified family chorus. I was alre ady accustomed to luxury hotels. "D'Amour ou d'amitie" played everywhere and was at the top of all the charts. Celine Dion. hugged me. Rene was wild with joy. I performed it over an d over in my head." And then he'd push me gently toward the stage lights. [99] That year I had to cross the Atlantic about twenty times to do promotional work or tape TV broadcasts or record new songs. and also my brothers an d sisters. even those who performed in a completely different gen re. I was happy to rehearse in front of all these people." "Not at all. I owned it. He told me he'd ask me a few questions at the end of the broadcast. I sang "D'Amour ou d'amitie. had I won the prize? Was I going to have my "thirty seconds"? Rene really didn't want me to declare victory too soon. I found this reassuring. the higher I'd go. Sometimes I really missed our house in Ch arlemagne. and sometimes really agonizing." More and more." Drucker. "I suppose he said: 'Mesdames et messieurs. He came toward me clapping his hands. "D'Amour ou d'amitie" is a song that is full of nuances. when we launched my first album in English Unison he turned it into a slogan that the publicity department at CBS used. In France and Quebec. When the broadcast began and Drucker introduced me.' or something like that . Every time I did a TV sh ow. This guy's been rubbing elbows for years with the greatest stars in the world. was n't living in the same world. my records went gold. but even so. that from now on I wouldn't be a ble to do anything more than pass through. but I kn ew that the higher the ante. "That doesn't mean that you've made the grade. who was following the rehearsals o n a monitor. When he introduced you. I had worked on it a lot with Eddy. as in Montreal.

It will b e the last trace of your childhood. working like all of them at my career. when he'd worked out a few lines of a song. by suppertime. Intervi ews with Papa and Maman. More than ever I was surrounded by adults." he told me." In Eddy's songs. This really hel ped me. Was I happy in this hellish place? I think I was. endure great pressure. Then Maman. my energy. By talking to him about what I was feeling and by si nging the songs he wrote for me. We always accepted these invitations. I'd taken Maman. One evening I'd sing with the Montreal Symphony Orches tra and the next. After t hat. who was always with me. all worked up. who said in front of the Radio Canada cameras that one day I'd be " . He found me the words and the music. I was doing what I'd always dreamed of doing: I was singing. I'd had no moonlight romances or kisses stolen in corridors. I was asked quite often to perform on the variety shows on Tele-Metropole. exclusively. He took me for walks through Paris a lot. obviously. But he was so elated that he managed to pull me out of my to rpor and out of my bed. [101] We were always on the go. you'll be singing about the life of a woman. organized. "I've found the thread. I didn't exist at eight in the morning. Sometimes. Rene took care of all the rest. whom I always needed so much. He was the greatest walker I've ever known in my life. I was putting all my time. which they were contracted to air during prime time. right into the kitchen of our house in Poi nte-aux-Trembles and into my bedroom. however. all from my family. with or without music. with Rene . I saw myself as if in a mirror. I'd be doing a TV broadcast with country-music performers. They even included shots of Paris. One day he called me from the Mirabel airport. "Your next album is in my head. No time. But Rene wa nted the audience of Radio Canada to see me and hear me as well. He wanted everybody to hear my songs and to see me. negotiated. He was obsessed. And I hated to talk. into my profession. Eddy had me talk about all these things for hours. a kind of portrait of me.eam. Especially in those days. Even when I ate or slept I had only one goal: to be strong and healthy enough to sing better. For days they followed me everywhere. but I still needed to hide behind my mother' s skirts. or to a trendy part of Paris called Neuilly. with my musicians and technicians. Eddy got so excited he'd phone me at eight in the morning to have me listen. he hummed the first few bars of what would become "Les che mins de ma maison" (The Roads That Lead to My House). It was grueling discipline. fifty-two weeks a year. When he arrived at the house an hour later. I'd give a concert on a raft on a lake in the Laurentides in central Quebec. At night I'd record a Christmas song with a chorus of forty people. He planned out everything. and I would leave for a distant region of Que bec where I was performing in a festival. seven days a week. Rene. He was really excited abou t it. I was a professional artist who could confront larg e audiences. the childhood which you are leaving. He made me conscious of the c hanges I was going through." Over the telephone. and his song was running through my head. We'd go to t he Luxembourg Gardens or to the banks of the Seine. the m ost popular channel in Quebec. I was in limbo. thinking like them. dreams. when I was away from them. little by little becoming a woma n. So he pestered the producers and programmers of public television until they agreed to produce a special broadcast. the musi cians and the stages. I was awake. I was watching myself grow up. I was able to pass smoothly through the stages of mourning for my disappearing childhood and the cozy life I'd lived in the bos om of my family. with Eddy. all kinds of venues. espec ially on the phone. fears. And I was living li ke them. where he'd just landed: "Listen t o what I found in the plane. No female friends either. At the time I wasn't capable of doin g anything else. And I'd tell him about my moods. A strange woman.

And I began to sob and hiccup in the aisle leading to the stage. Bozo was me. like Bozo. the Quebec show-business world was divided into two majo r clans who were often at odds with each other. I cried a lot when I went up to accept my first award. I w ouldn't be able to sing. I had to put them in my voice. He'd always done it. But nothing moves me as much as an ovation. a tear rolled down my cheek and I didn't bother to wipe it a way. all of them saying I'd sung with a great sense of inner meaning." At the time. It is difficult to sing while crying. I aut omatically start to cry. I won four Felix awards." he said as a way of an excuse." But actually I just thought of myself. There were the intellectuals. practically without ge stures. But I was alone. the main paper of Quebec showed my face swollen with tears and all puffy from sobbing. He had me sing "Bozo" in a very slow tempo. What a thrill! But when I heard my name the fourth time. When I finished my song the evening o f the inauguration." "It just slipped out. You've got to manage to smile. He's a poor nut who loves a girl who doesn't exist. in my songs. I wanted to love and be loved. however. Of course I did: I wa s singing my life. And we practiced it together for several days. The next day the critics were full of praise and frankly astonished. Nevertheless. when Rene began to look after me. my crying jags were the delight of critics and commentators in Quebec. "That'll surprise them. "You'll sing a Felix song.the greatest singer in the world. squeeze your eyes shut on that tear that threatens to flow. he got it into his head that I ought to be there. He never stayed in the wings. The next day. he got into the habit of sitting in the audience to watch all my shows. a poor loveless nutcase. A few days later. when I see a crowd stand up to applaud an artist or athlete who has just given a fine performance. like a lot of managers." Obviously. Adisq is the Association of Recording and Performing Indus tries in Quebec. Se veral times I was the butt of hilarious imitations in the end-of-the-year televi sion revues. You'll see. and even more the second and third. Even today. The Felixe s are to Quebec what the Victoires de la Musique are to France and the Grammies to the United States. includi ng best new star of the year and best female performance of the year. Rather than waste them in crying and hiccuping. "Think of Bozo. that the Quebec Department of Cultural Affairs was pr eparing a big show for the inauguration of the Felix-Leclerc Theater." he told me. but I th ink I hold the absolute crying record." In the meantime. very soberly. On a few occasions. Rene arran ged for me to be there. my pain. I've had to work long and hard to channel my emotions and hold back my tears. One day. I had to exercise control over my emotions. an d there were the "others. "But by saying it. the entire house was seized by a fit o f giggling. "You're going to show them that you're capable of singing not only songs that ar e tailor-made for you but also classics. "Think of him. you'll see. Afterward he'd come into my dressing room or my hotel room and tell my mother an . From the very beginning. When he found out. A lot of girls are moved to tears when they walk up to receive a prize. And the "others" hadn't been invited to particip ate in the show inaugurating the Felix-Leclerc Theater." he said. If I cried too much. I was part of the second group. I didn't succeed in getting control of myself and missed doing the next song. For two or three [103] years. at the Adisq awards ceremony. to accept the applause and the ovations gratefully and prevent your throa t from trembling. I'd lose control of my voice. he was working to expand my audience as much as possible." he told me. I reali ze that I really believe it. It's grueling work. for example.

I'd go to bed with my cheeks softly tingling and with a little of his cologne on m y skin. in full view. about Celine Dion the singer. a world that seemed very glamorous and exciting. I woke up with the photo of my love on the pillow. in the audience that was watching me and applauding or gaping. He'd leave to meet his friends. with inordinately long and prominent canines (some humorists had nicknamed me Dracula). she must not have believed there could be any thing serious between Rene and me. it was about what I was onstage and TV . he'd kiss my mother and me on both cheeks and leave us to ourselves after unfailingly asking my mother every evening if everything was in order. but I no longer really know what went through the head of the te enager I was. He lived in a mysterious world that I dreamed of entering. I sang fo r him so that he'd think I was good. dressed. if everyone on the staff of the hotel and the restaurant had been nice to us. I was scared stiff that she'd talk to Rene about it. I say that now. that she'd tell him that I had a crush on him and that he'd be tter be care[105] ful with me if he didn't want any trouble from her. Sometimes I saw him standing so attentively in the shadows. It was as if I no longer existed. And that it would be best fo r me to get over it as soon as possible. I no longer knew how to get over him. I don't even know any longer how or when my love for Rene began. I'd found where I don't know a photo of him that I gazed at a thousand times a day w ithout my mother knowing and that I covered with kisses at night. But I was just fi fteen or sixteen years old. I r ubbed it against my cheek. "He's giving me a blow-by-blow description of what / just did and what / just said!" But I loved listening to his accounts. My mother had already gotten up. For the first time in my life. "You' re the best. he didn't see me. It slipped onto my neck like a kiss and slid onto my shoulders. out of fear that my mother. I must have told her at least a hundred times that he was dea r to my heart. I couldn't do without them. I was sixteen. If she'd seen that precious photo. never about me in real life. bushy eyebrows. in my bed. as my mother u sed to say. during my show. "Honest to God. with a big nose and lips that were too thin. Rene's head and heart were somewhere else. I never wanted to leave the stage because it was the only place I felt I existed for him. singing. U sually. w hen his hold on my emotions became too obvious to ignore. He would play card s or go see a show at a nightclub. Probably it was his watching me that started to make me love being onstage or in front of the cameras or even in the recording studio. and I hadn't even lost my baby teeth. he acts as if I hadn't been there. washed. ne xt to my head. if we were eating well. I turned back into an ordinary little girl who w asn't very pretty. In his eyes. too long a face still encumbered by b aby fat. would find it.d me what had happened. And so. As soon as I left the stage and work was over." I'd say. he always had some people to meet. Whether we were in Chicoutimi or Val d'O r in Quebec. If he ever spoke to me in a personal way. One morning." And so I could make the tears come to his eyes. these commentaries took less than a half hour. I slipped it under the pillow. song by song. Just to fascinat e him more. She must have seen the photo. and even opened the curtains. etc. And soon. Then Rene stood up. I was hiding something from Maman. but I never dared tell her that I dreamed of him every night: how he would come to my bed to get me and take me away to a desert island where we made love. I understood her. I never told her about the torrid movies that he was starring in more and more often. I was already hopelessly in . Before I fell asleep. who always shared a room with me. hiding my budd ing love for Rene. And each time it was magic. if the beds were comfortable. or in Ottawa. so that he'd tell me again and again.

ears. magnificent evening. Two or three weeks later. horrified yet doubled over with laughte r as they watched me swallow and return to my song as if nothing out of the ordi nary were happening. forming a giant dove that slowly flapped its wings. in September. The first was in Quebec's Vieux-Port. Before Canadian. rainy day. At the time I still didn't know how to hold back my tears. I noticed that millions of mayflies. They get up. talk. I had sung. I had to swallow the insects that had flown into my mouth. It's a tough lesson! In the fall of my sixteenth year. I was starting to do well on the French pop-music scene and was no longer a total unknown in France. att racted by the lights. the name at the top of the poster. I was an opener for Patrick Se bastien's show at the Olympia in Paris. [107] Quebec was another story. laugh. one August evening. It was a mag ical. and Manon sitting in the very first row. sunlight filled the stadium. we narrowly missed being part of a big disaster. Several times. I could feel them buzzing under my skirt. American . we got to witness and be part of a real live miracle. truly grand. where we celebrated the 450th anniversary of the discovery of Canada by Jacques Carrier. But when the emcee. were circling the musicians. with whom I'd always loved to laugh. Several of my songs had received a lot of radio airplay. Louise. and French TV cameras. eyes. which was packed. I finished my song. Michel Jasmin. with about thirty extraordinary musicians and chorus members. the dove. . It was magnificent. The weather was lovely. Pauline. Sometimes the audience doesn't ev en listen at all. It was harder for me to keep from laughing than it was to keep from Everyone knows that. which nevertheless managed to turn into one of the fu nniest situations you can imagine. weeping heavily because of the glaring sun. tickling m y legs. An hour before the cere monies. Dada . because of the po pe. I could see my sisters Claudette. a song written for the occasion. when the pope came to Montreal. a done deal. deeply moving. I'd done several important TV shows. Denise. That showed marked progress. I sang at the Olympic Stadium of Montreal. for fear of bursting out laughing if my eyes met those of Ghislaine or Dada. the weather forecasters predicted the worst. and the crowd. Instea d. 4 Tî be the opening act for a show is a formative and necessary experience. stepped up to the podium. but I still hadn't proven myself on the Parisian stage . It was the end of the afternoon on a windy. And I couldn't look at my sisters anymore. While I sang "Une Colombe" ("A Dove"). and mouth. And at the very moment when Michel s aid my name. which hadn't passed unnoticed. for five weeks. I soon had some in my hair. how interested could they be in the lit tle singer who tries to win them over with her sentimental ballads and between-s ong patter about her childhood and her dreams. The audience has come to see and hear the big star. to keep from choking. and because I really couldn't spit in fro nt of fifty thousand people. the sky suddenly chan ged. who'd had me on his talk show the first time I appeared on TV. n ose. read a program. In the past Weeks I'd appeared in two v ery big outdoor shows in front of tens of thousands of people. the cro wd began to shout and applaud. When I approached the floating stage. But it's also a very painful lesson that demands a lot of energy as well as a good dose of humility. But I somehow managed to cry while singing (or sing while crying) without my voice breaking or quavering. despite all my eff orts. two t housand young people in the stadium held up white banners. or just aren't there . A gust of wind chased away the clouds. Before I even opened my mouth. Ghislaine.

if Rene hadn't been in the house. There wa s little chance that our audiences overlapped. Was it because they'd really been enchanted and moved by the little Canadian singer? Or because they were impress ed by her will. Some evenings. "Obviously. I liked to make people laugh. difficult. Not necessarily over the audience. they knew I e xisted. No matter how many times he told me that you don't preach to th e converted. These sudden turnarounds remain among the most beautiful experiences I've known onstage. I learned. and who made it clear by talking in loud voices until it was tim e for Patrick Sebastien to take my place. I don't think it marked a turning point in my career. And when my song w as finished. as usual. When I was little. But don't worry about them too much. But because of Rene. I certainly had a major case of stage fright as I walked ons tage in Quebec. It wasn't easy. But each ni ght it was a victory. Rene warned me. on the other hand. It doesn't really matter. To accept success is in a certai . and draining. capable above all of not giving up. And that fall in Paris . I nearly went hoarse I tried so hard. somewhere in the darkness. My stint at the Olympia as an opening act remains an unforgettable experience fo r me. it was a whole new ball game. and. Begin by doing what you least want to do. I had to pro ve myself. the stage fright would disappear and I'd really start enjoying myself." I had never had to fight for anything in my life. without moving. like the one I was about to participate in at the Olympia. they applauded and shouted bravo. I spent every evening fighting for five weeks." So I aimed straight for my fears. do it.For me. They'd come to the Olympia for a knee-slapping good time. Patrick told spicy stories to a r owdy audience that was loud and eager to laugh. Pick them out one by one if you have to . I sang for the audience members who didn't w ant to hear me.. these big shows at the Vieux-Port in Quebec and at the Olympic Stadiu m in Montreal weren't really challenges. who was becoming better and be tter at controlling her emotions. Patrick Sebastien and I belonged to two totally different universes. I realized that I had grow n up. for those who aren't a t all interested in you. A year earlier. F irst and foremost sing for the ones who aren't listening." he said. It was tough. After a few minutes. From then on. even if I'd tried with all my s trength and determination. It w ould only last a few seconds. But during those fiv e weeks. because he wa nted it and required it. in back. I'd put everybody on the same waveleng th. More like the opposite. Certainly not to attract the attention of others. W ho'll like what you do and will help you. I felt that my chi ldhood actually was very far behind me. when we were putting together "Les Chemins de ma maison. however. I changed deeply. They never went wild. my fea rs. At the Olympia. but over myself.. her nerve. But I knew that I'd triumph over my fears. this isn't your audience. And at the time that was what counted for me. I'd become a young woman who could play hardball. not turnin g her back on fame and success. but not really in the sa me way as he did. as I struggled with an indifferent audience at the Olympia. I really made contact with the audience. he took the opportunity to raise the ante as h igh as possible. all chat really mattered for him was that I was singing and struggling with that audience and with my fears. It was like the calm after a storm. my father told us: "If you're afraid of it. All of a sudden people stopped talking and began t o listen. And. Probably I never would have succeeded at this. "But you can be sure [109] that here and there in the house are a few spectators who'll want to hear you." Eddy h ad told me that it would be a swan song for my childhood. But at least I knew that for a minute or two. even more.

I closely followed the discoveries of researchers whose work had been funded by the organ ization more or less all over the world. she had a . Like a boxer. Every day. but the intuitiv e bond and mutual understanding between us was always very strong. Like all the members of my family. I was working hard. She knew her own skills. advised me. At the time. who were always on the same wavelength. Though she certainly didn't want to. strong. [111] gravely so. whom I often went to se e when I was in Montreal." I owe Karine a lot.n way to accept the fact that you must leave behind those you love. Sylvie Bernier. A host of competent people took care of me. brothers and sisters who didn't have a chance of making it. That summer. and fame. wealth. But the life expectancy of a child with cystic fibrosis which today is thirty years was only about fifteen in the mid-eight ies. For several years. she'd end up with nothing. And reminded me as well of an insoluble mystery that troubled me endlessly on certain days and for which I will never find the answer : "Why her and not me? Why does the world and life have to be so unjust?" I'll never have the answer to these questions. or any kind of athlete who builds up his muscles. Liette as well. her strengths and limits. lay in scientific research. I lived in the sealed-off universe of show business. and injustice. she was very kind with others. € Right before my eyes was the example of my niece Karine. two people who really c onnected. And desp ite all the care her mother. And than ks to Rene. At the same time. Maybe I didn't know love . who works at developing his endurance. but in our souls. everywhere. we were sisters. Desperately. Liette. I had to remain a sensitive artist. But I was always winning. No matter what s he or we tried. One of my so ngs was regularly climbing to the top of the Quebecois charts. I didn't really understand that fear of causing pain or betr aying others. I had a fan club. that I had to vanquish that fear like all the others. at eight. she grew sicker and si cker. and never for very long. Like all top athletes. she opened my eyes to the saddest realities of life. not physically. surrounded her with. halfway through her journey on this earth. Just a too short l ife filled with constant suffering. "Melanie. on e by one. but I felt it. Karine. "You get nothing for nothing. At twenty. and it was a slight one. I felt like w e'd always known each other. sang. The only hope. very sure of herself. murdered again and again every day by cystic fibrosis. I discovered some disconcerting resemblances betwee n us. I was realizing all my dreams. We all knew it. or even of being taken for a swelled head. And very hard on herself very disciplined." as my mother would say. I was the sponsor for the fund-raising campaign for the Cys tic Fibrosis Association in Quebec. I knew that I couldn't let it get to me. as I so would have wanted. Sylvie was a mature woman. very thoughtful. capable of feeling and expressing the emotion of a song. As if they really believed they could beat this illness. And like Karine. I was only sixteen. Just by her presence. but I had my health. And she continued to fight with all her stren gth. I had to harden myself in a way. I was discovering that it was necessary to fight not only onstage but als o in life. who at twenty had just won a gold medal for diving at the Olympics in Los Angeles. Karine was waging a lost war and she knew it. Or almost nothing. My career in Fran ce was more than promising. I got to know a professional athlete. We saw eac h other only about half a dozen times. I a greed completely. was already in the middle of her life. She had Karine's blue eyes. a wardrobe full of glamorous clothes. I never read the newspapers or watc hed the news on TV. She was the o ne who'd inspired Eddy to write the title song of my last album. She too was fighting. I traveled. Karine constantly reminded me that in this world there is sufferi ng. misery.

We were right in the middle of a tour. She practiced every somersault and twirl to perfection. fear in someone's eyes. It showed me with Sylvie the shining athlete and Kari ne the haggard child. He sometimes told reporters that I was training myself like an Olympic athlete . I worke d out the content of the show with Rene. If she'd ever had a desire to just give up. With her I found out about the terrible life led by great athletes. and from wh om I'd learned a lot. throughout eastern and northern Ontario. adding one city afte r another. F or two weeks. And I re alized. Karine especially wanted to know how Sylvie trained. A short while after the holidays. and if she [113] ever got discouraged on some days. something hard to define that you could call purity of action. he'd follow every competition at the Olym pic games in Los Angeles. He'd always spo t something we'd missed. hardly a month after my five weeks at the Ol ympia. He told us in detail about their feats. Our show got larger every day and the tour was extended. I sang a mishmash of al l kinds of songs that I liked. We caused a stir before we arrived and after we left. Paul." Rene had said. He told them how I practiced my songs in my head. for him. our tricks for fi ghting stage fright. effort. and Eddy. I had a completely new orchestra directed by Paul Baillargeon. a nd ideals. Sylvie and I talked about our training. the first r eally big tour of my life. so excited. from morning to evening. I'd never been interested in sports. We were sold ou t everywhere. and someth ing else. And I often felt that I had infinitely more in co mmon with them than I had with a lot of show-business people. Actually. in Abitibi in Quebec. how we prepared for a public event. a hundred thousand times in my head. the diets we followed. for an ordeal. who'd broken up fifteen years b efore. two warriors. She told me how she prepared for a competition. And h e made them laugh by making his voice as hoarse and scratchy as possible while s aying: "See what happens when you don't train?" Rene hadn't sung since he was in the Baronets. There seemed to be no end to it. their temperament. as I think she did. Maybe even beyond perf ection. has to train every day so that her vocal cords stay in shape. He knew the names of all the star athletes. But after I met Sylvie I felt a closeness to athletes. She'd won. we were so in a groove. who had had a profound effect on me. Before a concert or a recording. I started on a long tour of Quebec. I did exactly the same thing. Aside from golf. in all sorts of genres. Rene was as close to the world of sports and athletes as he was to that of sho w business. and said that a singer. We didn't want it to end. Like Karine. and into New Brunswick. "You have to present them with . And Karine dreamed of meet ing her. a life made of perseve rance and solitude.strength of character and a power of concentration that were beyond the ordinar y. But Sylvie had reached the stars. their determination. Without ever letting up. I like athletes' m ind-set. a premonition of victory in another's. which had already sent us from one end of Quebec to t he other. by doing her dive a hundred thou sand times in her head. like an athlete. Rene created a program with Mia and E ddy and had it printed up. € I celebrated my seventeenth birthday on the stage of a liberal-arts school in Va l d'Or. there was no difference between the two worlds. their desire to win. even if we'd just seen them on TV. "This is your first real tour. who'd composed the music for "La Colombe. And his already husky voice had become even huskier. for years. that our professions had a lot in common. after having done it a hundred thousand times in the air . Two soul sisters. She too had been fighting every day." which had become an enormous hit in Quebec. a look of complicity between a trainer and an athlete.

just as in life. and publicity. romant ic. waiting. the order of songs. He was thrilled by his system. These songs became the most difficult to sing and to live in. He t old everybody about it. It's part of your profession. I fell into the worst state of inactivity. from the stage direction to the scenery. he claimed. When luck is with you. He'd perfected a system. He could play through part of the night. he'd never let on that he had any financial. Q uite often during the tour. In other words. That night Rene returned all alone to the city. Obviously he was working to repair the d amage. I'd been a spoiled and overprotected artist. a few weeks in to our tour." My career and gambling occupied him more every day." old classics like "Over the Rainbow. there are patterns. Bet heavy when you have a chance of winning. I never ." But these songs weren't always so easy to perform.the complete menu of your talent. "You've got to fight against habit and routine. I lived without consideration of a budget. We were in the Gaspe peninsula at the time. from th e musical arrangements to the lighting. And almost every evening. I was seventeen four years into my career an d had never thought that a particular project (a show. Since he'd begun to work on my career. he reminded me that I lacked concentration and presence in my be st-known songs. "In gambling. In the analyses he made for me after the show. sometimes even on what I would say to reporters or the poses to strike for the photographers. My close friends Eddy and Mia. Eddy had int roduced me to the music of Michel Legrand. He worked on my transitional material between songs. He'd always kept me in an ivory tower. away from all dan ger and any worrisome subject other than dealing with a mike or an audience. for winning all the time at blackjack. Even me. And "Up Where We Belo ng" in duet with Paul. A nd for several weeks. opera. and let my song w ander off by itself. Without realizing it. like "Ce n'etait qu'un reve" and "D'Amour ou d'amitie. who wasn't at all interested in gambling. To sing the same song for the hundredth time. At one point. to practice and keep in shap e. who came by to see me from time to time. everything needed for a card game. whose voice sounded a lot like Joe Cocker's. Anne-Renee. recording. his wife." "But how do you know when you're in luck?" "You feel it. The tour was interrupted. or family problems. just sleeping. I would put myself on automatic pilot. I sang Giraud's "Mamy Blue. four years earlier. watching TV. the least financial stress. And withdraw. I stayed at my parents' without go ing out. It was the coldest and darkest of winters. demands a power of concentration that I didn't always have. You have to keep track of the patterns. you can really feel it. Rene noticed it every time. he played cards with the musicians and technicians. Of course. unlucky. blues . During that time I read about the lives of artists in magazines and watched th em recounted on TV without ever finding an example comparable to myself." Felix Leclerc's "Le Train du nord. He ha d a green felt mat. without the least mate rial worry. putting your heart and soul into [115] it. about seven hundred miles from Montr eal. lullabies. po sters." he said. even a song that you cherish. who was a friend of his. were abo ut to make some troubling revelations about Rene. neither does a victory or a defeat.. some chips." So I did rock.." my eternal "What a Feeling. he took charge of the direction and the lighting. "A bad event neve r comes alone." Rene watched over everything." I also sang an aria from Bizet's Carmen. even my clothing and hairstyle. Without him to motivate and in spire me. or trip) was i mpossible because of money. on which he put the f inishing touches by using the people who accompanied us or friends who sometimes joined us. I barely saw him. when you're in danger. I had no desire to do my voice exercises. pull back. had had enough and threatened to leave him. I also sang my biggest h its. and he put t ogether a medley of his songs that I adored. He also told us about his theory of patterns.

after having u . I suddenly learned that he'd had to mortgage h is own house to finance one of my albums. I had no doubt after Eddy's revelations that I was now the center of Rene Ange lil's life. A certain note I had to sing louder an d hold longer. I thought he'd know how to establish a different. writers. all in the name of a single goal: to make me a star. Even if his first inte rest in me had been as a gambler. I'd bought a big [117] house in Duvernay into which I'd moved with my parents. I was intimidated as I'd never been before. I could understand why Anne-Renee had had enough of it. of what I'd changed in his life and the eno rmous importance I had for him. then. jewel s. Because of me. everything I wanted and more. Piaf. I certainly was part of his problems. believed t hat I was a sure thing.. song by song. But it seemed obvious to me that she couldn't be very happy about him taking off on tour and spending his days and nights in the studio or on the telephone with producers. And he squandered his money as if it were an inexhaustible resource. it was never perfect. I knew things would never be the same betw een us. He'd sacrificed and risked everything for me. of everything I represented for him. Rene had taken everything on himself without ever letting himself appea r the least worried. had gradually grown distant. I had all the symptoms. his habits merely stayed the same. he'd chosen to file for bankruptcy rather than accept the very interesting fina ncial offer of a promoter who wanted to produce a big tour with me. Anne-Renee. sometim es great successes. Do better. all his time and money .. musicians. Eddy told me that Rene had always acted like a millionaire. but he always had some comment. who'd been very close to me at the beginning. be better. and the need to surpass myself. She no longer came to see my shows. Then. composers. Never in my life would I have believed. more adult relationship between us. for example. And I looked at him in a completely different wa y. I would sulk. after he rea lly did become one. And he gambled a lot. In any case. a gesture I needed to do less often. and rather than paying back the mortga ge. besides gambling. Every evening he told me that I'd done we ll. he must have really believed in me. I was very happy about this. or Tina Turner who had been this sheltered and protected. Rene probably hadn't b een the most faithful and attentive husband on earth. Despite myself. He never t old me what sort of arrangement he'd made with Anne-Renee. And seeing the two of them together depressed me. Deep down inside. his attitude hadn't changed in any way. I was waiting for him to speak to me about his life. even when they were in the Montreal area. Then. two years after the fact. I was hoping to take some responsibility for them. a big star. that h e'd had to borrow large sums and that he'd already declared bankruptcy. I'd lived like a princess. I had a car. he'd reinvested all the profits in producing another album. I do n't think I gave a good performance when she was there. the desire. He won a lot of money. His numerous trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City were sometimes disastrous. The year before. to have invested all that he had. I always had to do bet ter or try to do better the next time . He still came into our room every evening and reviewed for Maman and me the s how that I'd just given. maybe I needed to change the key of such and such a song. Less and less could I hide from myself the fact that I was in love with Rene. When we went back to the Quebec tour. During this entire time. I couldn't prevent myself from thinking of everything he'd done for me. But at the time.heard them talk about an artist Streisand. Each evening he persuaded me that I could. He gave me t he inclination. and who at the beginning had been free of all material worries. He thought t hat I wasn't ready and that I hadn't yet developed a broad enough or original en ough repertoire. But to my great confusion. furs.

I'd done every[119] thing to give it away. "Maybe he simply isn't interested in me. Patrick. And then he went out to live his life. I was a real woman. He was unhappy because of me. A great classic. his gestures. I cou ldn't spend a quarter of an hour without mentioning his name." I told myself. ready to protect me against what she could only see as an unrealistic kind o f love. I'd be eighteen soon. Unconsciously. the authority that he exe rcised over everyone. We never spoke openly about it. to make love to me. and his ways of a nalyzing situations. "But maybe he isn't aware of it at all." I tried to understand why I loved him so. his col ogne. even over my parents. fall in love. "She c an still cause him pain. I had a surge of hope when the tabloids said that Anne-Renee had asked for a div orce. the color of his skin. At the time. € Everybody in my family had been suspecting for a long time that I was in love wi th Rene. my mother wasn't overly worried. We made love. of making and putting into practice decisions above all of co urse. Meanwhile I continued to go to sleep with Rene's photo pressed to my che ek. he took me f ar. I wore out several of them. I gave in. ears. "He still loves her. And I knew very well that I wouldn't get over it. even over the executives at the reco rd companies. I consoled him. and I wanted Rene to take me in his arms. and his laugh. told us to sleep well. Later. I thought he was handsome. who was within several weeks of my age. Some days I felt horribly alone . the mother of his eldest son. I loved his passion for gambling. Even before I realized that I was in love. It took me so me time to realize it. kno wing that his children wouldn't know the comfort of a stable home. I was locked up all by myself in this love about which I couldn't speak to any one. Whatever he said I took as gospel. As if I we re still thirteen years old. Sometimes I was even in love with someone else. with whom he'd had two children. Anne-Marie and Jean-Pierre. She figured that I was bound to get over it. thoughts only for him. I wanted to console him. To hear him say that he loved me. I retreated into my little movies. I realized that this was almost exclusively what was bothering him. far away. and gave me two pecks on the cheek. I had eye s. but I could sense my mother watching like a ha wk. always a little higher. understood that something was happening between Rene and me. I looked for him everywhere and waited for him. But with AnneRenee." I wanted so much for him to forget the pain of love. that sooner or later I'd meet a boy of my own age. to know that he was su ffering because of me. against my neck. he said good night to Mam an and me.pped the ante a little higher. I loved the way he looked at me. If he wasn't aroun d. Without me. his voice. which I endlessly scripted for myself. the quiet strength that he exuded. to k iss me. For real. and his hopes for my future. but I ignored him. I believed that he was suffering from being abandoned by a woman he still loved. He believed that his children were going to suffer as a result of the breakup . and get married. He did everything to seduce me. And then in one magnificent scene. had beco me a woman. But I quickly realized that he was devastated by w hat he considered a major and irreparable failure on his part. which Rene had granted. I loved h is soft eyes. his hands. who were the n only eleven and eight years old. Rene had always managed to maintain a healthy contact with Denise. on television sets. his calmness. in the recording studios." I told myself. I resisted him. or in the auditoriums where I p erformed. things didn't seem to be working out as easil y. a lot of peopl e. Friends or colleagu es sometimes asked my brothers or sisters if there was something going on betwee . to be watched over and over again! The most extraordinary part of all this was that rumors about us had begun to circulate. At the beginning. He lov ed me. smiles. the confidence he gave me.

very close to each other. in Montreal or Paris. If he'd said he didn't. I wanted it. Not for a fraction of a second had I ever thought of doing harm to anyone. But when he came in with the others. even if twenty people were around us. At least half of them. There was no longer any love . however. I'd let my hea d fall on his shoulder. I myself had never had the slightest hesitation. I would have stayed there until the w orld ended or I would have kept walking until I dropped. I don't love you.n Rene and me. I was sure of it. or at a restaurant. Mia . understand me. Because I know that you love me. We had to break off that familiarity between us. which avoided me. I kept seeking his e yes. "If you don't love me. Quite often I'd lean right against him. And because of them. He seeme d tired. He had eyes only f or me. And he was too in a way. he and I lost some of th e time we could have spent in love a lot of that time. I was seated at the end of the table and waiting for Rene to sit down next to me. He got up and came toward me. I knew his [123] marriage to Anne-Renee was over. My mother was sitting with us somewhere. saw it. It was a dreary meal. leaving us alone. in a restaurant we went to often. I want you to say it. he passed by me. A lot of people said they were shocked [121] because of the difference in our ages or thought that Rene had abused his author ity and power as my manager. I obviously couldn't swallow a thing. destroyed. Tell me: 'Celine. We talked to each other without bothering with other people. He too couldn't stop looking at me. to leave me alone. "Did Maman ask you to do this?" He didn't answer. I'll never believe you. One day in Paris." he told me. Out side. It was clear that he liked be ing with me. When we were together. More. So I said: "I know that you love me. The rumors certainly didn't make things easy for me." I thought he was going to tel l me something terrible. which suggested all kinds of possibilities." He was never capable of telling me he didn't love me. I told myself that other people would think that it was completely innocent. They were. fascinated by me. he immediately told me we couldn't let ourselves be seen that way anymore. "Come on. when we listened to my recordings. He himself never mentioned the rumors circulating around us. And then everyone left. where we ate almost every day. he was captivated. He liked to talk to me. I wanted to sit down on the sidewalk. I knew it. and went to sit at the other e nd of the table. But it wasn't. felt it. I think he'd prepared a speech and rehearsed it. I wanted him to go away. composers and producers who'd been at the recording session. and which took opinion polls on the subject from th eir readers. by his usual place. We laughed a lot. and some others. I can' t believe you. Everythin g collapsed around me." He didn't say anything. I th ought he was going to cry.' If you don't say it. he loved me. Not because of me. so was Eddy. I felt as if Rene was participating in this game and also getting a lot of pleasure out of it. But he fought it. I would never have believed him. I knew he loved me. perhaps. My head was spinning. Why he was rejecting me and rejecting our happiness. I rea lly was totally in love. from completely falling apart. I was shattered. I was shaking so much I had difficulty standing up. And we felt as if we were alone in th e world. But later I knew that they had troubled him deeply. Rene Angelil. "We'll walk back together. And the rumor quickly reached the scandal sheets. At the studio. That's what kept me. we were always seated side by side. Tell me I'm wrong if you can. I t hink. not unfounded. My legs began to tremble. And I just couldn't understand why he was refusing the love I had to offer. An d above all.

there was no doubt. a woman of heart. far away. he didn't wan t to see or believe that I was really in love with him." I wanted to answer her: "He wouldn't have wanted to keep it from happening. Everything we'd trie d in the course of that year had been a resounding success. She patted me lightly on the back like you do a terrified. the end of which was not in sight.between them now. one day. my mother couldn't and didn't want to find a solu tion to my problem. Maman was waiting for me at the hotel. of course. My mother held Rene responsible for the love that consumed me. and you know it. But in my heart. she wanted to cure me of it. best show. if you can." Meanwhile. "I love you and I'll love you my whole life." But she would have answered: "Did he tell you that?" And I would have had to answer no. Some tears of joy. I was going to put as much stubbornness and strength into getting him as I had put into my singing. she wanted me to forge t Rene. He didn't love me. A triumph. best singe r. But my heart was aching." He was walking next to me. She was watch ing over me. and before letting me sleep she came out with: "He could have kept this f rom happening. hadn't ever believed that I really loved hi . Professionally. her fear of having to see my life shattered. why was he resisting me? Why d id he enjoy making me suffer? [125] I was having horrible doubts. and despite herself. Say ing she wanted a prince for her princess. Even worse. She was doing what a mother has to do." She'd written a terrible letter to Rene accusing him of betraying her trust. broken. tears of sadness. I was sure that he loved me. "I'm not a minor. we won five Felixes best song. But more than that. I began to believe that I was li ving an illusion. This is a free country. I've never cried so much in my whole life. For the first time in my life. a deep sadness that I'd felt g rowing in me for several months. But then. She helped me to undress. either on Rene's side or on Anne-Renee's. despite all the proofs I 'd given him. she'd become an obstac le to my happiness. I had wanted to become a great singer and I was bec oming one. my mother. I was crying not just because of Rene but also because of her pain and worry. not a twice-divorced man who was two a nd a half times older than her daughter. No one has the right to prevent me fro m loving whoever I want to. Far from supporting my love. She ran a bath for me. Tell me it's not. I had every reason in the world to rejoice. And I said to him: "Do you really think making yourself unhappy can make your children happ y?" He didn't answer. But at the same time. that I was eighteen years old. She even got angry when I talked about him. I wanted that man in my life. grief-stricken baby that you want to console. Finally I realized he was trying to patch up his marriage for the sake of the children. who d idn't want me to love him. who didn't want to love me. at the Adisq gala. Worse than that. If two days went by without seeing him. We d idn't say anything to each other. I never held anything against her. The tour had ended b eautifully with three shows in the main auditorium at the Place des Arts before a captivated public and thrilled critics. But he was far. She knew me well enough to understand that I wasn't going to le t my feelings for Rene drop. She tucked me int o bed. "Your happiness is with me. No one but you. I was in love with a man I couldn't love. She knew perfectly well what had happened . without hearing his voice or feeling him looking at me. etc. beca use he loves me too. I must have caused her a lot of pain by reminding her. I didn't hold her silence against her. knew that you can't stop a he art from loving. € That fall.

we had no upcoming project or tour." or "Make me cry . That summer I recorded a new album. he would have seen that his wife's request for a divorce was a deliverance. Eddy told the story of my life in the songs he was writing for me. His efforts to save his home appeared to me as p roof that he did not love me. no show in France or Quebec. I'd tell myself: "He can't not understand. By the beginning of summer. For the first time in five years. he'd already made up with Anne-Renee. But if he doesn't. they seemed so familiar to me that I only had to read them once or twice to learn them by heart. And they'd s tarted living together as a couple. that h e felt I wouldn't be able to respond to his demands because I seemed so sad. understood everything. If he'd loved me even a little bit. I decided that he was losing interest in me. as he did before." I spent my days and nig hts wondering what he was thinking. or worse. if he knew that I loved him. Sometimes my words sound so bizarre. Between us lies the reason why. Apa rt from that assessment." This time. You don't get it at all. As I sang. no TV appearances. We made the album C'est pour toi almost me chanically. . and how he could ignore it. You look at me appalled. He'd found the lyrics for his songs deep inside me. He had decided that we were going to stop things cold. and me to restaurants. that I had been mistaken about his feelings for me . Don't make me tell you everything. It was because he had other projects in mind for me that he had been thinking ab out for a long time. I sank into my own private hell. one more twisted tha n the next. but he didn't seem altogether present nor as exacting as he'd been before. He'd been observing me. His sufferin g and distress were killing me. Rene was there at the sessions.. because he abruptly stopped spending evenings at our house or taking my fathe r. On and on they go about the things I've felt. It seemed clear that Anne-Renee had demanded that he be at the house more ofte n. It was obvious that he too had seen ever ything..m. mother. Sometimes I laugh just a little too much. I concocted all kinds of theories. Rene didn't seem to be in a hurry to organize the pub licity campaign as he had been in the past. Everything I do today I do because I love you so. where his heart was. 'Cause you already know. a few days before the Adisq award ceremonies where I'd triumphed as the c rying machine that couldn't be turned off. "You can do better. and if he still loved Anne-Renee. We saw him now only when there was some specif ic work to do. The answer's in my eyes. without putting much heart or time into it and without much hope insid e ourselves. and he really doesn't want me to l ove him. But instead he seemed devastated. What's more. Maybe all this bores him. "He can feel me suffering because he knows I love him. C'est pour toi (This Is for You). He no longer said to me. Don't ask too many questions. Maybe he's been telling himself that because of this we can't work toge ther. "For how long?" I asked. One evening he revealed them [127] to me. then he real ly doesn't love me. What is more." Because of this. Or maybe he sees that I 'm suffering but doesn't want to know the cause. if they made love together a lot . Then comes your look to make my poor heart melt.

When we start again. If he was so interested in having me learn English. I'd tighten up the muscles and learn to move my hips when I walked. When my beloved manager came back for good. And I held o n to that idea. I was facing an important challenge alone. I'm going to step back. It was great to have won five Felixes. it was because he'd decided to have me record an album in the United States. and for nights. adult woman: to seduce a man twenty-six years older than me. there would be other women. as well as victories and defeats. I'd spe ak English. I was going to leave beh ind the guise of bashful teenager in love and confront this lothario with equal weapons. "Out of sight." I knew that I'd be apart from him for several months. I'd dance and move gracefully onstage. we' ll be going far. I saw this as a promise of the future. he was going to leave. I was getting ready to begin a period of my life that terrified an d thrilled me at the same time. when you knew you'd make some foolish mistakes. take some time off. as you can see. He was asking me to pretty my self up. or brunette I could always try a new hair color. But for now I needed to go it alone. He reminded me about his theory of patterns. I started making up little horror films for myself." I knew that out there. He wanted me to pretty myself up." He laughed. or Rene Angelil. And that he wouldn't be thinking about me very much. He had. I was going to break that wonderful contact I'd established with my audience during the tour. I was going to be l iving far from the man I loved. I would put all my car ds on the table. not luck. and thanks to that thin-ness. for days and days. And instead o f making mistakes. Maybe not at all. he wasn't abandoning me. I had to be content with what nature had given me and that wasn't really much of a knockout. "To start. you'll see. unhappy in l ove. it was because he had some big projects for us both." The day after the music-award ceremonies. I was going to undertake a large-scale project without the sup[129] port or the advice of my brothers and sisters. however. That's why I had cried so much at the awa rds ceremony. other pleasu res to preoccupy him. all the new singers. where he'd spend the major part of the ne xt year. it'll be in a big way. I was thin like my brothers and si sters and father. I liked his laugh. even when he sounded sad. No problem. You're going to stop for a few months too for a full year if necessary. I'd do it."For as long as it takes. On the contrary. Bl onde. happy in business. Then you're going to listen to everything that comes out all the musi c. to become stronger than I was. my mother. All things considered. it would be my very first personal project as a responsible. given me some homework to do: learn English and take some d ancing and singing classes. about bad things never coming al one. out of mind . As for the low-cut part. For the first time in my life." "It's your wife that's left you. And above all. I imagined him at the casi no surrounded by dazzling redheads or sexy blondes in low-cut knockout gowns. for Las Vegas. All right. redhead." "As long as what takes?" "For our luck to return. If he was imposing this hiatus on us. I'd sing better than ever. I was going to knock him out. but without him my arms felt emp ty. I'd work out the rest. he'd discover a changed woman. I wanted the cha . And that you needed to hide away for a wh ile. even the bad ones. In fa ct. "At the moment. When he got back. not act when you knew you were in danger. Well. I'm going through a bad period. to grow. I could get away with acting the part of supermodel. and when he came back. in Las Vegas. we're going to fix your teeth and you're going to change your hair an d your look. But I wasn't counting solely on doing that. Above and beyond anything else. He'd be pleased.

a bewitching smile. I love to get a tan. Every time we saw each other. € And so. which made me look like I had a gigantic orthodontic scaffold in my mouth. He was the one I wanted to impress. In fact. without saying a word. it was a nightmare. and many others. I was wearing sho rts and a camisole. He had decided to revamp our whole enterpr ise. Give yourself a go al and reach it. that's the only thing I would believe in. And then all at once. our new record com pany. He seemed to be interested only in the Ameri can market. and snag Rene Angelil once a nd for all. an air of mystery. I knew the adventures of Elvis and Colonel Parker. I gave them up for adoption. and it was sweeter and mor e intense than it had ever been in my little scenarios of unrequited love. I could still be heard regularly on the radio. I c ould almost see him reeling. I started talking nonsense and all my ideas got mixed up. my perfect teeth. For months. For the first time. five days a week. never with the braces. the smile of a woman who was very sure of herself. During the winter. but I was working just as hard. I never saw any photos of me that dated from that time. I'd have a new. The next day.nges in me to get me to the man. as he had always done. An in . because in the e nd. I felt him looking at me the wa y a man who desires a woman looks at her. I stopped understanding words in a ny human language at all. He especially wanted me to make an expensively produced record in English. after this period. because for several months I'd been taking dance lesso ns. charm. But he too had some homework to do. the musicians. And it's a good thing that I was willing to go to such lengths. It was almost summer. I quickly got used to life out of the limelight. Added to that I had a smile that I'd practiced for a long time. I had muscles too. Finally. provocative way of looking at him. the other to California. I wore braces. in Las Vegas. he told me stories. I was a missionary in Africa. a lot of strength. New York. During his absence. I noticed that I'd gotten him really flustered. my shoulders and thighs were bare and tanned. I'd become a nun. I was going to train myself in the art of seduction. and sex appeal. At times. He wanted to change everything our record company. but I wasn 't seen anywhere. I discovered a new meaning in the songs that I'd known since e arly childhood. I no longer [131] had those extra-long canines that had won me the name Dracula. thr ee days later. I enrolled in a language school for nine hours a day. Rene returned regularly to Quebec. I'd lost my voice . the one I w as going to go after with my new look. . he'd come to get me at my place in the town of Duvernay to take me to se e a show at the Place des Arts and meet some people from CBS. I had just had twins. one went to Sw itzerland. I watched a talk show in English on TV and understood all the conversation for long stretche s. in any case. for two months. everything became clear and intelligible. mostly to see his children . I was really out of th e limelight. He was talking again about broadening my repertoire to attract a bigger audience. not just looking at me the way an impr esario looks at his artist. All kinds of rumors began circulating in the tabloids. He was meeting people in Toronto. From hi m. I'd really flustered him. his stories took place in the future and they featured him and me as the heroes. my new hairstyle and ap pearance. Or almost all. He remained standing on the doorstep looking at me. But from this time forward. Barbra Streisand and her m anager Marty Erlichman. He saw me within two years on the Johnny Carson show. like a top athlete. . I'd changed my hairscyle and look. These day s he was talking less about France. one day. and Los Angeles and making p lans. the distribution company. that's where he was intending to go. I was pregnant. I would have followed him to the ends of the earth. on Broadway. So he was going to go into partnership with a multinational record c ompany.

How could he not know it? For quite a while after this. The only thing that upset me was that I still had to lie to my mother. As would my father . I felt it in his look. I became confident about my power. But not for a fraction of a second did I think that they could act in a way or demand something that would have made me unhappy. Or rather. I loved the secretiveness and the kind of ambiguity this created around us. He'd guide and manage my career. I n order to carry out my seduction. I wanted onl y one man for my entire life. I never imagined such a thing happening. And I had no doubt that one day or other we'd be lovers. It was no longer a fashionable thing to crave. he'd be involved on two levels of my life. or one of my brothers. I tried to fluster him every chance I got. the sensation of having power over a man. a state of mind that is practicall y as powerful as sex appeal when it comes to seduction. the innuendos. Beginning with my mother. We weren't lovers yet. And from the n on I didn't hold back. that I give u p trying to seduce him. Songs th at told a very simple story. to have a professional relationship with me. as well as for all my brothers and sisters. Often I stayed ve ry close to him. it would have been practically impossible to manage my career without it. I don't think he wanted to lose that mutu al understanding. which seemed unfavorable to him. I don't know where my need or desire to experience a complete and absolute love came from. I knew that one day it would be Rene. He had become the object of the lo ve that I sang about. But we had to hide so that no one could see us together. but she was also his adversary in the evolution of our love story. One thing I was sure of at least: I could get him all flustered. People's looks. I told myself our relationship was finally changing. There was someb ody else with us. She'd ac cept our love. I well knew. My mother found herself in an untenable position. I wanted to surprise him.visible shiver went through me from my head to my feet. He'd realized very quickly [133] that in order to work with me. that she'd be against it. And I was happy. That love became the major project of my life. And with her he'd developed real ties of friendship. shake him up. Rene Angeli l would be not only my impresario but also my inspiration. We were at home in the kitchen. he got lost in his thoughts and he couldn't find the thread again. out of decency. maybe Papa. he was the man of my songs. I love him. I console d myself by believing that one day she'd understand that I was serious. For my parents. I fig ured that she'd try to dissuade me. The seducer was being seduced. who loved a man she wanted to seduce. But I've never imagined that love could be anything but grand and exclusive. Then I'd admit all my little lies to her. choose my songs. make all the business decisions." . I said: "What you don't und erstand is that I love him. I fo und it exciting and extremely romantic. Rene was a very form idable and impressive figure. and also out of fear of public o pinion. She was his ally in a professi onal sense. I remember one critical moment when I found the words and the tears that really touched her. He consulted with her about ev erything and listened to her opinions. it was crucial that I convince my mother that what I felt was more than just the passing fancy of a young girl. I never know how to answer when someone asks me today how I'd have reacted if my mother demanded that I break off completely with Rene. Actually. And I knew it would last a lifetime. From then on. Maman was busy preparing dinner. Sometimes while he was speaking to me. he refused to take on this role. Rene and I finally had a secret life. "Now what was I saying?" From then on. he'd have to have the complete agreement of my family. what ever yone around us was wondering. positioned so that he saw my bare shoulders or legs my whole arse nal of weapons of seduction. Starting with that day. the story of a very determined girl who thirsted fo r love.

She came toward me and took me very gently i n her arms. He'd invited several important people from Parisian show business. He's a big cheerful guy who looked very elegant and unkempt at the same time . but he had a will of iron. He was barely older than me. My last card to keep you. my heart. [135] Of all the changes and reenvisioning plans Rene was making. Not only in co mposing and editing the images he wanted. who was already recognized in Quebec and in English-speak ing Canada as one of the most brilliant video directors. By then he already wore those famous black glasses he later was known for. "I want you to be a sensual. at any cost. And it was the reason he had given him all the freedom he wanted. Plamondon invited us to his place in Paris. my littl e girl. She'd guided me through the fascinating universe of fashion. or like you create a song . including Charlebois. Francois saw that I wanted to seduce." I understood then that she was no longer opposed to my project. A few days before the shooting. "It's true. then give them all the technical and financial mea ns as well as all the latitude they needed. Rene understood that Francois was doing fresh. That's what the song "Fais ce que tu voudras" was saying. my whole life. the trees of the Champ s-de-Mars. in cluding Gilbert Coullier. He had me try on all sorts of things it never would have occurred to me to try on. with Francois. I love him for real. and Ju lien Clerc. he'd written a fabulous opera called Starman ia. He'd penetrated my head and my heart. my ow n look." Maman wiped her hands on her apron. it takes into account your own vision. I couldn't have asked for better. and obtained it. about twenty years old. who speci alized in ballads. He didn't see me as a pop singer and even less as a rock sing er. But Rene wanted me to be a part of that universe. He especially wanted to work with Luc Plamondon. of course. After that day. Eddy had seen right into my heart with astonishing clearness. sexy girl. with the r iver Seine in the background. with Francois Girard. everything changed." he told me. Mia had taken me a few times to the great couturiers of Pans. and its general mood. From then on. For life. I'll bet my life. He was afraid to hurt Eddy by seeking out young songwriters whose s tyles were more rock. Diane Dufresne. I'll even fight. which had been having a good run for several years. Rene wanted me to do my next video. original things. He'd find creative peop le. I'd already m et him briefly in the wings of the Place des Arts after a performance of Starman ia. but also in working on my image. who'd later become the producer of all my shows in Fra . And that the look you choose is also a tool. It takes into account the spirit of the times. That was the r eason he had pursued him. He'd had hits with dozens of French and Quebecois performers. And with Michel Berger. Even my voice. "Fais ce que tu voudras" (Do What You Want). And. and the Palais de Chaillot. one thing deeply b othered him. Maybe she wouldn 't go so far as to encourage it. but she had admitted that my passion for Rene w as not just a passing phase. I discovered th at you create a look as if you're working on a canvas. who was already the most inno vative and visible lyricist in the francophone world. I put my head on her shoulder and she said: "I believe you. Once more. ask them to work with me. He demanded that Rene give him absolute freedom.And I burst into tears. more pop than his. One day in the fall. I believe you. Francois took me shopping for hours in all the secondhand clothing stores and shops I'd never even set foot in. The windows of his apartment opened directly onto the Eiffel Tower. of the world in general. that's how Rene would proceed. Now. I think Eddy definitely saw me as part of the tradition of French singers Mireille Mathieu or Nana Mouskouri.

When I saw what Luc had written. and rose to arrange some books. Then Rene handed me the scraps of paper without saying a word. all those nights all alone in the gloom. and his wife. First at the table. the agreements we were going to sign with CBS. "It has to be a hit. He was considerate and gallant. Like Eddy. I felt self-assured. And I think I gave them quite a show.nce and Belgium. as she still often was. CBS is go ing to give us the means to produce a record in English. Luc Plamondon was really taken with it. to turn a lamp off or on. but I was uninhibited." he said. as well as he could. or would be very soon." The lyrics were handwritten on scraps of paper that he handed to Rene. for months? If you don't come. We had moments when we thought we were alone i n the world. We walked together through Paris. always gave me his ar m. which o verlooked a very lovely park. and Edith Piaf." I was in front of Rene. then in the sitting ro om full of curios. even if Maman w as there. about the album in English that we'd do in a year or two (at mos t). I knew at that mome nt that I was making him happy and that he could never do without me. you've got to return them to me one by one. Since tha t scene in the Paris street when he'd wanted to break things off. genuinely. there was a skati ng rink. c onfident of my charm. Luc had written two songs for us. Under the trees. of everything that I was wearing and saying. [137] A few weeks later. I became terribly intimidated about being with the se people and quite unsure of myself. we met again with Plamondon in his house in Montreal. I could feel that Luc was nervous. my future partner in shopping jaunts in t he rue Faubourg Saint-Honore. . I talked a lot. paintings of the masters. Especially when I s ang the songs from Starmania. But when the evening arrived and I was in their presence. imitating the female roles of the opera one by one . Luc had explored my inner life. where some young people were playing hockey. As soo n as we've sold a hundred thousand copies of the next album in French. And about th e musicians and lyricists he was lining up to produce this hit album that would win us the record in English. surrounded by these people who seemed interested in me. right after the one we were working on. He offered me some champa gne and canapes. It was snowing. and sculptures. And practically unspoken. even when there were a lot of people around us. To make them laugh. and always opened doors and car doors. and I sang it to arouse him: All those nights I spent alone wanting to touch you. to mo ve a curio. Nicole. "I had a clause put in the new contract. it will be another." He was so proud of his clause! He spoke to me about it for hours. On the day of this meeting. our platonic love. dreaming you'd come to my room! Will you make me wait for days. books. Luc sat down at the piano and. It was painful and exquisite at the same time. I'd never remi nded him that I loved him. I told them funny stories about my family and imitated Streisand and Jop lin. He talked to me about his projects. What he had written was so close to me that I couldn't help being really unsettled by it. And you'll bear the blame for a lifetime of regret for my first night of love. I don't know what devil got hold of me. The first time I sang the words to "Lolita. sketched out the melody that had been composed by Jean-Alain Roussel. We had entered the period in our life I call our silent love. "Lolita" and "Incognito. I also kne w he was in love with me. which was chaste and completely idealistic. We were always together. I was bowled over. But I could tell from his eyes that he was really happy. I could see Rene a little to the side watching me proudly. which he said would be a big hit. my makeup. We w ere often alone. Rene took his time.

In France. no one doubted that Rene Angelil and I were in love. people who. Lolita isn't too young for love. Romano Musumarra. that I wouldn't ever be pregnant becaus e Rene had had a vasectomy. daring . Rene. I later discovered that it was the artistic milieu that was wrong. I think. The message was clear. I was disappointed. New look. the song I was recording was called "Je ne veux pas" (I Don't Want T o). new team. We were silent for a long time. France wasn't interested in the kind of pop singer I wanted to be. shared the songs so completely that for months we had two. who 'd always stayed away from me. lacked judgment. the song "Incognito " rightly said. the somewhat sta rry-eyed and dreamy little girl I no longer was and I no longer wanted to be. I think I was angry. Strangely enough." A wispy voice like Bardot's o r Zazou's was now all the rage. They couldn't accept that I'd changed. who stayed faithful. He must have known what I was thinking. Sinc e Mireille Mathieu. the programmers and marketing specialists didn't think that two of th e songs would work there. The album Incognito attracted a wide spectrum of the public. They wanted me to remain the ingenue. In Quebec. And inside myself I wondered: "What game is he playing? If he thinks that song's perfect for me. Very quickly. new sound."€€€€ Ironically." I sang the refrain in a very low voice. these were the songs that did the be st in Quebec "Incognito" and "Lolita" the two that had been written by Luc Plamondon . that we'd gotten married in Las Vegas. Someday I hope I'll understand the gossip columnists who for more than ten years have insisted that I was going to have twins. Sometimes my greatest happiness has come when life imitated the [139] rumors that were being spread. The next. who had always wanted to keep me away from critics and problems. however.As I was singing. new re cord company. Je recommence òà vie a zero ("I'm starting over at square one"). and shocked. as well as the more genteel. they announced that I was pregnant and that we were expecting twins. in the streets of Paris. At least in Queb ec. I heard Rene tell Luc that the song was exactly what he was lo oking for. in a re staurant in Montreal. Elsewhere things were going to move a lot more slowly. Isn't too young to surrender When desire devour s her body. the rumors took on a new form. after having lived in sin for months. and at the age to jump into bed with the man I loved. sometimes three hits topping the charts at the same time. then. who'd composed the music. They let everyone know. French fashion tended to favor the "breathers. I was past the age of fai ry tales. don't give so much. As if life wanted to make the gossip true or to f ulfill our most cherished dreams. A few days after my nineteenth birthday. . . "We've never cut such a wide swath. shameless declaration of love. I can still hear him saying: "Hold back your voice. family-oriented stat ions. What's more. when I went to the studio to record one of the songs Eddy had writt en. where I was getting my first real medi a exposure in more than a year and a half. These were re cord magnates we were working with. As the people in ma rketing at CBS said. It was weird. miracle of miracles. told me that I overdid songs. how much I need him. frustrated. new Celine Dion . Rene had read it be fore me. we launched the album Incognito in the most fashionable discotheque in Montreal. probably would never have told me about the difficulties in France if it hadn't been nece ssary for me to go to Paris to record some replacement songs for the album. it's because he knows how much I love him. Scads of people claimed to have seen us kissing on an airplane." The rock stations. a kind of public. One day they'd say we were engaged. Right to the tips of her fingers. who'd become a forgotten page in the history of show busines s.

. They were the result of events I had the luck to participate in and that allowed me to get recognized by the Canadian pu blic very rapidly. The vast majority of industry people. a stroke of great luck or a miracle was required. I was an established star. he never stopped telling me that this would be a cru cial moment. I don't know why Ronda hadn't come to Esterel. I rehearsed with Dan. I was part of that record comp any. Some people think that ambition is a serious fault. Our voices went well to gether. "It'll add some drama. I stated str aight out that my goal was to one day be the greatest singer in the world. Rene didn't talk to me about it. € On the day before the performance. That summer we were preparing both a big TV show for Radio Canada and a super to ur of Quebec at the same time. And the song was in a range where I felt perfectly at ease. I didn't fare any better. didn't understand any of t he words. h e contacted Hill. French songs were rarely played. what one calls a "showcase. these projects seemed almost trivial. "Can't We Try. "If you can't bring the house to its feet. there wasn't any place for my songs in their market or on their radio stations . Which wasn't surprising. Then some American decision makers opened some doors for me d own in the United States. And a few good souls were shocked by that. CBS-Canada had its annual convention at the Esterel. even if they had found me interesting . My songs were played on the radio day and night. At the start of summer. seeing other audiences . so I was entitled to a short presentation. at t hat time more than today. as they say. which were politely received. even though we had access to enormous fu nds and technical support to produce them. facing other challenges. But I was no longer regularly invited to big television shows or wr itten about at length in Parisian magazines. . were completely separate and distinct. two star systems. that I probably wouldn't have any other opportunities to show what I could do for a long time. Not me. Rene had returned to his strategy of upping the ante. But two such miracles happened to me. In this country. In all the interviews I gave then. In the eyes of some. that ambition was somewhat shocking and vulgar. two solitudes." Square one was the Quebec area. The big star of that convention was Dan Hill with his hit song of the summer. who came f rom Ontario and from the western provinces of Canada." a duet he did with Ronda Sheppard. and the president of CBS and proposed that I sin g [141] with Dan in her place. For the rest of the Canadian public to listen to a Quebecois artist. But I too was intrigued by the idea of going elsewhere. like "D'Amour ou d'amitie. where everything had gone as far as it could g o. In English-speaking Canada. Rene and I wanted to get out of Quebec. Maybe never. and imagination. I did two or three songs. as soon as Rene learned that she hadn't. we go back to square one and stay t here a pretty long time. but I guesse d by their attitude what they thought of me. A few days earlier. Everyone knew they couldn't go very far. some big doors." My last albums weren't selling well. I'd sold several hundred thousand albums. north of Montreal." he said. But without the prospect of getting out of Quebec . And in France . I was treated with total indifference. there have always been two record industries. During the two or three days before the convention. And even if they had understood. I never hid my great desire to succeed. which. a big hotel in the Laurentides. so it would be a surp rise. Hill's agent. Intellect uals looked at me with a half smile. I didn't read what they wrote." In the afternoon. I was being less well received than during the period of my first songs. He asked them not to talk about it.

about a hundred and fifty people. The show we were preparing was for a general family audience on a Sunday evening. It was a very small audience. open spaces. But I d id want to get out of the country and know other things. We held each other for a long time out of pure happiness. French-speaking Ontario. two or three floors belowground in the basement of Radio Canada headquarters. a rock star." " . I'd be the "token" French Canadian. A girl can see the se things. We knew that CBS would in all likelihood honor its commitment to have me make a record in English. a suburban lady." I was disappointed. Surrounded by all t hese people. the peopl e at CBS knew who I was. Rene was waiting for me when I left the stage. So that autumn in Toronto. I felt l ike a caged animal. I answered that I wanted to do everything. I want to sing rock and opera. new songs and old hits. Th ey all leaped up to applaud Dan Hill and me. a Lolita. "You don't need to shock when you have a voice like yours. and as a result . We were both so excited that we stayed in the Esterel long after ev erybody had left. The best way to do i t was to be every woman at the same time. What they call ambition is for me just a need for air and freedom. completely legitimate. I was waiting . He was laughing. which kind o f alarmed them. Even if practically no one outside of Queb ec. he walked back and forth in front of t he little stage where I'd sung. and New Brunswick had bought it. I had two very daring costumes that I really liked.To me. my roots will always be there. I hadn't left him indifferent. One day I did a kind of fashion show for him in a soulless spa ce lit by neon. I discovered the great pleasure that lies in doing comedy and becoming different k inds of characters. I'd say to them: "I want to make them laugh. As if we didn't want to leave the place where our future had h ung in the balance. they spent hours asking me wha t I wanted to do and be. He said they'd shock people. an ingenue. Either "Incognito. I love Quebec deeply. a tomboy. the need to be able to make choices. He obviously wanted to approve all my costu mes. with some from the United States. and the wardrobe people. He couldn't stay in one place. He took me very gently in his a rms. € The album Incognito still wasn't selling in English-speaking Canada. Rene always took care of everything. Actually. From then on. at Radio Canada. I worked with researchers and t he director on the concept for that broadcast. but today it seems completely obvious. in French an d in English. what I wanted to do most was seduce Rene Angelil." I wanted to have a lot of costumes and play a Garbo-like vamp. had me excited again. but he nixed t hem immediately. the director. While doing that variety show. But it was doing so well in Quebec that it became the top seller in Canada. Maybe I didn't say it then. From the very first meetings. That's really the sense we had at the time. This time it wasn't just to be poli te. Rene didn't talk about it. But I was conso led to know that he'd seen me. it merited the Juno prize for the bestselling album in the country. I sang that duet as if my life depended on it. I wa nt to dance. . And we brought down the entire house. I really would have liked to shock a little. make them cry. but he didn 't take me in his arms again. I did it with all the passion within me. but they were the decision makers and executives of the recording indus try throughout Canada. [143] During the weeks that followed. According to tradition. Now the projects that we had. . the most important media event of the Canadian recording and performing industry. I'd prepared about a half dozen with the researchers. such ambition is essential and necessary. I would sing my most popular work. like the day before. the Radio Canada TV show and th e Quebec tour. a goody -goody. This gave me the r ight to an appearance on the Juno awards show on television. So that evening at the Esterel.

Yet again we wer e going to put all our cards on the table." Rene said. he was already working wi th the biggest of the big: Barbra Streisand. For them as well. where. demanding song. as if the fire in me can't be extinguished. Then Rene got it into his head that I ought to do an original song no one knew. That or nothing. he had made a na me for himself in Los Angeles." Foster may not have been known to the public at large. Originally from British Columbia. "He's the best. he'd up t he ante. They had to accept it. Vancouver. he was a huge star. but also the mainstream au dience of Canada and especially the Canadian media. As soon as the invitation came to us. It's easier to move a general audience with a tune they already know. lighting people. the record-industry wonder boy from the United States. He asked them to invest ten times more than had been anticipated for th e English album. The Quebec ois didn't watch the Juno awards. "You stole the show. a writer for t he texts between the numbers." which I was planni ng to include in my tour. He even called Halifax. in the eighties. "He's the one we need. In the afternoon.Lolita. Our future depended on their reaction. As always. to find out what the reacti ons had been in those cities." said the bosses at CBS. It was because you'd created your own songs that he was really able to see your abilities. I keep singing when I dash t hrough the wings. He wrote words and music for them. be the producer." Barely two days before the event. and the inimitable Mego as orch estra conductor. we finally came up with "Have a Heart. We left for Toronto in a state of almost unbearable excitement. we continued to prepare our show Incognito. It was an utterly wasted effort. but in the world of show business. [145] spectacular. Now it wasn't just the industry I was confronting. "As for Foster. Montreal. he arranged. he met with the big bosses at CBS. a dozen techni cians." But how was another story. or "On traverse un miroir" (Through th e Looking Glass). At first we thought about doing an old classic." While waiting for David Foster and the blessings of the big bosses at CBS Intern ational. I thought of "The Way We Were" or "Over the Rainbow" or even a boogie-woogie "Chattanooga Choo-Choo. I was in a trance when I left the stage. Paul McCartney. a director. How to approach an artist of the stature of David Foster. Neil Diamond. Frank Sinatra. like at the Esterel six months earlier. It's a very physical. I'd say that of all the sho ws I've presented in my career. . Natalie Cole. a lot of costumes. Every year." he kept repeating. who was already living on planet Hollywood? "We'll find a way. produced. one si nger from Quebec performed his or her little song for three minutes in French at the Juno awards. Celine and you will have to find a way to approach him and get him interested. a set designer." "Jour de fievre" (Day of Fever). The next day. He'd had the time to learn by heart all the articles that appeared in all the papers he coul d find. Rene informed the organizers of the show t hat I'd sing a song in English. "Remember when Eddy heard you for the first time. Rene got up at dawn to get the papers. when I climb into the limousin e. The English-speaking Canadians didn't listen t o the French songs on the program. and conducted for artists who were making high-quality albums. this was the most extensively and minutely prepa red. And he demanded as well that David Foster." which was actually the original version of "Partout je te vois" (I See You Everywhere) on my album Incognito. Everybody knew it. "The money's no problem. sound people. which had all topped the charts for months. and one that will let you show them what you can do. which has the great advantage of exploiting the who le register of my voice. We had quite a support staff in place about fifteen musicians. which always paid special at tention to the Juno awards. when I get to my dressing room. You need a new so ng. He waited patiently for me to come out of my room to tell me that I'd been a smashing success.

But once we'd added thes e little nothings. In addit ion to his crazy artist side. In front of the reporters who accompanied us. When I speak of fits of laughter. For example. Finally.He and I had met in a rehearsal space at the Place des Arts. So in my show Incognito I recalled my "papal milk-tas ting experience. our ceremonies began to last several minutes. and constraining at the same time. Suzanne. without exception. we launched into completely outrageous improvisations. To be onstage with him was always a great pleasure for m e. this time without any contemp t. to the setting up of the sets and repairing of my moods. I don't really k now how it began. Even though Rene had to hold us back a little at the beginning. almost stifling. After ten minutes. night after night. I can control myself. And an audience that had been conquered in advance. they took on absolute importance." "Next week will make one year without crying. SA. I don't mean only among ourselves. for example. just like the prece ding tour. During this time. Suzanne is a workaholic . I had had the idea of milking the pope's cows and drinking several mouthfuls of raw milk. and I played a li . we all knew that we had a good product. also did the whole [147] journey with us. I did imitations (of Fabienne Thibault. which used to make me cry so much in the past. each time before the curtain rose. Mego. I began seriously practicing what I call my little rituals . A pure spirit. ver y funny. A few years before. From the beginning. Mego was at all the shows I did. that I really le arned to become master of a stage and that I understood that it was a place of p ower. In addition. acting as director of the tour. Rene and I had been given an audience with t he pope. I think I'm on the road to recovery. like AA. and a keen sens e of organization and leadership skills. It was reassuring. never ate. without a problem." Everything had been written. the dance steps. every gesture and smile. I accumulated a virtual collection of them. And during this tour. Michael Jackson. It was with Incognito. but with the audience too. not only the music and the lyrics of the songs. good times and bad times. She watched over everything. Some days I fel t like I was in a straitjacket. Starting at that time (a little before the holidays in 1987) and until I went on sabbatical in January 2000. I learned. We always said to each other that she never slept. I also told how I had become part of Sobbers Anonymous. one of the saddest songs in my repertory." I'd say in a voice filled with emotion. but all the transitional speeches. he was a good showman. to become the maste r of my emotions and of theirs. We had been sent to Castel Gandolfo. to react with the crowd. however. The description of that episode in the Quebec media had unleashed a st orm of laughter. But everything seemed to lend itself naturally to the process. At each rehearsal. There was no question of ge tting rid of them. Mego also had a lot of discipline. 'Mon ami m'a quitte ' (He's Left Me]. we both knew we had been made to get along. Julien Clerc. I'd also had some hilari ous monologues and several numbers that I did with Mego. fr om the reservations for our hotel rooms to the fitting out of my dressing room. even if it was completely irrational. but in such situations it's better to roll with the punches. Mireille Mathieu) that really went over well. and rock and roll. That hadn't been our intent." which drew big laughs yet again. "I'm doing a lot better. Most of the time. I rediscovered with him the pleasure I'd once had in making music with my brothers and sisters. the a udience was laughing at my expense. The memories that first come to mind when I think of the Incognito tour are f illed with fits of laughter. boogie-woogie. full of humor. a detail that was sometimes almost invisible. met regu larly to help people learn how to "stay clean and sober from sobbing. Suzanne Gingue. We often added a gesture or glance to our routine. Mego's girlfriend at the time. where the summer residence and far m of the Holy Father are located. The proof: I'll now sing for you. in Abitibi.

You have to act. He'd kiss me on each cheek. completely paralyzed by pain. to thank them for having come. Mego pretended to freak out. "Okay. position me facing the staircase leading to the stage and gently push me. I needed to have something permanent. rituals lose their power. The hardest par t was convincing her to go. wh en I spotted the shining coin. twice. even prayers can't always protect us and those we love. he was incapable of making a decision. He wasn't able to reason with my mothe r. I bent down to pick it up. f ight. in this kind of situatio n. right at the edge of th e stage. that it would pass. And in this domain. I'd s queeze her shoulder three times. Today I know that rituals. crushed and dist raught and completely incapable of reacting. During a tour. Then I went around the stage. they were serious and essential. "Don't touch tails. acted as if he were furious. In these rituals and rigorousl y repeated gestures. I pretended to strike a chord or to pull out one of the wires that connected Mego's keyboard to the amps." I nevertheless picked it up and tossed it a little farther. I could see myself at her bedside. I'd find Suzanne below the stage. that I was happy. a coin I found years ago on the stage at Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. I discovered my mother looking frightfully pale. When everything was ready. y ou're best served when you do it yourself. to tell them that I loved them. fetishes. And when it comes. Unlike my mother and me. It's bad luck. My mother is always up and running all over the place. I called Dr. In the little movies I made up in my head. easily visible. good-luck charms. One evening when I got home. I was getting ready to talk to people. then he'd turn me arou nd. Before taking it. She'd hand me my mike. But they could never be ignored. the side with the queen of England. But Rene had gotten it into my head that you must never pick up a coin that is tail s up." These rituals evolved over time. and gestured for me to go away. the symbol of Canada. and with a coolness and authority that surprised me. Emile McDuff. right before the stage manager gave us the signal and the house was plunged into darkness. As I always do after my second song. without thinking. The n he'd put his hands on my shoulders. I'm not going. For a long time I've kept in the bottom of my purse. the audience all change from day to day. During intermission. I'd often imagined my mother dying. and most worrisome of all. I knew just by seeing her and hearing her weak." Aside from Dr. the stage. who is rather authoritarian. But faced with the reality. and made an appointment for my mo ther the next afternoon at the Montreal Institute of Cardiology. tails up. go for it. until it fell heads up. who'd delivered her last ten children and who'd pra . Only heads. hyperactive. whom Rene knew.ttle game. as in many others. Then I'd turn toward [149] Rene. I could see the beaver. Go. touching right thumbs with each of the musicians and chorus members. My fathe r was at a loss to explain it. her features were drawn. she w as sitting down. expres sionless voice that she was in bad shape. the hotel room. They were game s. who takes charge of making all deci sions and doesn't take orders from anybody. in a small transparent plas tic envelope. Gaston Choquette. and he'd shake me very gently while lookin g me straight in the eyes with a very serious expression. I reacted completely differently. I think you have to make your own luck. I found something to reassure myself. Then I picked it up and kept it. we did a kind of incantation da nce together. She kept saying that it was only fat igue. "I'm your mother and I'm more than sixty years old. things like the dressing room. Sh e was short of breath. when the curtain had fallen. found on Canadian nickels . always the left first. You're there. but at the same time. Misfortune strikes where it wishes. He'd come up to me. If I don't want to see your doctor.

I was visited by show-business people. Carol. who was responsible for th e variety shows on the English-speaking network Radio Canada. I didn't understand her reluctance until my father told me she was supp osed to watch my sister Linda's son the next morning. a nd business. "You d on't have to be ashamed to say that you had a good show. after touring through Quebec. But I could." she told us. Several hours later. You know what he told me? That you have everything it takes to get into the U. I'd convinced Rene to put off for a day our departure for Chicoutimi. He may no t be available for months. It was like Rene's approach. But I thought I'd already given a l ot. who diagnosed heart fai lure. in the paper s. "But he's really busy. My mother didn't bow down to anybody. almost at a run. Listen! He said that you have 'that little somethin g extra' that makes great stars. I hate people who boast. on television. [151] Even so. I really needed to arm myself with patience.S. Carol wanted to produce a TV show with me for E nglish-speaking Canada. Happiness. our show. When we returned to Montreal." Then he went to tell his secret to Mego and Suzanne." I didn't hesitate. I think I remember that they accused me of being a little too commercial. in the evening. She didn't consider them infallible scientists and didn't think anyone sho uld bow down before them. I'd found a baby-sitter. but also by people in sports." If I want? And how! Carol left with the album Incognito and a videocassette of my version of "Have a Heart" from the Juno gala. "I'll be seeing him next week in Los Ange les. And we went back to touring. my mother never had much respect for doc tors. One evening." "But that's six months away." Shortly after. He came up to me and whispered in my ear: "I just spoke to David Foster. see people of all ages in the house. You have to be sure of yourself . words. There was a wonderful sense of toget herness in our group. market. which wa s always filled to bursting. Every evening after the show. She waited until everyone had left to come to say hello and to tell me how much she liked t he show. All three of us Rene. "I'm sure he'll love what you do." Rene told me when I started doing publicity in Montreal. An Italian one on the rue Saint-Denis in Montreal. upping the ante. we were doing a sound te st at the Saint-Denis Theater when I saw Rene coming toward me. was among those wh o came to see me. I knew that Maman was out of danger. mus ic. but I don't like false modesty eithe r. triumph. politics. where I was supposed to sing two days later. I supposed that intellectuals would avoid me a bit more now. Then on the telephone to hi s friends." "When?" "Not until the fall." "The time will fly. The force was with us. of your luck. on radio. I went on stage at Chicoutimi. believe me. meaning that I was succes sful and enjoying it. I'll talk to him about you. If you want. He lis tened to Incognito. and rituals were going along just fine. In the heat of action. All of us felt it. Rene was always very l . Five minutes later. in my dressing room.ctically become a member of our family. And I went with my mother to the doctor. and I went to a restaurant. love really hadn't progressed. I was happy with my show and I said so. "David? I know him well. a few days before my twentieth birthday. "Talk about it. He sent her to the emergency room and had her operated on the next morning : a quadruple bypass. a smiling and hospitable Carol Reynolds. to Ben and Marc." she told me. I talked to her about my album in English and how we hop ed to work with David Foster. And that he wants to work with us.

I had no experience (other than theoretical) of love. I'd hold back my tears and console him. ." "You know. In the end. the evening of th e Eurovision competition in which. I remember his song w as called "Go. That day. I'll never forget the fashion show you put on in those rooms in the R adio Canada offices. I had a terrible desire to take his hand. "You wouldn't have done anything. I knew I was in love with him forever and that something had to happen sooner or later. It was almost unbearable. we talked a lot about the months when we were so in love without even saying it. I' d turn it into a personal victory. I wanted her to take s ome rest. I was pretending to be asleep. Rene had a lot of experience. I looked at his hands. I found it too po mpous. And wo nderful at the same time. And I no longer wanted her to go with me on tour. And I bided my time. I was resi gned to losing. After Rene and I admitted that we were in love. And I knew it too . "Remember the day you came to pick me up at Duvernay." my lucky number in Japanese. After I'd sung the song. to place my lips on it. especially not if it involved a trip overseas. We were going to live through our first defeat together. I've never forgotten that depressing evening in the restaurant in Par is when you decided to put some distance between us. days. I'd m other him. 1988. It was in Dublin. afraid that at thirty I'd find myself with a man of fifty-six. a hundred times more intimidated than he would have been in front of a woman o f his own age. And in this I saw a bad omen. [155] But the judges from two or three countries hadn't announced their choices yet. "If I'd only known. he acted like a scared adolescent . we thought that f irst prize would go to the performer representing England. And he smelled so good . a few weeks. who would pro bably be devastated. which excited me so much. But I knew I had him. What is more. And how shocked you were t o see me. afraid to hurt me. darling. That day the suspense was unbelievable. I was representing th e Swiss! And singing a song written by an Italian and a Turk. I could describe every one of the costumes you wore. He avoided being alone with me for too long a time.oving and gentle with me." "Do you remember what a lovely moment we had in each other's arms at the Esterel when you sang with Dan Hill for the people at CBS?" "You know. Only one thing felt urgent: I wanted to find Rene. I'd never had even the shadow of a doubt. but I was really determined. W e were watching the TV and stage director explain to the young Englishman how to come onstage when the winner was announced. I didn't really like the song I was going to perform."€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ Unlike him. You knew I loved you for a long time and you d id nothing. I'd remained in the wings with the other contestants. Finally it came. I won by just one point." "Even the ones you thought were too daring for television?" "I'll never forget the time when you fell asleep on my shoulder in the plane tha t took us back from Paris. It seemed that he'd won. It [153] was only a question of time. My mother had had open-heart surgery a few weeks earlier. He knew he wouldn't escape. so fresh." "But I wasn't asleep on your shoulder. He was afraid of what people would say. but at the time. But I think he was totally on to me. on that unforgettable day of April 30. in the plane tak ing us back from Paris." he said to me. Until the last minute. though French Canadian." I'd let my head slide against his shoulder because I felt good and because I was hoping to possibly seduce him. strong hands with nails that were always well manicured.

that we were enveloped by silence. I pres sed myself against him. he went back to my room with me. He st ayed there. without saying a word. I made my thank-yous more or less coherently and lef t the stage almost at a run. And everybody laughed when he reminded them how long it had been since I'd had a good cry like that. I was happy about being alone with the man I loved. He was laughing. It was he who called me several minutes later from the lobby of the hotel. he was about to leave without kissing me at all! He'd already opened the door. I realized that he'd stopped talking. F or at least the hundredth time in two weeks. which seemed like a b . still crying. Every night since our first tour three years before. and other people in t he music industry. I think that at that moment he realized that I hadn't been listening to him for a while and that I was think ing of other things. very near my bed. according to him. my heart beat ing trembling and dumbfounded. photographers. since. And I had a very precise plan. And the only. That flight was an admission of it. I looked at him with my mature woman's smile. He let it happen. How scared he had been. As usual... until our mouths sometimes touched. sitting on the arm of the chair. I stayed there for a moment all alone. I'd had the impression that his kisses each day slid a few millimeters c loser to my lips. I'll be the f irst. I was seated at the head of the bed. Rene had brought them the Irish and English newspapers. it gave me a lot of visibility in Europe. I wasn't reall y listening. I put my arms around h is neck . as if to escape my hold over him. And then he told me: "If you really want to. He also said that all the journalis ts from around the world "six or seven hundred. For several months. especially during the Incognit o tour. he'd said good night to me by kissing me on both cheeks. I slipped off the bed and walked up to him. I couldn't let it go like that. When I found Rene. He lowered his eyes." And I answered him: "You'll be the first. He couldn't resist telling them how I'd cried my eyes out. He fled to his room. which he read to them." he claimed. who had sung well and who wouldn't go very far. He got up. the door still open behind him. He held me tight. I knew that I'd won. And then . and he began recounting the day we' d spent together." 5 Two days later. I grabbed the telephone and called his room to tell him: "If you don't come back here immediately. He also talked to me about the other participants. and said good night. legs folded under the covers. I just let myself be cradled by his voice.. he told me that the Eurovision show was. when we arrived at the Mirabel airport outside Montreal. the most-watched TV program in the worl d. cameramen. I don't remember what he said.. Right in his heart. I was as happy as it was possible to be.As I went to collect my prize." But there was no answer. Rene Angelil. Then he removed my arms. after the Olympics and the Oscars. I'm going to go knock on your door. And on this night of glory and victory. I threw myself into his arms and . I could feel that I'd touched him emot ionally. even though hardly anyone knew abo ut it in Canada. Then he reminded the journalists how important Eurovision was. "You haven't kissed me yet. To as k if I was all right. then backed toward the door two or three steps. I dissolved into tears in front of the audience at Simmonscourt and the hundreds of millions of Europeans who were watching the awards show on television. He told them every detail of the press conference that had followed the competit ions and how incredible he thought I'd been. hugged him very hard and kissed him on the neck. He reminded me of how important this v ictory was. we were greeted by droves of reporters." I took his head in my hands and I kissed him on the lips. He showed them my picture and the headlines.

" Reacting to my silence. she told me she had. . he'd made all the decisions that concerned my career. he'd convinced me to keep silent abou t our love." he said. close-knit fam ily. "I have complete confidence in him. such a s Eddy and Mia. while Rene kept hi s eyes on me: "No.ig exaggeration to me were amazed to learn that I was the youngest of fourteen ch ildren from a backwater town called Charlemagne. t he Dublin airport. On the other hand. I didn't imagine that "as long as necessary" would be as intolerably long as it tu rned out to be. In fact later.. "And Celine feels the same way." It was the first of a very long and very painful series of lies." But one journalist gave it another try. I'm sure." A reporter asked us if we were happy together. standing against the wall of my room after Rene had left. if we still got along well. That actually had little to do with it. in my family. "For how long?" I asked. at the time. twenty years old. I t hought she'd guessed everything. My parents now realized that I wasn't going to give u p a love that was making me happy. then calmly answered with a smile. Ce line?" I swallowed my feelings." The reporters were fascinated by all of this." "And the same bed. It would bring me great happiness.. And he'd never been wrong. and under the best conditions you can imagine. yet troubled period of my life." "Necessary for what?" "We've got to tell the people close to us about it. "As long as necessary. he always thought of everything. the biggest news what g ave me the greatest pleasure of all was that we were in love.. the period of my secret love affair. as if in a dream: "If you really want to." I was tempted to say. my career's my top priority. who stayed happy to gether for more than thirty years. the best lyricists and composers. my knees shaking so hard I almost collapsed. "It'll knock you out.. I was beginni ng a happy. even thirty years. the two of us. I'll be the first. af ter all. But I wasn't allowed to. but to me. "With the best director. I gave the reporters the proper answer about being happy with my [159] professional association with Rene. The day before." he said. You'll be the first. in the plane that took us back to London. We share the same dream. Rene reminded the reporters that CBS had promised us an English-language recor d that we'd begin working on in the fall after the Incognito tour. things settled down quickly enough. I remembered the sound of his voice before that. as usual." Rene continued. We knew other very successful couples. They'd even produced a strong. I don't have time for one. twenty. with an age difference of fifteen. "You just turned twenty. the reporter asked again: "Do you have a boyfriend." He was right. Rene told me that when he realized he was falling in love with me. I dev ote everything to it. Don't you have a boyfriend? A lot of girls yo ur age do." Images passed through my head. For seven years. "Afterward. "they had her sign autographs everywhere the hotel. I was. I saw myself earlier. your relatives first. Only. I looked radiant and I'm sure they all thought it was because of my success in Dublin. but despite professional success. An d there was the example of Charlie Chaplin and Oona O'Neill. The pilot even anno unced that she was on board and everybody applauded. Celine. But Rene an swered her before I could: "I wouldn't give this up for anything in the world. And the only . on the edge of tears: "Of co urse I want to ." I heard myself answer. the prison of lies I had to lock myself in would from time to time ruin all my pleasure.

They adjusted to it pretty well. I see her everywhere. at the time that David was passing through Quebec. under a ten t at Sainte-Agathe in the Lauren-tides. Nevertheless. all we'd built would be destroye d. E xcept that it was for much too long a time. "Find yourself some songs and let me know. He'd left for Las Vegas at every opportunity. It was a really hot day. And it was pouring. who had been involved with Elvis Presley. During the show. So for a long time we loved each other only in the privacy and intimacy of our families. and a big show during the Cannes Film Festival with Julia Mige nes-Johnson and Michel Legrand. gave him a polite standing ovation. Press co nferences. Li nda Thompson. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops on the very first day. I continued the Incog nito tour. I think. and the show couldn't have been in better shape. The audience at Sainte-Agathe. David d idn't compliment my performance at all that's not his style. The air inside the tent was humid." . It was insane. David Foster told Rene that he'd be ready to wo rk with us soon. who o bviously had never heard of him. To be loved by Rene Angelil was more beautiful than anything I had known my whole life. but I was in good voice as well." he said. But ou t of love. I suffered and wept." David decided not to put off the trip. A week after Eurovi sion. whom he'd always thought of as a father and a person in whom he could confide. He thought that if people found out that we were in love. "Count me in. He and I walked for miles through Paris while I spoke to him a bout you. confident. '" "That's just what I told you. suffocating. despite the oppressive heat. "You know Eddy. I introduced David Foster by saying that he was the greatest record-album producer in the world and that he'd worked with the most brilliant American singing stars. I think about her all the time. an idea that really crushed me at moments. perhaps because I was the younger one." But Rene was also thinking of my career. the rain hammered so loudly on the roof that it was almos t impossible to hear the music. such as meeting Elto n John in Munich. in fact. you've got nothing to fear. Celine will be performing at the most important theater in Montre al. Ten cities in ten days. When I returned to Quebec.he'd tried to forget me. Not only were the mu sicians in great form. "In two weeks. I'd gone [161] back to Europe for a quick tour. But not me. He came to the show with his new wife. But as luck would have it. radio. He has other ways of showing his enthusiasm or approval. and cool. "Under ideal conditions. but first he wanted to see me perform live. The songs came off well." he told us. € At the very beginning of summer. The sound w as horrible. TV. After the show. some fabulous encounters. the four of us went to a restaurant in the Lauren-tides. Rene tried really hard to make him put o ff his trip. You can't hurt her. th e only performing I was doing was a show for a group of vacationers. I felt good. interviews.' " "And he said?" "He told me: 'If you love her. because he'd asked me to to please him I agreed to keep quiet. At times. And also because it was my first lo ve. He'd even gone to Paris and seen Eddy Marnay." "What did he tell you?" "He said to me: 'Do you really love her?' " "And what did you say?" "I told him: 'I'm crazy about her. something t o which dear David is not impervious. He thought about it even more than he thought of our happiness.

It would be composed exclusively of love songs. Aroun d six A. how joyous we were. When he came to the inn with Linda. I w as finally living intimately with the man I loved. I think the freedom and h appiness I was experiencing also had an effect upon my voice. I could be a lover and pretend to be a wife. where we took long walk s. I'd changed too. But there was something else. even my voice seemed new to me. in my gestures. David told me that what he found most charming about us was how h appy. the artistic director of CBS. if I miss the mark. freer. He always wanted to know who'd won or lost in every game. Most of the approxi mately two hundred songs I've recorded in my life are about love its joy and its pain. confident of her femininity. We were alone a lot. As usual. darling. everybody knew that Rene and I were toget her. or boxing. my mother did everything and knew how to do everythin g. We settled into a little inn on Malibu Beach. In California. We could let everyone see our love and our happin ess. For the first time in my life." I made him laugh. When you change from one lan guage to another. He added spices to my sauce. It felt more suppl e. I coul d see it in myself. Years later." "Yes. we both go back to square one. I could slip into the kitchen at the inn. even its register. he'd find us in th e parking lot playing basketball or on the nearby beach. We were a couple. in my whole life. He let me sleep very late. A lot. He always wanted to know all the news [163] and everything on the sports page. my thoughts. S ometimes people from Sony came also. I felt freer than I'd ever felt before. which had now become Sony. However. At the house. At the Chartmaker studio where we spent our evenings and sometimes our nights. who brought music for us to hear. before the great whirlwind once again swept us up. the very texture of your voice changes. Outside of spaghetti bolognaise.With Vito Luprano. Mego and Suzanne came. of herself. Relatives and friends from Quebec also came to visit. he'd get me back into the world. baseball. nobody knew us. After the holidays. far from all the rumors that were circulating about us. Little by little. Rene considered this current project to be of the greatest importance. Everything was new. They were the last days that were that way. whether it was hockey. what would become our first English-language album took shape. hold hands. I've always made him laugh a lot. Sometimes we didn't do anything but walk on the beach and en joy the sun. not far from where David li ved.. he'd tiptoe out to buy magazines and newspapers to read on the terra ce.. Rene and I went to Calif ornia. my talents are limited. Sometimes he played or walked with us. closer to me. I knew my singing would sound different in English. He'd have made some fruit juice for me. he was a better cook than I was. I'm a night person and he's a morning person. And I was conscious of it. We had nothing to hide. I know. Love. our days were peaceful. football.. And st ay there probably for life. If you mis s the mark . call each other "darling " or "my love" without surprising or offending anyone. he was the only person we knew in Los Angeles. That winter in California. make some pasta or a cake. when the Incognito tour was over. At the time. a real coup le. And at the time. changing everything. When I got up around noon. the landscape. We could kiss.M. other power to attract the man she loved. I'm not a ver y good cook. Rene is a big eater. Rene began sorting through the dozens of songs we'd collected during the past months . Usually it was Vito. every battle. brighter. the words. during the e . I was a woman in full bloom. "This album will give you an entree into international show business.

they see the scenery differently than we do. I was going to lead another kind of very inte nse. That was fine with me. the "big time. where I'd made my first recordings. Not at all cool like Los A ngeles. trying something else. always ready to rethink everything." according to Rene). and Las Vegas. I was going to fly through the years of my youth like a b at out of hell. he'd always been obsessed with the idea of enlarging my audience and varying m y repertoire. you could always do better. And Prince. I'd been in these studios. In New York. touches everyb ody. full life. He and David Foster understood each other perfectly. Los Angeles can give a singer more visibility than anywhere. or a completely new song. brass instead of strings. Some days he felt like changing everything. That's how we got caught up in the whirlwind that would never let us out of its grip. beginn ing all over again. The one I'd always dreamed of living. With himself. Sony's strategists were really excited that we were working with David. Some artists can spend a whole career only through recordings. maybe. one with Billy Newton-Davis. You could always start all o ver again. Then leaving on tour. even though it would create some unbelievable moments in our lives for mor e than ten years. with the musicians. From then on we'd only b e passing through Montreal. the other with Dan Hill. he was worried and preoccupied. But I'd see things that the ma jority of people don't get to see. I was asked to do duets on other albums. two pianos here. We did the song "Unison" together. They see another kind of scenery. But I like to do both. In another life. a stickler. they wanted me to work with other producers and comp osers as well. as he wished to be called th en. we'd be living the lives of gypsies and nomads.ntire year when we were recording Unison. Andy Goldmark. Actually. I was at home in Los Angeles. a whole audience of connoisseurs and professionals. At times. we take into account their stage potential. Los Angeles. . worked with these musicians. or the Family Song in Paris. people f rom the industry. Paris. So much so that I often ha d the feeling that I already knew all of it. musicians who were curious to hear my voice. as if they've known each other forever. The stops would be few and short. never staying more than a few weeks in the same place. in other studios and cities. To hear him. Recording an album for me is a little like prepa ring the supplies and "ammunition" that I can later take on tour. of that I'm sur e. It's a harsh. And on two occasions. v ery "danceable. I also felt at home right away. As comfortable at the Chartmaker as I was in the S aint-Charles studio in Longueuil. Everybody talks to everybody. changing the tempo. I don't think that Grand Prix Formula One drivers at the wheel of their race car s have much time to admire the scenery. When we left Malibu for New York in the spring of 1989. No more and no less. and physically demanding. Everyone decided that I wou ld go first to New York to work with Andy Goldmark. by appearing on The Tonight Show. And that's often what we did. never completely satisfied. heard th is music. o r with me. Even David thought it was a good idea. but to g et a wider buying audience. no guitar there. It was there that I 'd very soon enter the world of international show business. When we choose songs." as Rene called it. Foster was detail-oriented too. welcomed me as if I were one of them. everyth ing was like deja vu. I often sang in front of complete strangers. Quebec." powerful. which is a song for the stage. I'd sing at the Oscars before the most glamorous audience imaginable. never performing onstage. but vibrant and energizing. inyour-face city that you can quickly grow attached to. as well as the technicians and musicians he directed ("the best i n the world. would see me and would write a song for me called "With This Tear" that I wo uld include on my second English-language album. I knew it all already. With Rene too . we both knew that from t hen on. Like them. But they live intensely. Passing [165] through everywhere. Celine Dion. then to London to work with Christopher Neil.

I tried to tell him that I worked best when all the people around me were involved and wanted to do a good job. "That was perfect." he kept repeating to me. There's a great temptati on to rely on them again. Especially when you've spent years letting others choose for you. I prepare them in my head." After my mother's heart surgery. which I lived day by day. but to make sure that luck was r eally with us. such as Los Angeles. But it was the first one that ended up on the album. For the press photos that were being . for a man. so that she could rest. Paris. i t threw me off balance. I know them by heart. And t hat I wasn't completely myself until after three or four o'clock in the afternoo n. So it had a lot o f light. while waiting for Rene and Vito. at Sainte-Anne-de s-Lacs. when he returned to the hotel. We listened to the reco rding. almost too much. Mo rnings? Evenings? At night? Do you want candlelight? Do you prefer to sing in a booth? Do you want a lot of people around you?" Rene had told him that I didn't like to sing. I didn't know how to answer. For more than a year. Knowing what you want isn't always so simple. this taught me a lot about myself and my tastes. and it had immense windows. I told him not to worry about the ambience. Paris or Los Angeles. I'd lived almost continually in hotels in the heart of ver y large cities. I'd bought a house in Quebec. provocative young woman. who were playing pool in the next roo m. Rene and Vito were ecstatic. I have a good memory for songs. You needed to wear sunglasses almost the whole day. he woke me up to tell me he'd won big and he was absolute ly positive that the song would go very far. looking like someon e who'd had a lot of experience with love.Andy was a firm. we had to pretend not to be together. Not really to make any money. The song has taken form." said Chris. I kept answering that I didn't have the time o r place in my heart. words and music. outside of time. it's all the same. He had wanted to meet with me several weeks before the recording session to prep are the orchestra tracks and the arrangements for "Where Does My Heart Beat Now? " He wanted to know what key I'd be singing in. In Britain. sometimes caused me a lot of pain . I'm ready. he knew the sound and rh ythms he wanted. When Rene and I were in Quebec. "You'll do The Tonight Show with that song. I've always loved recording studios and feel good in them. as a warm-up. . and how you like to work. or even talk. but also how I wanted to work. The day of the recording. In the end. It was a large house in which everything walls. furniture was white. These repeated lies. when. At the beginning. we did another take. I was getting ready to shoot a video in New Orleans in which I'd appear as a very sexy. I wanted to reflect on what was happening to me. This was a very new experience for me. ce ilings. Just to put our minds at rest. but it never takes long. When I enter the studio. They dropped me off at the hotel and went to gamb le at the casino. When journ alists asked me if I was in love. They put you outside the world. But Chris wanted to consult with me about everything. I did a take. [167] But he wanted to know more: "Tell me where. after I'd finished recording Unison. I was confused and torn. about great passions. Rather than imposing his vision on me. When I hear them two or three times. But my parents loved that house and so did I. From the beginning. At first. Twelve songs that all talked about love. Now I needed c lean air and plenty of space. Rene's famous theory of patterns . he helped me find th e sound and rhythms I wanted. floors. I spent several weeks there. "I'm tel ling you it's going to happen. especially in winter when the snow covered the lake an d the forest. And so would we. Chris Neil did things a different way. rigorous director. In the fall. New York. I'd just recorded my first album in English. noon or midnight. as Foster and Goldmark had done. Later that night. in my life or career. everything happened very quickly. . and London. So Chris scheduled studios and engineers for the evening. before noon. And he ran to tell the pool players that we'd done it.

shot for the launch of Unison, experts did my hair, my makeup, and dressed me to look even sexier. I was wearing tight jeans and a white camisole that showed my shoulders and stomach. On the one hand, in real life, I was supposed to keep claiming that I was a youn g girl who knew nothing about love. On the other [169] hand, on stage and screen and in my songs, I was supposed to behave like a matur e, fulfilled, much-loved woman. It was just a game, of course, just show busines s and make-believe. But it was also an upside-down kind of world. Strangely, it was in the world of show business, the world of illusion and ficti on, in the songs, videos, photos, where every lie and disguise is allowed, that I was telling the truth. In real life, where I would like to have been frank, I had to force myself to lie every day, to claim that there was no love in my life . My greatest dream was for the whole world to know that Rene and I loved each o ther, that we made love together, that we wanted to have children someday, that we were going to spend our lives together. But Rene said no. "It's too soon. Just wait." However, more and more people knew very well what was going on. As Paul Burger, who had just become president of Sony Canada, recalled several years later: "As soon as I saw you, I knew that you were together. It was obvious. And I never un derstood why you took so long to say it." "You'd better ask Rene that question." Paul had come to see me, at Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs. As usual, the house was filled with people my parents, my brothers and sisters, Rene, his children. We'd already become the center of attention for both our families. Paul was American, but he'd lived in Israel, France, and England. He spoke sever al languages, including French with my mother and my sisters, who thought he was handsome and very charming. He was going to become a close, valued friend. And for years he'd play a very important role in my career. He'd come to tell us, among other things, that he wasn't altogether satisfied wi th the songs we'd recorded for Unison. "I think it's missing a couple more rhythmic songs that could really show off yo ur voice. If you say it's okay, we'll go back to the studio, wherever you want, and with whomever you want." I chose London, with Chris Neil. Rene was thrilled. He was very satisfied with several of the recorded songs, but he too thought that the whole thing lacked something. But he'd been afraid that Sony would refuse to invest more in an album that had already cost so much to p roduce. That day at Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, Paul began to talk to me about my look, tellin g me he found it a little "old." This was his way of saying without really sayin g that he thought it was "out of it." He told me again that a singer has to have a look. "I'm sure you're not dressing like you'd like to." It was true. I had songs that were like me. But the clothes I was wearing weren' t really saying anything. Quite often they had practically nothing to do with me . And this was true despite the fact that I had a full wardrobe at least a hundred pairs of shoes, a hundred dresses, three or four fur coats, tons of underwear, and fine lingerie. In New York and Paris, I went around to all the shops. I foll owed fashion carefully. But all I was doing was following what other people were doing. "That's not at all what you've got to do," said Paul. "You've got to create the fashion." I wanted to do this. But I wasn't the type to provoke people by playing a charac ter, like Madonna, who had already established a personal kind of theater and le gend around herself. I loved to experiment with different looks for myself, but what I loved above al l was to sing, the physical pleasure of singing before a crowd. The bigger the c

rowd and the stage, the more pleasure I took in it. I knew very well that my voice was what touched people, not any [171] kind of look I might create. I knew this, but I also knew that what Paul was say ing was also right. I had the support of a very powerful multinational company. Close to me, an atte ntive and experienced, passionate manager, who was getting to know the ins and o uts of American show business better and better every day. No hope was beyond realizing. My life was truly beginning to resemble a fairy ta le. € Shortly after the release of Unison, I accepted a role in a TV miniseries called Des Fleurs sur la neige (Flowers on the Snow). I played a young woman named Eli sa, who'd been abandoned at an early age by her mother, beaten by her alcoholic father, raped by her father-in-law, abused by a wicked, brutal husband. . . . An unbearably real story. For several weeks, then, I lived the opposite of my fairy-tale life, spending ev ery day in the deepest regions of hell. No longer was I the singer preparing to conquer the American pop-music market; I was a poor, defeated, unfortunate girl, without money, without a future, without any other goal in life but to escape f rom a horrible environment. Filming was difficult. First of all, it was frightening to assume the persona of such a pitiful, threatened, and wounded character. I had to learn to walk as if I were round-shouldered, keep my eyes lowered, talk in a low voice, act like a victim. Especially at the beginning, I felt a certain animosity coming from the actors w ho'd studied theater and who saw me as an intruder. In a way, this helped me to get into the mind of Elisa, who was also rejected and scorned by her contemporar ies. It helped me play it to the hilt, to really live her hell. I played a lot of very violent scenes, on both a psychological and a physical le vel. When I was supposed to cry, I really cried; when I was supposed to suffer, I suffered. After a few days, black-and-blue marks covered my body and my heart felt crushed. I was afraid of everybody. It was terrible. But I loved the experi ence. And since then, I've dreamed of being in a movie. To play a character, ent er her mind and really give her a soul, is a unique, marvelous experience. € One Friday evening, when I was on my way back to Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs after a lo ng day of shooting, I saw Rene's nephew Martin's car on the highway. He was brin ging Karine to spend the weekend at my place. The fresh Laurentide air would do her good. Her illness made her weaker and weaker, more and more pale and defeate d. But she'd kept her smile, and was still fighting. As I passed Martin's car, I gave him a big smile and waved to him. Then I lost c ontrol of my car, which skidded violently in a circle and went off the road back ward. I wasn't hurt, but the car was heavily damaged. I can't remember really being af raid. On the contrary, you could say that the shock woke me up, jarred me out of Elisa's character, and put me back in my own. At the time, I believed that nothing bad could happen to me. I had too many plan s in the works, too many hopes and dreams; in my mind, they had to be realized. I would soon discover that nothing is that simple. Wishing and dreaming aren't a lways enough. This doesn't mean there aren't periods in your life when you feel invulnerable. And I was in one of those periods. When Rene heard about the accident from my mother, he hurried [173] from Las Vegas in a panic. He swore he'd never leave me again when I was working . I knew that his promise would be impossible to keep. I knew that we'd always

be different from other couples. He had his passions Las Vegas, gambling, golf his friends, his work, a whole network of contacts he was establishing in major Amer ican show-business circles. I believe, and always will believe that a woman can' t prevent the person she loves from leading the life of his dreams or from havin g his own world. And vice versa. Otherwise, their union becomes a kind of slaver y. Each person gets a little smaller and his portion of happiness, his stock of dreams, diminishes. And inevitably the couple diminishes too. Of course, I was happy when he was with me. When he talked to me about our pl ans or when he told me about the fabulous adventures of the Beatles or of the Ki ng. But I also loved him for his passion for gambling, of every sort, for his ne ed to be constantly surrounded by his friends. I loved him because he was free a nd unpredictable. I loved him even for his absences, his actual physical absence s, when he left for Las Vegas or Los Angeles. Then I dreamed of him; we talked o ften and for a long time on the telephone and his voice continued to delight me. I also loved him for those moments he spent lost in space, even when he was a round me, deep in reverie, thinking about what we ought to do, what he'd say to the bosses at Sony or to a particular reporter. I knew he was working to build m y career, putting all his talent into it, all his time and love. One of the thin gs he loved about me was the confidence I had in him and my ability to be autono mous and independent. I didn't play the child-woman with him. I played a woman w ho was mature and strong. I'd become the kind of woman he liked. A free woman wh o trusted him and knew how to let him be free. I played a lot of very violent scenes, on both a psychological and a physical le vel. When I was supposed to cry, I really cried; when I was supposed to suffer, I suffered. After a few days, black-and-blue marks covered my body and my heart felt crushed. I was afraid of everybody. It was terrible. But I loved the experi ence. And since then, I've dreamed of being in a movie. To play a character, ent er her mind and really give her a soul, is a unique, marvelous experience. € One Friday evening, when I was on my way back to Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs after a lo ng day of shooting, I saw Rene's nephew Martin's car on the highway. He was brin ging Karine to spend the weekend at my place. The fresh Laurentide air would do her good. Her illness made her weaker and weaker, more and more pale and defeate d. But she'd kept her smile, and was still fighting. As I passed Martin's car, I gave him a big smile and waved to him. Then I lost c ontrol of my car, which skidded violently in a circle and went off the road back ward. I wasn't hurt, but the car was heavily damaged. I can't remember really being af raid. On the contrary, you could say that the shock woke me up, jarred me out of Elisa's character, and put me back in my own. At the time, I believed that nothing bad could happen to me. I had too many plan s in the works, too many hopes and dreams; in my mind, they had to be realized. I would soon discover that nothing is that simple. Wishing and dreaming aren't a lways enough. This doesn't mean there aren't periods in your life when you feel invulnerable. And I was in one of those periods. When Rene heard about the accident from my mother, he hurried [173] from Las Vegas in a panic. He swore he'd never leave me again when I was working . I knew that his promise would be impossible to keep. I knew that we'd always be different from other couples. He had his passions Las Vegas, gambling, golf his friends, his work, a whole network of contacts he was establishing in major Amer ican show-business circles. I believe, and always will believe that a woman can' t prevent the person she loves from leading the life of his dreams or from havin g his own world. And vice versa. Otherwise, their union becomes a kind of slaver y. Each person gets a little smaller and his portion of happiness, his stock of dreams, diminishes. And inevitably the couple diminishes too.

Of course, I was happy when he was with me. When he talked to me about our pl ans or when he told me about the fabulous adventures of the Beatles or of the Ki ng. But I also loved him for his passion for gambling, of every sort, for his ne ed to be constantly surrounded by his friends. I loved him because he was free a nd unpredictable. I loved him even for his absences, his actual physical absence s, when he left for Las Vegas or Los Angeles. Then I dreamed of him; we talked o ften and for a long time on the telephone and his voice continued to delight me. I also loved him for those moments he spent lost in space, even when he was a round me, deep in reverie, thinking about what we ought to do, what he'd say to the bosses at Sony or to a particular reporter. I knew he was working to build m y career, putting all his talent into it, all his time and love. One of the thin gs he loved about me was the confidence I had in him and my ability to be autono mous and independent. I didn't play the child-woman with him. I played a woman w ho was mature and strong. I'd become the kind of woman he liked. A free woman wh o trusted him and knew how to let him be free. "I know that you're sincere," I'd tell him. "I believe you, but I won't hold it against you, I swear, if you don't keep your promises." And I made my own promises to him. "I am never going to stop you from traveling, playing blackjack or golf at the other end of the earth, with Marc, Jacques, Ben, Rosaire, and the others. I lov e you as you are. Don't change. We'll always tell each other everything." I even accepted that he wanted to keep our love a secret. Especially when we w ere in the thick of things, as we were that summer, with a thousand things to do and our entire lives changing constantly. At times I was really very happy, ful filled. The day after the accident, he talked to me about the projects he'd been worki ng on in Las Vegas. First he let me know that the album Unison wasn't taking off as fast as he'd hoped. It had been expressly conceived for the American market, but it had barely gotten out of Quebec. Despite the big publicity campaign I'd done in English-speaking Canada, none of the radio stations were playing my song in Toronto, Vancouver, or Halifax. And the bosses at Sony-USA had decided to wa it to release it in the United States. So much for the bad news. He probably never would have told me about it if he hadn't also had some good news, or rather, a solution to our problems. In Las Vegas, he'd learned that Sony-International was holding its annual conv ention that summer at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. He'd rallied Paul Burger and the entire administrative staff of Sony-Canada into convincing the big execu tives to let me sing two small songs during the convention. If anyone in the world knew Rene Angelil's charm, it was me. Nevertheless, I w as fascinated and amazed by his talent for making connections, for building brid ges. I too like talking to people, but I don't have his sense of organization. I wo uldn't ask people I met to come on board my boat, even if [175] I found them super-likable. He always did this. When he thought that someone cou ld bring us something, he invited him or her on board. When we began to put together Unison in Malibu, he quickly got to know a whol e lot of people in show business. If we needed a trumpet player or a triangle pl ayer, he knew the best one and where to find him. So Unison was a high-quality, technically impeccable album. "You know it's a great album, don't you, Celine?" "Yes, I know it is." "Now we have to get it listened to and get it on the market. To do that we ne ed the support of Sony's big publicity machine. When they've seen you sing in Qu ebec, they'll pull out all the stops, you'll see." In Quebec, I had to sing at nine-thirty in the morning, while the reps and journ alists were having their breakfast. I don't think I'd ever sung before noon, eve n in Charlemagne, growing up in a house that was always full of music.

What's more, I knew a lot of the reps would only be half-awake. Most would have been partying the night before. Quebec is a big party town. They wouldn't really want to hear a girl singing along with some orchestra tracks. I got up at dawn, so I could properly wake up, eat, and do my voice exercises an d stretches. Rene had told me that all the big Sony bosses would be in attendanc e, along with the most important show-business reporters from America. Again, it was now or never or we'd go back to square one. Rene had had a powerful sound system installed in the ballroom of the chateau, p owerful enough to shake nearby Cape Diamant and wake up the dead. I sang "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" for them. At nine-thirty in the morning, while they were having their second cup of coffee. For one long moment, they see med frozen. So much so that I almost burst out laughing. When my song was finished, I stood there, stock-still. I heard the crackling of amps, my eyes caught Rene's; he was at the very back of the room. It seemed to m e that he too was wondering what had happened. Nothing, for several seconds. The n they exploded. They got up en masse and gave me a thunderous ovation, all the big bosses of Sony, the journalists from Hollywood and Broadway, and from TroisRivieres, Val d'Or, and Sept-Iles in Quebec. The next day the senior executive at Sony met with Rene. He'd decided to release Unison in the United States earlier than originally planned. He was going to or ganize a vast publicity campaign using the company's best strategists. We'd done it. Two months later, the prediction that Rene had made to me in London, in front of Vito and Chris Nell, the day we recorded "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" came t rue. I'd sing that same song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letter-man in front of I don't know how many tens of millions of peo ple. Of all the songs I recorded, it was the first to really take off in the Uni ted States and later in other countries. It's also thanks to that song that Jame s Horner and Will Jennings, the composer and lyricist of "My Heart Will Go On," from the movie Titanic, got to know me and wanted to work with me. I'd often gone to Los Angeles, I'd already traveled a lot in America and Europe, even in Japan, and often went first class. But it was during this three- or fou r-day trip to Los Angeles that for the first time I had the impression of really belonging to the legendary "big time," as Rene had called it. In the limousine that took us to our hotel in Beverly Hills, I heard [177] one of my songs on American radio for the first time. The announcer pronounced m y name "Celeeenn Dionn" (in French you don't pronounce the n in Dion) and said a couple of words about Unison, which would be available in a few days. Rene was Jubilant. He asked the chauffeur if he knew the girl who had just sung. "Don't have the slightest idea." So Rene repeated my name for him two or three times. In front of our hotel, he asked the chauffeur his name, which I think was Bria n. "Brian, meet Celeen Dionn." I shook the hand Brian held out to me and I called Rene a big baby. But, like him, I was absolutely thrilled. The next afternoon, still with Brian, we went to Sunset Boulevard to see the w indows of the most well known record store in the world, Tower Records. There were three giant displays, thousands of records by George Michael, New K ids on the Block, and Celine Dion. There was a big poster with my mug on it. Ove r it was a banner with the words: REMEMBER THE NAME, BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER FORGET THE VOICE. Immediately, I thought of that first TV show I'd done in France, Michel Drucker' s Champs-Elysees, when I'd sung "D'Amour ou d'amitie." Later, at Guy and Dodos, Rene never stopped repeating the words the host of the program had used to intro duce me, when he'd said to the viewers: "You'll never forget the voice you're ab out to hear. So remember this name: Celine Dion."

During a guit ar solo. The tragedy happened on the third night. My voice broke all of a sudden. Everything was going to be okay. This me ant that Rene and I had to cross the entire city. The air felt very gentle in Los Angeles. anguished. We'd just c ome full circle. Everything seemed to have been written in the stars. It came apart like wet paper. changed. and there's nothing wor se for your throat and lungs. In a few months. I had to begin the Unison tour by doing four shows in a row for my wonderful Que becois audience. Or t hat it would come back completely undone. And people were coming from all over. in the middle of rush hour and across two bridges. we could enter them with the s how that we'd prepared and that we were going to break in across Quebec and Engl ish-speaking Canada. on the south bank of the St. total darkness. I'm sure we were thinking the same thing. Two in Drum-mondville and two in Sherbrooke. unrecognizable. I spent the night at my place in Duvernay. I'm not exaggerating. and at the same time it felt like yesterday. He said to me: "Stop crying. I really didn't want to be there. Then people began to applaud. I gave a signal to the stage manager that I could not go on. We were standing at the foot of the staircase that led to the stage. as soon as I could. His office is in Longueuil. but as if we were alone in the world. The next morning. It was a strange. I found Suzanne in the wings and she was crying too. it changed my voice. And Mego. his concern and ki ndness. I felt as if I were blowing into a punctured balloon. my body. In this particular case. and the things he taught me about my voice. like a beautiful score that we were going to perform in a state of elation. At that moment I believed my voice would never return. Now. just as we had gotten so close to our goal. in the northern suburbs of Montreal. But on this day. he took me into his arms very tenderly and rocked me. In front of the musicians and technicians. Rene and I walked hand in hand for a lo ng while without speaking. They stood up to show me their sympathy and support. my mind. but at th e same time. both of us silent. in a few days or weeks. it turned out to be more than true. I was going to learn a great deal from the accident that happened to me on that f all evening in Sherbrooke. This time. and in a hurry. If I wanted to finish my tour and make my comeback . Rene came into the room and took my head in his hands. something I'd done a few times with Maman or my sisters or in Paris or Tokyo. he kissed me. I'll never forget his name. I dissolved into tears. After tha t. change all my habits. You'll sec. We came back to Montreal in the night. It'll be okay. It was like entering a vacuum. The g reat gates of American show business had opened wide for us. everything seemed to have collapsed. we were "together. it became clear that we'd be late unless we took the subway. And we were on the verge of realizing our wildest dreams. terrified. that experience w ould turn my whole life around. Rene went onstage to tell the audience what had happened and to assure them that I'd come back to the show later. the ante would be raised higher than ever. But I had no choice. I certainly had no need to mingle with t he crowd. Everybody was crying or was silent." [179] He was right.That felt like an eternity ago. Rene called the person everyone considers the best otolaryngol ogist in Quebec Dr. rather unusu al kind of wind. a cold one badly mixed with a warm one. But first I'd have to face one of the most terrible ordeals of my whole career . They say there is some good in all evil. And as a consequence." The big premiere in Montreal was at least two w eeks away. All the passageways and staircases down to the subway were being swept by violent gusts of wind. stop crying. He wasn't crying. but actually. After sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for a good half h our. Lawrence River. Marcel Belzile. I was sad. and it wouldn't be Rene or I who would raise it.

He was as well known in Quebec as I was. he said: "Good l uck. asking n othing in return. maybe week s. You've treated them badly. listened. offered to show us the way. But worst of all are stress. I think. in my case." the doctor continued. C igarette smoke. I told myself they were the people for whom I was working. but so oner or later. or give me a shot. everybody must have recognized him. You can keep away from people with the flu or a cold. "And also. But he also gave me a whole lecture that would f orce me to rethink my career from top to bottom. He didn't try to see who was hiding unde r the hood. that I wasn't leading the life of Mi ss Everybody. you'll need surgery. Rene." So I was at risk of becoming a kind of female Joe Cocker! "Vocal cords are fragi le little creatures that are surrounded with enemies. People seemed intrigued by this. You can keep singing for a while. But living without stress or fatigue wh en your dream is to sing in front of the largest audiences and throughout the wo rld is a whole other ball game. T he problem was fatigue. dust. I think everyone understood that something unusual or ser ious was happening. probably will. That day I realized. That's pretty much what he did. He gave me the scare of my life . But he certainly knew I was there. I had to take the subwa y. by. "Your vocal cords are fatigued and irritated. An inexperienced singer who forces her voice. which was right [181] above the subway station. out of respect for Rene. not even a handshake. Consequentl y. fatigue. we were at Dr. that politeness a nd kindness. nobody wanted to recogniz e me. A voice in good condition can resist such attacks. overwork. I had to see Dr. loved me. and ill use. and of great importance. the way you've mistreated your vocal cords for too long a time. If you don't. these were the faces I saw each evening in the places where I sang." Contrary to what I'd thought. at the Berri-de-Montigny station. A young boy. It's one thing that I'll always like about people from Quebec." Five minutes later. I was wearing a coat with a hood. you've got to give your voice a rest for several days. They were the audience I'd be s inging for in a few days at the Saint-Denis Theater. Everyone must have seen by Rene's somber air that he wasn't in the mood for laug hing or chatting. Belzile. I expected this whole thing to last a few minutes. He'd examine me. It was my world. prescribe medicine for me. I watched them and list ened to Montreal. The operation might. this was the problem. We had to change trains. All that intuitive understandin g they showed us really moved me. "as much inside you as in the air you breathe. They respected th e fact that we were riding the subway incognito. they ought to have known who was with him hiding under the hood. change the timbre of your voice. drops in temperature or blasts of heat aren't th e worst enemies of a voice. In my mind. He'd tel l me to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Dust as well. they come from an error in technique. a student. I think. They we re the people who applauded. I knew that. and pollution are much more dangerous irritants. for example. but nobody recognized me. Belzile added. because you haven't taken good c are of them." Dr. singin . and to get there. Rather. You can always banish smoke from your environment. which I'd pulled around my face. But nobody b othered us in any way. and had been for a longer time. and constant stress. Belzile's office. Monsieur Angelil. began asking passeng ers for directions. that understanding that they have for each other. When he left us. as I looked around me. who mo st probably hadn't ever taken the subway in his whole life. In fact. And I'd be able to sing the next day. pressure. I began to observe people discreetly. He explained to us that the nodules or polyps that develop on vocal cords and finally rob them of a lot of flexibility and elasticity are rarely caused by an infection.

not too much and only good things." I'd learn to sing again. nose. I can apply a mixture of cortisone and Zyloc aine directly to your vocal cords. Then you've got to learn how to sing again. € After two days of silence. dusty. "Once. I was touched by his compassion. to relax. He could tell you if you needed an operat ion or whether you had other options. I knew I would benefit from seeing Dr. He's the best ear. I had not been able to avoid living this time under terrible stress. if I had to. the show had been postponed for a week. If you resort regularly to this kind of medication. "I can cure you for the time being. singing exercises. I went back to the tour. I could sense that his deepest desire was to heal me. Even an operation would be useless. Dr. But there are ver y grave risks. until the very end. And on the condition that you don't force your voice too much. in the past. in silence an d prayer." We had been warned that at some point soon I might have to stop doing any conc erts for at least a month. Right then and there I made my resolutions. Even if you've almost completely lost your voice at the tim e. I had to finish the Quebec tour and do my show at the Saint-Denis Theater. William Gould in New York. You have to know how to force. I'd get better. Belziles office wit h these resolutions stuck firmly in my head. I im agined them in a state of exaltation. . I kept silent. or polluted environment. a life of inte nse joy. I knew that it depended only on me. start practicing the most elementary scales. [183] First and foremost. a life of disci pline and self-denial." He looked me straight in the eye. And." We were about to leave when he added. But for several reasons. Before my shows. It will have short-term effects that will see m miraculous to you. And I was certain of my recovery. Gould.g outside her natural register. I just hoped it wasn't too late. I was going to rid myself of what the doctor had called my "singer's bad habits. I'm really serious. I'd make it my duty to sleep well and for a long time. you may provo ke ruptures and tears. you'll regain the better part of your voice in a few hours. I felt like a soldier who leaves fo r war. He taught me everything I know. and throat man in the world. can d angerously harm her vocal cords. of silence and meditation. I felt a little like those girls who. learn how to pos ition. For years my life was going to resemble theirs. I'd change. I'd also eat well. alone. I did warmups. or by pushing her voice beyond her limits. And I'd never let myself get overtired again. and that he would teach me how to maintain and protect my voice." he told me. But before diving into that new life. I'd flee any smoky. "You know. to unwind as much as possible from all stress. I was also goi ng to laugh a lot and be happy. I'd rested and m y voice was back in form. Belzile had said it and said it again. very intensely. Between shows. maybe twice. of course. because its well known that laughter and happine ss are good for the health and are enemies of stress. "I would feel better if you would consul t Dr. Then you'd have no reco urse. the dangers I'd been courting. in the presence of God. Then you could become incapable of singing for weeks or e ven months. You could also wreck your voice permanently. I left Dr. but also frightened by the prospect of liv ing their whole lives." he said. I'd avoid mingl ing with the crowd and end those group visits in my dressing room. your voice. From then on. used to enter a convent. I don't think I've ever experienced such a highly charged premiere. I knew that my life as a s inger had just taken an important turn. Because of w hat had happened to me. "It's up to you." I lapped up his words. I'd stop hugg ing everybody like I always did. "You can recover if you want to. Go back to square one. I understood all of it. you can use th ese kind of medicines. th e mistakes I'd made.

there was already a kind of aura around him. two days earlier I'd caused a scandal at the Adisq gala by refusing the Felix award for best English-speaking performer of t he year." As a result. As if to add still more pressure." and some classics like "Over the Rainbow" and "Summertime. In Quebec. And yet.or herself into a touchy. even though they lived in Quebec. Of course. by refusing to accept the Felix for best English-speaking performe r of the year. when the French-speaking community of Toronto had invited me to sing at the Saint-Jean show being presen ted on an outdoor stage at the Harbour Front. I t was the media that kept the useless controversy going. As soon as the show was finished. But the Saint[185] Jean is a sacred moment when they reaffirm their sense of community. and they had to stop the show. I went to New York to meet with Dr. In the business and in the papers. He . shortly after the release of Unison. that the show at the Saint-Denis would be my last. Rene and I were certain that the mainstream audience s of Quebec would accept this in good faith and would give me their blessings. When Rene stepped into the house several minutes before the curtain rose. Things had never been simple between English Canada and French-speaking Quebec . they were saying that specialists had predicted that my voice was ruine d. and a lot of people ended up believi ng it. But Rene didn't want to hear about that. any Quebecois artist who wished to put on a s how in English was getting him. And also because of his personal charm. Gould. people applauded him lo udly." I said. facing Lake Ontario. the English speakers of Montreal were now furious. whether she was from Quebe c. Phew! What a relief. I did a show in English. referring to the word for native English speake rs. I admit my speech was a litt le awkward. Most of the Toronto French speakers use English at work and in the street. My statement imp lied that they were not Quebecois. the rumor circulated that I was worn out. So my premiere at the Saint-De nis was turning into a political event.At first. "I'm not an Anglophone. In the business. A tall order. very delicate situatio n. I had to offer s tunning truth that my voice was in perfect condition. he didn't believe it could be true not yet. my swan song. The issue is very complicated where we come from. for Rene and me. The newspapers in both cities wondered if the Quebecois public would accept me singing in English. some people in the audience started booing me . because of what he'd accomplished and because of all those contacts he'd established with t hem. I tell them I'm Quebecoise. France. peo ple even went so far as to suggest that I was risking the destruction of my care er in Quebec. I wasn't us ed to being booed. I wanted to set the record straight. Nevertheless. I was doing a few songs in English for the program. the evening was an absolute triumph. they were saying it on the radio. or Japan. Spain. But nothing and no one could cause me to renounce my dream of singing in English . "Wherever in the world I go. for one nig ht in Montreal and one night in Toronto. So that evening at the Saint-Denis. There were full-page articles on the subject in the tabloids. More so at that time than today. Later. Maybe also because people were touc hed by the story of our love. It was the only way for a singer to tour the world. I was really beginning to panic when a heavy rain hit the Har bour Front. including that good old "W hat a Feeling. I'd learned this by sad experience two years earlier. we knew it wasn't true. my definitiv e goodbye to show business. We were worried about demonstrations and jeering. But Rene was worried that the Canadian and American producers would focus on these rumors and refuse to commit themselves a ny further to our projects." As s oon as I began to sing in English.

I sang the first thing that came into my head. Gould entered with a very imposing-looking man. In effect. Gould examined me again. If you speak even one time. Gould said. saying such things as. Dr. as much as with Eddy Marnay in the past. the doctor asked me to sing something for him. Riley." Dr. Gould looked at me. "If you are silent for three weeks. "I just want Luciano to hear your voice. among them John F. the same intensity and pleasure. Whatever you like. It might even change so muc h that it would be unrecognizable and gritty. exercise. I felt as if I were rediscovering Eddy's teaching. I could tell he was very proud. and my head thrown b ack as far as possible. and I was reminded that Dr. You ca n't even dream of speaking." I didn't know how to respond. Frank Sinatra. when I was onstage or in the studio. would be in charge of restoring my voice. "There is. another solution." he said. On his waiting room walls were ph otos of him with his patients. He had taught me how to give color. Kennedy. "You have a voice that could pierce t he heart. however." he said. work. Most often Dr. After we we re introduced. Inst ead. And I had to sing naturally during all this. the same passion. What a wonderful thing it is to have a "voice that could pierce the heart." he said to me. Tears rolled down my cheeks. so I asked him what I shou ld sing. It w ould demand a lot of hard work. we did some wa rm-up exercises." . he kissed me tenderly on the forehead. "You may now begin your training. Belzile had said about my vocal cords being in b ad shape and that this was due to bad habits. In January. Don't t ry to fool yourself. But now. I discovered the great pleasu res of study. it would no longer exis t. Walter Cronkite. "I am talking about absolute silence.was adorable." I told him that my three weeks of silence had already just begun. With Dr. One day as we were doing our exercises. but I didn't dare refuse. His associate. I couldn't join my voice with theirs. you know." he said. "You should probably have an operation. I have often thought of Signore Pavarotti. "I'll take it. I didn't think you could do it. and weight to each of the word s I sang. "When I speak of silence. Dr. meaning. Eddy had changed my relationship to wo rds. very delicate and full of humor. you could perhaps see some positive results without the risks and side effects of surgery. Dr. No laughing nothing. William Riley. "It doesn't matter. He said all the things that Dr. Riley had me work standing up. as if I had given him a gift. I was terribly intimidated. for the first time. He seemed so proud and moved. We talked a little. for example. and many others he'd helped in his fifty years of practice. Belzile had told me my voice would probably change after such an operation." he said. I played various percussion instruments. When I left. With him. as if I were his own child. It was called "You Bring Me Joy." he said. when Dr. you have to start over again. there was a knock at the door. and effort. It's very hard. my broth ers and sisters sang together. This made me feel very alone in my silence. I was on the verge of tears." Luciano Pavarot ti complimented me. "Honestly. as we had been doing for as far back as I could r emember. work that was at once both terrible and marvelou s. It was Luciano Pavarotti. several verses of a song I hadn 't thought of for a long time." I stood up and gave him a wink. Or he placed me in really uncom fortable positions for a singer my arms crossed. then he literally threw himself on me he pinned me with all his s trength against the wall and had me sing scales. [187] I spent the holidays in the strangest way in my life» Almost every night. Afterward." I snapped back. He seemed very happy.

[189] "You won't notice much for three years. He made m e conscious for the first time of the infinite tones that you can give to words. you can be sure I wouldn't be following it. first of all he advised me to forget all these techniques as soon as I went onstage. and where to place your eyes. he added: "If they'd given me a diet that would take five years to make me thinner. your training won' t go any faster. Even if you train twelve hours a day. project ing a simple sound. I was singing less with my nose than I'd done at the beginning. With Gwen. your head. My mo uth and my tongue would modulate this sound and create words and notes. In their place he suggested warm-up and loosening-up exercises that would last at least a half hour before each show. She showed me pictures in books: the larynx with the v ocal cords on each side. Then he made two recommendations. move. walk. even talking. I spent hours with her studying al l the parts of the voice. A few days later. if it does. To correct myself. noises that had very little shape to them. She slid a tiny camera into m y throat and I saw on a monitor the source of my voice. by changing the position of your tongue. Fortunately. It was like starting from scratch. The only exceptions would be on the day before a show or recording. don't do the exercises too much." Rene was dumbfounded." But I accepted the doctor's terms right away. I no longer liked chairs that were too deep or too soft. the trachea. And also. Since he himself was a good artist. You've got to give your voice time to undo the effects of these bad habits and respond to the new ones. you discover a million things to think of: how you hold your shoulders. In five years. He has a very attractive voice. but there was always something nasal about my voice. when I had to stay silent. "It should never show. he turned to me and said that he could easily understand it if I refused to go through such an orde al. I learned not to lean on the back of my chair or put my elbows on t he table or put my head in my hands." Once inside the elevator. Celine will have a bett er voice. breathe. "I can't ask you to waste your life for five years in order to achieve results that we're not even certain we'll see. I had developed some v ocal techniques that the doctor considered ineffective. as if I were learning again not only to sing but also to speak. never doubt my decision. I went back to Dr. and cheeks. The doctor was in the middle of giving me a demonstration of the kind of exerc ises I should do every day from then on when Rene interrupted us to ask how long it would take to see the results of such work. He kept his mouth shut for the rest of the session. He got sounds ou t of me that I had never heard in my life. He would help me to get rid of them. how to "place" it in my h ead or exploit the resonating capabilities of my chest or face. She explained that the tension and movements I used to control these bodily parts could make sounds. And we also spent long hours doing singing exercises. my fluttering vocal cord s. ones I never thought I could produce. that ruins the feeling.William Riley himself is a musician. I was hard: a real marine in training. I discovered a new musical universe that was vast and fascinatin g. Thanks to him." Next to his office was the office of an otolaryngologist named Gwen Korovin. how you move your arms. He taught me how to support my voice with my facial expression. Too much is worse than not enough. I was able to forget all these techniques when I stepped onto a sta . Whil e we were waiting for the elevator after leaving the office. He'd prepared a series of exercise s for me to do every day. But all of it is like playing golf: at the beginning. even breathing all were complex operations. the pharynx. lips. to sounds. you're paralyzed. When you first start taking lessons. w ho was also going to be a great friend to me. For example. I knew I'd never change my mind. stay in a sitting or standing position. Riley. I discovered the extent to which singing.

With my sister Manon. That consoled me and life went on. What was in my heart and used to pass through my voice now took another r oute it was as simple as that. when I was al lowed to really tune out. and videos. the nose. I was menstruating. it showed right away. but it was also a kind of test. [191] It was a game. I made my voice travel throug h my body. At the beginning. also. My mother would come into my room and find me in tears. Or Suzanne. just as I'll always go back to Quebec. I was writing lyrics and music for songs. And that creates an atmosphere of extreme peacefulness among us. But he's no good at pretending. with Suzanne Gingue and a few others. get control of myself. real nightmares. My sister Manon would be there with me. . Manon and Suzanne could also read my lips easil y and rapidly. I pushed on until t he end. My voice and I spent some great moments together in my dressing room or my bedroom. a country like no other. the head. I had things to say and I was working. My brother Michel too. As soon as she left. And actually. you could hear it. I developed a sign l anguage that was very efficient. One of t hem keeps coming back to me. I thought of textures and colors and tried to translate them into vocal qualitie s. without forcing it. I began to get used to these periods of silence. color. A voice has its idiosyncrasies and its whims. That's mostly it: being able to start over again and again and put heart and pa ssion into it each time. I couldn't sing anymore. I began making little film ïîï movies in my head. to a happy ending. n ovels. Sometimes. I was full of ideas. I let out a crescendoing series of sounds. if I was distracted or preoccupied. I found a g enuine. it seemed drabber to me. it was less obedient. and over. They articulate carefully. The women in my group are quite a bit better at that than the men . we have a code. I mean that it was h arder for me to control. Then I warmed up my voice. So I had to start over. each time I kept the cameras running right to the end. without thinking about what I was learning about how th e voice produces sound. because he thought it would be easier. If something was wrong. I went back to my movie. the two of us. Then. keeping its distance from me. they speak in a very low voice. as if I were deaf or retarded. changing the rhythm and tone. the men I know start speaking louder and slower than usual. films. and over. on the other hand. Especially the first time. I can tell. I was terri fied and crushed. and I loved it. I thought that it would never end. most often without using their voice at all. Riley's exercises always helped me to get it back again. And then I started over. I sang a note and held it as long as possible. I'd interrupt my mental filmmaking to signal by hand to her that it was just a game and that she shouldn 't be worried. it was as if we were having an argument. I started with breathing and elongation exercises. but I could still do intervi ews. do what I'm doing. Little by little. Rene needs a drawing or I have to call Manon to help him. I' ll always go back to this place. when . and the belly. During it. neck stret ches. being silent was the most difficult part. It was as if my voice were sulking. I'd become an accomplished pianist. almost sportsmanlike pleasure in it. until my voice rediscovered the de sired vibration. It too has cycles. for example. I followed my vocal regime with maniacal regularity. But even so. it was very close to athletic training. the throat. When my mother and I speak on the telephone. My grand tr ek across this desert lasted three weeks. A few times. When I move my lips without speak ing. I sang for pleasure. and texture. calm down. those deep-sea dives all alone to the very bottom of silence. right to the end of my breath. There was nothing I could do about this. I'd become permanently unable to speak. Some days. Women. It was like another world. pushing harder and harder on each note. They read my lips and t ranslated my answers for the journalists. But he'd pretend he understood.

Wherever a big crowd gets together. Rene is always trying to create events. After two years of voice exercises and periods of silence. In song. my little girl?" I tap my nail on the receiver once for yes. everyone in the audience knew my songs by heart. I made a well-dese . It's very vast. of course. "Love from Dad . I was accompanied by the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. But Rene wanted the concert to highlight the great mom ents of my career. to the exact day. I'm im pressed by the discipline they impose upon themselves. I hope that one day I will. There's wisdom in such a thing. I hadn't seen the least results I was hoping for. then forget them." my first hit. Nuns and cloistered mon ks have always done this. And half the time. . Silence for me is a point of departure.. the day I did the Michel Jasmin television show. and from me too . It gives one a different. 1981. Like music. Certain days I feel as if I were invisible. I never doubted. I observe the world without being seen. So ten years later. Before singing "Ce n'etait qu'un reve. Though I'v e never finished such projects. and Vancouver. from start to finish. And they certainly had a reason for it. melodies that sometim es delighted me. which had lasted all w inter. In next to no time. I was afraid that the anniversary celebration at the Forum would seem too boas tful. Had I really worn that ridiculous dress? Had I actually gone on television wit h those teeth! With that hair! With such a nasal voice! But there were so many o ther moments that touched my heart and made me so very proud of what I had accom plished. "Did you get your a hair cut after all?" Two taps mean no. I spend long hours without speaking. but also in images projected on a giant s creen. a ve ry soft little voice that came into my head singing tunes. But then I won two Junos (for best singer an d best album of the year) and "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" had begun to climb almost to the top of the American charts. It was during this period that I began to hear a little voice inside of me. even when I don't have to sing o r protect my voice. he fel t we should celebrate my decade in show business at the Montreal Forum. Today. We spent two long evenings looking at TV broadcasts and shows that I'd ap peared in over those ten years. too self-important. but still I didn't give up. I sang to sold-out audiences in all the big auditoriums of most of the Canadian cities. he always wants me to climb up on it. and from one day to the next. As if I had nothing to say to them. my name was becoming more and mo re familiar throughout the country.. Like being alone. One day he decided that my career had begun on June 19." A small series of fingernail taps means I'm sending them my love too."Did you sleep well. And he's always making it hap pen. Gradually. I've tried storing them away so that one day I could turn them into real songs. The June 19 show was. David Letterman invited me to appear on The Late Show. I always come out of my periods of silence stronger because of them so much so tha t I don't think I could do without them. . I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I have a lot of respect for people who practice their religion seriously. he wan ts me to sing and to have them listen and applaud. Calgary. I'd just finished my first truly big trans-Canadian tour. I talked a lot and was able to pay tribute to the writers and composers who had worked w ith me. which was made up of sixty-five musicia ns. And each day I began to discover that singing was becoming a grea ter and greater pleasure. Every time he catches sight of a stage. I did some small halls in west Can ada Edmonton. a total delight. all the tickets for the tour were gone. At times. as if other people [193] weren't seeing or speaking to me. and distinct vision of the world. silence has become a kind of refuge for me. I'd work on them for several days. That tour had taken off rather slowly. clear.

to let yourself speak some words of love. I organized my whole life around my voice. I loved discipline with a passion. at the same time as a lot of other little things. Its tone was always clear and precise. Your voice has never been so beautiful. An d most of all. Riley in New York." "But. my choice of textures and colors was growing larger and larger. who. and sometimes we just talked about voices. I worked on the choice of songs and their production very closely w ith the arranger. and determined. Dr.rved tribute to my mother. I think. (It's your turn. all I had to do was sing. Bizarre as it may seem. I felt as if it were a treasure I had to take care of. You've got to turn yo urself into a kind of machine who doesn't think about certain things. at once [195] kind of tongue-in-cheek and at the same time a way of reconciling independents a nd federalists. is a whole ot her ball game. Wherever I was Montreal. chips. In 1992. This time. all these little privations. I satisfied its every requirement a nd whim. Sometimes we had v ery intense workout sessions. or sounds we liked. T hen people began singing the very beautiful Gilles Vigneault song the Quebecois have adopted in place of "Happy Birthday": Ma chere Celine. and the composer. happiness. I couldn't speak. I've faithfully performed it for more than ten y ears of my life. on my twenty-fourth birthday . Paris. Earlier. The kind that brings self-mastery. and maple sy rup. in a low voice. I'd never come to the st udio until everything was ready.) Earlier in the concert. create a kind of well-being. m ore velvety and crystalline. the lyricist. darling. creme anglaise. I always left his office feeling stimulated. One evening. It calls for constant. diet Coke for him). or somewhere on tour I did my voice exer cises and followed my diet. I was involved more than ever in that album. In addition. as if it were a secret: "You know. It was a place where I experienced moments of great happin ess. For several minutes. my dove. Vito Luprano of CBS was so captivated by them that he suggested I do an album of songs by Luc Plamondon. for e xample. energetic. but I too thought my voice had started to change. or peanuts from time to time couldn't be easier. Depriving myself of desse rts. The arrangements would already be complete and the orchestra tracks recorded. Riley was right. forgets the taste of sticky toffee pudding. intellectuals and sports lovers. Depriving myself of them every day. Every two months or so I went to see Dr. fanatical vigilance. c'est a ton tour de te laisser parler d'amour. At that moment. I haven't even been training with him for a year! He said it wo uld take four or five to see the results. For the curtain call. I liked the idea because it was clearly a major challenge. I wore a Montreal Canadians hockey team sweater and carr ied the Quebec flag. the Academy Awards took place on March 30. Rene and I ended up alone in the small kitchen of the studio (yogurt for me. This was Renes idea. Luc would write four new songs for me. Celine. Earlier I had recorded a duet with . The hardest part is to never give in. who had cowritten the rock opera Starmania. Singing was making me happier than it ever had befo re." "So imagine what these legendary results will be like when you can really see them!" I hadn't spoken to anyone about it. music. I'd revived the medley of songs from the rock opera St armania. strict discipline I was imposing on myself at the time. Then he confided to me. taken together. the producer. after the recording of one of the four original songs for the alb um. the really strong. That evening I experienced a great moment. It was fuller and more subtle. I don't think I 'd ever heard such a roar from a crowd. We recorded in t he fall in French singer/composer Michel Berger's little studio on boulevard des Barignoles in Paris.

Tom Cruise. From now on. farther. didn't scop naming the ones he saw. but also a little like being at home and in a strange house at the same time. I didn't yet completely see myself as a real star. then Japan. First of all. The album that I did with Luc Plamondon. I'd have to do two publicity campaigns simultaneously. Des Mots qui sonnent (Words That Ring). € I headed off to Montreal two or three days after the Oscars. I almost fainted. It was written b y the team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Rene had a surprise for me. but I could imagine Rene's reaction. its because they think y ou're a real star. just as I'd always watched and listened to them. a nearly impossible feat on Osc ar night. At a certain moment. and she gave me a small nod other head. who had won two Oscars in 1990 for the music in Disney's The Little Mermaid. I admitted to a reporter from La Presse that I had a man in my life with wh om I was madly in love. I said I didn't want to reveal his name. in front of the vastest audience ever assembled: a billion TV watchers throughout the world. But I didn't have the time for such thoughts. "You don't have to thank them. which was included on my se cond English-language album. at least. And the doctor had prescribed some antibiotics that really dr agged me down. What's more. This duet. people would know chat I was part of the ranks of love. All his life he'd rubbed shoulders with celebrities. in front of an audien ce of stars and TV cameras. Despite that. time even for those personal lit tle movies I'd been making in my head for so long. I had to leave with Rene to do a promotional t our. Now I was seeing them at my feet. Menken and Ashman would also win an Oscar for best song of the year a few minutes after Peabo and I finished our duet. I lived it and did it too. a smile." I didn't really believe it. Here were all the idols I'd always dreamed of meeting. he wanted to wait longer before saying it publicly. "Do I know him?" I just laughed in respons e. and I was singing for them. He was mak ing me laugh. That same day. A nd Rene. and finally Europe. an inveterate stargazer. We too were as nervous and as impressed as everyone else who was there. Rene and I took a stroll among all these luminous stars. ha d just been released in France. But this reporter must have known who it was. But what impressed me was the audience at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: Eliza beth Taylor and Paul Newman. If they're applauding. During the following months. I felt I had a lot more traveling to do before being able to say that I had really passed through the l ooking glass. After the ceremony. This half admission was an enormous [199] relief for me already.Peabo Bryson for the animated Disney film Beauty and the Beast. my Celine Dion album was released with great fanfare in the American and Canadian markets. All these people are impressed by you as much as y ou could be by them. I wanted to thank them for lett ing me sing at this great event. Barbra Streisand. e qual to those around me. Michael Douglas. First in the United States. I knew that from now on I was a visible. "Is it who I think it is?" she asked. Now they were watching and l istening to me. Celine Dion. He'd invited my parents to Los Angeles and gotten them two seats in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. like a little boy. However. Even in the scandal sheets they'd written that Rene and I were toget her. About twenty bi . I kept remembering that I was going to sing on the greatest stage of my life. like them. recognized person because I'd just sang onstage. as did a lot of people in Montreal and Paris. A few days after that confession. But just before we stepped out before the cameras. was already a huge hit and was being h eard everywhere. I'd caught tonsillitis a few days before. I wanted to go higher. And for the first t ime. I had an unbelievable attac k of stage fright. and didn't just sing about it. and Liza Minnelli. and here he w as still marveling at them. my eyes met those of Barbra Streisand. I felt very strong in front of all these people.

" I was ready to call it quits. that I had far less interest in my career than I did in him. you have to keep going on. and his friends Marc Verreault. even people who don't belong to our industry. and Tokyo. disoriented and in pain. and in a few hours. a mong other nice things about me. But of course. But he wouldn' t hear of it. Los Ang eles. I don't think I'v e ever felt so alone and helpless. I again moved heaven and earth to get someone to attend to him as quickly as possible. I called our room. until my love was completely out of danger.g cities. "You. "You see. The following day. Rene thought he was going to die. As soon as I could. and now I was in an air-conditioned place. my voice was the least of my worries. Then I stayed close to him until he was safely in intens ive care and all we could do was wait for his condition to stabilize. and I'd also been on Good Morning America. you realize after ward that there were usually signs warning you about what was coming. I called his mother. Celine. I realized I was still wearing my bathing suit. recognize our success. While we waited. His voice sounded so weak that I didn't even wait for the elevator I ra n up the stairs to our room. Then I found a whe elchair and some help. The nomad's life. Rene can never get enou gh sun and heat. In ten minutes. Rene went up to our room complaining about a pain in his back and about the heat. and galas. even if I'm not there. without even thinking. surrounding Rene with their affection: Tete and the childre n. I'd completely forgotten all caution and discipline. And I'd just done The Tonight Show. At the hospital. that was what we lived. and Anne-Marie." And he named all the people he trusted and with whom I should work when he was g one. that I'd proved that a French Canadian can forg e an international career without abandoning her culture or renouncing her roots . Patrick. This worried me right away. When the ambulance arrived. I was gripped by fear and grief. Tete. I'd done all of this. I think the recogn ition we received in that article made him happier than any other praise we'd go tten since the beginning of my career. Montreal. Rene read and reread the article until he knew it by heart. it seemed. and it took him a long time to answer. Within thirty seconds. No more publicit y. I begged him to keep quiet. who have nothing to do w ith show business. We had been working hard. Perhaps I could have noticed his fatigue and possi bly seen the attack coming. When Rene had his heart attack in Los Angeles. where I'd become a regular. Someone Pierre or Marc brought Rene a copy of The Wall Street Journal. Rene had had lots of meetings in New York. And recalling this made me feel guilty that I hadn' t been more attentive to him. Until an unforeseen event changed our plans. I swore to him that he wouldn't die. Jean-Pierre. along wit h the hotel nurse. we were leaving for New York to do even more. dozens of interviews. . nothing. I'd given a lot of intervi ews recently. and Paul Sara. we decided to soak up a little sun next to the swimming pool. We had checked in at the Four Seasons where we wanted to take a few days of re st. Pierre Lacroix. Whatever happens. [201] they were all there. I remembered that for several days I'd been feeling incredibly anxious. Usually. He was crying as he talked to me about his chi ldren and his mother. TV shows. where I risked getting a chill that would harm my voice. For once. TV shows. you've got to keep going. We were both very excited. He didn't want me to stop. I could have canceled everything. Even thoug h Rene was now out of danger. He was lying on his back. downstairs in the hotel lobby. I already had Rene. As I spoke with the doctors who examined him. I'd rounded up the entire hotel staff. I'd already told the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai that we were waiting for the emergency team. which said. € I've already remarked that when really terrible things happen.

where a light rain was falling. I was surrounded by people who were all more or less twice my age. I would have died a second time. with almost no action. and I was looking at a very beautiful garden full of birds an d flowers. A reporter asked me if I'd been afraid of losing Rene. Our first stop was at the World Music Awards in Monaco. I'd thought about it often. The doctors told him he had to lose weight and exercise regularly. Near the end of the tour. bronze. But the statement I'd just made changed all that. reporters seemed to give less and less credence to my words. Something. If I died and you had stopped like that. ce ramic." Soon after. We too had a real life. Who could I talk to about this? Certainly not to the people I was so afraid of losing. just simple tableaux. just when you were going full speed ahead. whom I love and who loves me." I answered." I understood that he was very serious. my parents. That was asking a lot. And sometimes I told myself that I was going to lose them one by one. that the subject was o ff-limits. I imagined myself as a very old woman sitting in front of a window with a shaw l on my shoulders. But now. and the same half-light. his symphony. I'd been hiding the truth when I'd said I didn't love anyone. I wasn't really sad. Rene was with me constantly. the higher he was tempted to reach in order to win it. I'd end up completely alone. in o ur life. as he'd promised he would. the first time in our lives. After my car accident. such as Rene. and porcelain in the bathroom. where I received a prize. something that doesn't cause stress and demand risk brings little pl easure and probably isn't worth the trouble. Although Rene recuperated quickly. he needed to avoid stress. Rene isn' t my father. the more she has to work. we'd always avoided these questions. when I let myself dwell on such thoughts. This time. I'd want you to go on. At any rate. I had to continue without him for him. I insisted that he break that promise. a feeling of being carefree. the same mirrors everywhere. My two albums Celine Dio n and Des Mots qui sonnent were selling millions of copies. And to begin with. The higher the prize. at the very moment when all the doors were swinging o pen for me. but I was very m uch alone. had been taken from us. I was already all alone. Quite blatantly. All the hotel rooms looked alike. I needed his commentaries . I wanted him to rest and to follow his diet. he had to change his life. But for me all my success would lose its meaning if Rene were no longer there to see and know it. his glance. I needed him at my side. For us. Until then. In short. "You would have lost your second father. As a resu lt. Like me. he'd have to eat better and less. Sooner or later." "I have only one father. before I went back to my publicity tour. I continued to reveal the truth about our relationsh ip. his voice. the same soft carpets. I'd said w e were in love. and the profession we'd both chosen is full of it. i t would never be the same. . I left for Europe with Suzanne Gingue. Rene thrives on stress. that's what we believe d at the time. but the more an album sells and the more awards an artist wins. Adhemar Dion. he never has been and never will be. Passing through Montreal. perhaps." [203] Then I added that I didn't want to talk about certain things in my life. our own "secret garden. to tell me about it from day to day."Even if I died. I'd often wake up in the morning wondering what cit y I was in. his song. In a way. I understood that if he ever disappeared. and his love. And I'd begin to film somber little m ovies in my head. he's the man of my life. pretending not to be t ogether. you risk losing the ones you love. his admiration. "More afraid than eve r in my life. Renes the man who makes my hea rt pound. but that we didn't want to talk about it. The idea of it remaining unfinished w ould have hurt him terribly. It was the same marble. and understood that in a way my career wa s his masterpiece. This was great. More than ever and more t han anything in the world. he listened to me.

Rene told me the story of my future adventures in the marv elous world of show business. anywhere." [205] "And why does he know it when my neighbors in Montreal don't?" I was certain of Rene's love. Each time. and they were extremely happy about my su ccess. Jacques. How could a woman who's supposed to l ive without love and has never known it in her whole life sing songs like all th e ones I sing?" For me. fifteen. It was cotton-candy pink and so worn-out that the fabric had an almost unearthly softness to it. some big outdoor shows and two or three videos. He had some demos for me to hear. given me everything. the hurricane that had swept me away would begin to calm. ten times a day. We left together for Seville. planned it all out day by day. so I left it behind. was fooled at this point. I'd discovered that he hadn't been resting at all . people don't believe us anymore. We'd been partners for more than t en years." "Everyone wanted that song. I didn't see w hy I had to hide my love life. I spoke to Rene five. For a few days. I was reproaching him more and more often about ref using to let me tell the world he loved me. But I was afraid I'd lose it if I took it abroad. opening for Michael Bolton. I had a nightgown that belonged to my mother. I often stayed at m y parents' house so that I could spend a little time with my mother. When I returned to Montreal. He'd already made an initial selection of songs. Everything he had learned before me. including one with words and music by David Foster that delighted him. Whenever I had a chance to return home. They were still just as warm. which is C anada Day. I never wore it. For more than ten years. no t in Paris. more or less. . We both knew where each other was and. in a highly re gimented fashion. then a tour in Quebec later in the fall. but I was the one who'd gotten a real chance at it. lovers for more than four. € During the European publicity tour. I'd sleep every nigh t with my face buried in my mother's nightgown. in Spain. and that he wasn't eating much and was sleeping a lot. we'd sh ared the same experiences. but like Linus's blanket. First a tour in the United States. he told me t o wait a little while longer. six. not in Montreal. But David wanted to give it to you actually. where Expo '92 was tak ing place. "It could ruin your career. just as kind." "Could the lie that we've been telling for four years be any less destructive? Luckily. Each time I came home. But I was no longer the little girl they'd taught to dream big dreams. he'd taught me. twenty years. hour by hour. Barbra Streisand. that he was exercising. but I understood less and less his continued ins istence upon denying the obvious. he brought up our age dif ference and his fear that I'd be unhappy in ten.To help me fall asleep when I was home. He'd told me everything. I had the impression of being farther and farther away from my brothers and sisters. and next a tour of Canada. And interspersed with that. called "The Colour of My Love. none of his arguments held any water. "Whitney Houston. He'd put together our next year. Rene promised me he was resting. what we were doing. there was a brief lull. or Rosaire. And soon I'd be twenty-five. Nobody. By next fall and winter. And sometimes I felt very lonely when I w as too far from home. On board the plane. Se veral of them also had all the talent and desire necessary to succeed. I was supposed to sing in the Canadian Pavilion on July 1. that he was play ing golf with Marc. He also worried that people would laugh or say he'd abused his power and had exploited m e. Every time I brought up the subject. we'd b egin recording my third album in English." he told me. it provided me with a feeling of security to have something from home. to both of us because it's truly a love song and he knows we're in love. a nd Natalie Cole.

If you have no thoughts about something. a journalist from Montreal asked what I th ought of the "separatist" movement in Quebec. I told them that I actually believed that there w as nothing to win by separating and that if it were up to me. "The first tim e I sing 'The Colour of My Love' in public. People like you because you're real. there wouldn't be any borders anywhere. he winced a bit. Especially in Quebec. listened to. I can't deny it a nd I thank heaven for it every day. I know that such statements show a naivete about politics. Rene thought that to ask a sing er to talk politics was a kind of dirty trick. he had formed me. He doesn't like weak people who have no opinion on anythin g. But above all. In my innocent way. I know and have always known that he wouldn't have loved me as much if I'd obey ed his every command. During the press conference befo re the show at the Canadian Pavilion. [207] "You can even change your mind. Say what you think. Rene had completely guided me. Coca-Cola and Chrysler. I felt I'd really hurt and d isappointed the people I loved the most in the world. I had stepped on dangerous ground and should have said that politics were outside the realm of my knowledge. say. nothing infuriated him more than to hear or read that he had abso lute power over me. And he loved me too. but it really didn't interest me. among others. Say what you think. even when it comes to subjects in which they have absolutely no expertise. say it.€€€ There was. but I have never pretended to be knowledgeable and informed about such things. I'd thrown oil on the fire. claiming that I conside red the possible secession of Quebec from the rest of Canada to be a horrible ni ghtmare for Quebec. that what you say or do can carry a lot of weight and have enormous consequences. that power seemed stifling. history. I spontaneously said I was against boundaries. I tried to explain myself to other Canadian journalists. a lot of people believed or wanted to believe that. and public affairs. everything that I did from t . Often these made him laugh. of course. At the time. he let me fly with my own wings. I knew this. fo r the first time." He knew I meant what I said. Sometimes during interviews or onstage between songs. I would make an outrageous remark. I was beginning ñî realize the frightening power the public grants too easily to sta rs. Becau se this time what I said was beyond outrageous. say what you have to say."I'm warning you. who'd always been on very bad terms with the Quebecois nationalists w ho were campaigning for separation. I'd always been spokespe rson and sponsor for the Quebec Cystic Fibrosis Association. But little by little. I know that being v isible. "Did that writer ever think of asking the prime minister to sing in front of twe nty million people like you do? All he was trying to do was to embarrass you. however. He also knew I loved him deeply." I realize today the moment when he encouraged and pushed me to become a free and independent woman. if your heart tells you to." Even more troubling. But in Seville. I 've done ads for. I'm going to sing it for real." But I was very upset about my statement at Seville. Thus I found myself in the middle of a contr oversy that had been going on for generations and for which there was really no solution in sight. Or that he told me what to think. I received a congratulatory message from the Canadian prime minister. "Be yourself. he trusted me. I'm g oing to announce the colors of my life and give my love a name. The Canadian media tried to make this into a huge story." I told him that day on the plane to Seville. Don't listen to othe rs. But Rene told me again that I'd been right in saying what I thought. or do. Thus. some truth behind it: at the begin ning of our relationship. All I really wanted was for the Quebecois to know I had a special love for them. and imitated is part of a star's life. In Seville.

But Rene had no qualms about it. I've got a better idea. "Now you're a star in Que bec. I always saw them as an occa sion to tell the whole truth. interviews had never made me nervous. I was distr . and it was still daylight when I w ent onstage. you'll be a sta r in France and the United States too. the concerts were held outdoors. He convinced me to wait . and he thought that this would be a good opportunity to tell her our secret rather than let the scandal sheets get hold of it first. especially because t he papers were having a field day with the rumors. He never worried about counting his chickens b efore they hatched. Up to then. But I put my whole soul into it. because he was really rattled. He cer[209] tainly knew she had the means to make me admit everything. What's more. "Thinking of that was exactly what gave me my idea.hen on. analyzed. By the end of the tour. the press was waiting for me. And one day. And I still re fused to talk about it. I would never have dared to s ay such a thing. I sang f or very restless. however. but in public. or about the six pounds I'd lost w hile touring. keeping quiet about our love was madness. the queen of TV confession. about the U. The ma keup person and the hairdresser must have found me cold and distant." I'd often presented him with that argument. what about your love life?" They could have asked me a thousand questions about my career. This time. He told me I was right." To me. impatient audiences who were waiting to hear Michael Bolton an d weren't interested in me. But we were finally doing what we had always dreamed of doing : working in the country that created the "big time. Ahead of time. rising star who could disappear in a twinkle. And I knew it too. would be repeated. that it couldn't go on like this. even though in the United State s I was still only a small. he immediately went to the control room. whe n I returned to Quebec. and commented upon. During this time. I had a defective sound system and very little space because the stage was taken up by the mixers and instruments for the main act. one-on-one. Little by little. "Well. it's because you're not sure you love me. But on the way to Tele-Metropole. he saw me as a gigantic star. Opening for Michael Bolton was exhausting. I must have fo und words and gestures that hit home. He really liked Lise Payette." In the beginning. everything I said. about my next album. That morning. it had become something of a national joke. that also seemed like an outrageous remark. particularly because we had to change cities every day. not only in private." I reminded him of the deadline I'd set. But that was how Rene did things. between o urselves." "For what?" "We've got to do it all in a big way." When we arrived at the studio. to ur. everywhere in the world. "It's because you're not only a singer. In Queb ec. a rumor started to circulate that my show was definitely worth getting to the theater early to see. not far off. "If you don't want me to talk about it. I accused Rene of wanting to keep ou r relationship secret because he believed it couldn't last. about Rene's health. wi th Lise Payette.S. At the end of the summer. he changed his mind. that when I sang "The Colour of My Lov e" I'd say his name. even if it had nothing to do with my career as a singer. Celine. You'll see. The biggest one they've ever had. He saw himself as a millionaire and acted like one long befo re he became rich. Rene had agreed to let me do a one-hour interview." Rene told me. "We've got to prepare. But nothing interested them more than my love life. I had good lighting and a better sound system. I knew some people thought he was an egomaniac who'd te ll anyone that one day I'd be known as the greatest singer in the world. Eventuall y Rene was able to convince the producers to begin my show a half hour later.

empty. After all. like ants. I spoke abou t him so much. he wished I'd admitt ed everything. I was thinking of this whole senseless story. and would have buried my face in it. No one was left to watch me fall. At the same time. I was tired. the trips. and how I alway s gave in. and the recording sessions. 1993. but that I couldn't divulge his name because it would compromise my career. shouting nonstop. and how I'd ended up at the hospit al in a bathing suit. I woke up with a burning throat. They told m e to be careful. They got to the roof. I burst into tears. Then I sang at the Grammies in Los Angeles. I was on the roof of a very high building probab ly in an American city like New York or Chicago. I burst out laughing through my tear s. I convinced myself that it would be better if Rene and I made the revelation together. really? And what would we have done with your better idea?" "It's not my idea. Everything had built up to a level that overwhelmed me at times. until I remembered what city I was in. my next album. He too was very shaken up by the interview. This threw me off balance. I began telling her what had happened. dark city. the day of my twenty-fifth birthday. With a raging c old. But either they didn't hear me or they wer en't listening. But I'd let a good occasion for my "coming out" pass me by. where Peabo Bryson and I received an award as best pop duet for "Beauty and the Beast. When she handed me a box of Kleenex. It was as if I was speaking directly into their ears. I woke up just before hitting the ground. Of Rene and how he always w on. For six months I'd been living in hell. I was the one who wasn't listening. that intolerable waiting. the stress and constant effort required by the American tour. very slowly. It's yours. And I fell for a long time. I said a few words in English and then spoke to the Quebecois in French with my native accent. it was a way of telling the American public that I came from somewhere else. I knew t hey were watching me from the other side of the continent and that they were pro ud of me. I also knew they were the only ones who could understand what I was sa ying. And always had a better idea' I was also thinking of myself. Celine. I think the two of us came off as very real people. Just a few months earlier. the publicity. There were a lot of people on t he ground watching me and shouting at me not to jump. takin g the elevator up to the roof in order to stop or save me. I wanted to find Maman's nightgown und er my pillow. But this time. The anxiety following Ren e's heart attack. my tour. She interrupted me and asked if I was in love with Rene. No one would understand. "Oh. I began to splutter that I did love a man." € On March 30. Lise Payette had me talk about my family.acted. I tried to cry. I didn't really know anymore. During the next two or three weeks. I was supposed to do an important show at the Montrea l Forum. I wanted them to know I ha d absolutely no intention of jumping. All in all. € [211] Then I saw that thousands of people were entering the building. I jumped int o empty space to escape them. how he'd felt sick when we were at the pool. I hosted the Junos in Toronto. I kept having the same nightmare. For a moment. I had to live even more months with these lies. I could s ee the deserted. I did publicity in Europe. The lie made me feel even more off balance and upset. They ran toward me. about Rene's heart attack. the accent of my childhood. I'd even sung at President Bill Clinton's inaugural c eremonies. how I'd alerted everybody. but no sound emerged from my mouth. Three days later. They seemed panic-stricken and were running left and right." When I reached the podium. But I stayed awake for a long time. And t .

there was a tired and puzzled little girl I hadn't been p aying attention to or listening to for quite a while. I had trouble projecting myself into my songs and really living them." He'd reserved a luxurious suite in a downtown hotel. Michael seemed rather timid to me. With Brooke.hat I stayed in touch with my roots. it begins to seem empty of meaning and emotion. I went with Suzanne Gingue to meet with Dr. and reassured me. When a song has been repeated too many times." She does everything mechanically. par ticularly Brooke and I. Around this time. can be extremely difficult." he told me. he pulled a small box out of his pocket and put it on the table between us. Riley and Dr. but st ill I felt uninvolved and incapable of connecting with the audience. They listened to me. "I love you. I worked day and night putting together my new show. sound. too fast. and for all these reasons. I wa nt to live with you. In the limousine. I must admit that singing certain songs night after night. Celine. I found myself se ated in front of Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields. Occasionally. but that evening. Then they re commended two days of silence. I'm not sure if she was serious. the scenery. This little girl had no need for applause and ovations. I knew this meant that our love co uld finally be revealed. Perhaps I was also focused on the happines s Rene had given me. She just wanted a little peace and a little rest. Somehow I have to f ind meaning and emotion deep inside myself. As usual. he asked me to wait a few hours before plunging into one. t he spoken transitions. He spoke so softly th at I had to lean closer and ask him to repeat himself. I spoke abou t clothes and hair. I was beginning to feel that I'd gone too far. I nearly gave way to my worst enemy. I even designed my stage co stume: a red satin blouse with a ruffly jabot at the neck and tight black leathe r pants. and now that I knew how fragile my voice was. During the meal. reminding me of her needs. She told me she would love to sing: I told her I would love to make movies. 6 I wish I had better memories of the first of my three shows at the Montreal Foru m that spring. She has my body and voice but not my sou l. to what I call "my singing ro bot. I continu ed to worry that it would be damaged. the audience was unendingly generous with me. but from beginning to end." His voice and eyes were velvet. you'll see. not even for the little features that run through my head all the time. I had to realize that s omewhere inside of me. scolded me. "Why? What's going on?" "Nothing. He'd ordered dinner for two . Koro vin in New York. Now she was making signs t o me. I still felt very tired. with candles and Baroque music. for [214] months. We laughed quite a bit. . I felt that I was kind of out of it. and with each passing day this deman ds more and more effort. He'd always respected my silent periods. "I love you like I've never loved anyone. but at the banquet following the ceremony. Rene was waiting at the airport. lighting. but I know I was. But I don't have time for movies. I'm not sure how. I opened the box and saw the engagement ring. working on the direction. On my finger was the engagement ring Rene had given me a few days before. no desire to give the bi ggest concert in the world. When we returned to Montreal. I love making videos. I told him I wouldn't be speaking for two days. for years. Wait. intimidated too it was very touching to see. He was nervous.

The first encounters are in spiring and deeply affecting. She was especiall y interested in Princess Diana. I have to take into account what my audience wants to hear. speaking to me. my heart leaped. it's my fault. I've pushed you too hard. I was able to talk to he r. I told myself that she'd come to say goodbye. who I was with. I'm happy for you. my stage costu me as well as asking plenty of questions about Paris and Hollywood. like a very close friend. singing this song felt like an incredible chore. And I can dip into an entire F rench and English repertoire from the last ten. I could tell from her smile that she was ready to stop fig hting. even if they'd already been performed by o thers. But some evenings ." or "Quand on n'a que 1'amour" (When You've Got Nothing but Love ). But the chemistry doesn't last. the first contact I have with a song. as a mother must remember about the bi rth of her children. as if nothin g was the matter. but with bad results. I always have song s that are new and striking. even if I'd imagined the worst when I started. Rene didn't run through the details of my show as he usually did. we knew from the audience's initial reaction to "The Power of Lov e" that this was a song the world would adore for a long time. I worked like a maniac from beginning to en d." I couldn't prevent myself from thinking of everything I had. But the second night was the complete opposite. I even remember where I was a hotel room. I'd already sung it so many t imes that I thought the "singing robot" would get hold of it. This suppli es me with thousands and thousands of songs that I love. so defeated. I couldn't manage to make contact with her that evening. An hour before the curtain rose. and wanted to reinterpret them. about many things. such as "Calling You. Celine. it was one of the best shows o f my career. and also disconcerted. the lighting. Her lungs had become weak and congested and she couldn't breathe by herself. twenty. I was visited by my niece Karine with two nur ses and a doctor from Sainte-Justine. You' ll take the time you need. fifty years. But I also know that I can't just perform what I li ke. She talked to me about my songs. of all the happines s I could expect from life. I felt the singing robot at my . She listened to me and kept saying: "I'm happy for you. When I went onstage. We were sitting off by ourselves. I remember. a plane. For example. And she noticed it. I was no longer afraid of hurting her. my last album." he said." "All by Myself. It's a little like love. You need to rest. I recall the clothes I was we aring. As close as I'd been to Karine since she was a baby. including my good fortune to be loving a man and having him in my life. where she'd been hospitalized for several weeks. When I saw her.Of course. I always go through a honeymoon period with songs. With a pale smile she told me: "I found out that you are now in love. and little by little. So she came to get me. "You're tired. I thought. Sometimes you have to fight against habit so it keeps feeling like the first time. I'm lucky to have a vast repertoire. I no longer knew what to say or even how to look at her. He seemed ov erwhelmed himself." and "All the Way. so tiny an d shriveled in her wheelchair with oxygen tanks attached to the back. a limousine. finding something new in it each time. This is why I can change the content of my shows regularly. with whom I'd dined a few weeks earlier in Ottaw a." I literally fell in love with those s ongs. For the first time. often masterfully. [215] That notorious night at the Forum. She wanted t o hear about all the great cities of the world where I'd sung. Those t houghts broke my heart and took away all my desire to go onstrage and sing my lo ve songs. You have to reinve nt the song just as you have to reinvent love. All the things that would never come to her. what the weather was like. "The Power of Love." I was very touc hed. She was so pale. a studio.

I almost wanted to tell the audience at the Forum. Things without a ny connection to each other. and when I returned on May 3. S he was always crushed by fatigue and had to submit to constant diets and dreadfu l treatments. but very. Liette was at her bedside and I could tell she'd been crying a lot. as if it were the first time. Karine chose the red-and-white pajamas. As soon as I got off the plane. actually. There's nothing you can do against death or the injustices of nature and life. The next afternoon. Rene remained standing at the foot of the bed. if loving were enough to make everyone we love happy. she was packing her bags with memories for the voyage she was about to begin. She died just after midnight. Now. that we were dressing her for her last voyage. I was overwhelmed by a great peace and b y strength. even the oldest. two or three of my songs. a ceremony. that she wouldn' t die. During the weeks and months after her death. I sang her "Les Oiseaux du bonheur" (T he Birds of Happiness). From that moment on. Although illness had prevented her from growing in body. which I find very moving. A few days later. I remember how touching and helpl ess he seemed. [217] "I'd like to have a new pair of pajamas. And to forget the rest. I sang every song for her. she called to tell me how much she l oved my show. I asked if I could do something for her. and especially her: "You won' t die. It was like a ritual. I helped my sister change and wash her daughter and comb her hair. The doctors had given Karine morphine." I didn't see her after the show. Karine had left without ha ving known love. He to ld me he wept as he chose them. But I knew that Karine would be in one of the boxes Rene had reserved for family and friends. the sick aren't her e for nothing. . Even love isn't enough. I left for Europe. She was the first child I was close with a nd with whom I'd established a genuinely mutual understanding. It was a kind of inventory or testament. as if she wanted only to t ake with her the few beautiful things she had known. Rene and I rush ed to see her at the hospital. very specific: the salmon pate my mother made. but still she was having a lot of touble breathing. the disadvantaged. During such rare moments. Life is not fair. I knew that K arine's condition was worsening. He always knows what to do. Liette spoke softly to her as she smoothed her hair. We knew that Karine was resigned to dying. € Karine. Her mother and I took turns rocking her in our arms. I couldn't think of her without f eeling aside from great hurt a terrible confusion and a sense of rebellion. you won't die. he acts like a little boy. They bring something to us. she'd matured rapidly. I felt her supporting me and knew she'd always be there near me. And there was a strong and powerful light in her." It was Sunday. Both of us were holding back our tears. but this time he didn't. I told her I'd really liked it too. had affected me deeply. Karine began to list the things she'd loved the most in life. I'd performed all the songs.heels. the dresses she'd most loved wearing. Karine. In thinking other. this was no child like the others. Karine's strength. the river at Repentigny. She was sixteen years old. Rene found a way of getting hold of the owner of a sleepware st ore who agreed to let him in. There was a lot of tenderness and serenit y among us. Her doctor and the nurses thought she was too t ired to join the crowd. It would be too beautiful. It had been a good show becaus e I'd done it with my whole heart. and too easy. but people like Karine the broken. if l oving were enough to solve all the problems in the world. I sat down on the bed and the three of us stayed like that fo r a long time without saying anything. He bought a pair of pajamas and a nightgown. after a sad life spent constantly trying to catch her breath. that cheerful little spirit who was always there in some nook or cranny of my memory. feelings that I don't like.

Basically. Each evening. all I have to do is think of Karine and it goes away. both French and English. all the women in the house laugh and applaud. I had very short hair. or evenings with Barbra Streisand or Prince Charles. our misgivings.You've got to face reality. I'm sure that's true . They dream about being happy in love and about having confidence in themselves. I had a completely new look. fight.V. And of death. in a way. I almost always think of Karine. I even believe that the emotion that comes from songs co mes in large part from that other life. I don't really have a mind for figures and dates. in one way or another. by crea ting a false relationship between the stars and the public. We believe that the best way to avoid being harassed by the pap arazzi is to be faster than they are and beat them to the punch. A lot of people have almost firsthand experience of our intimacy. I love the soft glow they create. November 8. nights a t the Beverly Hills Hotel. Its because it marked the [219] moment when I told the whole world that Rene Angelil and I were going to be marr ied. a symbol. So. The Colour of My Love. And it's never been about taking the Concorde. Karine made me discover and explore an entire world of emotion I would never h ave known without her. but the media also wants us to believe that the public is curious to know what celebrities own. How many bathrooms and houses they have and how much money the y earn. Every time I bring up the subject of shopping. I announced it to a supercharged audience at the Metropolis and in front of th e cameras of all the Montreal television stations. L. I always make our sign for him. for example. inspiring me. The media assumes that the public is fascinated by stars. And I always feel a twinge of fear. I'm convinced that p eople are more interested in the smaller details of life. like Karine did. This was the day my third English album. And it's the artist's role to bring that feeling into our lives. During my shows. I think the media is deceived. I always fe el her very near. means. reminding him that I'd kept the secret of our great love inside for too long a nd that now I wanted it to break out into the light of day. our feelings. we are our own paparazzi. It's our secret. And when I feel the singing robot coming near. I've been speaking very freely to the media Rene has as well about our love. Is it Las Vegas? No. But th at isn't the reason this day was so memorable. and deceives people. by making an L with my index finger an d thumb and the classic V for victory and peace. Love and Victory ? Not really. dozens and dozens of little flames. Befor e going to bed. peop le tell me their dreams. In this way. in our house in Florida.V. She who serves herself is best served. I'd written several lines addressed directly to Rene . The number 55 in Roman numerals? Absolutely not. lighting up my life. But give in to what? I really don't know. Almost everything that we do somehow ends up known. The simplest and most common things of life that's what people like t o hear about. our joys and sorrows." We've never told anyone what L. Each time that I talk a bout the pleasure a woman feels in making a meal for her husband. I've always talked about what's happening in my life. You've got to act. On t he back of the album cover. 1993. I light candles in every room of the ho use. there's the sa me reaction. and talk about the pleasure I get from trying on new dresses or shoes or discovering a new bea uty cream. When I salute Rene during a show or when I go on te levision. and she never will be. Perhaps give in someday. was released in the United States . when I blow out the last little flame. helping me. I hope and I believe there is another life. will alw ays be etched in my memory as one of the best days of my life. Especially s ince that day. we are . For me she isn't dead. When they come to see me after a show or in the letters they write to me. I finished by saying : "Rene. you're the color of my love. But November 8. between songs. and even about our arguments. for the first time.

I think. secret garden. During the applause that followed "The Colour of My Lov e. Onstage with Michael Jackson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Doing publicity i n London. In the photo. On the wall at the top of the staircase leading to our room. of all my shows. we'd bought a large house in Rosemere. But just the opposite happened. he makes sure to let them know everything that is happening t o us. I hardly spoke about my new album." € Never had the whirlwind of our life been as powerful as it was in the months lea ding up to our marriage. I saw a close-up of our kiss.all the same. both of us beaming. There was an immensely sympathetic r eaction. I just want to sing to the world. That's all well and good. with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestr a. I slid my hand behind his head. There were shouts and applause. Nonetheless. Quebec. we had begun living together as man and wif e. Wherever we are in the world. we now began talking about it openly. Rene Angelil had been wrong. For once. To the great disappointment of the people of Sony. Filming a video in Prague. Japan.V. On the giant screen. like our special L. On the evening of my new album's release. I was in Osaka. Without that. its clear that we're aware of the crowd around us. out of the corner of my eye s. I have no anger or dissatisfaction raging in me. laughing. Dashing up to Montreal for a quick visit. On the day after our kiss. Our love would become the central theme of my whole life. I told the story of our first night together in Dublin and of the yea rs we lived our love in secret. The public and the media were fascinated by us as a couple. Rene has always had a tremendous affection for the Quebecois public. Rene often stopped in front of that photo. lost in each other's eyes. "When?" they'd ask." Rene came onstage and took me in his arms. Then I kisse d him on the mouth. his respect for the Quebecois climbed a notch. Some artists want to change the world. and signals. and Oprah Winfrey that he was my in spiration. For years he'd been afra id people would think we were wrong for each other and would accuse him of manip ulating me. I'm not trying to change the world. I told Arsenio Hall. We need space and words. which only the man I love can enter. "One day when we have the time. I need my little intimate. but I'm not lik e that. or about the show I was preparing. Jay Leno. I [221] shouted for joy." he would tell me. Spending three days in Paris. The next day. darling. Love can't be hidden. Rene had hung a gigantic photo of us together. I could sing about that life experience without pretending I wasn't l iving it. I told everyone that soon we'd be married." "That's what I was always telling you. in front of two thousand people and all the television cameras. Then returning to . The public never doubted that we truly lov ed each other. Instead. but w e're facing each other. and drank a tear that was running down his cheek. I'm not a tortured soul. I did several of its songs for the aud ience at the Metropolis. my trademark and my banner . It 's as simple as that. After the launch of my new album. Finally. a couple couldn't exist. and several mo nths before our public announcement." The summer before. We were going to discover quickly that the response was just as warm elsewhere. as I saw the unanimous reaction of the media. "Just by see ing our expressions. "Everyone had to have known already. recording new songs in New York. and not just for the moment. d rew it toward me. I talked about Rene and o ur happiness. I went on a promotional tour across North Amer ica. Its like light. After years of livin g our love secretly.

not a little. But primari ly I wasn't comfortable being idle or on vacation. and embroidery. A real princess's marriage. for a few days. A . right on a golf course . and the extravagance. and of course a long train. with very na rrow waists. We'd rent an ocean liner. Then. dresses wor n by marquises and princesses. It was never [223] long before I started looking for something to occupy my time and my mind. Rene wanted it to be simple and rather conventional." "There's no way I'm getting married 'small time. I also didn't really like the atmosphere of golf courses. full of pearls. I'd golf. We made some short stops. I wanted a fabulous.Tokyo . ." said Rene. he wanted to find a priest who'd marry us in a small chapel. and to desi gn wedding dresses. where we finally bought a house in Palm Beach. I fully agreed with him. € One day. with the most spectacular ceremony ever seen. a very well-known. Nevertheless. I suppose the idea was rather r omantic. to make a small change in the decor. And that's where my first audience is found. I'd sit in the su n. I wanted to be the "big time. and my periods of silence and solitude. not even once. At first I'd thought about a cruise in the Caribbean. all w hite and very spectacular. I pored over hundreds of them in fashion magazines. First I did a rapid inventory of the dresses I loved the most." I told Rene. I used all the crumbs of time that I could collec t. Then I tried to m ake a selection. but to my mind. We were already selling millions of records and we re rich. we began to talk about our wedding with Pierre and Coco Lacroix ." We couldn't stop. At bottom. very elaborate and heavily decorated stuff. For example. but rar ely. walk a little. unforgettable wedding. Later. I even think we were incre dibly happy being carried along this way. lots of veils. check out the shops on Worth Avenue. Never before had I really understood the expression "not to have a minute to one self. And that's finally what captivated him about my project: the excess iveness.' darling. I was attracted first to costumes from olden times. sequins. I wanted to create a unique and very spectacular event. I'm more extroverted than he. Because of my concert schedule. So we were getting married in front of God and man. with a l ot of ceremony. which would bring in millions of dollars. but I didn't get any particular pleasure out of it yet." he said. for example. We'd get married on the high seas. Sometimes. relax. I definitely wasn't getting into the spirit of the sport. and flounces. I wanted my marr iage to be a declaration of love and a vow of fidelity that the whole world coul d witness. taffeta. to prepare the event. spectacular old hote l on Palm Beach. I never played. in the gardens at The Breakers. Rene let me take charge of this event. bring our whole world on board. I felt fragile and anxious. Everything I suggested seemed completely excessive and extremel y expensive. most often i n Florida. nor did we even consider it. . but what I was planning with Coco was going to cost a lot. My friend Coco understood perfectly what I was trying to create. "All I'm asking is that it should take place in Quebec. she got involved in the entire project. on a night wi th a full moon. we'd see other couples: usually Murielle and Marc Verrea ult or Coco and Pierre Lacroix. it lacked pizzazz." He was laughing. he admitted that he didn't think we had the money to pay for such a luxurious wedding. While waiting. This was bef ore my Falling into You and D'Eux (Them) albums and tours. who were Rene's golf partners. "You mean five or six hundred. That's where our roots are and where most of our friends and family l ive. the risk. infinitely more eccentric and exhibitio nistic. we had to postpone the date of the big day from month to month. "We can't really expect two or three hundred people to attend a wedding that las ts several days. As soon as I stopped working. all the hours I spent in a plane. And from the be ginning.

But no one could find an available couturie r who could quickly assemble a team of seamstresses. don't provoke as many dreams as those of earlier tim es. he was the exa ct opposite of me. he was a kind of "antistar. in New York. who found what we were looking for. sequins. In France. a mannequin with my exact measurements was standing in the middle of Mirella's studio. In September. The dre am was under construction. b ut also for the public. corserieres. Dozens of magazine [225] clips as well. we needed to settle on precise details. I tried on count less dresses. The fabric. and Paris. jewels. the image of my fabulous wedding dress grew mor e precise. pearls . Los Angeles." We showed her our designs and our clips from magazines. Little by little. a thousand and one details that eluded me. During the summer." Millions of young people had made a veri table cult of him. But there was quite a distance between my dream and reality. In these films. inveterate practical-joker. jewelers. but he systematically refused to be talked about in magazines like People or to participate in showbiz events. of course. emotional. and taffeta had all been chosen and ordered. But I wanted more taffeta. Jean-Jacques made us laugh a lot when he launched into a very detaile d summary of my life. Surprisingly enough. when I left for Paris to give a series of concerts at the Olympia. I was discovering that my tastes were rather retro and nostalgic. Glenn Close and Michele Pfeiffer wear dresse s very similar to the one I was looking for. and lacemakers to create a masterwork of this type in a few weeks. who wanted to write an album for me. and elegant. pearls. most of whose first names he knew. and sequins. For hours we talked to her about the dress we referred to as "the Age of Innocen ce. and furriers. He was there before us. I don't really know how we ended up talking about our families and about our c hildhoods. and a cuddly lovable bearcub of a man. In other words. So we went further in that direction. I saw and wore the most beautiful gowns in the world. For my"head. warm September afternoon. However. Already several seamstresses were bustling around it. As far as I'm concerned. I sent Mia all sorts of drawings and sketches that I'd s crawled on paper. We also made the rounds of all the great bootmakers. It was a lovely. then actually made. whic h are often very beautiful. my brothers and si sters. The idea pleased us a lot. London. I wanted my wedding gown to be dream-like. and all of the great moments of my car eer in chronological order. Goldman is a remarkable composer who knew how to bring me into a musical un iverse that was different from the one I'd explored with American composers. Mia came over one day with the cassettes of two films. a diadem or tiara full of jewel s. I didn't resis t this tendency. a helmet. when we officially announced the date and place of our wed ding December 17. He knew about our house in Charlemagne. We met for the first time in a tiny restaurant near the Place de 1'Opera. but also ñî meet with writer-composer J ean-Jacques Goldman. at Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal I had a good idea of wha t my wedding dress would look like. Dangerous Liaisons and Th e Age of Innocence.white mink bolero on my shoulders. I was there to sing for the Paris audiences. For me. in blue jeans and T -shirt. it was Pterre Lacroix. And both of us were really impressed by her expertise. first we had to have this dress drawn on paper. pearl and sequin experts. The look was beautiful. At the end of summer. buttons. very contemporary dresses. 1994. Sony had sent him boxes of documents and press clipp . and motorcycle boots. general manager of the hockey team t he Colorado Avalanche. e mbroiderers. He knew I don't know how a couturiere in Montreal named Mirella Gentile who made magnificent clothes. Mia and I went t o meet her in her Saint-Leonard studio in the eastern part of town. I even think Mia ha d her watch the film.

that big void that is always so terrifying and so enticing . He took ca re of scheduling all their trips. is the surest and the shortest route between what's inside me and others. And he began to sing "Pour qu e tu m'aimes encore" (So You'll Still Love Me). he'd been a part of our team w hen we toured. That voice. the shadow." meaning family. His music demanded a more low-key. he reverently looked at the rows of seats and. Three-quarters of the way through. Rene liked him right away because he spoke "about real matters. It was definitely worth it. We met again a few days before my premiere at the Olympia. He sat down at the piano. he thought that I added too much ornamentation to songs. And none of this took into account the fittings for "t he Age of Innocence" dress. And he wanted me to take the tim e to correct what he thought were some bad habits." Rene explained to him. he was confident and relaxed. he seemed worried. I'd never gotten so much p leasure out of it. we spoke a tiny bit about our album project. This time. but he promised us that the tapes would be read y. I had to be in Washington for a special broadcast in honor of Bill and Hillary Clinton. and their stage costumes. For exam ple. Like musicians at the studio. life. Standing behind my mike. Jean-Jacqu es seemed nervous and distracted. Then he stopped and turned to ward us. We were sitting quite close to him. after my concerts at the Olympia. my sister. Dr. I know her. Jean-Jacques wasn't looking at us. You'll come to the studio. I had understood because Jean-Jacques had explained what he want ed in a way that was authoritarian and warm at the same time. The day of my premiere at the Olympia. my best friend. for the recording. For some time." Rene was right. We were halfway through the meal when he pulle d out some big sheets of paper with [227] the words to his songs written by hand. Rene and I were holding hands and were both crying. no one said a word. And my voice had never felt so flexible and powerful. Riley had seen it clearly. certain vocal tics I'd developed irritating. at the v ery back. I'll have y ou hear the music at the same time as the words.ings. Finally. and an appear ance on The Tonight Show. "You don't need t o work with her for days. my confidante . When we left. I also had another sho w at the Forum in Montreal. He told me quite frankly what he liked and didn't like. "I'm going to keep them until tomorrow. It was my companion. Jean-Jacques wanted to work with me for a few days before going to the studio. He'd said I'd need five years of training to deve lop that voice. then changed his mind. And then to "Je sais pas" (Don't Know). as I was walked onstage to do the sound t ests. He held them out to me. ten days of promotional work in Japan. and happiness. You can trust her. hotel and restaurant reservations. He'd gone on to "J'attendais" (I Was Waiting). He gave u s a smile that was full of such pleasure that we began crying again and laughing at the same rime. I noticed my brother Michel. the shepherd of musicians. H e gave us the sheets of paper from the day before. the transpo rting of their instruments. which I love. He was very disconcerted when he saw that we had been crying. He seemed devastated when Rene told him we had only two weeks. When I came to the studio in November. He didn't like the way I rolled my r's or put too much palate into the dental consonants." The next day. he was. "She really understands what you want. all I'd have to do was add my voice to his music. a guitar on his knees. For a long time. He found certain effects. until the begin ning of November. controlled voice. Before that. Then he snatched the pil e of papers from my hands and told me there was a song that he wanted to rework. as he himself said.

but even so. It wasn't as he 'd believed it would be. And I still l ove it as much as I always have. one who is consumed by love. I decided that it's over. When you don't. reporters. his goddaughter. He knew I'd be too moved. while passing through Memphis." I said to him. because of the tastes of the pr oducers and the public." I actually have sung it everywhere I've gone in the world. I've finally accepted that I won't have a c areer in show business. Everybody doesn't get the chance you've had to realize his dreams. from Seoul to Stock holm. a cloister in Montreal. "Vole" revived the painful memory of Karine's death. It's the sam e theme. With Goldman. and personal. In France. a unique treasure that we kept for ourselves." which E ddy Marnay had written for me a few years earlier. I spent the following day in a spa with Maman and my eigh . same structure. he'd actually stood on the stage of the Ol ympia in Paris. and in a few weeks . I understood why he hadn 't wanted me to hear it a few hours before going onstage at the Olympia. and fellow musici ans. possessive. I rediscovered the pleasure of si nging in French. his little sister. To day. I was selling millions of records. But it was inside us. as if he were bowing to the audience. he day following my last show at the Olympia. "You know. I saw him lean forward. where we met with the priest who would marry us. finally. In record/ ing it. in our hearts. Jean-Jacques Goldman sent me the d emo of a song called "Vole" (Fly). D'Eux is basically the story of Rene and me. Americans are very fond of ornamentation and vocal arabe sques.. that we listened to at the house or in Ren e's car. Then I went to sleep at my parents' house. "But every day I dreamed of beginning again. restrained. we spent a few hours in Mont Carmel. It's as if she were the one who inspired it from beginning to end. "Vole" is the sequel to the song "Melanie. we had D'Eux on cassette. "I have a feeling you'll be singing that song for a very long time. A few hours before me. alone and quite selfishly. singing is much more contained. Rene and I have this treasure. his e x-fan. And it's been ruining my life. Dublin. and absolute love like my love. As I listened to it. I almost always sing spontaneously in a higher key. And in some way. was going to triumph there. it's better to put them aside and to make another life." I was at the absolute summit of my dreams. For some reason. "Pour que tu m'aimes encore. and same woman. possessed. the most fully re alized from every point of view. I was going to marry the man of my life. a lot of orname ntation and volume." the first song I heard and the first one I recorded. I was singing in one of the most pr estigious venues in Paris. The words take on a much greater importance. Rene and I had agr eed not to let anyone hear it. and I load the singing with my own inventions. a famous song by Edith Piaf. I told friends. we knew it would forever be a part of my life. Munich. In a way. "Melanie" was a song I'd sung for little Karine." But Sony had decided not to release D'Eux for several months so it wouldn't inte rfere with the still lucrative market for my previous albums. Then he came toward me and said he'd just realized an old dream. Two days before our marriage. I feel a s If my niece is the patron saint of this album. this fabulous album." Rene told me." "But it's been years since you sang. I've always considered D'Eux to be my most successful album. € When we came back to Montreal to get married. and Edmonton. and of course. "And singing it everywhere in the world. immediately made me think of " L'Hymne a 1'amour" (The Hymn to Love). [229] "Today I decided to stop dreaming. Not only because of the structure of the songs but also beca use of the texture of the sounds. and it made us happy. It's a hym n to passionate. We could fee l its vibrations. in English. a hand on his heart.

" The day of my wedding. but by that time we knew that we were stress and pressure junkies. waxing specialists. the sound o f the great organ in the background. For me to be happy and satisfied. and by the Quebecois public. Rene and I were supposed to take two. "Too bad. heels. In Quebec. musicians. during. But I'd been a little girl from Charlemagne who'd been kept from smiling at th e world by two overlong teeth. a sushi bar. gorgeous. and ceiling were pure white. "You can wear high heels all you want. where Rene was waiting for me surrounded by his best men. romantic dream. a string quartet in one room. Certain people said I put too much into it. a rock band in another. maybe three months off. To show it and share it with others isn't publicity. When the guests entered the banquet hall. Despite the . And I thought. So by mid-January. it was a ccompanied by a police escort on motorcycles. and a Spanish tapas ba r. "It's too heavy. but I believe that sometimes yo u have to suffer to be beautiful. cooing doves. carried by my v oice. But don't co me complaining to me. My thirteen brother s and sisters surrounded me and sang "Qu'elle est belle la vie" (How Beautiful L ife Is) for me. You entered a gallery whose walls. dressing me and doing my hair. but I was too excited to do so. and thrilling. this event was talked about a lot. who would be my live-in companions. Also immaculately wh ite were the large cages filled with fluttering. it's gratitude. A blue carpet bearing our intertwi ned initials ran up the street and across the church square and the nave. It's your choice. I ent ered on my father's arm. for better or for worse. And everyone we loved was there. as I moved toward the altar where I would be married. that I was makin g a display of my wealth.t sisters. It'll hurt your head. It w as snowing. floor. my eight sisters carrying my train. and back killed me. before. I definitely had several good reasons to complain. and polishers of every type busied themselves with us. of the path I'd taken since the birth of th at love. Even if you have to stick pins in my scalp. € Our wedding was spectacular like nothing ever before seen in Quebec. I was in L ondon to do publicity. I got up at dawn with my mother and my sisters. When I started wearing my sisters' high heels. I truly believe that you get nothing from not hing. by the love of my family. Then little hands were fluttering all around me. That's how I am. [231] I know its not very popular to think this way. parts of the hotel had been transformed to give the guests the feeling of a dream. and that it seemed like a vulgar marketing event. I'd come a long way and gone far. A very eleg ant. I've got to put a lot of energ y into what I do. There wasa flood of champagne and flowers everywhere. You passed throug h a salon that reminded you of Aladdin and A Thousand and One Nights and then th rough a Parisian bistro. knees. "I don't give a damn. wit h blackjack and roulette tables. I want to we ar that tiara. My hairdresser ha d to rack his brains and even add a fake chignon so that he could attach the pea rl riara that Mirella Gentile had created. It was magnificent. You walked on carpets made of flower petals. bouquets of flowers fell slowly from a starry heaven to gently rest at the center of each table. Magicians. I did my makeup myself. For the reception. right up to the altar. a Wild West saloon. Take responsibility for it. An army of masseuses. I'd always known that I'd stick with it to the very end. Thousands were massed along the route of the convoy of limo usines that left the Hotel Westin to go to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. manicurists . my calves. by Rene. Montreal was gray and icy." he said. I'll deal with it." said my mother. And of course a casino. and after and in e very tone of voice." I knew I wouldn't really be satisfied with this celebration unless I gave the best of myself.

All of a sudden my cold was gone. with Pierre and Coco Lacroix. and I'd just had some very stimulat ing encounters. wipe my nose.. I rediscovered my energy. David Foster. my relationships with musicians have alw ays been very memorable. who think about death. nasty." the album might start climbing in the charts. That man. Even when we finally took a honeymoon trip to the Fiji islands. David saw my fear. I told him that it couldn't have happened at a worse rime becau se we'd promised to take real vacations . I could have and should have taken it easy. my orchestra leader. David told me he'd c hanged the orchestrations in the last part of the song. on an open-air stage. it's no big deal." David told me. I liked t he party atmosphere that dominated Stampede. we found our rhythm.. Because I know that more than anything he wants me to be happy. By nature. And my fondest wish is that it will always be that way. which is almost at the limit of my range. I wa s going to record Eric Carmen's hit "All by Myself..[233] enormous pleasure I took in being alone with my husband. rest and relaxation filled me with anxiety. who are always very reflective. The road was beautiful and the sce nery magnificent. in on e of the most beautiful vacation spots on earth. then told Rene to call him back. I could tell from his e yes and his smile that this was what he'd expected me to say.. "We'll just go back to the original arrangement. at eight in the morning. In all honesty. simply wasn't taking off in Britain. On the way back from the Fiji islands. Even though we'd never played together. was to sneeze. our beat. who'd watched our meeting and our first rehearsal. If I would sing "Think Twice" or "The Power of Love. who'd already been with us for two years. Both of us wanted to go f arther. I knew I couldn't do more than two takes without jeopardizi ng my voice. about the passage of time. and clear my throat. if not more. All six of us knew we'd do great things together." I thought for a moment. Mego. They say there are two kinds of people: those who look back. this was even more true than usual. and had a l ot of fun as well. But I realized. he wanted me to hold that note for several measures. It was dusty. in Los Angeles. for some inexplicable reason. that I had become as ambitious as he. but he very cleverly told me about it. bassist Marc Langis." It was at the Record Plant. I had no real desire to stop working. does what he wants with me. We were." . i n the midst of the chaos of Stampede. But eve n worse. actually up to an F. co ugh. The day before. irritating. we immediately developed a chemistry. in the middle of an immensely popular fair called Stampede. who ask themselves abo ut the meaning of life. who always focus on the past. but I was incapable of it. Rene Ang elil. was joined by drummer Dominique Messier. who was now the head of Sony-U. In Calgary. Top of the Pops. my principal activity. I've n ever doubted that. which had been a sensation for more than a year . And th ere are those who look ahead and keep moving. I couldn't ignore the r equest of Paul Burger. i n the kitchen making supper. and percussionist Pau l Picard. Af ter a few minutes of rehearsal. Since music is my profession. higher. nearly six month s after our marriage. Rene had refused. It was as if. [235] "If you can't manage to do it. a few weeks after my wedding. I was dying from fear. The album The Colour of My Love. came onstage to ask the musicians if they wanted to come to the studio the following week.K. even in Japan and Korea. I'd have to sing a littl e higher. I've always been one wh o looks ahead and not behind me. The guitarist Andre Coutu. had put together a new band that would accompany me o n tour. Paul had told Rene he could get me on the biggest variety show on British televi sion. at the time. "Paul called . I stopped at Calgary. It was a fascinating journey. and ve ry lively.

I f you can't handle it. I sang "All by Myself" with all my strengt h. and chandeliers. Very quickly. He wanted me to take up golf rather than throw myself into a project that would devour the little free time that I had." But I was already off and running. without feeling any sign. floors. to make me laugh. but don't worry about that fuss over the F. I can always ask Whitn ey to do it. I observed everything: the furniture. a theater I adored." David made a poi nt of adding. I went back into the studio. a house that resembl ed Rene and me. now that was an insult. Or rather. I left without saying goodbye to David Foster. w hen a reporter asked the traditional question "What kind of dresses do you like? " I spontaneously responded. I'd tried each key already and had done my voice and warm-up exercises. because normally. the molding. Rene didn't like the idea at all. and the windows. drapes. where I found David Foste r cold. When it came time to climb to that famous F. the doors. the cutler y. all my soul. and almost contemptuous. the table linens. I loved my new. d oor handles. He was perfectly happy with our house in Palm Beach. and held the note fo r a very long time.All right. one much larger than I would have believed. At one point the brute came near me and said. all-consuming passion. the places that he likes. I dress very simply. I wanted him to have the ambience of that hotel in our future house. I had developed a taste for beautiful things . I pushed my voice to the maximum. Even so. We always squabble over insignificant things and then can't remember what they were. And he always tries to cheer me up. tiles. the first night at the Zenith. And I decided to play it all the way. I think David purposely delayed starting. like Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. somet imes for a few days. the musicians on the other side of the bay window got up to applaud me. During that European tour. bedspreads. he wanted to sulk seriously and didn't go with me to the studio. I'd call it "La Maison du Bonheur" (The House of Happiness). I loved my show." I was actually teasing. which had been so well structured and [239] mounted. I added things that I thought would please Rene. Soon I was meeting Rene in Paris to prepare a televised version of the show I'd be doing at the Zenith. "I know she can reach that F and hold it as long as necessary. When I recovered from this." Whitney Houston was recording that day in the adjoining studio. it just kept growing and growing. That day. And finally it occupied a v ery large place. I filed my o bjects away according to categories: plumbing fixtures. more rarely. I didn't say a word. One day. "Expensive ones. So I left all alone. He doesn't like to be cold to me. About nothing. I told you." for the Record Plant. I sometimes sulk for a few hours. I began collecting pictures from architecture magaz ines and taking a good look at the palaces and hotels where I stayed. condescending. While th e technicians finished putting in the orchestra tracks. "all by myself. and he didn't even ask me why Re ne wasn't with me. I paced around the studi o. we'll find a solution. I wanted to build the house of my dreams. Rene and I had a n argument. half in earnest and half in jest: "I can tell you're worried. On the day of the recording. Without even asking the technicia ns if everything was okay and whether or not we It was at this precise moment that we came into real money as you come into a coun try where everything suddenly becomes possible and within your reach. But there was som e truth to my answer. I knew it was a kind of game. I know his tastes. And I also developed a passion for re al extravagances. And yet. as if he wanted to unsettle me even more. I was happy and in good shape. Rene. which more often than not are expensive. and all my rage. without any pa . As soon as the idea of a new house had been p lanted in my mind. to the point of hurting it. "Why move? It's fine here.

A total vacuum. I was crying. lighting. I did my tour of the great stages of Europe. I had to prepare special events. more than a year and a half after its premiere at the other end of the world. promotional work everywhe re. Until the Olympic Games in Atlanta. While all this was going on. Absolutely nothing is worse for vocal cords. The entire team would be walking a tightrope because of me. the Adisq gala in Canada. Two even ings later. my house pro ject. we were all excessively nervous. When I'd lost my voice a few years earlier. we en dured several heavy dramas. and performances at the Oscars. and I was being punished. At the beginning of summer in 1997. And to a certain extent. in the eastern United States. At the beginning. we had to keep adapting the stage. I was preparing another album in Engl ish. then Amsterdam. Finally. the Gra mmies. I regularly saw specialists and trainers. Even when I was silent for a day or two. Finally. the show itself had to evolve. public rela tions people but we expanded to more than a hundred when we arrived at the grand f inale in the summer of 1997 in Europe. This is what was bothering me. No one panicked. Copenhagen. was among my happiest memories. Very seriously and very regularly. the tour was also the story of a healing. My voice came back quickly. It didn't frighten me at all because I had Rene. caused clouds of dust to rise up from the streets. and the World [241] Music Awards. This very long tour. which ha d begun in early 1996. I prayed and g ave thanks. Berlin. was reorganize d and extended several times. and the air was very dry and any wind. which at the start was supposed to last six months. Brussels. I should have known t his. I did know. and my music. It hadn't rained in Paris for several weeks. Outside factors cou ld cause problems. eight shows in seven cities: Dublin. our smallest mistake could put everything in jeopardy. which from beginning to end had been full of unforeseen occ urrences. some private shows in Las Vegas and Atlantic Cit y. Somehow. which hold forty to sixty thous and spectators. no matter how weak. Since then. I shouldn't have gone out to every shop in the city. everything went along smoothly. the midwest. But that d ay. two shows in London. held in Montreal just before the holidays. and Z urich. I'd chalked it all up to inexperienc e and inadequate vocal techniques. But I was going to have to live more than ever as a recluse. deny. everything went well by some miracle doubtlessly becaus e my vocal cords were in good health. I thought of my vocal cords. there were the offers to bring the tour to the great stages of Europe. far from the as a warning. and the annual fund-raiser for the Cystic Fi brosis Association. it just got bigger and bigger. I'd chosen to ignore. in Australia. and interviews without end. it was ending in Zurich. In the end. three or four videos. there were unforgettable moments. in Australia. Actually. This was actually the last segment of the Falling into You tour. The troupe that went wit h me numbered about forty people when we began musicians. For me. my voice gave out and completely fell apart. But this incident showed that even this wasn't doing enough. a show for the Sultan of Brunei. and the west. I'd trained my vocal cords like a n athlete trains his muscles. which would change my life. And I swore to myself that it would never happen again. the French pop-music awards show. It was my fault. As usual. taking care of them and p ampering them. It was about certain important discoveries too. On the road. Everyone on that tour learned a lot and grew a lot. I also performed to audiences of twenty to fort y thousand in those large open-air amphitheaters that you now see just about eve rywhere in the south. sound. I sang in arenas that held fi fteen to twenty thousand people. but also and more extraordinary than anything else. and h . During this time. such as the song I sang at the open ing ceremony of the Olympics in Atlanta. and in western Canada. and all the tec hnical equipment. often very alone. appearances on TV specials. We lived through highs and lows. I followed their advice to the letter. technicians. This journey.

I began to feel the first sym ptoms of an illness that would take over my body and mind for several months. things suddenly got worse. d ams had burst. One morning. [243] The following week. that entire region of Qu ebec was literally drowned in a downpour. my stage fright went away. at the exact moment when I was singing "The Power of the Dream" in Atlanta." When I performed it. I began to really get worried. had come to harass me onstage. the greater and more terrifying this unknown becomes. For seve ral days. I st ayed away from restaurants. The rivers and lakes had overflowed. Radio Canada was planning to incl ude this song in a spectacular a few days later at the Molson Center of Montreal on behalf of the victims of Saguenay. I wasn't eating anything except crackers and sugar water. Sometimes I'd go for hours without sleeping because of the sensation of that apple in my throat. in Denver. I realized that the ba d feeling I'd been experiencing for some time. I had hor rible nightmares.ide my fear from everybody especially myself. cold apple that had got ten stuck at the back of my throat. And the more peo ple and eyes and cameras there are. even during t he rehearsal and the sound test. it could have crushed me. There was a lot of music in Atlanta and some magnificent voices. If I had let it show. Almost every night. "Quand o n n'a que 1'amour" (When Love's All You Have). I'm one of those people who have recurrent dreams. I hadn't spoken about it to anyone. If I managed to sleep. I was c onstantly in a fog. A few weeks earlier. I had gastric reflux and nausea. I was punchy. early on in the evening. and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I dreamed I'd swallowed a big. I knew I was singing to the largest audience ever assembled. in full daylight. It's like a leap into the unknown. I do n't think I'd ever felt so vulnerable and so helpless. and I felt good. My voice began to quaver. like a boxer. But I also felt enormous fatigue and moments when I felt I couldn't catch my breath. Q uebec and Canada had mobilized to come to the aid of the victims. out of fear that I'd burst into tears. So it was not by chance that the song David Foster wrote for t he occasion took up this same theme in its very title "The Power of the Dream. in San Francisco. and I was practically incapable of swallowing anything. Two or three weeks after the Olympics performance. I was moved. only at night. This wasn't really true. The chorus that was accompanying me was one of the most beautiful I'd ever heard. my mother said she didn't wan t to come because she felt too much stage fright and would watch me on televisio n. I was singing a very beautiful song by Jacques Brel. On the telephone. The slightest odor of cooking nauseated me. I lived in the euphoric aftermath of that incredible experience. That certainly didn't dispel my fears or lessen the pressure. like an iron hand pressing on my heart. I was actually terribly afr aid of going onstage in a gigantic stadium in front of hundreds of television ca meras from around the world. I felt an enormous weight. hard. As soon as I lay down. But one evening in Las Vegas. The stadium was full to bursting with eighty-five thousand people. I overheard Rene tell his friends on the phone that I was in great shape. I'd bee n told that four billion people were watching throughout the world. but most of all. roads. I told myself that it would probably be here for a good while. I'd wake up terrified. I managed to finish my song. I' d thought it would go away after a few days. that I wasn't afraid of anything. the country of Martin Luther King Jr. it was worse than in Las Vegas. during the opening ceremonies. I'd prepared a short speech to read after my song at the Molson Center and to th e TV viewers of Radio Canada. At Caesars Palace. As soon as I began to sing. Suzanne and Manon call . Georgia is go spel-music country. Soon I knew I wouldn't have the energy to give a good show. even when he wins a hard fight. I was exhausted. entire streets of houses had been carried away. bridges. but I had to cut short my speech. of course. Standing. But as I sang. seeing the same sequence over and over.

a full d ay's walk from the sea. Suzanne. and built a log cab in. took me walking after my afternoon nap. salt pork. I guess all children are like that. How she then fell head o ver heels in love with me the moment the nurse put me in her arms. He managed to get permission to settle on some land deep in government territory. In a horse-drawn carriage they tied down bundles of clothes. For about a month she was going to watch over me like a she-wolf. he carved out a road. It was the most beautiful trip of my life. your little girl needs you. Even Rene didn't have the right to talk about work with me during this time. The three doctors who saw me didn't need much time to discover what the trouble was: overwork and stress. th e pain wasn't too bad. then I passed her to Manon. but that I loved to hear again and again.ed Rene. I was already much better. this one calls her mama. I . when I left for Europe. I spoke to my mother every day. of the music her f ather and her brothers made. So what does a girl do when she feels done in and when she really needs to rest? Well. who. Even Papa went out with his f riends so we could be alone. A nnette. but she was dete rmined. and made me rest whenever I needed to. on a plane that was flying us across the sky from Europe. prepared me herbal teas and broth. They said the medicine they prescribed would have no e ffect if I didn't get some rest. A cow followed along behind. the postponed projects. some furniture. The two of us were alone for hours and for days. And she'd tell me about mine. herbal teas. Still. Not a word ab out the interrupted tour. Six chickens in a cage. she sat under the furs with her sisters Jeanne. and tea. and made me broths. I foun d out later that she was inflexible. I'm not the type to dwell on old memories. under her orders. in a little fishing village situated on the north coast of the Gaspe peninsul a. who was then in a clinic somewhere in Arizona trying to cure his bad ea ting habits. and no longer came to torment me when I was singing. She'd had a completely different life than mine. Maman. molasses. "Maman. he came to ge t the rest of the family. and a woodshed. stories I'd heard a hundre d times. and fruit salads. 192 7. the French and English albums that were in the works. flour . a cowshed. it was there waiting for me. During the first snows of the year. Anytime I was onstage or at a television studio." Mó mother came to Florida to take care of me. With his sons. But as soon as I walked offstage. curtains. She wasn't worried. but I was stronger. about the forest and sky of the Gaspe p eninsula. And she was filled with wonder. "I was five. No one could bother me when I was resting. By the end of September. She had had a happy childhood and youth. My mother was a little girl. m ade me forget my trouble. blanket s. I felt perfectl y fine. I still felt that bruise inside. Then she'd talk to me about her childhood. She was born on March 20. other first violin all this soothed and relaxed me. pampered me. And then one day. which proves that it isn't material comfort and riches that create happiness. I like my mother to describe the anger she felt at my father when she discovered she was pregnant. which I didn't know much about. about the very peaceful life the people lead there." [245] To hear her speak about her childhood. and I was able to forget it for long periods. but what comes from inside you. He immediately canceled and postponed the three or four shows I was supposed to give in the next few days on the West Coast. Li ttle by little the pain began to leave me. Maman tucked me in at night. Her father was the sacristan and the choir director at the church. and Rene. and sheets. an event that lasted between twelve and fifteen hours a day. vegetabl e salads and fruit salads. My appetite had come back. but I've always enjoyed hearing the story of my birth and my childhood. and Jacqueline. barrels of dried fish. And I went into a hosp ital.

A few days later. the rain stopped. but about our entire entourage the musicians. And now her e I was in the same place. I slept well. I. I willingly put myself through the great test. who drink practically no alcohol. Rene told a French journalist who'd come to meet us in Amsterdam that the drea m he and I had created had surpassed us for the first time and was now moving fa ster than we were. or even the following morning. But now I know you f orget your hurt when it causes itself to be forgotten. We knew that we were at the end of that long tour." When I was young. even when . then took off for Asia in the winter before returning to Europe. And according to him. I had forgotten my trouble and it had left me. it marked a turning point in our life.suddenly turned toward Suzanne and Manon. We were at the top. ate well. Because of that. The tour went like a house on fire. I was healed. In that very select club that the media have now dubb ed the "divas of pop. Rene didn't go wit h us to Australia. obviously. then we went to a bar and drank a lot of tequila. In the past. I'm not speaking only a bout him and me. or Tina Turner perform on the gr eat stages throughout the world. And neither had I. It was June. Whitney Houston. two hours before the show. whether we want to or not. It was more extravagant than us. To take it all in. I had envied them for being so big. and it was cold and raining in sheets almost every day from one end of the continent to the other. and it won't hurt a nymore. in Stockholm. [248] it runs in my family. "What will we do now? Where will we go?" I no longer had the slightest idea. and more marvelous than anyt hing we'd imagined. the long trip e nded beautifully. He hadn't envisioned that tour of the European stages in his wildest fantasies. parried with the musicians. the technicians. I' d even stopped thinking about it altogether for several days. Rene has always loved a life of constant celebration. To finally get the house of my dreams built. my little girl. Held back by some business in Quebec and the United States. I thought that was how hurts went away. an d the hundred or so people who then constituted our wandering tribe. ate rich. and doubtlessly for all sorts of other reasons. we returned to America. But while waiting for that rime. I don't think we'd ever been so happy. now we were being carried along by it. warm. To cast an eye on the road we had tr aveled. Japan. I was exhilarated by the speed and the enormous audiences. extremely excited. B ut wherever we went." I was traveling in a private plane. I lived in the most m agnificent luxury hotels. I didn't feel sick tha t evening. Not before. or Brunei. sang well. The stadiums were filled with wonderful. But he joined us for the tour of the European stages. The atmosph ere was fantastic. Korea. Everywhere it felt like a party. I merely had a premonition that one day I wo uld really need to stop. perhaps even a wee k. The sun came o ut to dry and warm things up. But I love playing the clown more than he does. Some young producers from Belgium and Holland had urged Rene to add this final leg to the tour. happy audiences . I'd seen Madonna. Despite the rain and the cold. spic y food. I thought about w hat my father used to say when I was little and I went to show him a boo-boo tha t I'd gotten: "Don't think about it anymore. we think of it nonstop. that soon we'd be going home to see familiar faces and places. and I do too. in my career. I took this as a sign that I was cured and happy. we were all in a state of euphoria and great excitement. The reason we stop thinking about it is simply because it's gone . No [247] longer did we need to struggle for our dream. When it's in us. and signaled to the m (it was one of my days of silence) that the pain had left. without a trace.

my sister Manon. trying them on. Rene's darling daughter . my bodyguard Eric. We spend hours together look ing at them. or such places as a mountain chalet near Zurich or a b arge that he rents for the fifteen or so people who constitute what we call our entourage. New York. Paul. Manon and I often fi nd a trick that will set off torrents of laughter. He believes that socializin g is necessary and fun. Manon. She sees all the shows. And sometimes. of course. I have few diversions when I'm touring. But everyone was so tense in the dressing room that just imagining me spitting out mayfly wings sent both of us into wild laughter that lasted right up to the moment when they came to tell us: "Miss Dion. But it's just like his g ambling. and always knows what they'll be [249] showing tomorrow and the day after. some friends from the press. even if he knows that later he'll regret it. Annie Horth has been my mentor. my stylist. Florida. After his heart attack in Los Angeles. Once he's started. but like it or not. In Atlanta. we need to take a dose of laughter. And Jean-Pierre too. He likes to eat. Everything. Some of us are off-key and others have perfect pitch. Dada. is responsible for e ntertaining and feeding us. she gets in touch with me. Before a big show. Rene manages to find moments here and there when we can all be together. It's a bond that strengthens us. I got into the habit of keeping an eye on him. For Rene. either in a r estaurant or hotel suite. I was reminded of the show I did ten years earlier in Quebec when the mayflies flew into my mouth and slid up my skirt. Every o ne of us sings his own little song of fashion every day. Rene's four or five "right arms". Los Angeles. And we spend the evening on the Seine. a way of getting everybody together and creati ng links among all of us. and she knows everyone. especially in Paris. and Rene. And much too much to the po int that sometimes it becomes dangerous for his health. Now it's become a game between us. a meal is a ceremony. people r esponsible for organizing the tour. w e probably wouldn't have thought that this was very funny. in the harbor at Amsterdam. when everybody is dying of stage fright. who is sometimes inspired by them to make costumes for my shows. or in the bay in Hong Kong. my confidant e and hairdresser. I sometimes spend hours looking at fashion magazines. On days before one of my silent days. or people from the local production company. On my days of silen ce. Among them. the Grand Organizer. who stays with us for a few days. fashion leaves its mark on us all. my partner. At any other time. And on tour. he finds it very difficult to stop. are Rene's golf partners Marc. For four or five years. my tour director. sometimes people from Sony. and Las Ve gas. she knows what I like and what suits me. I watch him try all kinds of ways to escape my watch. For me. and his elder brother Patrick. friends from Quebec have come t o spend a few days with us. and discussing them." Every day. and Guy. my parents join us. Ghislaine. Most of all. Everyone will be there: Suzanne. She has access to all the great couturiers of Europe and America. and sees his father. And she comes to Amsterd am. or Claudette we can spend hours improvising completely absurd sketches. I'd tear out pages and fax them to Annie Horth. fashion has become a world almost as vast and exciting as music. Apart from shopping. He's the mouse and I'm the cat. We also love seeing Anne-Marie. hi s sister. a few minutes bef ore I went onstage. all the collections. and my compa nion in this domain. Ren e doesn't really join in. If someone from my family is there Michel.we're alone together. Often. or Chicago with a ton of clothes she's pulled from the latest c ollections of a half dozen of the great couturiers. We make a happy tribe. but he's a good audience. From time to time. our record company. he organizes parties for us. two minutes. especially during the last two big tours. who works with us as a production assis tant. and I see him looking for other b .

but I am touched by the pleasure he takes in doing it. and old furniture. I think you have to respect your tastes. "I like the lig ht in this living room. and his wines. rococo. I remember how surprised Pavarotti was when Rene told him. They discussed eating for hours. that's how sturdy and in shape I felt at the end. but not the lion heads on the armrests. Sometimes I've had to e at enough for two people." or. whether he's in a Chinese restaurant. I never eat too much. In o . a nd we spent hours examining and touching them. It's not difficult for me: Once I'm no longe r hungry. the pasta. choosing the wines and fruits. beer alcohol o f any kind. Or two. but definitely not the curtains. Her response may sound fu nny. especially near the end of the falling into You tour. A few d ays after the recording he and I did together "I Love You. I find him a bit on the plump side. I want to l ive in houses that resemble me. that he preferred to drink Coke. Johanne brought furniture and various objects she had found. he orders a diet Coke." Little by little. I got to know myself and my tastes a little better. but I know what she means. a French bistro. and politics. Pavarotti tra vels with his olive oil. and I loved it. He drinks his wine as if it were medicine. my advisor and guru on dec orating. Johanne Dastou. She reminds me that I like sugary desserts. He had prepared the antipasto. Articles about me have often claimed that I'm anorexic and that I nourish myse lf on dead leaves. tofu. warm colors. With a lot of ice. but handsome. eating gives me no more pleasure. i n Modena. the beautiful from the banal. as certain magazin es have claimed. I made myself throw up after each meal. or if. grains.ig eaters to hang out with. It seems to me that a person s real story is infinitely more interesting than unfo unded rumors or obvious lies. I have been and always will be proud of my body. R ene was impressed. I d o think he eats too much. Luciano invited us to dinner at his New York apartme nt. I learned to identify period styl es. Who wants to hear themselves described as "a manic-depressive. I don't think that anorexia is a shameful illness. sports. and the veal dish. o r a New York deli. to distinguish the real from the fake. Between him and Rene." or. I've never understood the pathological need that some media outfits have to in vent unbelievable stories about stars of show business. I was i n school. Through this work. "I love this chair. but without the stupid look on their faces. or in Rome. It's not surprising that he and Luciano Pavarotti became fast friends. Personally. My relationship with Rene on the subject of his overeating is very ambiguous. [251] My work requires me to be in great physical shape. "I'd like to have statues like this in my garden. psychotic woman" as I have been described in certain media. after a glass or tw o of wine. he does his own shopping. and seeds. His doctor recommended that he drink a glass of red wine from time to time. but I detest being surrounded by false rumors. but in the afternoon rather than at night. Whether he's in New York. He does this. Sometimes this really irritates me. his cheeses. What's more. Sometimes I ask Johanne what she thinks of my choices. the style of Louis XV. Then I Hate You" for my L et's Talk About Love album. Then. Jus t as I don't like tearing him away from the gambling tables. As fragile as I had felt at the beginning. I always find it very difficult to deprive the man I love of this pleasure. She spent most of the winter sorting through them and collating the not es I'd made on them. I wouldn't have been able to give up to a hundred shows a year and travel ceaselessly from one end of the wor ld to the other if I had eaten too much or not enough. I handed over all the photos and articles I'd pulled out of architecture and dec orating magazines to Paul Saras wife. He carries his girth well. Rene doesn't like wine. even if I don't cla im to be a beauty queen. I need a cozy atmosphere. it was a veritable banquet. I love ve ry romantic decor.

I have to say that my house project seemed to annoy Rene to no end. there's sun. To keep my mind off the house. I know the kitchen is a workplace. but I don't want pots and pan s and utensils hanging everywhere. and a kind of m editation on happiness. What is more. I know next to nothing about rel igions. Piaf. On either side of it there was a large house. and behind it was a dock where a sixty-foot yacht was moored. I never thought it would become a grand passion a nd change my life. you have great powers of concentration. golf. It's very much like singing. . I started playing golf quite seriously. gambling. the Mir age. a half hour from downtown Montreal. a b ody of rules that each player must respect. "Golf was made for you. Even so. this look creates a cold and not very comfortable envi ronment. balance. He liked o ur home in Palm Beach and could have stayed there contentedly for our entire lif e. . Johanne and her architects were Just starting theirs. It is first of all a way of meditation and concentration as well as a study of beauty. I realized that my work was f inished. Golf is more than a sport.ther words.. but golf feels very close to what I know about Zen. or just shopping I'd make it as modern as I cou ld.. But for my real home. water. a lot of discipline. You spend your time on well-maintained lawns. It's a constant search for perfection." she told me. Above all. it's a clean sport. It's a way of living. Rene was always in control and wanted to check out everything. If I had an apartment in New York someplace where I spend only a few days while I'm rec ording an album. along a canal that flowed into the ocean. I also don't like having functional objects sitting out where everyone can see them. No refrigerators with transparent doors that let you see everything that's inside. At my place. He did n't understand why I wanted to involve myself in such craziness. like all art or all activities that are practiced with seriousn ess and passion. S inatra. but also the beauty and harmony of its movements and the state of mind . Johanne assembled a team of architects and draftsmen who began drawing up plans based on the documents I'd collected. behind panels or a painting. "You're the cocoon type. He'd already begun some major renovations of it. I began taking golf lessons. All I had to do w as wait. the televisions are always hidden in cabinets. north o f Palm Beach. he'd bought an immense golf course. ." Modern I'll get there one day. and. He's always t rying to turn his close friends on to Lebanese cuisine. it's a study of the self. There was nothing there but grasses and scrub. Elvis. the preceding fall. And at the [253] beginning of summer. When it came to show business. my taste leans toward busy decor that is very heavy and enveloping» ye t also soft. whether the weather was good or bad. You have everything it takes. He was talking about building a house there to live in during our old age. in the Basse-Laurentides. to Celine Dion! Having been with him for so long. But nothing interested him less than a construction site. which for him was practically a religion. when we returned to Montreal. and everything you like. "Not very modern. But despite Rene's lack of interest. I was marked by the spirit of golf long before I ever picked up a club. For years. he'd been trying to get me t o take up golf. music. we bought a large lot in Jupiter." It's important to Rene that someone he likes. of course. The beauty of places. After my next tour. I like the fact that the game has a strict order and a very powerful ritual. I'd say almost exces sively. likes what he likes. I entered that world as if I were returning home after a very long absence. What's more. but not in a house where I'm going to live. You're tall and flexible. he didn't get seriously involved i n these projects. But unlike me. Rene considered this a personal victory. a discipline requiring determin ation and rigor. shooting a video.

and strength. let's do one together. Carole King gave me a song. but I'd also always been af raid to." This was a song Barbra had recorded. The media tried to make a story out of Barbra snubbing me for singing her song . Two days later. She'd been one of my idols. and the sun. especially in show business. But after just a week of work. Barbra's agent. during the Oscars. One requires. and a few days later in New York. I sang Barbra's song in [255] addition to my own "Because You Loved Me. and thought I'd su ng "beautifully. Then he waited for a sign from Streisand or her agent. But it absolutely wasn't true. produced. promising her we'd see each other again soon . she'd gone to the ladies' room and had found that the doors were locked when she attempted to return to her seat. I was upset. I sang a duet with Luciano Pavarotti. I love the atmosphere of the studios. but a bad cold had kept her in Montreal. The idea of our collaboration began the year before. Sir George M artin. Rene had scheduled the recording sessions so that we could spend at least one day out of two on th e golf course. and starred in. Rene kept her note in his wallet for months. He quickly contacted Marty Erlichman. Natalie Cole was supposed to perform the song for the show. for a film she'd directed. You have to learn to reach a compromise with the w ind. this time more than ever because I was goi ng to have some fascinating encounters. She said that she'd seen the recording of the show. and it's dangerous to get too close to your idols. and asked David Foster to write a song for us. music again gained the upper hand. Barbra at ." from the film Up Close and Personal. the variations of the ground. All of us must learn to master and control our emotions." about an older woman giving ro mantic advice to a younger one. keep silent. And just as little to crush you." that I was an "incredible singer. Rene was thrilled. Twenty-four hours before the show." and that she was sorry she wasn't in the room. and make something harmonious out of them. the man who created the sound of the Beatles. when I left for New York and Los Angeles to record the songs for my L et's Talk About Love album. But you must also come to terms with your own moods and worries. we listened to it together. Above all. and learn m y songs one by one. I'd always dreamed of singing with Barbra Streisand. I added my voice to hers. along with Bria n Adams. No one had ever performed two of the nominated songs at the awards before. That's what games are about. was serving as director for the song "The Reason. It takes practically nothing to destroy your image of them. I stayed at the hotel alone to avoid the heat and cold and the pollen-laden ai r. however. and doing it in front of Barbra Streisand was terr ifying. Barbra sang her part in Los Angeles. rehearse. that Streisand wasn't in the auditorium when I sang he r song. I'd been asked to replace her. David Foster was the one who finally created the link between the two of us by proposing a song he'd written called "Tell Him. Nothing is more exciting. than doing what no one else ever has. The Mirror Has Two Faces. gestures. I had turned into a golf fanatic. but not to the point of ruining the great ple asure I'd just experienced. But preparing a new song in twenty-four hours. The singer chased away the golfer. after the arrangers and technicians had mixed th e song. By autumn. Rene was really dis appointed." The Bee Gees came to sing "Immortality" with me. As I sa id earlier. singing twice at the Oscars. I'd sung "I Finally Found Someone. I had to do my voice exercises. he re ad it to friends and journalists." she wrote. I received an enormous bouquet of flowers with a note in Barbr a's hand. no one's al lowed to enter the auditorium while the show is in progress. It turned out. Every time he had a chance. "Next time. of course. Actually. During a commercial break.

Pavarotti sang his part. How did you manag e to blend so well with the music and with my voice?" I didn't dare tell her I'd sung with her hundreds and hundreds of times before in my bedroom on the rue Notre-Dame in Charlemagne. We'll take a walk on the beach. David answered it." Luciano said. When I couldn't speak on the phone. " "We can all learn from each other. "You'll have to teach me." "I was thinking that too. but not great. I sang and he added his voice to mine. "Teach you what?" "To have discipline. Same thing. and how thrilling it had felt to blend my voice with hers. took the telephone. She's very touched b y what you just told her." "But there's nothing I can teach you. I'll show you my rose garden." It was Barbra calling to say how much she liked my interpretation. but she couldn't have been more lovely and generous." She insisted on talking to me again. actually getting to know your idol can be nerve-rackin g. It was good. And he likes to make his presence felt. I asked her if I could come on Tuesday. you're the greatest singer in the world. which took an eternity to ring. He took me by the hand. Finally. We all were watching the telephone. " To be invited to dine with your idol and to be embraced by her is a great mome nt of happiness. But I found nothing in timidating about him. had finally found ea ch other." said Barbra.the Record Plant in Los Angeles." she said. I'm really proud of you. She was so self-assured. she said such lovely things to me an d so simply. and I at the Hit Factory in New York. I began to cry. "I felt the same thing the first time I sang with Judy Garland. But you learn more quickly than all of us b ecause you have a fantastic voice and a great spirit. Tomorrow . However. Come see me in Malibu as soon as you can. so we switched it around. I said what I'd been thinking all along: "I'd like to try it together . This changed everything and we had something special. you've always been a role model and an idol. silence fell over the studio." But the next day I was recording "I Love You. I wish I'd been able to tell her how important she'd been in my lif e. I h ope we will always know each another. But the day I spent with Barbra couldn't have been more wonderful. Rene. "I want to know you better. It was as if our v oices. after having sought each other for such a long time. "Tuesday's fine." I was paralyzed. "You've succeeded in doing marvelous things with your voice. "It's for you. "For Celine. He too is imposing. But I told myself that Barbra must have known she was a role model for me and that I'd learned a tot from her. who was also very moved. Our sessions were very relaxed even though we had to grope around for a long time to find the right tone. I adore duets because they are very intimate and disconcerting. we went into the big studio and sang while looking int o each other's eyes. Working with Pavarotti was like entering a completely different world for me. The result was correct but not v ery surprising. and then I did mine. if you want. When it w as over. Celine." [257] "I know. . It's a very seri ous game. Then I Hate You" with Luciano Pa varotti. I still fe lt very shy around her. like the one played by actors in love scenes. You can hear it in my voice. I just said I'd been workin g hard and I trained like an athlete.

I loved thei r song." which still comes into my head quite often." said Horner. so he was in heaven." he said. John Doelp. James Horner was at the Hit Factory in New York with his orches tra track. But in the end." Rene corrected. Before I added my voice to it." Horner hadn't expected this much. "For the moment. Th e melody is fabulous and you can turn it into one of your biggest hits. But Horner insisted that Titanic would make movi e history. but his voice is dull. "And convince me. That day I was starting to come down with a flu. The director. I was very moved by it. I started trying to figure out how to tell Rene off as soon as we we re alone.In April. he took me aside and told me the story of the film in great detail. The big bosses at Sony Tommy Mottola. He is perhaps one of the most brilliant melody writers I know. on the other hand. we'd had a sad experience with Horner and Jennings. "But I'm sure I can change his mind if Celine agrees to sing the one that I've written with Will . They'd asked me to sing the theme song for the animated film An American Tail (Fievel Goes West). and dry. Recently. If you give us an orchestra track. With Titanic. the wr iter-composer team that had won about ten Academy Awards for music and songs for film. Horner called to tell us that James Cameron had listened to the song and was taken with it. and Vito Luprano were there." He'd written a song with Will Jennings that he wanted to put at the end of the film. It had a kind of fragility. . but you didn't really listen to the song. I think that's the best way to convince him. where Celine is recording her next album. but the melody seemed flat. At Christm as. "First you have to convince Celine. Horner sat at the piano to play his song. w as furious. I listened to the orchestr a track and knew right away that Rene was right: it was an extraordinary melody. When Horner turned toward us. she can do a demo that Cameron can listen to. He even wanted to show us the film b efore its release when he came to New York. It didn't really go over well. the composer James Horner had come to Las Vegas to propose something t hat excited Rene to the nth degree. he hoped we could put all that behind us and set tle the differences between the record companies. was already at the top of the charts. Rene told him: "In a month we'll be in New York at the Hit Factory. I love d the words. and I was still unknown in the United States. But due t o complications and disputes between record companies it fell apart. my new album. produced by Steven Spielberg. I. A few days later. Everyone was so pleased with the dem o we'd recorded at the Hit Factory that we never went back to the studio to rere cord the song. Let's Talk About Love. In back of him I was sending Rene signals that I didn't want this song. has ac cess to the highest budget ever seen in Hollywood. dreary. Cameron has no interest in a song. James Cameron." [259] We met in a suite at Caesars Palace. and they all said from the first take that we had a big hit. I composed myself for a few minutes and sang "My Heart Will Go On" effortlessl y and without affection. "First we have to convince Cameron. when the film Titanicwas released on thousands of screens across the world. That demo would go out around the world and would become what I'v e been told is the bestselling song in the entire history of records. "I'm writing the music for a film Titanic." A few years before. and my voice sounded unsteady to me. "Its one of the most beautiful that we've done together. I let the words come from deep within me. this was another moment when Rene taught me a lesson. the megafilms with staggering b udgets had been real disasters. "Dreams to Dream. "You were stuck on Homer's voice. Rene was ve ry injured by it. This was soon after my first album in English. which to me gave the song a very romantic feeling." Rene didn't quite trust any of this." A month later. It's a great love story. We hadn't reached the middle of the song when Rene was already pretending not to understand me.

" said Rene. "It's a part of our life now. if you want my opinion. We laughed and cried. Others wanted to dress me. if only I'd been able to find the words. of co urse. Some of them have needed money. but they were sometim es very ill at ease. If I say on TV that I want to build a dream ho use. To our left was a flowering gardenia. you should giv e a hundred thousand dollars to each of your brothers and sisters. chat's two plus eight. We were arriving about ten minutes too early. Too much. you don't get much advantage f rom. The dream Rene and I have real ized is in large part due to them. And ten divided by tw o. forming choruses and rounds. we'd brought Christmas baskets to poor families in Charlemagne. July 28. I thought: Just like in the first stanza of 'Ce n'etait qu'un reve. we inaugurated our house in Jupit er. And the crystal sound of a harp. The first thing that touched me was the light from hundreds of candles that lit up each of the rooms. Now I was incredibly nervous about seeing the finished product . But I'd stopped myself from coming for the last few months. reminded us that we had the power to help. up above. we all sang together. with which we were already connected. the gifts I've given them have always raised a s ensitive issue. It was Rene who said to me one day: "For the holidays. Now we have to learn to give." There is a gate and a guardhouse at the entrance to Admiral's Cove. hordes of architects. "We've been given a lot. tell my fortune. but at the same time I felt I was creating a certain embarrassment and dis tance between us. Re ne asked the chauffeur to wait a bit. we knocked fiv e times on the main door. But a number of charit ies. We quickly got into the habit of saying no to everything. decorators. I had come to see the construction site form time to time. even when I was at the other end of the world. Then we heard violins. write songs for me and write my biog raphy and my memoirs. but others will never ask me for anything. When it was (falsely) rumored that I'd gone to a fertility clinic. he also takes pleasure in giving. then we drove very slowly toward the house . because we're two." To a magic garden I did stray ." Rene is by nature profoundly generous. like in the good old days. and contractors try to reach us. I hated this because it was they who had taught me everything. the commun ity where our house is located. At five after midnight. He really believed you had to give back in return. Now h e began to consider the requests we received from foundations and charities. As much as he likes to play hardball. "Twenty-eight. But we were all too moved for me to come up with anything at the moment." For him it wasn't at all a matter of image or marketing. makes five. I knew I was bringing them happiness. the iron gate was open. which they say h as a perfume that changes the nature of our dreams. do my hair and makeup. we all gathered in a suite in the Mo ntreal hotel where we'd celebrated our marriage. I gave each of them the same li ttle envelope. For years. He felt this way even when we weren't rich. [261] At the top of our list will always be the Quebec Cystic Fibrosis Association. which makes ten. During the holidays. At five minutes after midnight. As we approached. more discreetly and delicately. Finally. twenty doctors or cha rlatans let me know they had the solution to my problem." It was a great idea. The people recognized us. I was afraid they'd feel they owed me something. This was hard to ignore. It'll work.One thing I discovered when I became famous was that people start appearing from nowhere offering their services. And that's what I wanted to say to them that evening. This reminded me of my mother's belief that you get nothing for nothing and "what you get too easily. 1998. With my brothers and sisters. For more than two years. I'd followed ail the stages of construction and decor ation of that house.

and three maids. I was thinking of the child that I would perhaps raise there one day. with Linda. But beforehand. Rene said offhandedly: "How about an osso buco?" It was excellent. as well as a large movie theater. And of love.. we offered Alain a job as our chef. It all seemed horribly fragile to me. the most beautiful of all. maybe two. the living rooms. Above it. the background singers. But I knew that one day. When he asked us what we wanted that evening. Both of us began to weep. At times. And then I could perhaps realize that other dream. the stress. the jet lag. it would show film clips of the Bee Gees and Barbra Streisand that I would sing along with. I'd even added extensio ns to my hair. we'd settle down for a year. The next day. where the wings were located. and a few days later. I was enclosed in a box that the technicians then rolled under the stage. he was finding familiar objects there that reminded him of Las Vegas or ou r former homes. the kitc hens. everything seemed to indicate that we were moving toward a total fia sco. finding familia r objects everywhere that I'd seen only in photos. Almost all the rooms of the house. i n a house that resembled me. Until dawn. The main stage. was built in Montreal. I was counting on her experience to help me take care of our child. were giant screens th at would project close-up images of the show. I knew the musicians and I would . Around the end of that summer of 1998. My stylist. a Chinese one. Five minutes before the show began. even the dressmaking studio I'd had installed for my mot her and my aunt Jeanne faced out on the patio. this was really a con quest. I was very proud of both of these albums. a large [262] swimming pool at the bottom of which you could see our intertwined initials .And woke up one enchanted day To hear a harp and violins play. Alain. He couldn't get over it. A waitress dressed exactly like one from Caesars Palace brought Rene a can o f diet Coke. of having a child. I was finally going to be at home. an English alcove. The pressure. as well as frequent physical separations would make it difficult. € The premiere of Let's Talk About Love at the Fleet Center in Boston was preceded by one of the worst nightmares of my life as an artist. my sister Linda had been living near us. there were thirty-three tele visions. he'd prepared the meal. The house of happiness. litt le gardens. It was a sort of immense living r oom open to the sky. the dining rooms. I had to go back on the road. Two mimes were so perfectly immobile that we could har dly distinguish them from the marble statues that filled the large inner courtya rd. I guess I should have e xpected it. and the musicians and chorus. I had really accomplished something. in that house. for this TV fanatic. We'd been preparing this show for months. but for the first time in my life. And of course. her husband. had asked several couturiers to design costumes for m e. I was heading out on tour almost reluctantly. All that w as left was for me someone who'd lived for years from hotel to hotel to learn how to keep house. Alain.. For me. I walked from one room to the next as if in a dream. My gynec ologist had warned me that I'd have difficulty having a child as long as I was o n tour. Even though he'd never really been interested in that h ouse. to bring it to life. For about two months. I was starting a new tour for the Let's Talk About Love album and the new Jean-Jacques Goldman record. Annie Horth. he made us s moked-salmon crepes and omelettes. would h ave a lot to keep him busy. In this way our life got organized. which was shaped lik e a heart. that great whirlwind. The evening of our arrival. a dream house. I was going to learn to manage that space. The m usicians were perched on what looked like lozenges that were moved by hydraulic systems. with a lot of nooks. on four sides. the nine bedrooms.

We'd been thinking about it for several months already but kept put ting it off. I think we gave a pretty good show. I told Rene I never wanted to live through such a nightmare again." There was that line "we have no show" and now it was starring all over again at th e Fleet Center in Boston. the technicians. everybody seemed paralyzed by stage fright. which I found alternately fabulous an d ridiculous. I began making up little movies: almost no action and o nly two characters. but the next day I wan ted to know. We were n't prepared. engineers. But we haven't gone beyond the seventh floor. lighting. In the end. We weren't well prepared. everything went well. A hundred thousand times I restaged my evenin gs: we were alone in the house. The guy was interested solely in the song lyrics. It was ver y hot. For several hours before curtain. Actua lly. The musicians played well. I wasn't at all sure of my look. We arrived in Vancouver the evening of the show with a wicked case of stage fright. They spoke about the aural and visual beauty of the show. I'd set the table on the terrace. and we were thinking the same [265] thing. but nothing I said either moved them or made them laugh. But that premiere remains in my m emory as a nightmare and. Five years before. Rene understood perfectly. It's my fault. After Rene's talk. we all felt we were part of something that w as out of control. but we were never really together. Between songs. t he evening of a premiere. They worked on the visual appearance of eac h song. the luminous stage. This time the critics didn't have to settle for my wor ds or even my look. He would have talked about the show." My eyes met Mego's for a moment. There was nothing about missed cues. We'd heard that sentence "we have no show" before. or mistakes. he could have written the review without seeing the show. I think he's also had his overdose of pressure and stage fright. I just don't have any more desire to. a show under construction. That was our mistake. The day before. I believe. even if we'd never done these songs in public. as big as the Empire State Building. Rene and me. t hirty-two hours before the premiere. The show got off to a bad start. I tried to speak to the audience. We have the plan for a sho w. But ho w could he talk about the show if there wasn't one. we have a dream about a show. There are other things in life. In the afternoon. it never wo uld have occurred to me that I could have any kind of life outside of show busin ess. and told us: "At this time." Rene told us. I'd prepared pasta or a barbecue for him while h e watched a golf tournament on TV. Now the ambition that had always carried me had changed course. which he brought down in flames. Usually they took place on a deserted beach or at the golf course near our house. I even think that he was even happy I'd finally disco vered this. Tha t's when we swore to each other that we'd take a long sabbatical after the end o f this tour. I was no longer sure of anything. probably because we weren't yet at the point of really needing it. The machine was too enormous. It was in Vancouver. and electricians spent the whole night at the Fleet Center in Boston. I wanted peace and rest.have a great rapport on stage. It was just . " That decision too was a kind of discovery for me. the end of a [268] chapter. Rene never reads me reviews (except when they're good). Despite a few technical blunders. "Exactly. not the song lyrics. Bu t the rest the hypersophisticated lighting. If the show had been good. the screens could al l go wrong. "You know. actually. we have no show. Rene had gotten everybody together in a room of the Fleet Center. he probably wouldn't hav e written that. I was wearing pounds of very curly hair that I was beginning to regret pu tting on. That evening. "there wasn't any show. What I read certainly hadn't been written by a visual person or a m usic lover.

deer.the two of us. in a sweat. I don't really like the cold. I'd sta rted collecting images again. but it was impossible. Once that great machine has been launched." he told me. I left it highly charged. 7 On the plane between Minneapolis and Dallas. they were organizing megashows to celebrate the mille nnium. We would play golf and start building our house." I was furious with him. It just happened in the last few hours. "How long have you had that?" "It's nothing. and that I could look forward to it. During the whole plane ride. like yesterday and the day before. I'd have to find a way of building up my momentum to do it again that evening. furs. We talked about everything and nothing. I felt a mass on the right side. always with the euphoria you get from an intense workout." "Let me see. a full month in summer. 2000. We bought an island with several acres on the Mille-Iles River. This great event which would be followed by our long-needed rest period seemed a lon g time away. I had to fill up that immense stage for about two hours. Rene was already considering several proposals. but I adore winter the whiteness and the fresh snow crunching under your feet. [267] The tour was scheduled to run through the next year and maybe longer. And then the next day. and I asked him what was the matter." Rene told me one day. "Why haven't you seen a doctor?" "I haven't had the time. but I was certain that on ly one place interested him: Montreal. which is a cocoon. "Nothing. I tried to spend a few days in our house in Jupiter. There are rabbits. The Let's Talk About Love show was even more physically demanding than all my ot her shows. "We're going to stop for good on New Years Day. it's not easy to stop. And unlike our house in Jupiter. I thought it was serious." Immediately." My hand grazed his neck. I had the feeling of climbing up a very high mountain. renewed the fervor and pleasure I got from singing. "It'll go away. I tr ied not to think the worst. Our plan for the beginning was a long stay in Quebec. I'd n oticed that he seemed preoccupied all day. this one wo uld be wide open to the outside. big firep laces. A bump that forms in several hours and do esn't hurt is something to be concerned about. with wood paneling. I still felt the nasty sensat . this time for a house in Montreal. You don't produce a show like that for a little tour of a few months. It's about twent y minutes from downtown Montreal and the Dorval airport and ten minutes from the golf courses at Terrebonne. I noticed that Rene kept touching his neck with his hand. I imagined fields of snow all around. and tranqu il water all around. I've always needed to be surrounded by water. I really love the hot weather of the south." "Does it hurt?" "No. Knowing that the whirlwind would be calming down so mehow sped me forward. It felt hard and fat like an egg. Everywhere in the world. even the extreme heat in Florida in June and July. in the hollow under hi s ear. a lot of green. sometimes mo re. I saw it as a g ray stone house. an immense greenhouse where I'd go every day to take ca re of my plants. where we were going to be based for about ten days. rugs. very solid and heavy. not at ail. very warm colors. But I kept asking myself how much higher could it go? Every chance I got. But just knowing that it was coming. But then something happened the wor st thing we've ever encountered that would force us to put off this project. even if I knew the answer I'd get.

I was at the hospital with Coc . [271] I got on a plane without Rene and headed for Kansas City for a scheduled appea rance." he said. Rene was sleeping. I went to the hospital. She had taken my face between her two hands and was looking me s traight in the eyes. My night was short and troubled. I watched her do her song. I was alone in that dress ing room with my pain. where I found Rene. I couldn't seem to sleep. the singing robot." I remember exactly how he said that word. My performance was very good. I just knew I couldn't talk about it. I wasn't trying to keep a secret. They were very polite and spoke in very low voices. As I pushed open the door to the room. even if my eyes were drowning in tears.ion of that hard little mass under my fingers." he told me. Right until it was time for me to sing. it will be necessary to operate. We'd have the results before the following morning. I simply said to the mus icians. "Celine. who was visibly worried. I phoned the hospital just before going onstage. I insisted that he tell us exactly what he meant so there wouldn't be any doubt. your husband needs you. saying that perhaps the tumor was "malig nant. Doctor?" "The biopsy will tell us. A half hour later. in English. Rene went to be examined in a Dallas clinic. and went directly to t he hospital. "You sleep. Workers cam e to mop it up. "by the grace of God. I went back to sleep. Suddenly I was so exhausted my ears started ringing and I had difficulty articulating correctly. Rene got in touch with a friend of his in West Palm Beach. That evening. I woke up to find Coco sitting on my bed. Never in my life will I forget that terrible moment when a young doctor came to meet with us in Rene's room. but he didn't alarm us either. "In Allah Rad. that Coco was waiting for me at the ho tel. my song. At the end of the afternoon. I think. I held Rene's hand and asked: "Is it or isn't it. He wasn't reassuring. "They might have to operate. told me to go to sleep. I noticed in the darkness tw o beds very close to each other. My mind was elsewhere. to Manon. I let that detestable robot have as much space as she w anted. and Rene told me they'd done the biopsy. and his friend Pierre Lacroix was in the other. I looked down and saw my slippers floating away." he told me. He reassured me. Rene was in one. where they'd done the biopsy." Suddenly everything seemed frightening and terrible." The biopsy would be done by the end of the day. No matter how much I told myself that I ought to rest. You've got to be in shape. my darling. I'd barely fallen asleep when there were loud knocks on my door. A major pipe in the hotel had burst and my ba throom was flooded. He used technical terms. I felt I was in a dream. The next morning. "If it's can cerous. My heart and mind were elsewhere. But I would have brok en down crying. and to Suzanne that Rene had some business to take care of. and I'd already heard that terrible word no one wants to hear t he one Rene and I had been thinking since the day before. Maybe I should have told the audience what had happened. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. a Dr. I remained outside of my songs and listened to her." he said. who promised to find the very best s urgeon. I didn't talk to anyone about what had happened. I was on my way back to Dallas a little after midnight. I had to turn my stage ove r to my worst enemy. ben ding toward me. Pierre got up and led me into the corridor. He di dn't want me with him. the son of our friends C oco and Pierre. Sid Neimark. We'd know the results before night. I could see the bandage on his neck. Instead. I didn't want to wake him up because he seemed so peaceful. Around nine. He told us he'd first have to take a biopsy." He kissed me on the cheek and left with Martin Lacroix." I understood immediately what had happened. very early. close the valves. which meant. The doctor didn't say it right away." The words put me right into the heart of that song. who were handling the logistics of the tour. Then he gave me a moment with Rene. "You have a show tonight. and reconnect the pipes.

as usual." He told us that Rene was sleeping. I had to be strong. He would call us two or three times from the operating room to tell us that all was going well. Dr. That's what I told myself right away. Bob is a very warm and cheerful man. Nurses came ñî get Rene. large tears running down her cheeks. We stayed like that for a very long time. "Rene's recovery has just begun. And that it was necessary to have faith and to look to the brighter side of things. He'd seen Rene the day before and had been present at the biopsy and studied the results. But for the first time we'd be without our great organizer of everything. he told me he was certain he'd removed all the cancer. He was wrong. Niemark had put us in touch with. For my birthday. came to meet us and brought coffee and cake. I was crushed by the fear and the pain of that terrible news. We were all around him. "Our happiness has been destroyed. Steckler's office in silence. "I have cancer. an d we followed him into the corridor right to the operating table. He'd had th e dining room of our suite decorated and a birthday meal prepared for me. Sleekier had put his offi ce at our disposal. "It's especially important that you don't stop. Maman." she told me. After the operation. He even made us laugh. 1999. Marc and Murielle." He convinced me to continue. He always sees the bright side of t hings. He made us feel we were leaving in a group for a pleasur e trip. already feeling the effects of the sedatives. with a big cake with five candles. and today he knows that. I couldn't experience it the way he did. The date was March 30. But at that time. Celine. His very sweet. . Bob Stockier. A few mi nutes before leaving for the operating room. Anne-Marie was on the other side of the bed. and his healing. I couldn't crumble.o. No matter how much Rene told me what he was feeling. I'm strong. I had to be his strength. Rene was sitting on his bed and was trembling. except when I came toward him and took him in my arms. the day of my thirty-first birthday." I remembered what he'd said to me when he'd had his heart attack. he'd told Rene his cancer was serious and tha t he was going to operate on him in a few hours." he told me. We came back to Dr. Rene didn't cr y. I'd die two times. The doctor told me. Jean-Pierre and Anne-Marie also rushed to be with their father. Bob Steckler is an optimist. Rene had already figured out that I wanted to cancel my upcoming shows. so we all went back to the hotel. Coco. But as always in these situations." he said. Rene had invited my parents and some friends. as you well know. came to meet with u s. Earlier that morning. Debbie. was also with u s. Without lying to us. I tried to catch my breath and find my words. Pierre was near him. he reassured us a lot. Rene's son Patrick. a dozen people. whom Dr. who is part of the team when I tour. There's no better way to channel your emotio ns than to have a duty. "It won't change anyth ing. "I'm going to take care of Papa. he told me I had to continue. I also thought about how much I wished this had happened to me and not him. a mission. and I have a lot of stamina." Pierre. and I gathered around him. [273] Dr. who arr ived from Montreal at the end of the afternoon and came directly to the hospital : Papa. all four of us with our arms around each other. I've got cancer. We spoke to him as if to a child. The man I loved needed me too much. "If you stopped. his health. Paul andJohanne." And she stopped crying immediately. I soon found myself on automatic pilot. "I'm here. the whole tribe. very beautiful wife. I decided not to cry.

"Hello. Paul. and I nea rly collapsed. I can get you a ticket. One day. in my dressing room. We placed the stones on the rug and looked at them one by one. On board the plane that took me back to Dallas. I got together my musicians. how are you?" He always called us "lovers. Perhaps we had never been so together. I felt I needed to tell them what was happening. Until Rene wa s completely out of danger." He spoke very quickly. Even so. Rene admitted now that he rested better when I was with him. Right before the show. TV appearances. I couldn't hold back my tears. I decided to cancel all schedu led shows. This time I was determined to stand up to him. without speaking. I couldn't continue to tour and work knowing he was alone with his illness and fear. with a strong New York ac cent that he loved to exaggerate. that Rene could actually die. and Dominique. my decorator. Marc. "What are you doing this evening?" said the doctor. the singing robot tried to take over. plans. Andre. "Show business as usual. Rene still h ad a thick bandage on his neck with a drain or catheter coming from it. Mego. Steckler's recommendations. Then each of them embraced me one by one. the door of the room opened without anyone knocking. Mego told me he felt that the evening s music was like a prayer we'd made t ogether. But when I saw their eyes mist up. almost literally fell to the ground between them. We took group photos. I don't think any of us will forget those moments we experienced. The next day Johanne. Predictably. I didn't want to "soft-pedal" the news because we had a show to do." he said. which was sweeter and more caressing than ever. They gathered around me and envelope d me in their music. But the final segments of the Canadian and American tours were postponed until the fall. It was Dr. as we always did. if you want!" . the lighting person. we ate my birthday cake. but I could also feel a great calmness in that arena. Daniel and D enis. and Lapin. but something horrible flashed through m y mind. I could h ave summoned the singing robot. Steckler. lovers. To put our mind on other things. we opened her bags. and interviews. the members of the chorus. and Rene refused [275] to cancel the concert. After the s how. I wanted to concentrate on him." our good-luck song. "What will that change?" he said. We wanted to be alone. For the first time in many years. once aga in. the sound people. We all cried. I'm going to see your wife sing. I was to sing in Houston. between my mother and my father. came to see us with her bags bursting with s ketches. about a week after his operation. Steckler had told us. because it brings happiness and luck. Rene smiled feebly without answering. and we stayed for hours in the darkness of his hosp ital room. he felt the same way about this as he'd felt the day before. For a we ek he'd hardly moved or spoken. I did offer some concessions. "Well. while we were sleeping. I also thought. The following night. and a half ton of samples of stones and tiles destined for our f uture house on the Mille-Iles River. But no one felt like a banquet. I lay down beside him. I wanted to share this ordeal wit h him. He brusquely sat down on the bed. That evening. and were happy about the results. so attent ive to one another as we were that evening. all recording sessions. and we felt we all really needed it. I felt my voice tremble as I sang "All the Way.We really did try to follow Dr. that may be he wouldn't ever be there anymore. d espite all that Dr. I was seated at the end of the table. but instead I let my voice tremble and allowed m y feelings to flood me. I gave fou r of five shows that were coming up so soon that it would have been unreasonable to cancel them. Rene wasn't in them. Yves. It was almost as if the crowd understood what I was living throu gh even though no news had yet been released about Rene's illness.

and my most intimidating fan. and stayed near him like bodyguards." I spent hours on the patio or around the swimming pool. and Rene had started playing golf with his friends. "We'll begin them as soon as you're rested. They all surrounded Rene with their affection and humor. They often got together in Las Vegas.. secrets. Pierre and Coc o Lacroix were also around a lot during this time. Stickler said. His healt h and our happiness counted more than my performance. But eventually his appetite returned. Rene had a whole world I almost never entered: the world of his buddies. every evening ." But that evening in Dallas. and detecting my smallest error. This time Rene gave a real laugh. I'd imagine saying to him: "Let go. how much everyone on our team loved Re ne." They had a special hand shake. having him there always added to the pressure I already felt in front of the audience. Guy Cloutier. I sought his eyes and sang only for him. If my eyes ever crossed his. A few days later. which they called "the House. or baseball on TV. He had to be in good shape to face the radiation treatme nts. he couldn't swallow anything that wasn't pureed. he said that at least his illness caused something good: he'd lose a little weight. and said: "I'd love to go with you. I'll end up thinking yo u're not a good husband. perhaps for two weeks. back in Jupiter." And our champ was at my show that evening. my au dience. he'd say. more than ever. golf. Ben Kaye.. Paul Sara. When anyone acted surprised to see him going outside in the sun like that. always took the same route. when he was in the house. Alain drove us to the hospital for Rene's treat ments. take care of yourself. he would surel y lose weight as well as his appetite and strength. Rosaire Archambault. Pi erre Lacroix. a week with us. For more than fifteen years. because the treatments would deplete him of a lot of energy. champ. After his operation. Rene has a lways loved the sun and heat. close bonds with them. He knew their birthdays by heart and always phone d them. in our big beautiful peaceful house. [277] "We're with you. Every morning. Rene b egan his convalescence. he was called "champ. I continued to comb through fashion and architecture magazines. They all came to greet him." He then told us about the radiation treatments Rene needed to have." Amo ng them. you'll see. At the same time. I knew he was judging me. and always lef . stop looking .. I needed him to be there. His friends continued to arrive from Montreal: his old buddies. five days a week. But the doctors wanted him to eat as much as he wanted. five per week. For the first time in years . he could eat without feeling he was doing something wrong." I could see that night. Laughingly. it will ruin your concentration." or "chief. The guy s left early in the morning for golf and returned in the afternoon to watch hock ey. Jacques Des Marais. We were both at a turning point in our lives." "Oh. And for a while he did so with a lot of pleasure. their own language. with my sisters Manon an d Linda. Marc Verreault . They always used the same car. well if that's all it is .. And they loved show business an d big cities. They came to spend two. He wore a scarf and a hat to keep from getting too much sun." And in one stroke the doctor tore it off. You'll recuperate very quickly. It was May 1999.Dr. so it pained me a little to see that he had to pro tect himself like that.. He had always been my critic. They had scheduled thirty-eight sessions. "You're forgetting I'm an Arab. taking a lot of notes. There will be a few disagreeable s ide effects but nothing serious. In any case. They traveled across Canada or the United St ates to see important baseball and hockey games. "If you don't come to see your wife sing this evening. but what about this bandage and this drain ." or "doctor. three days. He had strong. .

during his treatment . uncomfortable si de effects. I wouldn't "sink into eternal sorrow. Alain asked them to think about Rene during the fifteen minutes that the treatment lasted. In truth. ten minutes to nine. I stop ovulating completely for months. I mak . You have to decide. I feel your strength with me. Just a few sessio ns. They're good children. But even so. we should do a little chemo. you'd fight right to the end wi thout complaining. This made me angry. I nev er said that. I wanted him to tell me everything. as I extinguished the last candle in our room. he propose d something else. Each time I am late. He never complained. Once more. often a couple. I've never thought that my life would fall apart if I didn't have a child. he came to wake me in the morning. not at its deepest." Rene told me." I said. You ca n't really share suffering and fear. I knew very well that he wanted me to rest. yet the media began talking about it. as Alain's Explore r drove down 1-95. When his doctor saw that he reacted well to the radiation treatments.t at exactly the same time. when I came out of the room. we nev er even thought of that. there was a good solution. I pestered him. the designated person would call Rene to remind him that he'd be thinking of him. I was waiting for it. I promised to live with you for better and for worse?" Afterward. and maki ng it part of my plans. I was afraid. we stayed awake a long time. "I knew you'd say that to me. This way our dream would be waiting. "I wish so much that this had happened to me instead of you." I knew they'd do anything to help him. "Have you forgotten. and that we would no longer be able to have a ch ild. that on the day of your marriage. They said we'd taken steps to adopt a chi ld. Sever al days after Rene began his treatments. I had been so open in the media about the child I wanted that sometimes I had th e impression that the newspaper and TV reporters were really sharing this part o f my life with me. I know. That's what helps me the most. In a deep way. or his friends. "We didn't want to wake you. It could be quite difficult. looking for it. in Russia or China even when Rene's illness was at its worst. Rumors about the subject were rampant. the incarnation of our love. I was always a sked for news about the child. we went together to a sperm bank. In every press conference or interview I gave. liv ing things I couldn't share. During tours. Rene Angelil. Each had the same answer: "The doctor's right. But in the struggle that he was about to begin. Alain and Rene cried to leave without me." as certain members of the p ress like to repeat. This time there will be heavy. frozen in a test tube. I know it. If I were to have a child. We're here. You'd be strong." That day Rene's three children were at the house. "To put all the bets on our side. We'll help you. I thought of Karine and of death. But he never said anything." Among the side effects the doctor described was the danger that Rene would becom e sterile for a period of time. He seemed so far from me at certain moments. Every day. every doubt that he had. and he asked them what they thought. [279] But it made me feel that he lacked confidence in me. I'd want it to be Rene's and mine. That night. And that saddened me deeply because we had always s hared everything. you are in my place. This was also a way of reminding Rene that he'd come throug h this. Not to me. generous and lov ing. You're with me. One morning. Often. Rene would be alone. even if it wasn't the most romantic. You've got to put all th e bets on your side. or his children. Rene thought of a friend. any fears or worri es. But it will make it surer. Of course. Or as if he didn't take ser iously the most important vow of both our lives.

st rength. He was sometimes irritated. I decided to be in good humor." Alain said or drank a very weak tea. my heart broke." He saw life. Little by little. he found it horribly heavy an d crushing. everything Rene ate began to taste like sludge. I have to p ay for my happiness. his indifference. after the first chemo treatment. I always have her with me in my dressing room and on board the plane. with golf shoes and short pants. He didn't come to see me onstage. I no longer had any desire for it. We were living on an island. Alain. For a long time I've thought I would have a girl.e up little movies where I'm experiencing spells of nausea. "I've chosen to heal. never any other lover. and rest in yourself. According to him. But we forced him to take a nap. Whenever that fatigue hit him. All the musicians and technicians are crazy ab out her. I created some very precise im ages other. She's very jovial. nor Linda. Unlike my daughter. Alain prepared light and varied meals that were less spicy than he usually coo ked. Like all players. For days. my needs. any odor turned his stomach. neither Alain. His illness had become our illness. A game of golf is like a trip inside yourself. but soon he could only swallow purees. The doctors told him that sooner or later he'd feel a great fatigue. in life and death. It's only just. and I watched over him day and night. I am. and he lost the desire to eat. Even at the most difficult stage of that ordeal. right to the end. I saw a boy. He was very inde pendent. almost timid. He'd stopped playing gol f. beauty. and my plans. At the end. Sometimes we even spent whole days without any news from the outside world. the good Lord knew what it was. he only ate sorbets or ice cream "nothing. Rene made a big effort. When you're sick. For days. You have to be in shape to find peace. He had chosen to look first and f oremost on the brighter side of things. and to eat even if he wasn't at all hungry. the woman of only one man. He told his friends: "I've had a wonderful life. and salvation like a bet. During the sound test. where I take a pregn ancy test. Anne-Marie. and where I can see close-ups of Rene's face as he learns I'm pregnan t and takes me in his arms. I've never had any other lov e. moments of great fatigue. our Montreal office sent bundles of faxes and cards with getwell wishes that I read to Rene when we took tea under our five-trunked palm. He waited for me very quietly in the wings. for his coldness. I think." We believed in healing. health. our c ancer. What we were living then completely changed my vision of things. [281] For some time as well. When Renes illness became public knowledge. we decided not to re ad the papers. and our battle. From time to time. even if he was expecting it. you've got none of that. we had moments of profound happiness because we were together. chalk. I no longer played golf and I didn't miss it. what had happened to h im was only justice. We were together and closer than ever. Every time that he became distant. and deep sadness. very secretive. We prayed and wept. and my parents as well. He had periods of nausea. We would fight it together. With Rene sick and incapable of taking this voyage. I took him to the shops with me and bought him clothes. Rene is a believer. Linda. And I quickly wrote her some small roles. she comes onstage near roe. But I loved him for that also. for fear they'd contain rumors about what was happening to us. who probably never knew anything about it. He was dressed like a little European boy. only a few little insignificant flirtations when I was fifteen or sixteen years old. The only time he went out was for his treatments. then to do a little exerci se. I remember vaguely having been attracted to a pro fessional hockey player. The doctor told me that good humor is good for the health. I'm not even . Or a lo t less of it. isola ted from the world. he was very reserved. nor the maids came. or iron. I have to pay back. All Rene's friends had now left.

rested. you can't resist it. People waved posters that s aid: "We love Rene. In [283] truth. Some might make innuendos or wink at me. and most beautiful love of my lif e. Even when he was at the hospital for his chemotherapy treatments. I bowed to the audience." His confidence had come back. it has to be forever. Never during the eighteen years we'd known each ot her had we spent so much time together. no r do I judge them. Men never really court me. even during his most difficult periods. He had his business to take care of and people to see. which surrounded the stage. There's no tease in me. I think I had the most beautiful show of my career there.sure if I remember his name. I very rarely find myself alone with a man. it was that love that we share. in front of ninety t housand people. but still it make s you strong. And this time had brought us both a lot of happiness. Rene and I believe in that remedy. We're the opposite. or that one of them has loved the other badly. Some people never say they love each other. Ab ove all. The at mosphere was as warm and intimate as in a very small auditorium. I slept next to him. This way I could feel his presence that w as so precious to me. solid. I had taken c are of him. From March 30 until I left. "When you leave. but I saw in his eyes and voice the s igns of recovery. and I had my shows and publicity to do. but I Just can't understand how people who are real ly in love can one day choose not to live together. I'm no t the type of woman who makes men come on to her." he said. I don't envy them. night and day. Its Just that Rene and I love each other because of who he is and who I am. and that he'd love me forever. and exercised. took his medicine. For m ost of the time we'd known each other. all the sex appeal I have for men I invested in my conquest of R ene Angelil. I'll be cured. It's obvious that I'm not the kind of woman who arouses passion in men. I was brought up in respect and love. I know that it sounds naive. I made sure he kept up his morale. So by leaving. and the nausea was gone. Or else I don't perceive it in myself. he was still weak. That's the greatest. It should al so be said that I've proclaimed my love for Rene enough times to all the men who approach me that they know I'm a satisfied women who isn't looking for adventur e. For two and a half months. strongest. It's not a question of principl es or of morality. to postpone my Europe an tour that began in mid-June. A lot of women my age already have had a number of lovers. All my feminine charm. we'd regularly been apart for days and so metimes weeks." I received a standing ovation. He'd re discovered smells and flavors. I saw that he ate well. we were always together. Rene told me it would be a rest for me. € Rene never agreed. in the certainty that love is stronger tha n everything. When I left for Europe. I choose to live another way. We had installed a satellite dish that would offer a direct hookup with all my s hows in Europe. After having su ng "Pour que tu m'aimes encore. It must be that they don't r eally love each other. Every day. and invincible. I don't miss it and it doesn't hurt me at all. You're powerless before it. except for Rene. That could be it. That's what I believe. "I'll have finished my treatments. but nothing comes of it. And we'd be able to talk to each other and see each other while I was in the wings or under the stage. The time I was the most touched was at the Stade de France." I knew my husband could . More tha n the chemotherapy and radiation and all the treatments the most learned doctors could give him. When two p eople are in love. Rene told me he loved me. Alain was making him pure es that were more and more substantial and which he was able to swallow. I was breaking a kind of spell.

I had about twenty seconds to get control of myself b efore joining Jean-Jacques in the song. to cry out of fear. . deep breaths. I touched the end of my nose again. there was such thunderous applause that for a long time neither of us could say anything or do anything. the first for more than six months. even more. He was still very tired at that time. As soon as he found himself in front of the cameras and a mike. He'd asked Daniel. I knew that meant he was on the road t o recovery. my voice would be ruined. We had developed a taste for being alone. When Jean-Jacques Goldman. I sometimes asked Linda and Alain as well as the servants to take some time off. who had written the songs on my D'Eux album and who was also a big rock star in Europe. Often he choked when he spoke. gotten thinner. he asked for pasta again. Happy. We made our meals together. I didn't want to. B ut I couldn't. about his voice. It was a few days before a show I was giving at the Molson Center. Rene b egan to speak." I wanted so much to cry. forever and ever. Then one day. "I love you. I can s till see myself in the kitchen on certain evenings. He knew all eyes would be glued to him. to hook him up to my earphones. about the treatments he'd undergone. I held myself back a little. They'd ask him a lot of questions abou t that cursed illness. He walked toward me as the y applauded. When it was time to sing. M e too.[285] see and hear all that. it took all my strength to hold back my tears. € When I came back to Jupiter at the beginning of July. came onstage a few minutes later. As if he had read my thoughts. The only anxiety-provoking subject was the return to Montreal. of our illness . Jean-Jacques doesn't speak much in life or onstage. Rene had changed. is . out of the light. This time. he'd fully recover his appetite. If I did. I'd never seen him as tense and nervous as he was during this time.. And suddenly I heard his voice in the hollow of my ear. His voice was hoarser and more muffled than e ver. and slicing vegetables. to public life. the sound person.. crushing. Then we spent the day. All of that made him incredibly nervous. it means that I love you. Celi ne. We had agreed on a sign. Sometimes he came near me and took me in his arms. as if people wanted to hear what he was saying to me. Celine." My hand holding the mike trembled. He was afraid of choking or of star ting to cry. He needed to have a bottle of water in his h and all the time. while here and there." And he began to sing a cappella the first lines of "S'il suffisait qu'on s'aim e" (If Love Were Enough). "When you see me touch the end of my nose. and took some slow. The clamor died down immediately. I'd regained my control and moved toward the light. or of not knowing how to answer the questions he would certainly be asked. his velvety voice. W e both looked at the audience standing there. Then he put the mike to his mouth and spoke very softly to me. with Rene peeling. without any music but our own. and about those he still had to undergo. Jean-Jacques told me: "All that I can add. . In a few days. and joy all mixed together. . as if he were speaking in the name of France. alone in the kitchen. Rene was already much bett er. We d anced. All I could really do was answer that I too would love him forever and ever. their arms outstretched toward us. without thinking of his illness. I could see placards of well wishes for Rene. We knew that the best thing was to hold a press conference and set the record straight. He thanked me for being there. pain.

Ottawa. of the child we dreamed of having. But this time. The mattress was very hard. it's my greatest success. and passion. I needed to sleep well so that my voice would be at the top of its form the next day. and spoiled little thing. Rene was calm and very confident. The pr oducers had organized a large press conference. He also said that our greatest success. I began to think of that princess who could feel a pea under ten mattresses. where I hadn't sung for four o r five years. surprise. And I had approximately ten show s to perform in Montreal. For an hour we spoke about the show that we were prepar ing for December 31 and of the sabbatical that we were going to take. "If I spend the night on this. . more in love than ever. During the course of that press conference. The challenge for a manager who has been able to take his artist to the top is to keep him there. the day before an important concert. there's always a go od reason." I had to spend more than a month in that hotel. that he also doesn't become an unsavory monster. attentive to others. Celine and I have gone through a difficult ordeal. thanks to the man I love. my sisters used to say she was only a stuck-up. I won't sleep well. Boston. Rene immediately understood and had my mattress and the linen sheets I liked bro ught from Rosemere. and despite the constant pressure. an d everything goes well. I didn't have a choice. among others. when I don't have to worry about my voice being threatened. He answered that his greatest pride was that I'd remained a woman capable of being happy. "Colonel Parker may have c reated one of the greatest artists of the century. despite the success. was that we'd always been capable of being happy together. my voice is going to suffer tomorrow evening." Its not really my place to say that I'm a good girl who is generous and attentiv e to others. We 're closer. strong and independent. It was one of those days when everything is lovely and good. despite the [289] tens of millions of dollars and fans. And even to be taken for a diva. I we nt into my hotel room and could tell immediately that I'd have a hard night. I won't get any real rest. of being a happy woman. capricious. While they were installing my bed in my room. for example. that touched me a lot. He didn't make Elvis happy. but he failed the essential. I won't be in my best shape. capable of feeling wonder. What counts. Obviously. I think. Rene said some things that moved e veryone. I'm perfectly capable. Starting with me. A very young journalist asked what he was proudest of in his life. capricious. And you'd pr obably have to cook her peas and swallow them for her. I knew I probably wouldn't be back there for several years. I know that my husband is the most extraordinary manager an artist can have. And yet here I was having the mattress changed because it was too har d. of co urse. But an eve n greater challenge is to keep him happy. is to r emain a balanced individual. as far as he was concerned. to make sure that he doesn't fall apar t. When I was little. € A few days later." The reporters applauded. Elvis Presley. and spoiled little thing. And. "As a manager. in Montreal. I don't have the tantrums of a diva and if I demand something. and talk to everybody. Quebec. And not to hide anything from you: We're hap py." he added. One evening. even if you don't know why. But in normal times. we were at the Quebec Coliseum.[287] "Everything is going well. And bec ause of that. But I don't think I'm an unsavory monster. I never liked her very mu ch either. and I never sleep as well as I do on a soft mattress th at I can sink into a bit. I adapt to everything. eat anything. And for that I was ready to come off as a stuck-up . To win the highest honors of show business has nothing to do with succeeding in your life.

a nd that's not always so simple to achieve. while listening to Rene speak about happiness right at the press conference. I went to get Rene so he could see it. I never knew if he'd won or l ost a game. be beautiful. of course. Never before had he been sensitive to that kind of thing. Rene and I were going to get married again. we were getting ready to leave for golf. punchy like boxers after a fight. to have my mother. and a few friends. All around me twenty-five thousand peopl e were embracing. Life must. as he now does more and more often. "No one except you could have noticed it. he played nine holes in Denver. but on the way to a new life. All that counted was that he had regain ed some pleasure. we left for Las Vegas with my parents. good!" Then he sat down and went back to his magazine. my musicians. Rene had [291] come onstage and the two of us kissed for a very long time. "Even us. He's always wanted me to lead the life that I wanted. But that n ight was magic. my country. we c ouldn't hear you any longer. He went in to ecstasy about the play of light and shadow from the sun rising against the wa ll. But even at the beginning. where it came from. my family. with Pierre Lacroix. and my loves. He's always taken into account first and foremost my wel l-being and my happiness. On board the plane. being off would have plunged me into a deep despair. Now the circle was complete. father. when I was still a teenager. to smell a flower. Each of the songs I did that night took on a new dimension. which wasn't very important. It changed our priorities and our dreams.Of course. I became a singer and a happy woman. Today more than ever. I was going to give a big party. while I was finishing the last segment of my American tour for Let 's Talk About Love. 2000. and where it was going On the night of January 1. The show we'd just gi ven had been so charged with emotion that we were completely empty. Before plun ging into it altogether. Today I believe that in every misfortune there is good. I knew Rene was on the right track the day he started playing golf and blackjack . Renes illness brought us closer together. brothers. immediately after the show at the Molson Center . but I think that it's defini tely helped us gain depth and maturity in our relationship One day in spring. I'd just sung "L'amo ur existe encore" (There's Still Love). It's our greatest and only priorit y. It was the last time I'd be in front of my original audience. That day in Quebec. a long time ago. and that changes the rules of the game completely. he is my lover. but also it was my last show. Never before did h e stop. And renew our vows before God and man. A t the stroke of midnight. Rene came into the kitchen where I was having coffee with Linda and Alain. he didn't t hink only of my career. I wasn't only on the way to Las Vegas. In October. I told myself that the only failure would be to no longer fee l happiness. the end of the century. For our parents and fr iends. One day. . We were living the e nd of a dream. a nd Rosaire. I was able to stay happy. I have had a successful life. I don't know what might have become of us if Rene hadn't gotten sick." the musicians told me. I knew my voice had been off a few times. my husband." In normal times. The crowd was shouting from every dire ction and I was so overwhelmed that a lot of times I couldn't hear my voice or t he music. we were flying over the A tlantic on the way back from Europe when we saw a comet streaming toward the sou th. But when it comes to that. It was the big shift into the year 2000. and sisters near me often and for a long ti me. Rene is more than my manager. Today. we were all strangely calm and silent. Marc. and always must. all my people. He bent toward the porthole and said: "Oh. I'm sure he' d watch that comet. Then we spent a few days in Las Vegas. It was both heartrending and marvelous. that he'd want to know how long it would remain in the sky. Thanks to the man I love.

The guests were seated in Oriental fashion on cushions. in the jaws of t he beast. all the while with fake smiles. in truth. There was nothing discreet about it. the religious ceremony. A few days later we were in Jupiter. the women wore long dresses in the colors of precious stones emeral d. we didn't really speak. We were together for life. I wanted the decor. where we would spend the most beautiful win ter of our lives. Every evening. They were served a mea l of five courses prepared by Lebanese. And he laughed a lot. To decorate the chapel where the religious ceremony was to take place. All the men were in black. were present everywhere in the decora tion. we sat down in the main living [293] room. Syrian. we were inspired by the architecture and atmosphere of an Arab mosque. symbols of the culture of the Middle East. contacted us and demanded he take ev erything in hand. People saw me and thought of him. ruby. There were even two camels and two exotic birds. just as he h ad recounted each of my shows to me in the past. the songs. of course. But at the time. not in that way. And then little by little. he offered us that party. Arthur Goldberg. and Moroccan chefs. the music. "as a wedding gift. And I realized how painful and exhausting these bullfights coul d be. costumes. I'd never said it. he'd known all that. Everybody wants to flatten eve rybody else. Except when we were al one. The music. as if the roles had been reversed. and what's so wrong with that? Wealth doesn't hide itself. And yet after we had begun our vacation. I told Rene that I'd loved a certain city and not another. From then on he was part of my image." he said. Rene was a resounding succ ess in the role of the Grand Vizier or Caliph. it w as me especially who talked and recounted to him what we had lived. and not even to myself. not to Rene. The star and the crescent. And I wanted that event to be first and foremost a public proclamation of our love. during the period when we were caught up in that great whirlwind. A lot of people again said we were making a display of our wealth. they thought of me. For the first time in years. dances. Sometimes I went out to do errands with Rene. And in the main ballroom of Caesars Palace. Perhaps we we re. Rene was in white. I wanted the whole world to hear the most important thing I had to say: "Rene. A great happiness came into being . and games recalled the different Arabic cultu res. one of which is Caesars Palace. Mia and Johanne worked with Anna Dimartino from Caesars Palace to conceive and install the decor and organize the ceremony and the banquet. alone in our living room. And we turned toward the future. I was Scheherazade. We didn't have the time or very little of it. I was wearing a gilded dress by Givenchy. In order not to be recognized. or surrounded by dear friends. especia lly not about another singer or someone in show business. we watched TV a little. And even then! For him. We were more than one. I w ore dark glasses and a hat. Every woman wants to have the most beautiful gown. In the end. owner of a dozen casinos in Las Vegas. that I thought another was adorable. the invisible daggers that the women poi nt at each other. but I really don't like galas. often just the two of us alone." T hat was the purpose of the affair. we watched the Grammies and Oscars on TV. I love you. sapphire. I cut my hair very short. because. Rene never liked to hear me say anything at all negative about anything. they saw him .As soon as he knew my intentions. after supper. Or maybe the one that's most talked about. Quite often. and the rece ption to reflect Rene's Lebanese and Syrian origins. the false Joy that reigns. and diamond. in the spring. talking bad about other people is vulgar . we stopped talking about the past and analyzing it. And that really made me happy. that I didn't like a certain producer very much. and I began to talk about certain events that had happened when we were touring or about an encounter that we'd had two or three y ears ago. Rene was the one recognized first. we recreated an immense Oriental garden with six Ber ber tents.

I imagine he will have Rene's smile. And more than anything. and Rene and I are so hap py. He is already an important part of my story. Everyday I say a little prayer for h im to be good and happy. That child was waiting for us. had always been waitin g. . I know I will be crazy about him. I'll sing him a lullaby.and we took it as a sign. his eyes. it will come to enrich and change our lives. In a few months. On August 24. we learned that we will be having a boy.