Don't ask Celine Dion how she keeps herself fresh after all these years

Don't ask Celine Dion how she keeps herself fresh after all these years

The power of love

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Marina Bay Sands,
Getty Images

Before Celine Dion's first show in Singapore, she tells us what to expect, how she keeps herself fresh and her style transformation

Don't ask Celine Dion how she keeps herself fresh after all these years. Probably sick of hearing the same question repeatedly throughout her decades-long career, the Québécois singer retorted, "Fresh? I brush my teeth every morning, take a shower, exercise, do my shows and go back home and take another shower."

Addressing us journalists affectionately by calling us "darling", Dion answered questions in a poised, matter-of-fact manner. Ahead of her first show in Singapore this July as part of the Asian leg of her LIVE 2018 tour that will take her to Jakarta, Taipei, Manila, Bangkok, Macao and Tokyo, Dion spoke to us through a phone interview arranged by Marina Bay Sands in January. This came just days after she made headlines for dealing graciously with a frenzied fan who leapt on stage during one of her shows in Las Vegas. A Vegas veteran by now, the mother-of-three has been performing in Sin City for the past 15 years with two residencies.

There isn't a need to question Dion's freshness — this is a singer who's kept us on our toes since her English language debut, Unison, in 1990. '80s and '90s kids grew up with the singer on their parents' stereos, her vocals powering through ballads such as 'Because You Loved Me', 'The Power of Love', and 'It's All Coming Back to Me Now'. Those kids have had a complicated relationship with Dion — while there was a time when we would tear our hair out if we heard the Titanic soundtrack again, we've also grown up knowing full well how iconic the singer is.

Celine Dion with her Grammys for 'Record of the Year' and 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance' for her song, 'Titanic'

For one, the 50-year-old sure knows how to slay the social media game. In the last two years, Dion has been caught dancing to Steve Aoki's remix of 'My Heart Will Go On', reinventing sleeves at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and having a hot dog by the sidewalk while dressed in a Versace gown after the 2017 Met Gala. Her newfound relationship with stylist Law Roach — who works with Zendaya, Tom Holland and Ariana Grande — has catapulted her into the style spotlight, sporting Off-White sweats and a Vetements Titanic jumper along with some serious couture.

Last week saw her keeping things fresh again, this time with the music video release of 'Ashes' from the Deadpool 2 soundtrack. Featuring scenes from the anticipated superhero sequel with a hilarious cameo of Ryan Reynolds in the titular role, Dion went — in the span of three minutes and 54 seconds — viral. But unlike many one hit wonders we've encountered in this social media age, the singer isn't just the flavour of the week.

You mentioned that you're performing in seven cities in Asia over a month. How do you maintain your stamina?
I'm strong.

What can we expect from your show in Singapore? What songs are you going to sing?
I cannot do the show and not sing 'The Power of Love', 'My Heart Will Go On', and 'Because You Loved Me'. I hope I do the songs that you want me to sing. If you want to send me a list of the songs you want me to sing, I will sing them.

Is going on tour reflective of your need to connect with a new audience?
You know what I gotta tell you? I can connect with any age. I have no problem with eight-year-olds and 98-year-olds. When I'm on stage here at Caesars Palace, there are young kids and grandmas as well. I don't even know who is my audience anymore. I don't know whether it's because of the way I dress? I don't know what's going on but get ready, I'm coming.

Are you wearing any special costumes at your show in Singapore?
If I sing 'My Heart Will Go On' in a pair of jeans, I'm not sure. Maybe we should try, I don't know, to keep it fresh because I've been singing it for 20 years.

Celine Dion at Paris Fashion Week
Your stylist, Law Roach, has been credited with being responsible for your fashionable comeback. He's said that he works with strong and fearless women. What does being a fearless and strong woman mean to you at this stage of your career and life?
I really like working with Law and I think he's got something very powerful for me. It did happen at the right time of my life. When I lost my husband, I really needed to prove myself. I wanted to heal and I wanted my kids to feel that mom is here, life is beautiful and dad is in our hearts. We can show strength from our voice, our songs, our clothing, our attitude... our positivity. And fashion is part of it. I've always loved fashion and I think Law is pulling out the best stuff for me.

Two years after losing your husband René Angélil... does it get difficult?

He's with me, he still sings with me. I will always miss him but he lives with me and he's present in my life everyday. I live with him differently but life is like that. You don't choose to have cancer; you don't choose to die. If it happens, you have to be strong and I have to be strong for my children.

After all these years, are you more comfortable performing in French or in English? Do you think there are specific emotions or stories that are better told in French than in English?
Well, I like both. I love to sing in English because it is very different. The tone, the key, the pronunciation, the strain — it's very different. When you sing in French, everything is poetic. It's softer. You have to take 10 words instead of one in English. Let me put it this way: A pair of jeans doesn't replace a beautiful gown and a gown doesn't replace a pair of jeans. English is a language of power and French is a language of passion. 

Is there new English music on the horizon for you?
I am recording a new English album right now but I don't know if it's going to be ready for me to sing for you. If it's ready, I'm going to sing a few.

Celine Dion at the Met Gala
You became famous in the time when there was no social media. Do you find that Instagram and Facebook has helped in your career?
I think it did, but I'm not following it. I live my life and when I have time off, I don't want to open them. First of all, I'm not good with technology. The last thing I want to see when I wake up in the morning after I take a shower and keep myself fresh by brushing my teeth is opening my laptop and seeing my face. I do my life, I do my show but I don't want to see me doing it. 

The Sands Live Concert featuring Celine Dion will take place on 3 and 4 July at the Marina Bay Sands Grand Ballroom. Tickets go on sale on 10 May, 10am.