Celine Dion: For Keeps

More than an authorized biography, Jenna Glatzer's "Celine Dion: For Keeps" draws on the artist's personal archives, compiling photographs and mementoes from throughout her career. In addition to new

Some of her producers say that it's actually a danger to have talent as great as Celine's because she could make anything sound great -- even a sub-par song. While the vocals may be outstanding every time, they have to remind themselves that they have to be extra picky to ensure that they're choosing songs that could stand on their own and be memorable even if not for Celine's beautiful tone. And only once does David Foster ever remember Celine refusing to sing a particular song. When it came time to sing her entrance, instead of the opening lyric, she came in with, "I can't do this." For her to say that, David knew it meant she really hated the song, because he knew that it took a lot for her to break her agreeable demeanor.

That consistent good mood is another thing she's sometimes criticized for. It irritates some people that Celine always looks like everything is perfect. "On one hand, everything is perfect," says Celine. "I'm happy, and it comes across. I can't change my life, because things are great. But on the other hand, it's true that I don't want to be the kind of troublemaker artist who goes on TV and starts something. I'm trying to please as many people as possible. It's really hard to go on TV and say, 'No, I don't give a heck about what people write about me. I don't care!' I can't act like that because I'm not like this. It gets on my nerves that I'm like this sometimes. I would prefer to say sometimes, 'I am so mad, I can't take this anymore!' because then they would say, 'She's got guts. She's got character. She's real.'"

Sometimes she hates watching her own interviews because she feels she "chickened out" and gave answers that were too easy, too glib, instead of letting herself speak from the heart. But Celine has become more self-assured in interviews through the years, learning when to open up and when to gloss over a question. One of her pet peeves is when reporters ask celebrities controversial questions on topics that have no relevance to the celebrity or her career.

When all the rage was the kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears, journalists wanted to know what she thought about it. Often, she wanted to tell them, "If they want to French kiss in front of everybody, that's their own business!" but she worried that the grandmothers who come to see her show would "have a heart attack" if her words were too raw or confrontational. So instead, she's gaining the experience to know how to turn questions around.

"That's all you've been talking about for two weeks," she might tell the interviewer. "What do you think about their kiss?"

"My husband [and manager René Angelil] is scared of me a little bit," she tells me. "I'm a very truthful person, and he doesn't want me to be too against or too much for issues in the media. And he's not wrong if you look at the big picture. My career, my work, is not to judge people, not to hurt people. People come buy my records and see my show, maybe because of that. It's not only because of my voice. A lot of people sing much better than me -- it's not only about the voice.

"I think people like me as well because I'm not necessarily going to tell them who I'm voting for in politics, for example. I cannot tell people that I don't have an opinion, because then they're going to say, 'She's stupid.' But why would I tell my opinion and who I'm voting for? I'm going to disappoint a lot of people. Maybe they like my music, and if I tell them who I'm voting for, they say, 'I'm not going to listen.' What's the point of me telling you if I'm for one person instead of another one -- what is it going to change how I do my show?

"I want people to just think that I'm not stupid and I do have an opinion, but I'm not going to tell them to go to church, and I'm not going to ask them, 'What is church about?' René wants me to tell people that I'm a believer, because it's true, but he wants me to stick to 'yes,' 'no,' fluffy answers, not talk too much. I have to find ways myself not to be beige and flat."

But it's important to Celine that both her fans and the people she works with don't feel judged by her. If she were to publicly declare her opinions on society's hot topics, she would always alienate some of the people around her who have a different view. And Celine respects all views; she wouldn't turn on a friend because their opinions on controversial matters differ from her own. But differences like these can create a gap in fans' minds where there was once a bond. Then, she worries, they'll be thinking more about her opinions than the music she wants to share with them.

"My work is to enter people's lives with my music," she says. "Do you think I want to disturb them when they bake? Do you think I want to disturb them when they make love? I want to be part of it -- I don't want to interrupt. One thing that I didn't want to do is to push me -- I am this, I am that, I'm for this and not for that, listen to this, believe in this. I'm doing my job, my song, and if you want to hear this song and not that song, I have nothing to do with it.

"When I do interviews with Larry King or the big TV shows like that, they put you on the spot, which is very difficult. I do have an opinion, but I'm a singer. I'm not a politician. I'm nothing else than a messenger of the music, and what I want, through love, through music, is to have a good time."

Copyright 2005 by Five Star Feeling, Inc.