This year’s and last year’s Billboard Music Awards have a lot of meaning for Celine Dion. The singer received the esteemed Icon Award in 2016 and, just one year later, she’ll be taking the BBMAs stage once more to perform “My Heart Will Go On” on Sunday (May 21) in celebration of the song’s 20th anniversary.
After catching the rehearsal of her breathtaking performance on Thursday night (May 18), Billboard asked Dion what it means to her to be performing the song on the BBMAs 20 years after the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper was released.
“It’s still number one! [Laughs.] To be honest with you, it’s an honor,” Dion says. “My husband always told me that I wanted to have a career as long as I sing my whole life. Twenty years later, I’m at the Billboard Awards and I was here last year singing ‘The Show Must Go On,’ receiving the Icon award — my son gave it to me, and it was pretty emotional. To be here [in T-Mobile Arena], it’s still emotional, because I can still feel and see what happened last year.”
As Billboard documented in an oral history of the iconic Titanic track, Dion initially didn’t want to sing it, as she had just provided another soundtrack song for the 1996 film Up Close & Personal, “Because You Loved Me” (which also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100). It was her husband, the late Rene Angélil, who convinced her she should sing it, which is part of the reason the song holds a special place in her heart.
With the significance of “My Heart Will Go On” and all that Dion has celebrated since last year’s BBMAs, she simply can’t wait for Sunday’s performance.
“Singing ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ such a classic. We just celebrated Beauty and the Beast, they re-did the movie. It’s so beautiful — and now, ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ I can’t ask for better,” she adds. “I’m more than thrilled, I’m ecstatic and very honored to be here. Sunday, it will be the night.”
The Billboard Music Awards will air May 21 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The official red carpet pre-show for the BBMAs, the T-Mobile Magenta Carpet Live at the BBMAs, will live stream exclusively on Twitter on Sunday, May 21, starting at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET. The pre-show will be available to logged-in and logged-out audiences on Twitter and connected devices, and can be found at BBMAs.twitter.com or via @BBMAs.