(From Billboard Oct 14th)
                    Celine Dion's Success Goes On

                    BY CHUCK TAYLOR

                    NEW YORK -- Call her an industry unto herself.
                    In just the past year, Celine Dion has released her
                    fifth English-language album, "Let's Talk About
                    Love"; sung duets on projects with the Bee Gees,
                    R. Kelly, Paul Anka, George Martin, and Luciano
                    Pavarotti; performed at VH1's Divas Live concert;
                    and recorded a new French-language project and
                    a Christmas album. Next month, she'll host her
                    own CBS holiday special. 

                    That's all in addition to her latest world tour, currently working its way
                    across the U.S. before heading to Canada, Europe, and beyond. It endures
                    into January 2000.

                    The payoff has to do with an astounding statistic Dion can add to her
                    bulging cache of superlatives: In the past 30 months, she has sold 60 million
                    albums worldwide, according to her label. That amounts to one sale every
                    1.2 seconds, her Sony family notes. (Add in "Titanic" soundtrack sales of
                    25 million, and the rate is into nanoseconds.) Meanwhile, her current tour,
                    covering 29 dates, has grossed $35 million.

                    While Dion has taken some critical jabs and is seen by some as grossly
                    overexposed, the fact remains that no other current artist in the world --
                    perhaps with the exception of Madonna -- appears to have as broad a fan
                    base, with the ability to seize the charts and retail racks and sell out venue
                    after venue. In the seven years since the release of her first English-language
                    album, Dion has tirelessly worked across the world to become as much of a
                    phenomenon in Poland as in her native Quebec, as much in Israel and Brazil
                    as in the U.S., France, and Switzerland.

                    Yet Dion's biggest accomplishment in recent times -- maybe of all time --
                    has come from the staggering boon of "My Heart Will Go On," the love
                    theme to "Titanic." In February, the song went to No. 1 on the Hot 100 and
                    Adult Contemporary charts, associating Dion with the No. 1 and No. 2
                    albums for six weeks on The Billboard 200 -- "Let's Talk About Love" and
                    the film soundtrack. It also won an Oscar for writers James Horner and Will
                    Jennings and became the most-played radio hit in history, reaching a record
                    audience of 117 million in March, according to Broadcast Data Systems. 

                    It's this kind of larger-than-life achievement that marks the most bountiful
                    year of Celine Dion's career. 

                    "When you're hot, you have to go with the momentum," says Dion's
                    husband and longtime manager, Rene Angelil. "You have to address the
                    demands that come from all over the place. We have refused so many
                    projects and turned so many opportunities down. But there have also been
                    a number of projects that we find very exciting. We say, 'Why not?' "

                    "I didn't want to record another album after [the 1996 Grammy-winning]
                    'Falling Into You,' " Dion admits. "But we couldn't just refuse all the
                    opportunities. People kept sending great songs. 'Titanic' came, and then all
                    those duets. It seemed that the people wanted to party with us again, too.
                    Then came the Christmas album and the tour.

                    "In show business, timing is the most important thing," she adds. "I've been
                    trying to take a break for years, but it could wait. There's just been no
                    perfect time yet."

                    For Sony, Dion is held up as an artist who can do it all, excelling at anything
                    she takes on. "She has the quality and the talent to sing with R. Kelly one
                    minute, then Andrea Bocelli the next," says Sony Music Entertainment
                    president/CEO Thomas D. Mottola. "There's no one category she cannot

                    "Celine always takes herself to the next level," adds Epic Records/550
                    Music president Polly Anthony. "She's better than anyone at raising the bar
                    for herself. We're all here to support her like a giant brain trust, but she is
                    really in control of her destiny at this point. I can't imagine trusting anyone
                    more than her."

                    RETAIL SUPPORT

                    Retail, not surprisingly, is 100% behind Dion. 

                    Her latest French-language album, "S'il Suffisait D'Aimer," released Sept. 8
                    in all territories except the U.S., sold 2 million copies in its first three weeks,
                    with 700,000 units moved so far in France alone, Sony says. 

                    As on her last French album, 1995's "Deux" ("The French Album" in the
                    U.S.) -- the world's best-selling French-language album of all time -- Dion
                    worked with songwriter/producer Jean-Jacques Goldman. 

                    Because of her schedule, the new album was ultra-efficiently recorded -- in
                    less than a week. 

                    "We worked out the songs during the day and recorded two to three each
                    night for six days," Dion says. "I had such a great time and got to know
                    Jean-Jacques better than ever."

                    The album hit the racks quietly in the U.S. Oct. 13 with no marketing
                    fanfare from Sony. Executives were wary of misleading the artist's fans into
                    thinking the set was an English-language recording, because that very album
                    is just around the corner.

                    Entitled "These Are Special Times," the 16-track holiday project is a
                    big-ticket item for Sony's fourth quarter; it's due worldwide Nov. 12 and
                    Nov. 13. It contains inspired arrangements of standards like "O Holy
                    Night," "Blue Christmas," "O Come All Ye Faithful," and "Ave Maria," new
                    versions of the modern classics "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and "Feliz
                    Navidad," and a half-dozen original songs.

                    Among them is a signature Dion ballad, "Don't Save It All For Christmas
                    Day," a track about sharing goodwill and love throughout the year, not just
                    during the holiday season. Dion co-wrote the song; it's her only such
                    contribution ever, aside from the reggae-fortified "Let's Talk About Love"
                    track "Treat Her Like A Lady," likely to be a single next year.

                    "I had this melody in my head for two years," she says of "Don't Save It
                    All." "I had never pushed myself to finish it; maybe I was afraid of the
                    reaction. I don't trust myself as a songwriter. Rene suggested I sing it to
                    [frequent Dion producer] Ric Wake, that maybe he could help. One night,
                    after the Divas Live show, we were all at dinner, having great wine and
                    great food, and Ric and I talked about it. And he called his home, and I left
                    the tune on his [answering machine]. Maybe it was the wine, but I went for
                    it. I sang my idea for the melody and a verse and the chorus. Not long after
                    that, he came to me and said, 'Here is your song.' "

                    Also present is "The Prayer," a potent half-English, half-Italian duet with
                    opera virtuoso Bocelli. It's a song that each sang solo on the 1998
                    soundtrack to "Quest For Camelot." It's Dion's second pairing with an
                    opera master; she sang "I Hate You Then I Love You" with Pavarotti on
                    "Let's Talk About Love." That track will also appear on his upcoming live
                    "Pavarotti And Friends" video and album.

                    HOLIDAY EXPECTATIONS

                    Will it be a merry Christmas for Dion and her friends at Sony? 

                    "We think this could be one of the great holiday records of all time," says
                    Danny Yarbrough, chairman of Sony Music Distribution, who says that the
                    record will initially ship 3 million copies in the U.S. alone.

                    Certainly part of that will be a high-profile, hourlong TV special tentatively
                    scheduled to air Nov. 25 on CBS. The program will feature live
                    performances from the holiday album, as well as a number of past Dion hits.
                    The variety show is the first from a contemporary artist on a major network
                    in years.

                    And unlike most holiday packages, "These Are Special Times" contains
                    what looks to be Dion's next big single, a duet written by Grammy-winning
                    R&B/pop balladeer Kelly. "I'm Your Angel," also the lead-off single from
                    Kelly's new set, "R.," is the most restrained ballad ever released to radio by
                    either artist. It's simple and joyous in theme and melody, with a compelling
                    hook and seamless harmonies that should honor it with chart greatness.

                    CELINE SATURATION?

                    No one is more aware of the danger of Celine saturation than Angelil.

                    "I am absolutely concerned about overexposure," he says. "When we were
                    asked [by Sony] to do another album after 'Falling Into You,' that was the
                    big concern. The deal was that we would try and record an album, but if we
                    didn't think it was a great album, we wouldn't release it. Very soon into the
                    album, though, we thought it was wonderful, especially when the 'Titanic'
                    song came to us." 

                    His point is that if the material is consistent, fans will be there for it. 

                    "With Elvis Presley and the Beatles, I couldn't get enough of their records,
                    and they were always great," he says. "The Beatles were sometimes coming
                    out with two and three albums a year. Some artists come out with an album
                    every four years. That doesn't mean it's great. You always have to give the
                    public a great product."

                    The most effective way to avoid overkill is, of course, to just disappear for a
                    while. When her current tour expires at the dawn of 2000, Dion and Angelil
                    intend to make it known that her heart doesn't go on and on -- at least for
                    the following year, or maybe two or three years. 

                    "After the tour, the plan is to stop for a long, long time, for a few years," he
                    says, even using the term "semi-retirement."

                    Yes, Dion is still interested in doing an English-language film, playing a
                    secondary role to get her feet wet. 

                    "We've gotten scripts and offers and stories, but there's nothing she can
                    work on now, nothing that we can even talk about," Angelil says.

                    The couple is still intent on having a baby, too, once things slow down.

                    "That's the biggest project of them all," Angelil says, chuckling.

                    "I started working when I was 13," notes Dion, "and now I'm 30, and the
                    longest I've ever stopped is a month. I need to have a normal life for a
                    while, to spend some time with Rene while we're both young at heart. I
                    want to cook at home, to picnic, to swim in my pool. I need time to be sick
                    and time to recover, time to take a car and listen to music when I am going

                    Most of all, Dion says, she wants time for family and friends, free time for
                    the first time in her life.

                    For now, though, she plugs onward, flying from city to city, awaiting the
                    next cycle of promotion for her French album, her Christmas album, or her
                    TV special -- whatever the moment holds as a priority. 

                    "Time goes very fast," Dion says in stride. "I can't even imagine myself all the
                    things I've done in the last year."