Celine Dion Celine Dion

Canadian singer Celine Dion will release today her first album produced without direct input from her longtime manager and husband Rene Angelil, who died in January. Dion has sold more than 220 million albums worldwide since 1981 when Angelil discovered her powerful voice and helped a young girl to launch one of the most successful music careers ever. After guiding Dion’s career for more than a decade as her manager, Angelil married her in 1994 when she was 26.

Dion’s latest album, “Encore Un Soir” (“Another Night”), is her first in French in four years. It is due to be followed up in 2017 by another in English that includes a track called “Recovering” written by US singer-songwriter Pink. “I’m already starting to work on an English album,” Dion told US television show Entertainment Tonight (ET) last month. Over the summer, she went on a whirlwind tour of France and the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, where she was born, that included nine sold-out shows at the Bercy arena in Paris and a dozen performances in Quebec to promote the new album.

Combining piano ballads, pop-rock guitar riffs and even hip-hop rhythms, “Encore Un Soir” explores Dion’s loss through lyrics about bereavement, the strength of family and the joys of living. Dion wrote and recorded the title track with longtime collaborator Jean-Jacques Goldman one month after Angelil died on January 14 from throat cancer at age 73.The ballad, which the pop diva dedicated to her late husband, was released in May. In it, she reflects on a good life, but bemoans how fleeting it is. “Celine voluntarily chose uplifting themes that focused on life and positivity,” her Sony Music label said in a statement.

‘The show must go on’

Six weeks after Angelil’s passing, Dion had returned to her residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, in keeping with his wishes. In an interview with ABC television’s “Good Morning America,” Dion said that she thought of her late husband when singing “The Show Must Go On.” She said that in their last conversation, she told him not to be concerned about her or their three children. “I started to talk to him and I said, you know what, I want you to just go in peace,” she said.

“I want you to not worry.” Dion’s brother Daniel died of the same type of cancer two days later. Several big names in French music, including singer-songwriters Francis Cabrel and Serge Lama, slam poet Grand Corps Malade, and Jacques Veneruso-whose 2012 song “Talk to My Father” became Dion’s longest-charting single in France-as well as Algerian R&B singer Zaho collaborated with her on the new album. Dion also recorded a cover of Quebec music icon Robert Charlebois’s “Ordinary,” delving into her Quebec heritage. And, one track on the album was chosen from 4,000 submissions she received last year from fans after Dion made a public plea for new song suggestions. It was written by Quebec actor Daniel Picard, who has lent his voice to the popular video game franchise Assassin’s Creed. — AFP