One of the best ways to really get to learn about a celebrity is to watch them in action when they are “off stage.”
Such was certainly the case with Celine Dion. We arrived to interview the star outside Montreal at the conclusion of a music video shoot. I watched the shoot; I watched her.
It was a long and demanding shoot for Celine. There were at least 100 people involved and watching how she interacted with them was an eye opener. Celine was patient, kind, self-deprecating and indeed funny. Even when nerves were frayed, as can happen with long days, her professionalism and generous nature shone through. I must admit, I was inspired to see that degree of genuine warmth she shared with every member of the crew.
“I still love what I do because otherwise I would not spend so much time doing it. It’s too much time consuming to not be happy doing it,” she told me in our interview. “It’s either I’m here 100 per cent knowing that my family is very safe and sound and they’re in good hands. But when I’m home I’m as intense, but as a mom and nobody can reach me. No business talk.”
Celine is now in her second run in Las Vegas, a show that is more intimate and showcases her vocal talents. Her first stint ran five years and reinvented the Vegas entertainment experience, using dozens of dancers, hundreds of costume changes and provided a Celine-Cirque de Soleil experience.
Throughout it all Celine has also shared her life -- its ups and downs -- with her fans.
“That’s a decision you make. Either you’re transparent or you’re not. I’ve decided to be an open book all my life. I grew up in a big family who we were sharing in music and stage and performance,” she said. “Once you’re a performer -- I mean, I’m talking for myself -- a lot of people are, even if they’re performers they want to try to keep their lives private. But, for me, I think it helped me a lot to share everything with the fans.”
I knew she was a superstar on stage, I know she’s a superstar within.
Shania rides into Vegas
I can draw so many similarities between Shania and Celine with regard to success but what stands out the most is how very different their lives have been. As Celine said in our interview, she is an “open book.” Shania is intensely private, and has indeed fought to protect what privacy she could find, moving to Switzerland to escape the prying eyes and cameras and the price for celebrity.
“Definitely. I think that, I cannot speak for other celebrities, but I would say that there’s certainly been a price to pay in my life for celebrity for sure. I mean, it’s so much, so fast,” Shania told me. “Celebrity is something that is a really giant, big thing that you can’t even imagine until you’re in it.”
I have interviewed Shania a few times and was always aware that she is not only private but shy.
Shania had arrived to adoring fans in Vegas on horseback. Shania, the performer was on her game. I didn’t expect that assurance later in our interview but a confident, indeed happy Shania showed up and rocked the interview. She was unexpectedly candid, and chatty. This star has come out from under the tribulations of the divorce from her former husband and manager, Mutt Lange, and has come into her own, taking control of her show and her life.
“I’m hands on, everything from what we’re wearing to the size of the -- I don’t want to give, well, I can give things away,” she said, debating with herself about how much to reveal about her new show, Shania: Still The One. “No, I’m hands on. The show really is, it’s an entire Shania experience in every way”
Shania wanted her fans to be the first to find out. She doesn’t want anyone outside of her team to hear her sing, until she takes to the stage at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas Saturday night.
As we talked, her husband Fred watched from the hall and was overheard to say, “Let the interview go longer, Shania is enjoying herself.”
Shania is indeed enjoying herself, enjoying her marriage, her comeback, and her life once again. She is Still The One.