Celine Marie Claudette Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. The youngest of 14 children of Adhemar and Therese Dion, she grew up in a close-knit musical family. Her parents formed a singing group, Dion's Family, and they toured Canada when Celine was still an infant. They later opened a piano bar, where the 5-year-old Celine would perform to the delight of customers.
At the age of 12, Celine Dion recorded a demo tape of a song she had written with her mother. They sent the tape to the manager and producer Rene Angelil, who handled the career of popular French singer Ginette Reno. After hearing the tape and inviting Dion to perform for him in person, Angelil signed her immediately under the condition that he would have complete control over her career. He mortgaged his own home to finance her debut album, La Voix du bon Dieu (The Voice of God).
By the age of 18, Dion had recorded nine French albums and won numerous Felix and Juno awards (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award). In 1988, she won the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland, and her performance was broadcast live in countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Japan. After this taste of international acclaim, she began looking to the south, and American stardom.
Dion recorded her first English language album, Unison, in 1990. Like most of her English language albums, it was a collaboration with the songwriter-arranger-musician David Foster. Driven by the Top 5 single "Where Does My Heart Beat Now," Unison sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.
Dion's real breakthrough into pop music stardom came in 1992, when she recorded the theme to Disney's hit animated feature Beauty and the Beast, a duet with Peabo Bryson. The song ("Beauty and the Beast") made it to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won both a Grammy and an Academy Award. It was featured on her second English album, Celine Dion, which became her first gold record in the United States and sold more than 12 million copies internationally. The undeniable success of her self-titled effort, also including the hit "If You Asked Me To," which made it to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart, allowed Dion to launch her first headlining tour in the United States.