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Following a Swiss Eurovision win: What Céline Dion did next

20 June 2024 at 14:30 CEST
With Switzerland having just earned its third Eurovision win with 'The Code' by Nemo, we look at how their previous winner capitalised on that success in the year that came afterwards - Céline Dion!

We always love to follow how our Eurovision champs fare once they go out into the world after achieving that career milestone of victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Some artists, however, make it very easy for us to follow them. In cases like Céline Dion, their star shines so brightly, they end up becoming one of the most popular recording artists and performers of all time. 

Near, far, wherever you are... You'll be familiar with the legacy of Céline Dion. We all know the iconic voice, the era-defining albums, the chart-topping hits, the box-office record tours, the Oscar-winning songs from the blockbuster films, the pioneering Las Vegas residencies and, of course, the gowns (beautiful gowns). 

But how did Céline Dion go from Eurovision Song Contest winner to all that?

Well, let's take it back to 1988 in the Irish capital, to see just how Céline Dion capitalised on those all-important 12 months after her Eurovision victory for Switzerland with Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi

This is what Céline Dion did next. 

A New Day Has Come

The result of the 33rd Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin remains to this day one of the most intensely fought, with the top of the scoreboard undergoing a drastic change while the last three sets of votes came in. It ended with Switzerland beating the previously far-in-the-lead United Kingdom by just one point. 

Despite the far from foregone conclusion, however, the wheels had already been put in motion by Team Céline pre-Contest to capitalise on the unparalleled exposure that the singer and her voice would be given at the Eurovision Song Contest on 30 April 1988. Just two days later, on 2 May, The Best of Céline Dion was released across Europe, ready for record buyers to pick up and take home when they got to the shops on Monday morning. 

With Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi as track one, the rest of the album served as an introduction for Europe to Céline, made up of highlights from her recording career to date; French-language songs that she'd already released in Canada. In the weeks following her Eurovision victory, the artist did a promotional tour of Europe for both the winning song and the Best Of album. 

Falling Into You

Despite all this new excitement surrounding her in Europe, Céline Dion had to keep the fans happy back home in her native Canada. And that meant keeping the hits coming! In June of 1988, she released Délivre-Moi, her French-language cover of the E.G. Daily hit from a couple of years previous, Love In The Shadows.

This was followed a few months later by the release of D'abord, C'est Quoi L'amour - a single that introduced her Eurovision Song Contest success to her Canadian audience. Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi was featured as the b-side to the release, and Switzerland's second Eurovision-winning song ended up becoming a radio hit for Céline Dion in Quebec. 

Back in Europe, in September of 1988, the Canadian album that those singles came from - Incognito - was repackaged, repurposed and re-released. Now featuring Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi, it gave audiences in Europe a further flavour of their reigning Eurovision 'championne'.

Only One Road

At the time of her Eurovision Song Contest win, Céline Dion was right in the middle of her second tour back home in Canada, one which lasted for almost a year and half. The Incognito Tour saw the singer perform over 80 shows across 27 cities in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. So less than a month after her Eurovision victory, Céline was back home and performing to adoring audiences again.

The gruelling tour of Canada did make another stop, however. Céline Dion was able to take the Incognito Tour to the country she had earned the Eurovision triumph for - Switzerland. On 2 May 1989, Céline performed a concert for ticket buyers at the Theatre de Beaulieu in Lausanne. It was her first concert for Swiss fans since she'd represented them with Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi

Taking Chances

With a whole new audience just opening up to her, it was time to think of making music for all of them. And after 8 albums recorded in French, Céline Dion set her sights on recording her very first album in English. 

During the conception stages of the album, which would go on to be Unison, Céline attracted the attention of the legendary American producer David Foster; an important part of her story, as he went on to produce some of her biggest global hits in later years - Because You Loved Me, The Power Of Love, Tell Him and All By Myself, are just some examples of their career-spanning collaborations. 

As well as securing David Foster for her debut English album, Céline also got to work with the British producer Christopher Neil. Christopher had very nearly competed in the Eurovision Song Contest himself as a songwriter. Back in 1973, at the United Kingdom's Song For Europe national final, Cliff Richard performed 6 songs for the British public to vote on. Christopher's composition Help It Along finished in third place, with Power To All Our Friends making it to Luxembourg '73.

Working on Céline Dion's first English-language album, one of Christopher Neil's contributions was Where Does My Heart Beat Now - a song that ended up taking Céline right back to the Eurovision Song Contest one year on from her win in Dublin...

It's All Coming Back To Me Now

On 6 May 1989, all eyes were on the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne, as Switzerland hosted the 34th Eurovision Song Contest following the country's victory one year earlier. 

Céline Dion was the artist that had made this happen, and she accepted the invitation to return to the stage 12 months on. Céline opened the 1989 Contest with the world premiere of the English-language music she'd been working on, performing the song Where Does My Heart Beat Now

Where Does My Heart Beat Now would go on to become Céline Dion's first global hit single. It also became her very first Top 10 hit in the US, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and making her the first French-Canadian artist to score a Top 10 smash in America. 

That's The Way It Is

What came next is history. With more than 250 million albums sold since, her music has earned her 5 Grammy Awards, 2 Academy Awards, the 2016 Billboard Music Award lifetime achievement Icon Award, and recognition from the 2004 World Music Awards as the best-selling female artist of all time. 

One of the highest-grossing touring artists in history, Céline Dion is also credited with revitalising the concept of the Las Vegas residency, inspiring countless other top-tier recording artists at the peak of their success to sign on for their own. 

In 2008, she was awarded the highest French order of merit - Knight of the Legion of Honour. It was given to the singer for her contribution to the influence of the French language outside of France's borders. Céline Dion remains the biggest selling French-language recording artist of all time. And at the Eurovision Song Contest, Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi is to date the last French-language song to have won.

Where Does My Heart Beat Now

35 years on from Lausanne 1989 and Céline Dion is about to open a new chapter of her legacy. The documentary film I Am: Céline Dion will be released on 25 June 2024, and has promised to offer an unprecedented insight onto the artist's life to date, her career achievements thus far, and also her battle with stiff-person syndrome. 

The singer was diagnosed with the neurological disorder in 2022, forcing her to cancel the remaining dates of a North American tour that she had been right in the middle of, and to postpone a World Tour that was planned, too. 

In recent months, however, the outlook has turned more positive, with Céline being able to go out and promote the new documentary film, stating in interviews that she will be performing for fans again soon. 

And while Switzerland was earning its first Eurovision win since Céline's victory in 1988, at the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, the legend herself was still making grand headlines elsewhere in Europe - her big comeback was the cover feature of Vogue France's May issue.




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