LOS ANGELES — While bidding farewell to Las Vegas following a 16-year residency at Caesars Palace, Celine Dion places a bedazzled baseball cap on her head with “Boss” written across the top.
“Since my husband passed away, I’ve taken on the rest of the package deal,” says Dion, who just turned 51. “I’m not playing the boss. I am the boss.”
And she’s making moves. Three years after losing husband and manager Réne Angélil to cancer, Dion is calling the shots in a new chapter of life, which includes an upcoming album “Courage” and a tour hitting 50 North American cities starting in September.
Dion talked with USA TODAY backstage at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel about running her music empire, avoiding wardrobe malfunctions and if a Deadpool costume could end up on her new tour.
‘Time for a change’: Celine Dion announces new tour, album 3 years after husband’s death
Question: You were just on stage announcing your tour, and impressively, you’ve already had a wardrobe change for this interview. Will there be many wardrobe changes on the tour?
Celine Dion: You bet. I won’t say how many. But come. And then you can count.
Q: But more than two changes?
Dion: I’m saying four or five. There’s a balance. You don’t want to constantly leave the stage. You want to be with the crowd. They also love the drama, the changes. But it needs to be quick. That’s why my team is the best in the world. We are practicing to a tee. Wardrobe malfunctions, technical problems, we don’t have those things. And if the show doesn’t start on time, it’s me. It’s just because I’m late.
Q: Speaking of wardrobe, I love your “Ashes” video with Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. Now that is a tough outfit. Was it funny to watch?
Dion: What about me?! I’m in heels all day long. With my bras and the tight stuff and that dress. Come on.
Q: Good point. May I suggest a comfort upgrade? Might you wear a Deadpool outfit on tour?
Dion: I can definitely rock that. You just gave me an idea. How much you want for that?
Q: How did you celebrate your birthday last week?
Dion: I said to everybody, a couple of months before, ‘Listen to me. I want nothing. No party. Today is my day. I want to be in my pajamas. I want to take as long as I want to sip my coffee. I want to be with my kids.’
And I decided I am not going to be 51. I’m now (starting over as) one-year-old. So I pushed that chapter of 50 pages behind me. So I’m one-year-old. I’m starting again.
Q: Naming the tour “Courage” is striking. Is that reflection of your past, such as dealing with your loss three years ago?
Dion: It’s there. It’s part of me. It’s part of my luggage. It is part of the transition. I don’t want that luggage to be heavy. I want that luggage to be giving me strength and courage and passion. I’m now part of production meetings, and bringing ideas. Before, Réne took the meetings. To protect me. ‘You sing the best you can and go rest.’ But it’s so fun. I’m discovering this. To be part of bringing ideas to the table. Whether they are good or not.
Q: How do you like being the boss?
Dion: It’s good because these people have been with me and Réne forever. I know I can trust them. What if I had to start all over again and be the boss and find new people? Oh my gosh. No. I’m embracing this.
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