Celine Dion, Rene-Charles' mother, recorded an album with original songs, associated with a collection of pictures by Anne Geddes, the famous Australian photographer of babies. The CD and the book are for parents who love to sing lullabies to their children. In an unprecedented professional collaboration, these two extraordinary talents combine their unique gifts to create an exceptional combination of music and images, the Miracle project. The album releases on October 12, 2004.
I've always been a huge fan of Anne Geddes. Long before I became a mother, I admired and appreciated the beautiful way she photographs babies. It's wonderful to be able to work with her on this very special project which celebrates children. - Celine Dion
The song If I Could was originally recorded by Ray Charles on his My World album in 1993. Barbra Streisand also included the song on her Higher Ground album in 1997.
A duet of this song between Celine and Andrea Boccelli appears on Celine's These Are Special Times and The Collector's Series Vol. 1 as well as Andrea Bocelli's Sogno.
At last, for the album Miracle, Celine Dion recorded a new studio version of this song in solo then entitled A mother's prayer.
Peter, Paul and Mary originally performed this song in 1965. This classic Ewen MacColl ballad became a No.1 hit for Roberta Flack in 1972. David Foster's sensitive production and orchestration frame one of Celine's finest vocal performances.
"(...) She fine-tuned her craft so well that when she sent her song Come to me (co-written by fellow Canuck Thomas Wade) to Foster for a listen, he asked if he could pass it on to Celine Dion.
'Right now she's cutting it for her new lullaby album. I can't do any better than that,' Mahood tells Sun Country..."
Here is an extract of his interview from the Sunday Times in August 2004 :
"(...) For the next half-hour, Foster has his elbows resting against the mixing board, eyes closed, his nose buried into the speakers. He is listening to a new arrangement of Celine Dion singing John Lennon's Beautiful Boy. Again and again the chorus is played. Foster closes his eyes. The vocal washes over him. When the track stops he says, almost unconsciously: 'There's a steel drum lick in the middle of the last chorus...' "
The idea of the musical theme was born on March 17, 2002, during a TV special where Jean-Jacques Goldman was invited. He performed there his lively folk dance Tournent les violons ; the host, then asked him,
Flavie Flament : If you would have to write for Celine again and with a lively folk dance, which one would it be?
Jean-Jacques Goldman : Every dance...
Celine Dion : This one, I would like to have it!
JJG : Well, ok, we will do a three-time dance... This one was a tarentella...
FF : So, the appointment is arranged!
CD : I love this! Yes! (laugh)
"Each new life is truly a miracle," comments Anne. "I photograph babies to portray and promote the absolute promise of a newborn, the powerful potential of a child to be an extraordinary human being. It is both a pleasure and a privilege to create the Miracle project with Celine, whose vocal artistry completely captures our shared love for children. Together we are creating a truly unique and special concept."
"By mixing those two elements, Celine adds, I think we'll give a shape to what we name 'The power of love' ".
Both artists agree, "Miracle comes straight from our hearts."
Photographer Anne Geddes is internationally renowned. She was best-seller with Down in the Garden, published in 1996 and 1997 in New York Times. Her award-winning photographs of babies have been published in more than 50 countries. Her books have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and been translated into 16 languages.
A Miracle in the making...
From November 2003 to January 2004, Anne were very busy to complete the photography of all the flower elements for Miracle and to finalize the book design.
It was a busy time for Anne during the first two weeks of February 2004. Beautiful babies and Céline Dion were the focal point of a very successful photo shoot in Las Vegas.
From the fourth week of March 2004, Celine Dion is in the recording studio to work on the Miracle project.
In March - April 2004, Anne has now selected all the images and text for the book and also the song selection for the CD has been made with Céline recording final tracks in a studio in Las Vegas.
The book translations are being completed and once these are finalized, the book will be sent for scanning and pre-production checks. Everyone is very excited with what has been created and there is an air of anticipation preceding the actual printing in early June.
The DVD of the making of the book is also nearing completion and this particular product will give a real insight to the behind the scenes aspects of this fantastic, unique project. The DVD will also be a feature inclusion in the book along with Celine's CD.
All those who have seen and heard what has been produced so far are very excited with comments ranging from:
"Absolutely stunning and brilliant work!" to "Anne's photography coupled with Celine's magical voice is simply overwhelming."
Anne is now working on the Miracle song video and this is due for recording in late June.
In May - July 2004, Miracle, the book is completed and is now being printed. The orders for the book from the world market are very encouraging, making this the largest initial order for any of our titles. Printing is expected to take two months working seven days a week. The CD of Celine's songs is finished and the music is superb. Comments from all who have heard the tracks have been fantastic and have brought tears to some due to the quality of Celine's beautiful voice and the sentiment of the lyrics.
The accompanying DVD, of the making of the book, is also completed and gives a real insight into «the behind the scenes» of this magical project.
Anne has commenced work on the direction of the music video for Miracle, the title track, and has spent the last week in Sydney, Australia working with her editing team. This video is expected to be completed by the last week in July.
With the initial orders, the book, even before release is earmarked for a best seller status and due to the inclusion of the CD, the music is destined to rate high in the music charts, a normal position for Celine's music, this all before a page is seen or a song heard.
Truly a Miracle in the making!
In July - August 2004, the initial order of Miracle books is on the way, packed into a large number of containers sailing to various destinations around the world to be ready for distribution for the October launch.
Celine’s CDs are about to be packaged and sent as well for the same date.
Planning is on track for the promotions surrounding the launch.
In September 2004, only one month to go until the worldwide release of Miracle. It's all getting very exciting!
To celebrate the release, Anne has personally signed 100 copies of a very special "Signed Launch Edition" of Miracle which is available to pre-order as well as the Miracle book and a 2004 Miracle Calendar and Datebook Set. Both books contain the making-of-the book DVD and Celine Dion's new Miracle 2004 CD.
The books, CDs and DVDs have arrived at their destinations all over the world and are now waiting to be delivered to the shops, unpacked and displayed ready for sale on October 12, 2004. There's still a lot of work being done behind the scenes such as promotional material, printing brochures and the creation of a Miracle website.
Interview with Anne Geddes and Celine Dion
Q: Please talk about the Miracle project and how your collaboration began.
Anne: I first met Celine several years ago, when she was incredibly kind to an eight-year-old girl whom my husband and I were very close to, who has since died of cancer. Celine and I discovered that we have common values, and we both cherish the love that can be expressed in families. Our friendship grew, and we began to talk about how much we would enjoy working together.
Celine: I think it was meant to be. In my career, which really means my life, I had reached the point where I wanted to add a performance element that would complement my music. The Miracle lullabies and love songs, combined with Anne's images of these beautiful babies, is a unique project that means a great deal to us.
Anne: The combination is a perfect blend. We believe that each new life is truly a miracle. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to create Miracle with Celine, whose vocal artistry completely captures our shared love for children.
Q: In what ways did the Miracle project differ from your other work?
Anne: Initially, I was nervous about the shoots with Celine. On the first day, I couldn't help thinking, 'she's an adult,' and taking photographs of adults and designing attire for them is not really my line of work. Of course, it all fell into place beautifully.
Before the shoot, I told Celine what I tell everybody who's posing with the babies, 'This is not going to be like your normal work day, or any other photographic session you have encountered. You will get wet, and unexpected things will happen,' and she said, 'Stop, stop, nothing will be a problem.' She was right; nothing was a problem with Celine.
Celine: I'd been enjoying Anne's work for so many years, through her numerous books, calendars, her baby clothing lineâ€¦and now we've had this wonderful time of being together and discovering a bit more of each other...
Anne: There are so few people who could come into this project and embrace the whole experience. I think Celine is a person with a very big heart, and with a lot of empathy for newborns. It is so plainly visible in the imagery.
Q: Celine, how did you feel about your work as a model in Anne's images?
Celine: I never previewed the images during the shoots because I wanted to discover the magic and the miracle when Anne had completed all her creative work. I had total confidence in Anne. I know she's the best at what she does. I wanted to give her the time to achieve her vision.
Anne: Celine has such a presence, a strong female aura. There is a photograph of her with a lotus flower that I just adore; she is so intense, feminine, and proud with the child. Through all the required set ups, including more than a hundred newborns, she remained completely poised, sensitive to the infants, and full of humor, which touched us all. At every step of the process, Celine was fantastic. (To Celine) Everyone relaxed as soon as you came in and started singing to the babies. I never had to worry about you.
Celine: Just as I told you not to worry once I started on my turn, bringing you into my recording studio, and asking you to sing; you could just trust me.
Anne: I had to politely decline your offer because I couldn't wait to get home to select the images for the book.
Celine: And I went to the recording studio because I couldn't wait to sing those love songs, which became part of the Miracle project.
Q: Celine, tell us about selecting the songs for the Miracle CD.
Celine: I have to say that another thing that was meant to be is the song, "Who Could Ever Love You More?" that was written for me by the incredible songwriter, Linda Thompson. It was supposed to be on my most recent English recording, but it didn't make it for whatever reason, and was perfect for this project. For the CD, we re-titled it "Miracle" because of the miracle of new life.
Anne: I've listened to it countless times... it's always brand new and gorgeous. (To Celine) It could be something to do with your voice.
Celine: The other pieces we recorded have special meaning to me, and address the deep and universal connection between a mother and child. We chose the other songs, including a favorite lullaby, for the Miracle CD because they express this bond of love so eloquently.
Q: How do you convince new mothers, sometimes first-time mothers, to allow you to work with their child?
Anne: Truly, the parents select me. I owe a huge amount of gratitude to the parents of every baby in Miracle, who so willingly entrusted their tiny newborns to Celine and me. I feel very honored. It's an incredible responsibility; each baby is a totally vulnerable human being. People are aware of what I do and what I am about. They come because they trust me, and Celine was an added bonus. No one outside my studio team knew she was part of the shoot.
Celine: The parents are also fragile; all their emotions from seeing their baby for the first time just a few days or weeks ago, it's all right there.
Q: Anne, is it true that many mothers were surprised you were personally involved with their babies, changing diapers?
Anne: Babies keep me real. I've changed thousands of diapers. I love to see little naked newborns; they're just so divine.
Celine: I think people are surprised because you could easily be concentrating on the technical aspects of the shoot, positioning the babies, and asking your studio team to do this and place that. I feel the moms and dads are very impressed that you talk to them and cuddle their babies. You pose their infants, whisper sweet words to them, and then you change their diaper. The shoot becomes more than your work, because you care so much.
Q: What would you like people to take from Miracle?
Anne: Miracle is my way of sharing the great sense of joy these babies give me, and the awareness of the wonderful potential of each child. All of these babies that Celine has posed with, in truth, all babies, are so very precious, so valuable and deserving of all the loving care and respect we can give them.
Celine: It's very moving, when you hold an infant and are so close to purity. The best thing to do is enfold them in your arms and show the world that, this is the only thing that matters.