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Making Celine Dion Cry: How Ken Ehrlich Impacted Her Performance

Chanteuse trusted Ken Ehrlich to take her outside her comfort zone

Celine Dion Ken Ehrlich
John Shearer/WireImage

“My favorite moment working with Ken Ehrlich,” says Celine Dion, “was when he invited me to participate in a Grammy Nominations TV special and he wanted me to sing ‘At Seventeen,’ the Janis Ian song for which she won a Grammy in 1976.”

Ehrlich told Dion he’d always imagined her doing that song, and suggested she sing it in a simple setting, with her band onstage. “I ended up loving that song so much that I recorded it for my next album, and I also included it in my Las Vegas show,” she says. “I’m very glad that I trusted in Ken’s creativity.”

Dion and Ehrlich have worked together many times now, including on her Las Vegas shows, and he has been able to persuade her to go outside her comfort zone. Dion likes to include a song in her native French in her Vegas shows, and during rehearsals for the 2011 iteration of her Las Vegas show, Ehrlich suggested “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (Don’t Leave Me), which was a hit for Jacques Brel.

“I didn’t want to do that song,” she recalls. “It was so intense and emotional that I didn’t feel comfortable … it made me cry to sing it.” But when she tried the number in rehearsal, she says, “everybody was really moved.”

So she put “Ne Me Quitte Pas” in the show. “I cried almost every night while singing it,” she says, “but the audiences loved it, even if they didn’t understand the words. So I’m glad Ken was persistent. And that’s what I like about Ken. He’s always got great ideas. And new ideas.”