Il Divo have enjoyed more than 15 years in the limelight thanks to their classical covers of some of the biggest hits in musical history, but it was their first meeting with legendary singer Celine Dion that has remained a highlight to this day.
Singing foursome Urs Buhler, Carlos Marín, David Miller and Sebastien Izambard joined forces with the singer in 2005 on stunning duet ‘I Believe in You’ (‘Je crois en toi’), giving them the rare chance to speak to Celine off stage and see what she’s really like away from the camera.
However, it was her chemistry with late husband Rene that stood out more than anything.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, Sebastien praised her “amazing” attitude and said having the chance to perform with her – having grown up in France admiring her work himself – is a memory that will stay with him forever.
“It was amazing. I’m French and I have grown up with her music, with her singing, and it was a really amazing experience as a singer to be able to perform with such a star,” he said.
“She was super lovely, super nice. I remember we met her with her husband back then, before he sadly passed away, and they were lovely people. Very easy to interact with. She was always singing and just a happy person to be around. She’s so professional and so effortless when she sings.”
Rene tragically died in 2016 after battling throat cancer, with Celine remaining his most loyal carer throughout his final years.
Praising the singer for how she has converted her grief over his death into more beautiful music, Sebastien added: “I think it’s amazing how she overcome the loss of her husband and to get back on stage like that. That shows real strength. I find that incredible.”
It’s something Il Divo have taken onboard themselves, and when asked how they deal with difficult times in their own lives when they’re away from home on tour, Carlos explained their fans help them through.
“Being in a band, sometimes you have difficult moments, but when you’re on tour you can show the audience you’re real,” he said.
“You can feel a bit down or jet-lagged or whatever, but when you’re on stage as soon as you perform, you have this love from the audience. Suddenly everything goes away.”
It comes just months after Celine opened up on her wish for her husband Rene’s “agony” to end following his long cancer battle, and said she feels him with her all the time, two years after his death.
Speaking about her grief following his death, she said on The Project: “For three years my husband did not have a sip of water, or any food, he ate through a tube. The only think I hoped during his three years of agony was, I wanted him to live in peace. I wanted him to feel so light, and no worries.”
She explained he eventually had a “little heart attack”, and he didn’t end up feeling anything. “I thought that he was liberated from his pain,” she added.
Il Divo recently released their new album Timeless and hit son ‘Hola’, a cover of Adele’s ‘Hello’. They’re set to tour Australia in October this year. To buy tickets, visit ticketek here.