Inside Celine Dion and John Farnham’s unexpected 6-year-long friendship.

I expected a lot of things from Céline Dion's new documentary I Am: Céline Dion

To hear her greatest hits? Check. To witness the biggest powerhouse voice in human history? Check, check. To cry... a lot? Check, check, check.

But what I didn't expect was for Australia's own John Farnham to be featured so damn much.  

The new Prime Video documentary explores the rise of one of this generation's greatest performers and shines a confronting — albeit important — light on her hidden suffering, as her Stiff Person Syndrome symptoms have worsened in recent years.

Watch the trailer for I Am: Céline Dion. Post continues after video.

Video via Prime Video.

The 'My Heart Will Go On' singer speaks candidly about how her singing ability has suffered as a consequence of her illness and in one part of the documentary, she shares her thoughts on Farnham, joking that she envies people with more grit to their voices — unlike her classically trained vocals.

She then watches a video of Farnham singing a cover of The Beatles' 'Help' from 1987. "The keyboard, the sleeveless shirt, I mean, at one point, you know, sometimes I wish I could just be rock'n'roll, [a] playing guitar guy," Dion says.

Céline Dion and John Farnham's unexpected friendship.

Farnham became internationally renowned in the '80s as the frontman of Little River Band before he achieved a whole new level of success as a solo artist, releasing iconic tunes like 'You're The Voice', 'Age of Reason' and 'Chain Reaction'.


Dion reflected on the first time she heard Farnham sing. "I heard John Farnham and I was flipping because the power [of his voice] broke our radio," she said.

John Farnham performs at the 30th Annual ARIA Awards 2016. Image: Getty.

Dion fell for Farnham more than 20 years before after hearing him sing 'You're the Voice'. 

"It was so powerful, his voice was incredible, so emotional," Dion says in her interview. "I wanted to include that song [in my tour] so bad."


Dion managed to add 'You're The Voice' to her Australian set list and then had a surprise cameo from the man himself.

"Where can I sing that song? Aha! You want me to be in Australia? You're gonna hear me sing that song. But never, I thought, that I was going to sing it with him," she beamed.

Farnham and Dion met for the first time in 2018 during the Aussie leg of her Asia, Australia and New Zealand tour. Their meeting was aired on The Project. Farnham thanked Dion for saying he was a 'good singer', but she turned to him and earnestly replied: "You're not a good singer. You are the voice."

Watch the moment they met for the first time. Post continues after video.

Video via The Project.

Then during one Melbourne show, she brought Farnham out on stage as a surprise guest at Rod Laver Arena, the pair performing a duet of the hit.

"I've wanted to sing John Farnham's 'You're the Voice' on my tours for so many years, and it's been so great to finally do it on this tour," Dion wrote on Instagram at the time.

"I still can't believe that I got to perform it with the one-and-only John Farnham! I will never forget this, the thrill of a lifetime. John, thank you for your incredible talent, you're amazing. I love you!"


This isn't the first time Dion has raved about Farnham. She's previously spoken about the moment she became a fan on an Australian radio station. "My parents and all my siblings… they were my first inspiration, whatever they were listening to," Dion told Alan Jones on Sydney radio 2GB in 2019.

"From Janis Joplin to Stevie Wonder to Creedance, Doobie Brothers… John Farnham for example." 

A year on from their iconic performance, she was still thrilled that she got the opportunity to perform with him. "Oh my God, I just love him so much," she said. "Dream come true meeting with him."

Dion appeared in a tribute to the singer for the documentary John Farnham: Finding the Voice, which was filmed and subsequently featured in her documentary, too. In a recent interview with Sunrise, Dion spoke about how both singers had health concerns of late, which has impeded their ability to perform.

Farnham was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2022; four months later, Dion revealed that she had Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare autoimmune neurological disease that affects muscles and coordination.

"It's prophetic that I performed '[You're] the Voice' with him, then I lost my voice," Dion said.

"I tell you that, when I'm back on stage and I sing 'Help', it will be for you, John, for sure. Thank you for that gift."

Stream I Am: Céline Dion on Prime Video from 5pm, Tuesday June 25, 2024.

Feature image: YouTube.

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