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Pop Star Moms Say Stints In Sin City Bring Stability
CTV News
July 24, 2011

TORONTO — When most people think of Las Vegas, they see a haven for bleary-eyed gamblers, rampaging bachelor parties and all-night adventures. But for pop stars raising families, Sin City is about something else entirely: stability.

Celine Dion is ensconced in a residency in Vegas while her compatriot Shania Twain is preparing to join her on the Strip. And many female stars say that setting up shop in Vegas is a perfect way to perform for your fans while maintaining a secure family life for your kids.

"It's a wonderful gig for a stay-at-home mom," Vegas resident Marie Osmond said in a recent interview in Toronto. "I mean, you can't beat it. I think that's probably a lot of the allure to women who have families.
"You know, you have a consistent job, you go to work at night, your children have a wonderful life. They can go to school and have their sports. They're not on the road with you. "

And the majestic Vegas hotels and casinos that keep luring talent westward ensure that the transition is comfortable.

Twain, who is raising her nine-year-old son Eja with new husband Frederic Thiebaud, will begin a two-year Vegas jaunt on Dec. 1, 2012, with 60 shows per year to be performed at Caesars Palace.

Dion previously completed a five-year stint in 2007 and began a fresh three-year residency in March. She and husband Rene Angelil have a burgeoning brood to care for -- three sons, including twins who are still months shy of their first birthdays.

So it makes sense, then, that the promise of a family friendly lifestyle was a big part of the pitch when Caesars first approached the performers.

When wooing Dion, the luxurious hotel provided a house for her family, said Caesars Entertainment's citywide entertainment director Carlos Reynoso. Reynoso said that other standard-issue perks for their headlining talent include car service, butlers (or any other staff needed) and accommodation for nannies.

"We do everything," Reynoso said in a telephone interview. "We make it as comfortable for them as possible."

And that is, of course, a stark contrast to the realities of the road.

Even for artists of Twain or Dion's stature, touring can be a drag. There are the sleepless nights traipsing around airports, the daily challenges of performing in an unfamiliar environment and the endless rotation of foreign hotel beds -- furnished though they may be with Egyptian cotton and three-figure thread counts.

But beyond those inconveniences, the bigger problem is that such musical treks are not at all child-friendly.

That's the predicament that three-time Juno-nominated Toronto chanteuse Amy Sky has grappled with.

She's currently working on a new record, her first CD of all-new material in over 10 years. Why the lengthy hiatus? Well, Sky decided years ago to take an extended break from touring so she could spend as much time as possible with her two children before they grew and flew the coop.

And since new CDs don't tend to sell particularly well without the backing of a major tour, she had to take a break from recording, too.
But Sky said that dragging her kids on the road with her simply wasn't a viable option.

"Very, very rarely would I take my kids with me," she said in a telephone interview this week. "They have lives, they don't want to be out there. It's not fun or glamorous for them to be on the road -- it's boring, you know?"

"And absolutely, that's why (Dion and Twain) are parked there in Vegas. You know, let their fans come to them. It's a great idea. Maybe I should do that," she adds with a laugh.

Osmond, meanwhile, has raised eight children and does regularly travel with her kids -- when she has to travel, that is.

She has put down roots in Vegas. She recently played a series of shows in Toronto and immediately headed back to her Nevada home, where she's lived for two years now, and where her sons play lacrosse (she insists the sport is "huge" there).

"It's kind of hard for the kids to really get involved and have their friends and things like that when you're always doing those types of things," explained Osmond, who has a regular gig performing with brother Donny at the Flamingo.

"It's a nice life for them."

Some younger artists, however, wouldn't dream of forsaking the road for an extended engagement in one place.

Vancouver's Michael Buble, for instance, says it's vital for him to travel directly to his fans, whether they're in a major metropolis or tucked away in rural Idaho.

"Vegas is an awesome place if it's a stop on your tour, but if your tour begins and ends in Vegas, you're hooped," the three-time Grammy winner said in a recent online chat with his fans.

"Sorry Celine."

Reynoso, unsurprisingly, doesn't see it that way.

While an extended stint in Sin City isn't the same as meeting fans where they live, he notes that music lovers from all over are drawn to the city's starry-eyed glamour.

"At the end of the day, Las Vegas is a destination market," he said.
"It's a win-win situation. Not only do you get to see one of your favourite iconic stars, you also get to play in Las Vegas."




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