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A Tale As Old As Time: Chris Montan On Finding Celine Dion

D23 gave us a little-known story of how music producer Chris Montan got Celine Dion on board for Beauty and the Beast.

D23 Expo is the ultimate Disney fan event, and for good reason. The Expo features panels, conversations, presentations, and talks from some of the most exciting people in the Disney universe today. This morning, the Expo featured the Disney Legends Awards ceremony. It inducted new honorees into the revered group, and part of this group were music producer and new Disney Legend Chris Montan and Imagineer and Disney Legend Doris Hardoon.

chris montan and doris hardoon at d23

Chris Montan and Doris Hardoon at D23/ D23/YouTube

Chris Montan was called a hidden gem and is the mind behind a lot of Disney fans’ favorite music, from the classic Disney films all the way to the ones we sing along to today. Montan has worked on MulanBeauty and the BeastFrozen, and many, many more. He’s worked with composer Alan Menken, another mind behind many fan favorites today.

After the Disney Legends Award ceremony conducted in Hall D23 this morning, Chris Montan and Doris Hardoon sat down and shared some of the wisdom they’ve gained from working at The Walt Disney Company for years at the Legends in Conversation panel at D23. In this set of stories was Montan’s recounting of how he found Celine Dion for Beauty and the Beast.

Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson/Songfacts/YouTube

Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson/Songfacts/YouTube

Montan talked about how they sat down with the song Beauty and the Beast and tried to work out which singer they wanted for the performance. A friend played him a track of Celine Dion, who at the time “was a young 20-something who had maybe one hit in America.”

Montan got on the phone and immediately spoke with the team saying, “I have someone for this song, but she isn’t famous like you probably want.” However, the choice panned out, and the song put both Celine Dion on the map and Disney music on the map as well.

Per Montan, the song showed that “[Disney] could make hits out of [their] ballads.”

chris montan d23

Chris Montan at D23/ D23/YouTube

And of course, Chris Montan said, the song went from being a Disney ballad to becoming “the most performed song in America.” It also then paved the way for “A Whole New World” the following year to win the awards and recognition it did.

Montan continued later on in the conversation, talking about his musical journey. He said,

“When I was young, I loved music and it came to me very naturally. Then the Beatles hit and that was kind of a lightning rod.”

The conversation even featured some choice tidbits from Chris Montan and featured some wonderful behind-the-scenes stories from Hercules and the song “Go The Distance.”

While Chris Montan and Doris Hardoon were the only Disney Legends at this panel, many others were honored with the award as well including Patrick Dempsey, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, and many more Disney stalwarts.

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to report on all D23 news as it comes to light.

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