People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Exclusive

Lea Michele Calls Céline Dion an ‘Inspiration’: ‘She Lost the Love of Her Life and Holds Herself with Such Poise’

Updated

Art imitates life, and Lea Michele admits her musical inspirations serve as personal ones, too.

On her new album Places, the Broadway veteran returns to her theatrical roots. And Michele, 30, says she looked to her own idols when it came time to record and write the LP, on which she showcases her powerhouse pipes.

“I’ve really embraced my sound with this record and my roots of being a theatrical performer and my influences of Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion,” says the actress, whose voice has often been compared to those divas’.

But to Michele, the comparisons were just that: They motivated her, but she by no means felt pressure to measure up to their success.

Kevin Mazur/BBMA2017/Getty

“Those women were just sources of inspiration for me, nothing that I felt like I ever had to live up to — but they were incredible inspirations,” Michele says.

In addition to their angelic voices, Michele — whose Glee costar and boyfriend Cory Monteith died tragically in 2013 — can relate to Dion on another level.

“I look at someone like Céline and how she has held herself with such dignity and respect,” Michele says of Dion, whose husband René Angélil died of cancer in January 2016. “She just lost the love of her life, and she holds herself with such poise; and she’s taking care of her voice and trying to stay true to herself. I adore her. And obviously Barbra Streisand — they’ve always been these role models for me growing up, and it made me work harder and take better care of myself to just be the best that I can be.”

Watch the full episode on Lea Michele, streaming now on People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, Xfinity, iOS and Android devices.

For more on Lea Michele and her new album Places, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere now.

On her personal new album, Michele sings of love, loss and perseverance. And the lyrics of one standout track, “Hey You,” read like a letter to the late Monteith. While Michele prefers not to discuss the meaning behind that particular song, she admits that “songwriting is a form of therapy” and “despite it being about a more sensitive subject matter, when I listen to it, my overall feeling that I get from it is just joy and love.”