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Image / Editorial

This Week We’re Falling Hard For Christine And The Queens


by Lauren Heskin
22nd Jun 2016

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: H?lo?se Letissier of Christine and the Queens attends the 2015 DVF Awards at United Nations on April 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

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Did anyone else see Christine and the Queens on Graham Norton last Friday?

The musical acts are always decent on Graham, as is the Hollywood talent but we must admit, we’ll often only tune into the first minute or so of the performance and use the next few precious minutes to’make tea before the Big Red Chair.

But last Friday night French musician and badass dancer Christine and the Queens was so mesmerizing we completely forgot about the A-list?Ghostbusters: Hollywood’s Attempt at Feminism?couch sitting just off stage. And as soon as she finished we rewound and gawped all over again.

Her slick dance moves, unusual staging, and totally fresh sound had us seriously fangirling. How can someone look and sound so new in an industry that has proven the surest way to top the charts (and get hit with the inevitable plagiarism suit) is with a tune that sounds like everything that’s gone before? Check it out for yourself…

So here is what you need to know about the French powerhouse before she goes apocalyptic:

She’s relatively new to music …

In 2010, Christine, then known as?H?lo’se Letissier, was studying theatre in Lyon. She had always been fascinated by drag and a visit to a London drag club sprung about a series of friendships and the inspiration to get into music, and so Christine and the Queens was born. She signed to a record label in 2012 and?her debut album?Chaleur humaine? was released in 2014. Last year, she translated a number of her songs into English, including the new hit “Tilted”, for a US-released EP. A performance on?Later… with Jules Holland in April launched her from French singer/songwriter to international ‘freakpop’ (her own description of the genre) sensation.

She took her inspiration from drag queens …

The Queens in her stage name are a dedication to the drag queens she met in London who encouraged her to channel her abundant creative talents into musical performance. She considers ‘Christine’ her own version of a drag character, telling The Irish Times?that Christine is about “turning every scar into jewels or taking shame and turning it into something glorious or turning pain into power. It’s what I love about the drag scene and how the performers are inspired by their experiences to create something you can laugh with or play with or cry with.” She also considers Christine to be genderless, wanting the audience to focus on the voice and moving form, rather than the female figure.

2016 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 1 - Day 1
Christine and the Queens performing at Coachella 2016

She thinks Louis C.K. would be the best person to portray her in a movie …

Harper’s Bazaar asked her who she would like to play her in a movie. Her response? “Maybe Louis C.K. I think he would just nail the part.” How deadly an answer is that?!

She has the best imaginary dinner parties …

In the same interview, she describes her dream dinner party guests as Rihanna, Lena Dunham, the Internet and Cate Blanchett. “I wouldn’t dare say anything. I would just serve the food and watch. I’m a really bad cook, though, so I would just have really weird overcooked pasta?and everyone would probably leave early.”

She likes the shape-shifting nature of using multiple languages in her music …

French is her first language but she likes the idea of combining languages in her music. “It’s like picking up two different instruments. English is more naive and direct and I haven’t mastered it completely… With French, I have every possible tool at my disposal and that’s completely different. I’m writing new songs now and I’m playing with Spanish lyrics, even though I haven’t mastered the language fully. The voices don’t sound the same either because it’s a different way of articulating, which is intriguing to me.”

As a woman she feels she must always justify the extent of her creativeness …

When TIME asked if she’s put off working with male producers as there’s a tendency to then credit them with the work, she eloquently summarises?the struggle between wanting to work with the best and being given creative due credit. “The real fight is for the girls to not have to explain what they did or did not do…?Kanye West is never questioned as an artist and is working with, like, 10 producers at the same time … [but] I will have to justify everything”. That’s despite the fact that she creates all her own songs, including the beat and?baseline before heading into the studio.

Check out Christine and the Queens’ live cover of “Pump It Up”, below, and catch her playing at Longitude, Sunday, July 17th.

Thank you, Graham!