Christine and the Queens

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Christine and the Queens
Christine and the Queens NYC 2015.jpg
Christine and the Queens performing at Webster Hall in 2015
Born
Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier

(1988-06-01) 1 June 1988 (age 32)
Nantes, France
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2010–present
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • piano
Labels
Associated acts
Websitechristineandthequeens.com

Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier (French pronunciation: ​[elɔiz adəlaid lətisje]; born 1 June 1988), professionally known as Christine and the Queens or simply Chris, is a French singer, songwriter and producer. Letissier has been signed to the independent record label Because Music since 2012.[1]

Her debut album, Chaleur humaine (2014), was named one of the best albums of the year by The Guardian,[2] The Independent,[3] Mojo,[4] and NME.[5]

In 2016, she was ranked as the most influential French person by Vanity Fair for her "radiance of French genius"[6], far ahead of the president Emmanuel Macron.

In September 2018, she released her second album, Chris, which was named "Album of the Year" by The Guardian[7] while its first single "Girlfriend" was ranked "Song of the Year" by Time.[8]

Early life[edit]

Letissier was born on 1 June 1988 in Nantes, France.[9] Her father, Georges Letissier, teaches English at the University of Nantes and specialises in Victorian era literature.[10] Her mother taught both French and Latin at a local middle school.[11] Her parents recommended writers such as Sarah Waters and Judith Butler, whose works served both as inspiration and reference in Letissier's youth.[11] Growing up, Letissier studied theatre.

Career[edit]

Letissier studied theatre at École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon), moving to Paris in 2010, where she concluded her studies. When she visited London in 2010, she was inspired by the work of local drag queen musicians, including Russella,[12][13] who accompanied her in one of their early concerts. The queens then became her "Queens" as a backing band. She dedicated many of her creations to them and to all transgender individuals, describing their genre as "freakpop".[14]

She adopted the name Christine and the Queens releasing her debut EP Miséricorde independently followed by another EP in 2012 called Mac Abbey with the minor hits "Narcissus Is Back" and "Christine". In 2012, she was the opening act for Lykke Li, The Dø and Woodkid as well as for Lilly Wood and the Prick in 2013. Her third release was an EP titled Nuit 17 à 52 which garnered her first charting on the official French Albums Chart SNEP with the help of its title track.

In 2012, Christine and the Queens won the Best Discovered Act known as Découverte du Printemps de Bourges and also the Adami Premières Francos 2012 award.[15]

The single "Tilted", translated from "Christine", was released in February 2015 in the United States as an introduction to her first English EP Saint Claude. Edited by Neon Gold Records, the band toured North America with Marina and the Diamonds as promotion for the release. The song was released in the UK in 2016 and charted on the UK Singles Chart. In 2016, Christine and the Queens put together a cover of Beyoncé's "Sorry" in the BBC Live Lounge, the cover was named as one of the "6 Best New Songs of the Week."[16]

She appeared on Jools' Annual Hootenanny on 31 December 2016 – 1 January 2017 and on The Daily Show on 12 November 2015.[17]

"iT" was used as the soundtrack for the closing scenes and credits on the episode "Old Loves" during season 5 of Girls shown on 13 March 2016.

In 2016, she was chosen as one of BBC's 100 Women.[18]

In the Season 2 finale of Better Things on the FX Network, Sam, her younger daughters, and mother recreate the video of "Tilted" as a graduation gift to oldest daughter Max. The episode aired on 16 November 2017.[19]

In 2018, she announced a new tour planned for autumn and a new album. Two versions of the first single were released: "Damn, dis-moi" (French version) and "Girlfriend" (English version) on 17 May 2018.[20][21] The album, titled Chris, was released on 21 September 2018.[22]

In 2019, Christine and the Queens headlined All Points East festival in London marking their first UK headline festival appearance.[23] The performance was well received, with The Independent giving them five stars.[24]

In May 2019, she performed during the season finale for the eleventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race held in the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.[25]

On July 17, 2019, Charli XCX released the song and video for "Gone", featuring Christine and the Queens. Pitchfork listed the song at number 4 on its list of the 100 best songs of 2019[26] and at number 145 for the 200 best songs of the 2010s.[27] The track was also shortlisted by BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac for Hottest Record of The Year, voted for by the public, and ended up scoring third place.[28]

On February 27, 2020, she released an EP, La Vita Nuova (The New Life). The EP had five tracks and one bonus track. She simultaneously released a conceptual short film, directed by their longtime collaborator Colin Solal Cardo. The film takes place at the historical Parisian landmark Palais Garnier and features Letissier and a group of dancers dancing to the songs from the EP. The video concludes with a guest appearance from featured artist Caroline Polachek.[29]

Artistry[edit]

Influences[edit]

Letissier has said that she "does not want to choose between French music and English pop music" and takes influence from both.[30] In a November 2013 interview with Brain Magazine, she cited artists David Bowie, T. Rex, Christophe, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Philip Glass as well as the Soul Train soundtracks as musical influences. She also named Michael Jackson as her favourite male singer and "either Patti Smith or Kate Bush" as her favourite female singer.[31] Other influences include Mylène Farmer,[32] Björk,[13] Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson,[33] Lou Reed, Joe Jackson, and Serge Gainsbourg.[34]

Lyrical and musical style[edit]

Letissier claims lyrics that are not immediately understandable. She explained that she enjoys "authors with difficult lyrics", such as Alain Bashung.[35] Her music has been labelled by music critics as pop,[36] synthpop,[22] electropop,[36] indie pop, experimental pop,[14] and art pop,[37] while Letissier described her own work as "freakpop".[14]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014, Letissier identified herself as pansexual.[38] Letissier is also genderqueer.[39]

Discography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ François Alvarez. "Christine and the Queens biographie". Music-story.com (in French). Archived from the original on 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ Hann, Michael (7 December 2016). "Best albums of 2016: No 8 Chaleur Humaine by Christine and the Queens". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  3. ^ "The Independent's albums of the year 2016". The Independent. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  4. ^ "MOJO's Top 50 Albums of 2016". Album of The Year. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  5. ^ Bartleet, Larry (27 November 2016). "NME's Albums Of The Year 2016". NME. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  6. ^ https://www.20minutes.fr/culture/1965395-20161121-christine-and-the-queens-francaise-plus-influente-monde-selon-vanity-fair
  7. ^ "The best albums of 2018, No 1: Christine and the Queens – Chris | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Kourles, Gia Christine, a Pop Star Who Sings With Her Muscles The New York Times. 7 October 2016
  10. ^ Letissier, Georges. "Université de Nantes – UFR Langue et Cultures Étrangères – LETISSIER Georges". Flce.univ-nantes.fr (in French). Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  11. ^ a b Snapes, Laura (4 September 2016). "Christine and the Queens: 'I just want to shatter everything'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  12. ^ Van Renterghem, Marion (23 November 2016). "Les confessions de Christine and the Queens". Vanity Fair.
  13. ^ a b Medioni, Gilles (13 February 2015). "VIDEOS. La voix royale de Christine and the Queens". L'Express.
  14. ^ a b c Christine & the Queens: "amener un peu de fantaisie ou de bizarre" dans le genre populaire (in French), Le Monde
  15. ^ "EILE Magazine July 2017 (Vol. 4 Issue 12)". Issuu. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  16. ^ "6 Best New Songs of the Week". Vulture.com. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  17. ^ "The Daily Show All Seasons". the tvdb. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  18. ^ 2016, BBC, Retrieved 24 November 2016
  19. ^ FX Networks (17 November 2017). "Better Things - Season 2 Ep. 10: The Dance Scene - FX". YouTube.
  20. ^ "Christine and the Queens : son deuxième album sortira en 2018". Chartsinfrance.net. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Christine and the Queens Announce Fall Tour". Billboard.com. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  22. ^ a b Blais-Billie, Braudie (5 July 2018). "Christine and the Queens Announces New Album Chris, Shares Song and Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Christine and the Queens will headline first festival in London next year - Gay Star News". Gay Star News. 4 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Christine and the Queens, All Points East review: A tiny tour de force - Independent". The Independent. 27 May 2019.
  25. ^ Billboard (31 May 2019). "Christine and the Queens Performs On 'Drag Race', Debuts New Song With Charli XCX: Watch". Billboard.com. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  26. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2019". Pitchfork. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  27. ^ "The 200 Best Songs of the 2010s". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  28. ^ Radio 1, B. B. C. (19 December 2019). "@charli_xcx and @queenschristine are at number 4 with their pop banger Gone! How does it feel to have one of the hottest records of the year? "I'm honoured... and I think it's accurate!" pic.twitter.com/fs9wVcqXhh". Twitter.com. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  29. ^ "Christine and the Queens Drops Surprise La Vita Nuova EP Feat. Caroline Polachek". Stereogum. 27 February 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  30. ^ "Christine and the Queens : "Je ne veux pas choisir entre chanson française et pop-music anglaise"". francetvinfo.fr. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  31. ^ "Le Sojeans questionnaire avec Christine and the Queens". brain-magazine.fr. 5 November 2013. Quelles sont tes influences musicales ? Les BO de Soul Train, Bowie et T-Rex, toute la discographie de Christophe, Kanye West et Kendrick Lamar, du contemporain (Philip Glass)... j'écoute beaucoup sans hiérarchiser. Ton chanteur préféré ? Michael Jackson. Ta chanteuse préférée ? Patti Smith ou Kate Bush.
  32. ^ "Chris(tine) évoque son admiration pour Mylène Farmer, "un personnage fascinant"". Charts in France. 22 August 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Christine and the Queens: 'I decided to stop apologising'". bbc.com. 4 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  34. ^ Tang, Estelle (8 June 2016). "The 5 Albums that Changed Christine and the Queens' Life". elle.com. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  35. ^ Clique x Chris(-tine and the Queens) (in French). 20 September 2018. J'aime les auteurs de textes rugueux, il faut venir vers le texte. Quand on pense à Alain Bashung, ses textes sont une matière poétique qui se travaille, qui se mâche et qui se réfléchit.
  36. ^ a b Collar, Matt. "Christine and the Queens Bio". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  37. ^ Snapes, Laura. "Christine and the Queens Can't Stop Googling Weird Diseases". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  38. ^ Laurent Ruquier with Natacha Polony & Aymeric Caron (14 June 2014). Christine and the Queens est pansexuelle – On n'est pas couché (in French). fr:Studio Gabriel, Paris: ONPC, France Télévisions. Christine and the Queens is pansexual
  39. ^ October 30, 2019. "Christine and the Queens Explains What It Means to Be Genderqueer" Attitude (magazine).

External links[edit]