Christine and the Queens
Christine and the Queens
Christine and the Queens at performing at Southside Festival in 2019
Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier
1 June 1988
Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier (French pronunciation: [elɔiz adəlaid lətisje]; born 1 June 1988), performing first as Christine and the Queens, then from 2018 as Chris, is a French singer, songwriter and producer.
In 2016, she was ranked number 1 in Vanity Fair's list of the most powerful and influential French people (far ahead of the president of France), who noticed her "radiance of French genius" . In 2017, she was chosen as the headline for Time's list of the 10 leaders of the next generation, in addition to Forbes ranking her one of the most influential and talented people under 30 in the same year.
In 2020, she, in reaction to her mother's death, released an EP called La Vita Nuova, coupled with a short film shot at the famed Opéra Garnier. Its first single "People, I've Been Sad" was named "Song of the Year" by Time.
Letissier was born on 1 June 1988 in Nantes, France. Her father, Georges Letissier, teaches English at the University of Nantes and specialises in Victorian era literature. Her late mother taught both French and Latin at a local middle school. Her parents recommended writers such as Sarah Waters and Judith Butler, whose works served both as inspiration and reference in Letissier's youth. Growing up, Letissier studied theatre.
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, 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".
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.
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."
"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 the season two 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.
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. The album, titled Chris, was released on 21 September 2018.
In 2019, Christine and the Queens headlined All Points East festival in London marking their first UK headline festival appearance. The performance was well received, with The Independent giving them five stars.
On 17 July 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 and at number 145 for the 200 best songs of the 2010s. 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.
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.
Letissier has said that she "does not want to choose between French music and English pop music" and takes influence from both. 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. Other influences include Mylène Farmer, Björk, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson, Lou Reed, Joe Jackson, and Serge Gainsbourg.
Lyrical and musical style
Letissier claims lyrics that are not immediately understandable. She explained that she enjoys "authors with difficult lyrics", such as Alain Bashung. Her music has been labelled by music critics as pop, synthpop, electropop, indie pop, experimental pop, and art pop, while Letissier described her own work as "freakpop".
Private life and inspirations
In March 2015, Letissier told the Terrafemina magazine that she defines herself as pansexual. She said of the London drag clubs: "These drag artists have become my friends, they've inspired my creativity. They gave me the idea of creating a character, inventing another silhouette, another way of being in this world. Before it was a musical project, Christine was for me the answer to how to live properly. The Queens in Christine and the Queens is my tribute to them. Without the queens, I wouldn't be here".
- Cragg, Michael. "Christine and the Queens: 'I've just discovered sex, I can't stop yet!'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- 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.
- "The Independent's albums of the year 2016". The Independent. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- "MOJO's Top 50 Albums of 2016". Album of The Year. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- Bartleet, Larry (27 November 2016). "NME's Albums Of The Year 2016". NME. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- "The best albums of 2018, No 1: Christine and the Queens – Chris". The Guardian. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
- "These Are the Best Songs of 2018". TIME. 17 November 2018. Archived from the original on 17 November 2018.
- "Et la Française la plus influente du monde est..." 20 minutes (in French). 21 November 2016.
- Jouin-Claude, Allyson (8 October 2016). "Christine & The Queens célébrée par le prestigieux Time". Le Figaro (in French).
- "30 Under 30 Europe 2017: Entertainment". Forbes.
- Bruner, Raisa; Chow, Andrew R. (7 June 2020). "The Best Songs of 2020 So Far". TIME.
- Kourles, Gia (7 October 2016). "Christine, a Pop Star Who Sings With Her Muscles". The New York Times.
- "Personnel de l'université – Letissier Georges". Université de Nantes – UFR Langue et Cultures Étrangères (in French). Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Snapes, Laura (4 September 2016). "Christine and the Queens: 'I just want to shatter everything'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Van Renterghem, Marion (23 November 2016). "Les confessions de Christine and the Queens". Vanity Fair.
- Medioni, Gilles (13 February 2015). "Videos: La voix royale de Christine and the Queens". L'Express (in French).
- Lecolant, Mathilde (20 July 2013). "Christine & the Queens: "amener un peu de fantaisie ou de bizarre" dans le genre populaire". Le Monde (in French).
- Reynolds, Lisa (July 2017). "Chaleur humaine by Christine and the Queens". EILE Magazine. Vol. 4 no. 12. pp. 22–25. Retrieved 13 April 2020 – via Issuu.
- "6 Best New Songs of the Week". Vulture.com. 13 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "The Daily Show All Seasons". the tvdb. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
- "BBC 100 Women 2016: Who is on the list?". BBC News. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- FX Networks (17 November 2017). "Better Things - Season 2 Ep. 10: The Dance Scene - FX". YouTube.
- "Christine and the Queens : son deuxième album sortira en 2018". Chartsinfrance.net. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- Daramola, Israel (23 April 2018). "Christine and the Queens Announce Fall Tour". Billboard. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- Blais-Billie, Braudie (5 July 2018). "Christine and the Queens Announces New Album Chris, Shares Song and Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
- "Christine and the Queens will headline first festival in London next year". Gay Star News. 4 December 2018.
- Pollard, Alexandra (27 May 2019). "Christine and the Queens, All Points East review: A tiny tour de force". The Independent.
- "Christine and the Queens Performs On 'Drag Race', Debuts New Song With Charli XCX: Watch". Billboard. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
- "The 100 Best Songs of 2019". Pitchfork. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
- "The 200 Best Songs of the 2010s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- BBC Radio 1 [@bbcr1] (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" (Tweet). Retrieved 20 December 2019 – via Twitter.
- "Christine and the Queens Drops Surprise La Vita Nuova EP Feat. Caroline Polachek". Stereogum. 27 February 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
- "Christine and the Queens : "Je ne veux pas choisir entre chanson française et pop-music anglaise"". FranceTVinfo (in French). 26 June 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- "Le Sojeans questionnaire avec Christine and the Queens". Brain-magazine (in French). 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.
- "Chris(tine) évoque son admiration pour Mylène Farmer, "un personnage fascinant"". Charts in France (in French). 22 August 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- "Christine and the Queens: 'I decided to stop apologising'". BBC News. 4 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- Tang, Estelle (8 June 2016). "The 5 Albums that Changed Christine and the Queens' Life". Elle. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- 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.
- Collar, Matt. "Christine and the Queens Bio". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Snapes, Laura. "Christine and the Queens Can't Stop Googling Weird Diseases". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Redon, Sarah (23 March 2015). "Christine and the Queens : "Je suis bisexuelle"". Elle (in French). Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- "Christine and the Queens Explains What It Means to Be Genderqueer". Attitude. 30 October 2019.
- Alvarez, François. "Christine and the Queens biographie". Music-story.com (in French). Archived from the original on 28 October 2014.
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