Christine and the Queens

Family tree of Christine and the Queens

Singer & Musician

FrenchBorn Héloïse LETISSIER

French singer, songwriter, and record producer

Born on June 1, 1988 in Nantes, Loire-Atlantique , France (33 years)

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Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier (French: [elɔiz adəlaid lətisje]; born 1 June 1988), known professionally as Christine and the Queens or occasionally simply Chris, is a French singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in Nantes, she started learning piano at the age of four and found inspiration in one of London's clubs while studying. Christine released a series of extended plays throughout 2011 – 2013.
Her debut album, Chaleur humaine (2014), received critical acclaim, reached number 2 on both French and UK charts, and was certified diamond in France; it was also a best selling debut record in the United Kingdom. In 2018, she released her second album, Chris, to further critical acclaim. It was ranked album of the year by Clash, The Guardian, and The Independent, and placed in top-ten of nine other year-end lists. "Girlfriend" was recognized by Time as song of the year. In reaction to her mother's death, Christine released in 2020 an EP La Vita Nuova, with some critics calling it her strongest work up to that point. Time again named her song, "People, I've Been Sad", the song of the year.
In 2016, Christine was ranked number 1 in Vanity Fair's list of most powerful and influential French people who “promote French genius”, ahead of the country's president. The next year, Forbes placed her on its list of 30 most influential and talented people under 30, and Time included her on its list of next generation leaders twice – in 2016 and 2018. Her accolades include four Victories of Music awarded by French Ministry of Culture.
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Early life
Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier was born on 1 June 1988 in Nantes, France. Her father, Georges Letissier, taught English literature at the University of Nantes and specialises in Victorian era literature. Her mother, Martine Letissier, taught both French and Latin at a local middle school. She began learning to play the piano at the age of four, learned classical dance at five, and then modern-jazz. Her parents recommended to her writers such as Sarah Waters and Judith Butler, whose works served both as inspiration and reference in Letissier's youth. She attended Lycée Clemenceau learning theatre and then Lycée Fénelon secondary school in Paris learning literature. She later studied at the Department of Arts of École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon) and also studied drama at the Lyon Regional Conservatory (fr).In 2010, Letissier had to leave the theater conservatory, as she was depressed after a romantic break-up. She made a trip to London and was inspired by the work of local drag queen musicians, including Russella, at the Soho’s nightclub Madame Jojo's. The queens then became 'the Queens' in her stage name as a tribute. As soon as she returned to France, she left the ENSL grande école in the middle of the second year to devote herself fully to the musical project now called "Christine and the Queens". She dedicated many of her creations to them, and to all transgender individuals, describing her genre as "freakpop".


Career


2010–2013: EP releases and early live appearances
Christine and the Queens gave her first recital at a small Lyon club in 2010. She released her debut extended play, Miséricorde, in 2011, with Marc Lumbroso (Jean-Jacques Goldman's producer). Her second EP, titled Mac Abbey, followed in 2012, with minor hits "Narcissus Is Back" and "Cripple". The same year, she was the opening act for Lykke Li, The Dø, and Woodkid. Christine won the Best Discovered Act award, known as "Découverte", at the Printemps de Bourges music festival and also won the "Première Francos" award at the Les Francofolies de La Rochelle festival. Then she signed with the independent label Because Music.In 2013, Christine was the opening act for Lilly Wood and the Prick and Gaëtan Roussel. On 3 June, she released the single, and also an EP of the same name, titled "Nuit 17 à 52", which garnered her first charting on the official French SNEP albums chart. The song was the first single of her forthcoming studio album.


2014–2017: Christine and the Queens

Christine and the Queens' debut album, Chaleur humaine, was first released in France on 2 June 2014. She was almost the sole writer and producer; the track "Paradis perdus" is a cover of a 1973 French song. Besides "Nuit 17 à 52", three singles were released: "Saint Claude", "Christine", and "Paradis Perdus". "Christine" is the French version of "Cripple" earlier released in 2012. After the album reached number 2 on the French chart and was certified diamond there, Christine toured France.For the American market, the single "Tilted", English version of "Cripple"/"Christine", was released on 3 March 2015 under the Neon Gold Records label. Christine then toured in the US for promotion with Marina and the Diamonds. Exclusively for this market, Saint Claude EP was released on 14 April, including five songs from Chaleur humaine in English versions. On 16 October, the full album, entitled Christine and the Queens, was released via Because Music. Many tracks were reworked with English lyrics and revamped beats by producer Ash Workman. Two tracks were replaced with three new songs, and two of these new songs were collaborations – "Jonathan" with Perfume Genius, and "No Harm Is Done" with rapper Tunji Ige. These two new collaborations were released as additional singles, the latter on 11 September, and the former on 16 October. On 11 November, Christine was warmly received in her first performance in large venue, the Webster Hall, New York; the next day, she appeared on The Daily Show. In 2015 top-ten lists by Time, "Tilted" was included as one of best songs of the year. Pitchfork listed the song in its 2010 best-of, "defining tracks of the decade" list at number 106. At the end of the year, she was back home, and, on 10 December, Madonna invited Christine to dance with her on stage during her concert at the Bercy Arena, Paris.

In the United Kingdom, "Tilted" was released on 15 January 2016 and peaked at number 20 on the UK Singles chart. An English version of the album was released there on 26 February, under the original French title. The record received universal critical acclaim. In April, Christine performed for the first time, and twice, at the Coachella festival. In May, she was added to the BBC Radio 1 main rotation playlist, and on 17 June, she appeared on The Graham Norton Show. The Guardian called her performance at the Glastonbury Festival on 24 June, the day after the Brexit vote, one of the festival's "unequivocal highlights" and later described it as "career-launching". Chaleur humaine reached number 2 on the UK Albums chart in July and was the best selling debut album of 2016 there. It was featured on some year-end lists and ranked 3rd by NME and 8th by The Guardian, among other accolades. In the decade-end 'top albums of the 2010s' listings, the record was ranked #40 by The Independent and #81 by NME. In September, she put together a cover of Beyoncé's "Sorry" in the BBC Live Lounge; for arrangement and rendition she was included in the "6 Best New Songs of the Week" list by Vulture. The same month, when she was performing at the Camden Roundhouse, Elton John sang "Tilted" with her on stage; he had earlier bought her French album and praised her greatly. In November, she performed in London, Manchester, and Glasgow, selling 16,000 seats in a few hours each time. In October, she was chosen as one of BBC's 100 Women. She appeared twice on the Jools' Annual Hootenanny show, on 31 December, and on 1 January 2017.
Having toured intensively during 2014-16, she stopped at the end of 2016, saying later, "I didn’t want to burn out on the first [album]".The song "iT" was featured on the television series Girls in the closing scenes and credits of the series 5th season's episode "Old Loves", which aired on 13 March 2016. The single "Tilted" was used in the season 2 finale of the Better Things series, its characters recreating the song's video as a graduation gift; this episode aired on 16 November 2017.


2018–2019: Chris

For her second studio album, Christine and the Queens had early sessions with both Mark Ronson and Damon Albarn, but eventually decided to work alone, with Cole M.G.N. as co-producer on some tracks. "Confident in her decision to go it alone, she cut her hair short and started again as Chris. 'I wanted to risk it all,' she said, smiling." In April 2018, she announced a tour across North America and Europe, planned for the autumn. In July, Christine also announced details of an upcoming album titled Chris. It was preceded by the release of two singles, each in an English and French version: "Girlfriend"/"Damn, dis-moi" on 17 May, and "Doesn't Matter"/"Doesn't Matter (Voleur de soleil)" on 5 July. Later, she also released the singles: English-language "5 Dollars" on 16 August, and French-language "La Marcheuse" on 23 August.
Chris was released on 21 September 2018 and received universal critical acclaim. Allmusic editors summarized: "the singer/songwriter's triumphant second album borrows from '80s R&B and questions gender roles, engaging minds, hearts, and bodies along the way." Robert Steiner of The Boston Globe called the album "a refreshing, empowering record" and complimented its "stellar production and contagiously danceable jams", as well as Letissier's "engrossing lyricism". Although he felt that the album "loses steam" in its second half, Steiner named "The Walker" as a highlight for its "poignant" portrayal of a victim of domestic violence. Chris peaked at number 2 on the French and at #3 on the UK chart. The record featured at the top of many year-end best-of lists, ranked number one by Clash, The Guardian, and The Independent, and placed in the top-five of five other lists, for a total of 12 positions in top-ten. "Girlfriend" was named song of the year by Time . In the 'top pop albums of the 2010s' listings, Chris was ranked #15 by Consequence, ahead of Rihanna's Anti and Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next, and #24 by Paste, ahead of Lady Gaga's Born This Way and Adele's 25.

In May 2019, Christine performed during the season finale for the eleventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race held at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. The same month, she headlined the All Points East festival in London, marking her first UK headline festival appearance. Her performance was well received; The Independent gave the concert five stars, calling it "a tiny tour de force".On 17 July, Charli XCX released the single "Gone" alongside the music video, a joint effort with Christine, which they debuted earlier together at the end of May during the Primavera Sound festival. The track was shortlisted by BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac for the Hottest Record of The Year, voted for by the public, and finished in third position. Pitchfork listed the song at number four on its list of 2019's 100 best songs and at number 145 for the 200 best songs of the 2010s. In September, the duo performed the song again at the Electric Picnic festival, on The Jonathan Ross Show to promote the release of Charli XCX's album, and on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.


2020–present: La vita nuova

On 5 February 2020, Christine released "People, I've Been Sad", the first single from her forthcoming extended play. La Vita Nuova ('The New Life'), containing five tracks and one bonus track, was released on 27 February. Again, she was the sole writer, with Ash Workman as co-producer. The singer simultaneously released a conceptual short film directed by her longtime collaborator Colin Solal Cardo. It takes place at the famed historical Paris landmark Palais Garnier, features Christine and a group of dancers dancing to the songs from the EP, and concludes with a guest appearance from featured artist Caroline Polachek. The EP was met with widespread critical acclaim upon its release. NME 's El Hunt gave a rave review, summarizing; "conceptually, ‘La Vita Nuova’ is an astonishing feat – but even better than that, it also oozes an intensity of feeling that punches right in the gut." Variety called the EP "arguably [her] best work to date". "People, I've Been Sad" was recognized by Time as song of the year and also placed in the top-three of year-end critics' lists by NPR, Pitchfork, and The Guardian. The short film was included in Pitchfork's list of "The 20 Best Music Videos of 2020"; Ryan Dombal wrote: "this is art-pop cinema that’s both steeped in history and gloriously unafraid to blaze its own way." There were two additional singles from La Vita Nuova released, "I Disappear In Your Arms" on 8 June and "La vita nuova" on 14 August.
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Christine was one of the most active musicians in the livestream performance space, sharing a series of theatrical performances on Instagram. Also, in April, she contributed to Lady Gaga’s ‘One World: Together At Home’ event, and in May, she performed "People, I've Been Sad" via livestream from her Parisian home for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In June, the singer performed "I Disappear In Your Arms", recorded in an empty music venue, on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, and then "La Vita Nuova", filmed inside the empty Grand Palais, on Global Citizen's 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' virtual benefit concert.On 2 July, she debuted "Eyes of a Child", a track created for the second season of the Amazon Prime Video series Hanna (the single was earlier released to streaming platforms on 25 February).An EP with remixes of the "La Vita Nuova" track featuring Caroline Polachek was released on 28 August.On 25 November, Christine released the single "3Sex" (with Indochine), "a synth-pop dance reworking of Indochine’s French new wave cut ‘3e sexe’, which was originally released in 1985."In April 2020, she said that for her third album she is "looking for something very vast and hopeful".


Artistry


Lyrical and musical style
Christine and the Queens prefers 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 she described her own work as "freakpop".


Influences
Letissier emphasized the importance of her experience with Madame Jojo's drag club in London: "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".She also said, "[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 such as Christophe, David Bowie (especially his Ziggy Stardust character), Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Philip Glass, T. Rex as well as the Soul Train soundtracks as her 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 Björk, Beyoncé, Daniel Balavoine, Fever Ray, Frank Ocean, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Mylène Farmer, Joe Jackson, Lou Reed, and Serge Gainsbourg.


Personal life
Christine is pansexual. In an October 2019 interview with the magazine Attitude, she explained that she is genderqueer.


Discography

Chaleur humaine (2014)
Chris (2018)Christine and the Queens has been signed to the independent record label Because Music since 2012.


Awards and nominations


See also

List of French singers
List of French singer-songwriters


References


External links
Official website
Christine and the Queens – Because Music
Christine and the Queens – Discogs



Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0


 

Geographical origins

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