Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Get to know dapper French pop star Christine and the Queens
Christine and the Queens
Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Get to know dapper French pop star Christine and the Queens

Why you need to know rising synth-pop singer Christine and the Queens before she takes over the U.S.

By Ro S

What do three drag queens, Madonna, and Michael Jackson have in common? This primer on French popstar Christine and the Queens should let you know. The debonair chanteuse adds an imported French touch to this week's list of concerts in NYC as she makes her second stop in the city—so before you check out the Webster Hall show on Wednesday, November 11, read up a little background on the Euro pop monarch.

This is only her second time in NYC, but Christine and the Queens is megafamous in Europe.
As her androgynous alter ego Christine and the Queens, French synth-popper Héloïse Letissier is just starting to build buzz in the states. Back home, though, the singer’s eccentric pop stardom has sold out stadiums and won her two Victoires de la Musique awards (the French equivalent of a Grammy)—enough to warrant the attention of Neon Gold Records, which earlier this year signed her to its roster that has included the likes of indie heros Vampire Weekend and Haim.

Her moniker holds a unique mythology.
Rejecting her birth name, Letissier even has friends call her Christine. The identity acrobatics come from her history in a theater program at the Conservatoire de Paris, which she left in 2010 to move to London. While hanging out in gay club Madame Jojo’s, the broken-hearted dropout Letissier met three drag queens who inspired her to reinvent her character and launch a musical career (hence the “Queens” honorific). She released her debut, Chaleur Humaine, in June 2014.

She has fans in high places.
Letissier counts some big names among her devotees. How big? How about the empress of pop herself, Madonna? Madge pulled her levitating Grammy performance directly from the cover art of Letissier’s new EP, Saint Claude. The single release also piqued the interest of both producer Mark Ronson and pop princess Lorde, who lauds the song as a new favorite.

Her style is queerly transgressive.
Letissier dons a black suit and wields a characteristic swagger onstage, flexing biceps and zigzagging through spastic choreography while teasing the crowd with winks. It’s a performance that has earned her a reputation as the female Michael Jackson in France. Though the singer delves into masculine aesthetics and proudly proclaims, “I am a man now!” she shies away from labeling her gender-defying persona as “drag king.” Whatever she calls it, consider us courted.

Christine and the Queens plays Webster Hall on Wednesday, November 11, at 8pm.

Listen to Christine and the Queens


    You may also like