DARING TO BE DIFFERENT,
THESE THREE WOMEN DEFINE POP’S SPIRITED NEW MOMENT. THIS IS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MUSICIANS THE CONVERSATION: ‘I’m often lost in my dreams,’ says 28-year-old Héloïse Letissier talking about her breakout album Chaleur Humaine, which translates into English as ‘human warmth’. ‘When I was young, I would write all the time,’ she says. ‘Novels, plays, and poems. It’s like a disease – my life is filled with fantasies and I have to write them all down.’
After a bad break-up in 2010, she came to London and inspired by a troop of drag queens she met at Soho nightclub Madame Jojo’s, she dreamed up the alter ego she now performs as: Christine And The Queens. ‘Christine was me wanting to break free. I was tired of being prissy, and shrinking, and apologising all of the time, so I created a character that could be daring for me.’ The Queens are her imaginary back-up drag dancers.
Back home, in France, Héloïse is already a huge deal. She’s spent most of the last two years in the top 40 of the country’s music charts, where Chaleur Humaine is already seven-times platinum. It was only this year when she brought out a translated English version of the album, and then won over a rained-on Glastonbury crowd with a magical acrobatic performance, that she became big here. Her sound mixes synth-filled electro productions with distinctive icy vocals, but what really sets her apart is her dancing style that crosses voguing with Michael Jackson moonwalking. ‘I call it a project more than an album because for me everything – the dancing, the performance, and the music – is linked.’
At the core of the music is Héloïse’s relationship with her sexuality. Identifying as pansexual, she rejects the stereotypes around femininity. ‘Before I created Christine, I was actually really girly. Maybe I was trying to hide something but I was trying too hard to be a girl and I didn’t know what it meant. I was afraid of being myself.’ One aspect vital for the creation of Christine was her style; her stage looks all centre around sharp tailoring. ‘Clothing is so closely related to how you present yourself to the world. Suits are now for me these neutral clothes – they can be feminine and sexy, but also really macho.’ Next, Héloïse will disappear to make the new album. ‘I’m ready to work on some new music. I want to plot who the next Christine will be.’