DAR­ING TO BE DIF­FER­ENT,

ELLE (UK) - - Elle Collective -

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.’

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