A new segment that showcases unheard talents, CelebMix is releasing two articles per week highlighting some of the best musicians on the planet. These artists may be known to some, however, we believe they should be known by all!
If you missed our first article in the series about U.S. singer-songwriter BANKS, then click here to find out about the artist. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for future articles, as you will soon find yourself a new favorite musician! Without further ado, introducing Christine and The Queens.
Christine and The Queens
Héloïse Letissier, more commonly known by her stage name Christine and The Queens, is a French singer-songwriter. The 28-year-old star has been one of France’s most popular musicians in recent years and is now looking to dominate charts elsewhere across the globe.
After a visit to London in 2010, Letissier was inspired by local drag queens, whom inspired ‘the Queens’, an imaginary backing band. The French star became entwined into their culture and lifestyle, creating music that she described as “freakpop”. From this, spawned several EP’s, of which achieved minimum success in her native country. A ‘Best Discovered Act’ win in 2012 and the release of her debut album ‘Chaleur Humaine’ catapulted the musician into homes across the country. The first charting single entitled ‘Nuit 17 à 52’ hit No. 75 on the French Singles Chart, with an accompanied video praised by critics. The video explores Letissier’s journey in discovering herself as pansexual. She plays a number of characters throughout the video, both men and women, which is shot in black and white in a hotel room.
The album ‘Chaluer Humaine’, is a rich and rewarding album that achieved mainstream success in France, landing at No. 2 on the French Albums Chart. With two wins at the 2015 Victoires de la musique, which is the French equivalent to the Grammy Awards, it isn’t surprising that Letissier became a national treasure within the space of five years. The album captivated the entire country, as the artist’s endless fascination and provocative performances of synth-pop hits caught the attention of global critics and stars. Perhaps the biggest star to discover Christine and The Queens was in fact the ‘Queen of Pop’ herself, Madonna. The French artist opened for the 58-year-old icon in Paris on the European leg of her ‘Rebel Heart’ worldwide tour in 2015, perhaps achieving one of pop’s greatest honors early on in her career.
In 2016, Letissier released Chaleur Humaine in the UK. The album features re-recorded tracks that have been translated into English, along with original French hits and new tracks. The album only managed to reach No. 132 in its first week of release in Britain, however, after a performance on The Graham Norton Show and at Glastonbury Festival, the album shot to No. 2 on the UK Album Chart, its highest position to date. Many critics rated the album five stars, with Laura Snapes writing for Pitchfork:
“Chaleur Humaine translates as ‘human warmth’, and the album makes good on that intimacy. You get the sense of Letissier guarding her own precious, burgeoning fire, and inviting listeners to share in its glow.”
Many discuss the album as an extension on queer identity and non-binary sexual orientation, with opening track ‘iT’ featuring a prominent lyric, “I’m a man now and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” While others purely think that the album is a collection of beautifully written pop music, with outstanding electronics, subtle hints of R&B and hip-hop to please all music lovers. ‘Paradis Perdus’, which mixes a song by French singer Christophe and Kanye West’s ‘Heartless’, flows perfectly in such a way, you would think it was an original song.
The highest charting single from the album in the UK, ‘Tilted’, previously ‘Christine’ on the original album, was named one of the ten best songs of 2015 by Time magazine. The song uses innocent imagery as a catch for whatever listeners may be feeling depressed and insecure about, before asking them to embrace it and move forward. The video, which features Christine standing on a box as herself and background dancers follow choreography, of which fits perfectly with the lyrics. The blue background of the video portrays a gloomy atmosphere, however, the choreographed dancing lifts the mood, working with the lyrics of the song to provide listeners with an upbeat and personal message of perseverance.
“I can’t really sing this song without dancing now because my feet just have to do the same thing as the words. It’s really a song that exists with this choreography, and I love doing it because, again, it’s about really dancing on my problem. It felt good.” Letissier declares in an interview with Time magazine.
The 28-year-old artist is a glowing light in a dull world of repetitive pop music, describing herself as “a flower, fighting the wind.” It is clear to us here at CelebMix that Christine and The Queens is not just this. She’s a unique, rare artist that has the power to redefine the industry in which she works. Christine and The Queens is fighting her way to the top of the global pop world, where she well and truly belongs.
Do you listen to any unknown/rising musicians from across the world that deserve more praise for their work? Let us know by tweeting @CelebMix on Twitter and your favorite artists could be featured next!