Wednesday 3 July 2019
French pop heroine creates pop that transcends gender, international borders and musical categories

Héloïse Letissier. Lovely name, right? Like it’s destined for greatness. Well, she’s already a star. And she’s bringing her queens for a grandiose show.

Christine and the Queens is modern pop with elements of electro-pop, sometimes built on subtle hip-hop beats, but in truth Christine/Héloïse/her majesty is genre-defying. She’s just plain awesome in her own downplayed style.

Making full use of video, performance and not least choreography – hence her dancing Queens – Héloïse is a true artist with a powerful voice, a clever songwriter who may reference royalty but represents the people. She has called her own music freak pop, wanting to give a voice to society’s marginalised groups.

Her debut album Chaleur Humaine first made it big in her native France before the world demanded a re-release. And what a success. In the UK, the album became the biggest-selling debut in 2016.

Her second album is entitled Chris – a personal rebranding of sorts. Gone are her long locks, she exudes masculine energy and blurs, or even transcends, genders. On her single “Girlfriend”, she sings “Yes sir, I am wet” and welcomes to a non-binary lust fest with slithering keytar from Cali synth scientist Dâm-Funk (do catch the striking video). The album is double, with an English and a French version, each with its own merits. Throughout you can hear echoes of 80s heroes like Prince, Michael Jackson and especially Madonna. The latter is a fan of Christine and The Queens.

Héloïse Letissier’s brand of seduction is cerebral and sly, subverting gender normativity and pop culture imperialism (go France!) simultaneously.