I feel like we’ve got a solid one to three new artists we get really excited about per month these days. This month, the one we can’t stop playing in the studio is French artist, Christine and the Queens.
The solo project of Nantes-born Héloïse Letissier, Christine and the Queens has already enjoyed popular success in Letissier’s native France, winning this year’s French Grammy-equivalent Victoires de La Musique awards for Best Female Artist and Video of the Year. Now she’s getting high praise from the likes of Madonna, Mark Ronson, and Lorde, who says of her song “Saint Claude”, “It’s got this beautiful music video, it’s really simple, the melodies are transcendent. I love it.”
Letissier’s songs are largely synth-based, vocal forward pop ballads—nothing out of the ordinary on paper. But both the song-writing and execution of Christine and the Queens’ music are astounding. The title track of her Saint Claude EP—which we featured on our April mixtape—moves elegantly between a word-packed, minimally orchestrated, French lyric verse and beautifully sweeping English chorus that moves me every time I hear it. And the English re-working of her French hit, “Christine”—renamed “Tilted” on the US EP—stands out as a breathily sung, slow-burn pop gem that churns along as its subtly catchy chorus and French rap break sneak their way into your subconscious.
Letissier’s cited London’s drag movement as a source of inspiration for both the band’s name and her on-stage persona, telling the Guardian she befriended a trio of singing drag queens when living abroad in 2010. “They convinced me to attempt singing. They were my Queens,” she told the news agency, “they had an incredible freedom and they showed me there is no need to check yourself because of other people.”
Christine and the Queens plays sold out shows in Los Angeles (tomorrow), San Francisco, San Diego, and New York’s Le Poisson Rouge (next Tuesday), but, as of writing, tickets are still available for her show at the Westery in the West Village next Thursday. You can listen to her track “Titled” and see the video for “Saint Claude” below.
Buy her EP—out today in the States—via iTunes and stay tuned for more dates state-side—we predict big things.
Photo by Jeff Hahn.