Although her stage name suggests a group of women, Christine and The Queens is actually a solo artist – a singer, producer, and songwriter named Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier. Her music is signed to be produced to an independent record label, The Because Music, since 2012.
In 2014, she released her first debut album called Chaleur Humaine which was hailed by The Guardian, Mojo, NME, and The Independent to be one of the best albums of the year. Her second album, entitle Chris, was released on September 2018 and was praised by The Guardian as “album of the year”. While her song, Girlfriend was recognized as the “song of the year” by Time magazine.
The Advocacy of Christine’s Music
Letissier was born to educator parents in Nantes, France on June 1, 1988. She concluded her studies in ENS Lyon in 2010 and proceeded to visit London. During her time there, she was inspired by the work of drag queen musicians like Russella, who later on accompanied her on stage in one of her concerts. The band, later on, became a permanent partner as her backing band and were nicknamed her “Queens”. Her music, which Latissier described as a genre called “freak pop”, dedicates most of its songs to transgender people everywhere. Christine, or Chris – a nickname she now prefers, was bullied in high school and responded by launching an anti-bullying campaign. She is also the kind of person that is heartbroken, gets told to get out of a theater, and created her Chris persona in order to fuel the musical creation of her dreams. Throughout her career, Letissier was under the critical eye of critics and journalists all over the world. Most of all, they criticized her appearance and speculated about her sexuality. However, she is fighting the criticism and the industry’s need to brand and label through her music.
Overcoming Stereotypes through Music
According to Letissier, she created the persona of Christine, or she became Christine in order to overcome the criticizing voices of the industry and society. She said that Christine came into being because she wanted to overcome her shame and the disappearance of who she really is under the public gaze. The process of transformation and becoming is the fuel of her music’s development.
Chris also commented that her second album was a result of her self-exploration, including her lust, personal desires, and most of all, her need to exist as someone true to herself. Although she is facing resistance in this element of her music, Chris sees it as an opportunity to improve her music even more by pushing boundaries. Christine was the balance between male and female intertwined. As an artist with a public image, Letissier struggled with her persona when she cut her hair in 2017. Most critiques argued that she might be transitioning into a man. When in fact, Chris simply identified herself as a woman with short hair and in fact, the haircut actually made her embrace her femininity more. Even though critics might criticize Christine’s physical appearance and media presence, she still focuses on creating music that encourages the freedom of self-exploration and how this process can be a liberating experience for individuals.