Christine and the Queens - Chris for short - is the stage name of Héloïse Letissier (born 1 June 1988), a French singer-songwriter. He describes his own music as "freakpop", taking inspiration from disco, funk and French and English pop music, all seasoned with a generous dose of Gender Bending.
The "Queens" part of his name comes from the London drag scene in which he had his career start, with drag queen musicians often backing him up on stage in early performances. After a number of EPs and singles, he released his debut album Chaleur humaine in 2014 to critical acclaim and commercial success. He was awarded the Victoire de la Musique (France's equivalent of the Grammy Awards) in 2015 for Best Female Artist of the Year, and when the album was re-recorded in English and released in 2016, it was featured on several end-of-year lists including NME and Rough Trade.
At the start of his second album cycle, he adopted an even more androgynous look and started going by the name Chris, to appear "bolder, stronger and more muscular". His next effort, likewise titled Chris, was received even better than his debut. The following year he headlined the All Points East festival in London with an acclaimed performance, his first time as headliner of an UK music festival, and he also performed during the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race season 11, making his stage name go full circle. His most recent endeavour, an EP titled La vita nuova, was released in 2020 with an accompanying conceptual short film.
He was named by Vanity Fair as the most influential French person of 2016, for his artistry and "radiance of French genius"note . The following year he appeared on the cover of Time as one of the ten leaders of the next generation, and Forbes selected him as one of the "30 under 30" in Europe. He identifies as pansexual and genderqueer. As of his most recent record, Redcar les adorables étoiles, Chris uses he/him pronouns.
- Miséricorde EP (2011)
- Mac Abbey EP (2012)
- Nuit 17 à 52 EP (2013)
- Chaleur humainenote (2014)
- "Saint Claude" single/EP (2014)
- Intranquillité EP (2015)
- Chris (2018)
- La vita nuovanote EP (2020)
- La vita nuova : séquences 2 et 3 vinyl-only EP (2020)
- Redcar les adorables étoilesnote (2022)
Christine and the Queens' music provides examples of the following tropes:
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Most of the time his songs are written in the French language first (where the accent usually falls on the end of a word) and are later adapted into English without altering the melody, so it may result in this trope. An example, with "Girlfriend":Girlfriend, don't feel like a girlFRIEND
But lover, damn, I'd be your loVER
- Artist and the Band: "The Queens" refer to drag queens who would perform for him during the start of his career. Despite changing their moniker to Chris in 2018, his following releases were still credited to Christine and the Queens.
- Bilingual Bonus: He sometimes mixes French and English in a single song: "Doesn't Matter (Voleur de soleil)" is primarily in French but the refrains are in English, while "People, I've Been Sad" goes French for the second verse and the bridge.
- Bishōnen: He looked good since early on, frequently wearing suits. Two examples: one from the Chaleur humaine era, and a Prince and Michael Jackson-inspired look◊ from the "La vita nuova" video.
- Either/Or Title: From Chris, "Damn (What Must a Woman Do)", "Doesn't Matter (Voleur de soleil)"meaning and "L'étranger (Voleur d'eau)"meaning ; from La vita nuova, "Mountains (We Met)".
- Excited Show Title!: "Goya ! Soda !"
- Gratuitous Italian: In "Science fiction" and "La vita nuova".
- Hotter and Sexier: Deliberately invoked with Chris, which borrows its sound from 80s R&B and dance music and more erotic subject matter (the video for "5 dollars" features him as an S&M gigolo). His look also changed, becoming more muscular after years of touring and dancing, with his stage outfits featuring loose clothing and bare chests inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet.
- Important Haircut: He cut his hair short for a more androgynous style starting from the Chris era.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: It may happen in his English songs, since he retains a thick French accent and he frequently drops French words or switches freely between the two languages.
- Literary Allusion Title: La vita nuova takes its title from Dante's Vita Nuova.
- Meaningful Rename: For his second album, he truncated his stage name just to "Chris", even appearing on some posters as "Christ̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶Q̶u̶e̶e̶n̶s̶". Since then, he uses both the full and the shortened names as alternates.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Faun in La vita nuova and Chris at the end.
- Red Is Heroic: Invoked for Redcar les adorables étoiles. His new persona, Redcar, wears a black suit with a red tie and single red glove, and on stage he performs with a giant red statue of the archangel Michael.
- Repeated for Emphasis: Done dramatically in "People, I've Been Sad", where Letissier repeats the last few words of most lines at the end of the line.
- Scenery Porn: La vita nuova takes place all over the magnificent Palais Garnier, Paris' most famous opera house, starting from the roof and concluding in the dancers' foyer-turned-discothèque.
- Self-Titled Album: Chris.
- The first US release of Chaleur humaine was retitled Christine and the Queens.
- Tomboyish Name: His alternate stage name Chris is a deliberate example.
- Translated Cover Version: He often releases two versions of the same song, one in French and one in English. Except for two tracks (replaced by an English-language original), Chris was fully re-recorded in English for the international release.
- Vocal Evolution: Starting with Chris he switches to a lower singing voice, with less belting and more staccato.