Héloïse Letissier (aka Christine and the Queens) is a pansexual, alt-pop singer from France who last year got spanked by Madonna in front of 20,000 adoring fans. And if that’s not unusual enough for you, she’s probably the first person in history to have to leave Paris in order to find inspiration.
“Paris is sometimes stiff and in London you have a great cultural mix,” she says of her escape in 2010. “I ended up at [scuzzy London club] Madame Jojo’s and met some drag queens. It couldn’t have happened back home.”
Out of the vibrant Soho queer scene came the Queens, and with shimmering electro-indie debut album ‘Chaleur Humaine’ (translated as ‘Human Warmth’) now released to critical acclaim, Madge isn’t the only one who’s fallen for the rising star. “Elton [John] left me a message, saying, ‘I’m at my house in Nice, I’d love you to call me back,’” grins the Nantes-born 27-year-old. “I still haven’t though – I’m shy.”
Héloïse’s alter-ego Christine certainly isn’t a shrinking violet though. Her magnetic stage presence and Michael Jacksonesque dance routines electrify audiences, while the emotional revelations on the record can’t fail to move. Although more Lana Del Rey than the King of Pop overall, it’s easy to see where Héloïse takes her cues from, even if she “still can’t moonwalk”.
She is a worrier at heart, though, admitting she’s afraid she might “break the magic” behind her music at some point, and also fretting about whether people will soon tire of her and start to “swipe me right like on Tinder”. She’s way too modest: with France already conquered and a sold out UK tour now in the bag too, there’s little chance of things quietening down for Christine and the Queens anytime soon.
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS: NEED TO KNOW
FOR FANS OF
Metronomy, Wild Beasts
Latitude Festival (July 15)
‘Chaleur Humaine’ is out now on Because Music
A prospective record label once suggested Héloïse “try some lipstick”. She politely declined