Christine and the Queens Breaks Down Her Performance Process

Christine and the Queens Breaks Down Her Performance Process

2016's ultimate performer, Christine and the Queens, lets us in on her show secrets as she announces new tour dates

2016's ultimate performer, Christine and the Queens, lets us in on her show secrets as she announces new tour dates

Text: Ian David Monroe

Héloïse Letissier, better known as Christine and the Queens, is little by little building a massive fan following in the United States. The French singer blends Michael Jackson-style stage performances (plenty of smooth choreography) with her free-spirited tracks. While she’s still building a name for herself in America, she already has an A-List group of admirers: chief among them Carly Rae Jepsen.

After a string of shows this summer, Letissier has announced a new set of stops, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Belgium, and Norway. Here, she sits down with V to break down her show inspirations, professional growth, and fully becoming Christine.

 

Last year, you were performing at The Box with 80 people and then this year you hit the main stage of Governors Ball. How does that feel?

HL: You’re a bit dizzy, you know? By just measuring how far along it came since last year…but at the same time it’s like an adrenaline shot. I’m excited by the stage growing bigger and bigger, and the crowd getting bigger, but at the same time I’m obsessed with keeping it really raw and simple like it was at The Box. For me, it’s about keeping the same ideas, the same muscles, and the same songs.

I noticed that all five of your dancers are men. Is that intentional?

HL: It is.

Why?

HL: Interesting one because, I was just having a discussion with someone that said like, Oh it’s weird because you’re such a feminist, but are always surrounded by boys. Why not, for example, do what Beyoncé does and have an all female band? I was like, yes you’re right. I think I’m obsessed with being one of the boys, because I think my character [Christine] is a bit about that, like having this teenage boy energy. I think it was interesting to be surrounded by boys to see if I could become one of them. Or if they could become the Queens, you know?

Right, and in that spirit of becoming one, you all wear the same outfit on stage.

HL: Yeah, I just want everyone to shine in their own way on stage. And with backup—I don’t like the term backup dancers for example because I didn’t want to have a routine with guys doing the same thing—I just chose really strong personalities and they all have a different vibe.

Is it hard bringing all those genres together into one cohesive performance though?

HL: It’s definitely a lot of practice, but it’s interesting because we’ve been touring a lot with that choreography, and by touring it changes—you’re muscling up and you grow old with the routine.

So how much of what you do on stage is improvisation?

HL: Every time we’re alone it’s improvisation and every time we’re together it’s not.

[At Governors Ball] you brought out a bouquet of flowers and starting name each flower with a different pop singer. What flower would you be?

HL: I’m not even a flower, man. I think I’m just like grass.

No, grass doesn't make it into the bouquet.

HL: No, but it kind of enhances the flowers. I’m a branch. I’ll end up being a weird peony or something.

What’s been the biggest change in your professional life from a year ago at The Box to today?

HL: I became a bit famous. In France it got even more intense, and here it’s starting. It doesn’t change the way I work. It changed the way everyone else perceived [me]. I definitely became “Christine” all the time, for everyone, and for me it’s weird because “Christine” is a process I have for me when I’m on stage. But I feel like now everyone sees me only as her.

Sometimes you can’t separate the person from the professional.

HL: Yeah, I’m kind of like always obsessed with being on stage and performing and writing, so that’s the best thing that can actually happen to me, to actually dissolve into Christine.

See all of Christine and the Queens' tour dates and purchase tickets here

Credits: Hero Image Photography Ian David Monroe

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