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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 278 > queer of pop

queer of pop

CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS TELLS US HOW SHE CONQUERED THE YEAR IN MUSIC, WHY MICHAEL JACKSON IS HER KING AND THAT SHAKING HANDS AT PARTIES IS SCARIER THAN SEX

“Oh my God, I am so afraid of dying. Like, I’m a hypochondriac. I don’t like anything that could make me die too soon. I’m trying to avoid death. For now it’s working, but I don’t know for how long,” says Héloïse Letissier, aka Christine of Christine and the Queens, hands down the hottest – and queerest – act of the year.

To be fair, most of us spend our daily lives trying not to die, but from an obsessive thinker such as Letissier it’s an understandable comment.

“I am also afraid of not being able to do this job all the time.

It may sound a bit cheesy, but I feel as if this is the only thing I can do properly,” she continues. “So, I’m always freaking out that at some point, people might not want me around. And that’s OK if it’s like that, but I wish they will still let me do my thing in a corner somewhere. And sometimes check on me like, ‘What is she doing? Oh, she’s still doing the freaky thing. OK, cool’.”

Given her status as pop’s new queen there’s probably not much chance of anybody forgetting about her any time soon. But to be fair, it’s unlikely Letissier quite anticipated 2016 ending as it has, for all sorts of reasons. It took a whole 2½ years from when her debut album, Chaleur Humaine, was released for Letissier’s star to fully ascend, delivering international acclaim.

The antithesis to the X Factor throwaway formula, the Tilted singer’s rise was gradual and honest. First came resounding applause from her native France in 2014. The album was then re-recorded to introduce English vocals, and the music travelled to Europe and the USA. When it arrived in the UK in February this year, it didn’t make much of an impact on the charts.

BBC Live Lounge, Jools Holland and festival performances followed, and as her storming sets at Glastonbury and Latitude garnered mainstream attention, the buzz was stratospheric and the album hit number two in the official chart. By the summer of 2016, “Christine” had arrived.

But this story begins in 2010 when Letissier’s stage name was birthed in the magical moment that she was “saved” by three London drag queens at revered Soho venue Madame Jojo’s. Taken under their wing when she was depressed and lost in life, they saw her distress and reached out. “They’re like my fairy godmothers,” she tells me. “They gave something to me and then just flew away.”

But it was Letissier who took flight. The drag queens picked her up when she was broken and helped piece her back together. Letissier took the inspiration to be reborn with a new identity — as drag performers also do — to find her voice.

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About Attitude

On the cover, the new queen of pop Christine and the Queens talks sexuality, subversion, Michael Jackson… and Trump! Elsewhere in this issue: from courtroom battles to the Strictly ballroom with Judge Rinder; Sweden’s siren Tove Lo on sex, drugs and pop music; Do throuples work? Millennial sexuality in the spotlight; and The Pass star Arinze Kene on the taboo of gay footballers.
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