Christine and the Queens’ music is seductive, sexy and full of desire, while also feeling raw and vulnerable. Add to this a glimmer of Michael Jackson, Slim Shady, G-Funk, and an attitude and an effortlessness that are unmistakably French. The sum lands in a part of the pop world that is lacking – the part that’s as personal (and smart) as it is alluring. As a person and persona, Chris is on a journey that celebrates expanding the definition of what it means to be a woman and owning her talent, her body and her business.
Last week, on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, Chris gave an an incredible performance and talked openly about her journey as a woman and an artist.
During our interview she discussed how she found power while touring and befriending drag queens (hence ‘The Queens’):
I decided to stop shrinking, stop being ashamed and trying to be empowered with the words and the songs I could write. So that was the first important step and then touring those songs off the debut album every night actually made me a bit more empowered. I kind of discovered that my body was stronger than I expected. It was wonderful also to be welcomed with the words I was writing and I could try to relate a bit more and I think the next record was really about this newfound eroticsm that came along with more confidence and also more freedom in how I wanted to be defined and how I wanted to define my desires.
She recently started calling herself Chris and talked a bit about what it was like to control her identity.
When I decided to name myself Christine, I was basically allowing myself something that I couldn’t love before. So it’s actually a way to be really exposed and strangely naked and it feels really wonderful because it was the start of me trying to – you know whatever that means – be myself a bit more.
As the conversation unfolded, one of my favorite moments was when I asked her how she felt about being a role model, particularly for younger women who are trying to find their creative voice and take control of their artistic process.
I like to think I’m more of a hint, you know the hint of something more. It could be because I myself when I grew up, some performers gave me hints, like you know it was really simple sometimes just Laurie Anderson being really clever and singing a song. I can be celebrated for my intellect, and not only for the shape of my face. I like the idea that at some point I can be a hint, I don’t know if I’m a role model, but I do like the idea of representation of being a presence that is maybe a bit different and a bit less smoothed out.
She also talked about what it’s like to take on a male-dominated industry.
It’s not always easy. And as everywhere I think like women have sometimes to say no five times instead of just one. And that we sometimes have to claim the authorship five times more and it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting.
It’s a constant work because women have been taught to please all the time. So you have to accept that sometimes you will displease by saying ‘actually I want to do that… No I don’t want to do this.’ And it’s a constant process. But I’m doing it because it feels more rewarding because I want to do things with my own hands.
Full performance and conversation here.
Photos by Elli Lauren