Christine and The Queens
Winter of 2010. at night. she’s walking in London. she’s totally lost. apparently, she’s at some turning point of her life. she pushes the door of Madame Jojo’s, an underworld bar located in soho. she realizes she’s found a salutary spot. she’ll be hanging here, every night, for many weeks. First, alone at a table, irresistibly attracted by the untamed freedom of the transvestites who perform here. until three queens take notice of her silent presence. until something strong happens between her and them, like a solid and heartfelt link. Yes, everything goes fast. You don’t enter Madame Jojo’s by chance. You come here to be yourself, at last. she tells the queens that she is French and studies literature and theatre (she’s also very frustrated). she writes (but all she really does is piling pages), plays some piano (but classical music prevents her from breathing) and can’t seem to recover from a love affair that almost destroyed her. What the queens will tell her during these nights, she’ll keep it preciously, like a talisman: people should invent themselves. even if it’s on the edge. Off the beaten track. and fast. You don’t live twice.
She goes back to France. she leaves schools, as they don’t feed her anymore. the opportunities of life overlooked in London, at Madame Jojo’s, gave her strength. she locks herself with a computer that becomes her studio. she writes, composes, sings, records demos. With references strong and eclectic: from hip-hop (Kendrick Lamar, drake…) to flamboyant pop (Kate Bush), from Gainsbourg aka Gainsbarre (“Libido au plus haut, décadence totale”) to the mythical couple Lou reed-Laurie anderson, from the instrumentals of Gavin Bryars and Michael nyman to the obvious genius: Michael Jackson. For all he has given to hear and watch. the artist and the character. Because that is also what she’s looking for: creating a character that will, at last, free her. and for that matter, she has a cabinet full of role models: the american Bambi, of course, but also Klaus nomi, andy Kaufman or narcisse she identifies with when writing and whom she brings back to life to find… christine.
Ok then. so, she’ll call herself christine and the backing vocals, in her songs, will always be embodied by the three London queens, like some deeply grateful echo. christine and the queens. hair pulled back, chin up, button-up collar. her kind? never certain. Big girl, little boy and sometimes man. Weird child. With only one injury: being only herself, and it’s not a problem anymore as from then on, she is christine, one plural and freed being, as moving as an Orlando.
Christine and The Queens, and it’s for real. it starts with 3 eps : “Miséricorde”, “Mac abbey” and “nuit 17 à 52”. it’s a high position in the cqFd contest of les inrocks magazine. christine and the queens, it’s warm up gigs, alone on stage with the computer, before opening concert for the do and then stromae. it’s a graceful performance at the Victoires de La Musique where she was nominated in the live newcomer category. it’s also a girl who dives as soon as possible in her own album. she has written thirty tracks but only eleven will make the final cut. then she goes back to London and locks herself with the one who’s going to produce the album with her, ash Workman (Metronomy), and two multi-instrumentalists brothers (Michael Lovett and Gabriel stebbing). christine knows exactly what she wants (“Less is More”); some powerful minimalism; an economy of instruments and tracks; infectious grooves, the organic obviousness of vocals, the quest for contemporary colours and inspired strengthening strings. the result is “chaleur humaine”, a portrait of christine and her queer sisters. this means : far from corsets and boxes. it’s a tribute to the unpredictable, to random encounters, to the invention of oneself and the body (that should always survive youth!). an album almost totally in French but with a few subtle curves towards english and also a very surprising cover: “Les paradis perdus” de christophe.
Obviously, christine will soon go out and appear live. no fright at all: it’s her ultimate refuge where she exists and lives to the full. and then again, some other lighthouses: pina Bausch, Bob Fosse, chaz Buzan, and Maggy Marin… she prepares for the stage like an athlete. Because live music is a performance. a pop and freaky show where music, theatre, dance and video will blend and reflect the personality of this heroine who just came to life.