Christine And The Queens
Courtesy of Corona Capital Guadalajara
Christine And The Queens On 'Chris': "This Is A Record That Talks About Being Too Much"
Energetic, expressive and stimulating, Christine's electro-pop paired with her visuals can be equally destabilizing. "Some of us just had to fight/For even being looked at right," she sings in the video for "5 dollars," which portrays her walking around topless, then strapping on BDSM gear and a men's suit. Toying with both masculine and feminine expression, her latest album Chris embodies a growth in Christine's female identity.
"I wanted to tell the complexity of where I was. I was stronger than I used to be, more powerful also with what happened to me as a woman," Chris told the Recording Academy. "I was lustful, frustrated, but full of that eagerness to live things fully. I was also joking when I was making the record, I was like, 'This is a record that talks about being too much.' It's easy to be too much when you're a woman and you're easily told to shut up or maybe be less loud or maybe keep your composure."
The Recording Academy spoke with Chris after her set at Corona Capital in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she share more about Chris, how dancing helps connect with international audiences, how female artists are forming a sisterhood and more.
This is your first time in Mexico. How has it been?
It's too short. I will come back because I just arrived yesterday, performed today for like 15 minutes, which was lovely. Great crowd, really embracing and warm, but it's already done, so I want to do more. I wish I could come back. I was really eager to come here, actually. I was intrigued by Mexico. I wish I had more time to just properly explore. Some of my dancers actually stayed longer than me to explore a bit before the gig.
What intrigues you about it?
I've been here only like a day, but I think it's really vibe-y and spiritual. I don't know if I'm fantasizing it or not, but I feel like some things are connected and people have this relationship to spirituality that feels uplifting and celebratory and I think it's a really great feeling. Also when you're on stage, you can feel there is, I don't know, people project something that was quite different than other countries to me.
Your latest album is called Chris. What was the inspiration behind it?
Second album, second chapter. I'm saying "chapter" on purpose because hopefully there'll be a whole novel. [Laughs.]
That record came out like four years after the debut album, which was kind of life-changing to me. [The first album] was unexpectedly successful, and in Chris I wanted to tell the complexity of where I was. I was stronger than I used to be, more powerful also with what happened to me as a woman. I was lustful, frustrated, but full of that eagerness to live things fully. I was also joking when I was making the record, I was like, "This is a record that talks about being too much." It's easy to be too much when you're a woman and you're easily told to shut up or maybe be less loud or maybe keep your composure. I was like, "I want an album that talks about excess and carnal desires like men can talk about." It would be like a rock star album.
In the U.S. there's a study out that women are very underrepresented musically at festivals and on charts. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Yeah, it's fascinating also because there are lots of great female musicians out like ... Grimes, Rihanna, there are tons of fantastic female performers, but we are weirdly underrepresented in the statistics and I was actually really surprised to learn that. Also, in a way it doesn't surprise me, unfortunately though. It's not even just in music, it's everywhere. Even in the technical jobs, women are not there. I never worked with a female sound engineer. Never. Ever.
When you're a female artist, it's twice as hard. You're sexualized immediately. You are questioned five times more, and if you try to navigate the complicated waters of the mainstream, you have to find a way to be a woman that is appealing and not threatening. It's complicated, but I think with everything that happens now, hopefully it's going to stretch a bit what it means to be a woman in this industry. There are lots of fantastic female performers that should be topping the charts. Rosalia, lots of inspiring females around.
I also think what changes in a good way is solidarity and that becomes a real thing, like a sisterhood. I noticed, even myself as a performer, that women are exchanging way more, talking way more to each other, building strong friendships that can help them along the way. I think solidarity comes to be a real thing, which is a good thing.
The festival's mission is to bring international artists that have not been here before. What is it like for you to be able to bring your music to a new place?
It's always reallly interesting because you get to discover if there is a relationship or not with your music and people over there and what is the relationship. So it's really a great moment when you can discover exactly how you exist as an artist for them. It was quite soothing [here] because I saw people mouthing the words of an English record made by a French woman.
How is it for you to play a French song in front of an audience that doesn't speak French?
This is where music is also great. [It's] this weird universal language. I think even though people don't really get it, they kind of get it, which is good. As French people, we listen to lots of English pop music when we're young and you get the emotion anyway. You don't even have to understand and sometimes when you do understand you go, "Ohhh, ohhh." I think with music you can also connect the physicality of my performances every time with the dancing. The body also speaks hopefully. So there is also a way to convey the emotion with the body, so people get if I'm sad or happy.
You dance, you sing. Do you have a favorite form of expression?
Sometimes it shifts. Sometimes I feel more like dancing and sometimes the singing's the only thing I can do, which is why I do love this weird job of mine. I can do everything at once. It's shifting constantly. It's also cool because I have cycles. Like, I need to come back to the studio. Oh no wait, I need to be on stage. Oh no wait, I need to shut up. Oh wait. Yeah, all over the place.
What's next for you after Corona Capital? What are you doing?
I'm touring a bit with Florence and the Machine, actually. She's inviting me on her tour, which is a great, great thing to be in because she's touring the U.S. in huge venues. She's huge as a performer there. So I'm like, "Thank you for inviting me."
Then I'm doing all the summer festivals. Then I think I'm going to stop to write some more because I started to write already and I want to release music sooner than four years in between records.