meta-scriptChristine And The Queens On 'Chris': "This Is A Record That Talks About Being Too Much" |

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"

"I want an album that talks about excess and carnal desires like men can talk about," the French singer tells the Recording Academy

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2019 - 03:47 am

Chris, or, as she's known onstage, Christine And The Queens, is a disrupter. "Blasting Peaches in cis men's cars," she recently tweeted

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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.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Christine and the Queens Road To Hero
Héloïse Letissier of Christine and the Queens performs at Coachella 2023.

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella


Christine And The Queens' Road To 'Paranoïa, Angels, True Love': How Self-Acceptance, Madonna & A Shaman Helped Spawn The Trans Innovator's Truest Work Yet

Since Christine and the Queens debuted in 2014, the indie pop singer has journeyed through personal and musical exploration — and now, he's created the album that changed him.

GRAMMYs/Jun 8, 2023 - 09:26 pm

"It's dead to me," Christine and the Queens says of the classic pop song structure. "They killed pop music with high capitalism. They infected the melody."

The artist born Héloïse Letissier has always had a flair for the avant garde, pushing boundaries and exploring themes of identity in his music. (On "iT," the opening track of his 2014 debut album, he memorably sang, "She wants to be a man, a man/ But she lies/ She wants to be born again, again/ But she'll lose/ She draws her own crotch by herself/ But she'll lose because it's a fake.")

But PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE, his fourth full-length due out June 9 via Because Music, is a different beast altogether — both a departure from the synthpop-drenched albums that came before it and an immaculate expansion of his uninhibited songwriting.

The passion project — a concept album in three parts, heavily inspired by Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning 1991 play Angels in America and the 2019 death of his mother, Martine Letissier — is an operatic tour de force eschewing traditional pop for a sprawling, visionary quest told over 20 tracks and 96 minutes. The elysian result is rich and revelatory at times, heady and hypnotic at others. 

PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE also represents a complete evolution from the version of Letissier who emerged as a promising star in the indie pop sphere nearly a decade ago. "It changed me. It did," Letissier says of the album. "I'm in therapy now and I gender myself right. I'm present. [Laughs.] Finally, oh my god! It took the time it took, huh?"

If his candid thoughts are any indication, Letissier's journey of self-discovery has been a long and winding one. In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that the French singer is an entirely different  artist from the queer female pop star introduced on 2014's Chaleur humaine (which received an English language re-release the following year as Christine and the Queens). Back then, Letissier self-identified as a woman and was using she/her pronouns — aligning with the feminine moniker in his stage name — and was presenting Christine's androgyny as something of a performance-art spectacle through early songs like the above-mentioned "iT," "Saint Claude," and "Tilted."

For Chris, his 2018 follow-up, Letissier introduced another layer to his stage name and persona. As the titular Chris, the singer chopped his hair off into a slick pompadour and donned a rotating wardrobe full of button-down shirts, wide-legged trousers, and expertly tailored suiting.

"Every masculine hero narrative I could find I wanted to steal for myself and twist to my size," Letissier said in a profile for The New York Times at the time. "The first album was about a young, queer girl who was a bit melancholic, but now I'm flexing my muscles. I wanted to experiment with a tougher, more aggressive sound."

That approach yielded machismo-filled hits like the funk-driven "Girlfriend" (and its West Side Story-esque music video), and album opener "Comme Si," on which Chris declares, "There's a pride in my singing/ The thickness of a new skin/ I am done with belonging."

At the time, Letissier had begun publicly identifying as both pansexual and genderqueer while still maintaining a grasp on his female sex assigned at birth. "I'm saying that I'm fluid because I do believe that my femininity is made of, you know, hints of masculinity and made out of doubt and hesitations," he told BBC Newsnight. "I'm not so sure of what it means to be a woman even though I am one…I'm just trying to deconstruct a bit, because I think at some point tropes of gender felt a bit narrow to me."

Just a few years later, Letissier would, in fact, adopt an expanded array of pronouns, including they/them, on his journey toward fuller self-realization. But in hindsight, he still views his first two albums as honest representations of who and where he was in each particular moment.

"I think I understand more of what I want to become," Chris tells "I started very young; my first album became massive young. I think Chris is also the expression [of the] stretching of my nerves, but I was still thinking in terms of, like, a pop structure, a woman's body, and I was taming the rest down."

In the earliest days of the 2020 pandemic, Letissier went on to release La vita nuova, an emotive EP anchored by lead single "People I've been sad," and a corresponding short film set to its six songs. The six-track release kept Chris' theatricality and choreography in the forefront — the visual for "People I've been sad" finds him dancing with a horned demon on a Parisian rooftop with the Eiffel Tour in sight — but found him exploring new depths of emotion in the immediate wake of losing his beloved mother. 

"There was a real sense of unraveling that was quite present. It's true," he told NME of channeling his grief into La vita nuova. [The EP] was the result of receiving a lot of emotional short punches in my face during 2019…I experienced a lot of deep things while touring the second record, and the tension between the tour and the rest of my life crumbling apart became unbearable."

Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue), the multi-hyphenate's next full-length, arrived in late 2022 as the vehicle to debut his latest alter ego, Redcar. And though the album's title pointed to it being a predecessor for what would come next, Letissier reveals that he was already deep into the process of creating PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE when he was struck with the idea that the heavenly triptych needed a French-language precursor.

"It felt like a prologue that I would need first to step back into the other piece," he says of Redcar, which he wrote and recorded in just two weeks with co-producer Mike Dean. "So it was like this corridor of a Kubrick movie where time is f—ed, and you actually have to work on something after the core to perform before the core."

It was embracing the Redcar moniker — inspired by seeing red car after red car on the streets of Los Angeles in the wake of his mother's death — that also gave Letissier the space to embrace his identity as a trans man. 

He detailed his coming out and evolving relationship to gender in a Vogue profile upon Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue)'s release last November. "My approach to transness is not especially going to be pleasing or reassuring, since I don't believe I should comfort anyone with any type of passing. 

"My story is about tolerance and collective deconstruction," he continued. "I want to keep my body as it is. I am coming out to be happy and free, to be loved and to love, to enjoy my flesh and its contradiction, to help expand everyone's consciousness — by slowly, I hope, for future generations too, uprooting this binary, capitalistic approach to human life…Redcar is the depiction of what I've been going through."

And if (prologue) was a glimpse into Letissier's artistic and personal transformation, its successor unfurls the rest of his story in all its seraphic splendor.

"Through the light, remember. Hear, my baby. Welcome to the tale of tales. Welcome to the tale of your own light, my child. Welcome to the light," Letissier pronounces on the bombastic "Overture" that opens PARANOÏA. "From where I stand, everything is glorious."

With that proclamation, the artist makes clear he has, indeed, thrown the typical pop rulebook out the window and isn't interested in looking back. "I feel like the hyper-rationalization of efficiency in pop music is, a bit, killing the fun," he says. "We are working very narrow scales, very same intervals. We are searching for efficiency, and I wanted to search for truth, quoi."

The result is 96 minutes of gorgeously dense, powerful music that somehow manages to be simultaneously grandiose and intricate in both its construction and its performance. Chris layers medieval harmonies over ethereal, dreamlike soundscapes — welcoming heavenly visitations and contemplating on the invisible, as he processes grief over his mother's death and quests for transcendence in service to what "the invisible" demanded of him.

Madonna — whom he reverentially refers to as both "Metatron, quoi" and "the angel of transformation" — plays a key role on multiple tracks as an omniscient, ambivalent character termed the One Big Eye. 

Looming over the album's high-minded narrative, Letissier describes Madonna's One Big Eye as either "the voice of the big simulation," "an angel in disguise," possibly the voice of his own late mother "speaking from afar" or even the Holy Mary herself — or better yet, all of them at once. (070 Shake also embodies her own angelic character on ANGELS songs "True love" and "Let me touch you once.")

According to Letissier, such an extreme creative process was unlike anything he'd experienced before, and being pushed to the brink left him questioning, at times, both his practice as a musician and his capacity to act as a vessel for the music he was receiving. 

"I remember at some point, being so lost in the voices I had and the possibilities that I was like, 'I could also very much be insane,'" he says with a wry grin. "And I asked, actually, a shaman, I was like, 'Am I actually getting clearer? Or am I just bats–t insane?' She was like, 'Both, my good sir. Because the multiverse is real.'"

Soon enough, songs like "Tears can be so soft," "He's been shining for ever, my son" and "To be honest" were born, often written in a single take early in the morning, arriving in a bolt of inspiration. Looking back now, Letissier says the experience turned him into "the crazy praying man," singularly devoted to what became a near-spiritual practice. "I've never internalized my practice so much. I became insane. I was, like, possessed. I de-socialized. Was praying for hours, walking. The craziest things were happening to me, but very tenuous, very in the fabric of my day and I was alone praying.

"And the crazy thing about this artistry of ours, I think that we have to be brave most of the time," he continues. "Much more than even skilled, we have to be brave. Relentless. Patient. Enduring. More than even flagging the talents we have."

Thankfully, the singer says his rabid devotion to creating PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE led him to a kind of healing and brought him closer to the spirit of his mother.

"It was a terrifying but gorgeous feast. It felt haunted," he confesses. "But beyond that, it felt blessed. It felt like I was remembering her voice sometimes through mine. I almost felt like she has a touch on the songs themselves. There's a song called 'I met an angel.' When I wrote it, it says, 'Open your heart, my love' et tu. I was like, 'She's speaking. She's just telling me it's OK to be me and just be that musician. That man.'

"Losing someone you adore is a terrible experience of course, of pain, et tu," Letissier adds. "But what's great about love when it's so deep, is that she found a way to take care of me through magic. I believe that, I'm not afraid to even say I speak to her almost every day. I feel like when I understood more about myself, she was calling me 'my son.' You know, I feel like it' never break the bond."

Now on the verge of sharing PARANOïA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE with the world, Letissier has not only arrived at his truest self, but also sees just how necessary every step, every song and every album was to get him to this point. 

"The good thing about me is that I am such a consistent man," he says. "I've been honest the whole time. The great thing that saved my ass in therapy from self-loathing — about realizing how blind I was to my condition — was the music has been there the whole time saying it. I've been an honest mother-lover in my practice. My big mistake was to tell people it was a performance."

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bjork at coachella 2023 weekend 2
Bjork performs during weekend two of the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for ABA


7 Mind-Blowing Sets From Coachella 2023 Weekend 2: Gorillaz, Boygenius, Eric Prydz & More

Weekend two of Coachella 2023 was packed with drama and intrigue, concluding with surprise headlining sets from Blink-182 and DJ trio Skrillex, Four Tet & Fred Again.. Read on for the weekend's biggest moments and exciting surprises.

GRAMMYs/Apr 25, 2023 - 05:25 pm

Coachella 2023 has now come to a close. The second weekend of the Southern California mega-festival concluded with another series of bespoke performances that continued to build the event’s reputation as a place where legendary moments become history.

Weekend two was packed with drama and intrigue, led by the last-minute removal of Frank Ocean from the Sunday lineup due to injury. Fans were already buzzing following his controversial first weekend performance, while organizers worked quickly to replace his headlining set. The results were top notch, closing Coachella on a very energetic and celebratory note.

As a result, Blink-182 — who had a surprise set on Friday afternoon of the first weekend — were given a main stage slot on Sunday night, followed by an act to be announced. 

The mystery act didn't remain hush-hush for long, though. Sunday's headliners were revealed to be the supergroup DJ trio of Skrillex, Four Tet, and Fred Again.., who in their brief time playing music together have become one of the most sought-after acts in the world. (So much so that they sold out Madison Square Garden in two minutes after announcing the show.) 

Beyond the Sunday scramble, weekend two of Coachella 2023 brought much of the same excitement as the previous week — replete with more stand-out sets than even the most experienced festival goer could manage to catch. Below, relive seven sets that showcase Coachella’s reign as one of the most popular festivals in the world. 

Wet Leg Encourages Communal Release 

The British alternative rock band only has one self-titled album’s worth of material, which they've been diligently touring around the globe. And yet they still managed to bring a sense of zeal and authentic excitement to their second Coachella set.

Wet Leg's Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers set the example of this energy. Throughout the performance, they shared excitable looks, occasionally dropping lyrics in favor of laughter. Other times, they led the crowd in an epic scream, just for the sake of it. Dave Grohl even showed up to scream with them.

The climax of the performance at the Mojave stage on Friday afternoon was "Chaise Longue," the upbeat rock and roll heater that earned the group a 2022 GRAMMY for Best Alternative Performance. When Teasdale would ask, "Excuse me," the crowd would shout back "What?!" with all their might. Then the rapid fire guitar came in, and everyone in the crowd understood that the assignment was to dance.

Gorillaz Take Special Guests Appearances To The Next Level

Gorillaz last performed at Coachella in 2010 as Sunday headliners, and brought headliner energy to Friday night's penultimate set. When it comes to special guests — a Coachella tradition already ingrained in Gorillaz's music — the group stepped up their game. 

By the third song, the L.A. alternative legend Beck was on stage to sing his feature on "Valley of the Pagans" from Gorillaz’s 2020 album, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez. From there, more than half of the 17-song set included a guest.

Thundercat came on for his contribution to the title track of Gorillaz's latest, Cracker Island, Little Simz performed "Garage Palace" off 2017's Humanz, and Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, joined Gorillaz along with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble for "Sweepstakes" from 2010’s Plastic Beach. Minutes before his own headlining set, Bad Bunny came out in a mask to perform "Tormenta," his feature on Cracker Island. 

An IRL Bad Bunny collab may have been the ultimate surprise guest coup de grâce, but Gorillaz weren't finished yet. In a touching moment of unity, Gorillaz paid tribute to their late collaborator David Jolicoeur after the surviving members of De La Soul joined Gorillaz for a performance of "Feel Good, Inc."

Eric Prydz Brings Artificial Into Reality With His HOLO Show

If Eric Prydz had decided to simply play a DJ set, he still likely would have landed one of the festival's top booking slots; instead, he brought his HOLO show to Indio. 

This unique live production is known in the global dance music circuit for pushing the limits of visuals in the live space. There are hundreds of videos on the internet heralding its epicness, but those videos don’t compare to experiencing it in person.

Prydz’s closing set at Outdoor Theater on Saturday night was scheduled to begin at 10:20 p.m., but when the time rolled around, the screens remained dark. However, a keen ear could tell that the scene had actually begun; a subtle line emanated through the speakers and, for 20 minutes, kept getting louder and extending in its repetition.

At 10:40, a giant mechanical hand appeared on the screen, as if it was floating out into the audience. With an iPhone between its Transformers-esque fingers, the hand took photos as a wash of electronic music started building. Then as the hand flipped the phone to show an image of the audience on its screen, the first track of the set took full form, and a tidal wave of energy was released from the crowd.

For the remainder of the set, every new song was accompanied by an evermore impressive audiovisual creation. One frame was Prydz himself wearing a spacesuit. Another was a team of spacemen firing laser guns at the crowd. It felt so real that someone probably ducked to avoid the virtual projectiles.

Christine & The Queens Do So Much With Not-So-Much

Coachella is a festival where most artists like to do a lot, but Christine & The Queens demonstrated that you can actually do a lot with a little. 

Production during the Sunday sunset slot at Mojave was minimalistic: two separate platforms on stage, one for Christine and her three-piece band, the other open for use. Like her stage setup, Christine & The Queens' music is generally minimalistic — though Christine doesn't require much to completely enthrall her audience. 

Songs began calmer, exemplified by the use of Red Hot Chili Peppers' alt-rock ballad of "By The Way" as a transition into her hit song, "Tilted." As that steady and simple beat moved along the intensity only increased. Christine threw her body around, ending up on the floor, on the platform, all the while nailing every note with her serenading tones.

Other than her soothing yet powerful vocals and mesmerizing stage presence, Christine was just as much a preacher as a musician. She decried patriarchal capitalism and stood strong in her belief that music is the greatest weapon against it.

"You are not going to surrender!" she shouted as her drummer threw down a high speed solo. 

Boygenius Provide A Musical Safe Space

When the indie supergroup took the Outdoor stage for the first set of Saturday night in complete darkness, everyone was primed and ready to feel all the things. Thus commenced the musical therapy session that was boygenius' Coachella performance, as members Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker sang the first few lines of "Without You Without Them" together on a single mic.

"I want to hear your story and be a part of it," the trio sang — their message a call to everyone in earshot, from the audience to the security guards and production workers. 

Although the crowd wasn’t the biggest that the Outdoor stage would see throughout the weekend, the environment allowed for plenty of space for the audience to be with themselves under the stars. Then as the band went through the various moods on their debut album, the record, the audience responded to their energy in kind.

When the trio were rocking out on songs like "$20" and "Satanist," the energy was high and lively as everyone took in Bridgers' towering shouts before returning with their own. Then when the volume came down for the raw, unfiltered honesty in songs like "True Blue" and "Emily I’m Sorry," the people who were shouting before began to gently sway, murmuring the lyrics to themselves word for word, experiencing them on a personal level.

Björk Reworks Her Classics With An Orchestra 

Iceland’s own Björk last performed at Coachella in 2007, when she headlined Friday. For her first Coachella set in over 15 years, the artist returned with a full orchestra that performed original interpretations of her past works.

Backed by the Hollywood String Ensemble and conducted by fellow Icelander, Bjarni Frímann, pleasant indie songs such as "Aurora" and "Come To Me" became operatic epics. The orchestra allowed her to accurately and succinctly reproduce "Freefall," a song from her latest album, 2022’s Fossora, which integrates orchestral composition with alternative production. 

Closing the set, Björk embarked on an exploration of orchestral techno, as Hollywood String Ensemble rearranged her industrial masterpiece, "Pluto."

Visually, Björk satisfied expectations on all levels. Her dress was reminiscent of a spider web, with feathers caught in the adhesive like several birds all flew through at the precise angle. Above the stage, an aerial drone show reacted to her voice as if her tones were literally reaching the heavens.

Skrillex, Four Tet & Fred Again.. Party In The Round

Saving the day, Skrillex, Four Tet, and Fred Again.. took their last-minute headlining set to epic proportions. The trio of DJs performed in the round on the satellite stage, while extra speakers were brought in so fans in every part of the field could bathe in their electronic sounds.

Their set was just a straight party, complete with plumes of glowsticks flying into the air during various drops. Then when they fell other people would scavenge the field and pick them up so they could throw them on the next great drop.

At other performances like MSG where they were the sole act, the trio had as long as five hours to explore all the music they wanted. This time they had less than two, and filled the set with as many bangers as they could. 

Some examples were the scraping dubstep track "COUNTRY RIDDIM" by the rising dubstep producer HOL!, "RATATA," a breakbeat tune supported by a vocal feature from Missy Elliott, and even "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus.

But the glue holding together the set were the booming bass tones of UK grime rapper Flowdan. The new trio made new versions of his hook from the massive collaboration with Skrillex and Fred Agan.., "Rumble." 

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Franc Moody
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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