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Christine And The Queens On 'Chris': "This Is A Record That Talks About Being Too Much"

Christine And The Queens 

Courtesy of Corona Capital Guadalajara

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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

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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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

Rotimi

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

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"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

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Listen: Tame Impala Release New Track "Patience"

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala

Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage

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Listen: Tame Impala Release New Track "Patience"

It's been four years since we've heard new music from Tame Impala, but their new release has come just in time for festival season

GRAMMYs/Mar 23, 2019 - 12:08 am

Tame Impala have released a new single appropriately called "Patience." The GRAMMY-nominated music project by Australian singer and musician Kevin Parker had not released any new tracks since 2015's Currents.

The long-awaited latest release embodies the exact feeling of having to wait for something: "Has it really been that long? / Did I count the days wrong? ... I've been waiting here / Waiting for the day to come," Parker's soft voice sings on the track featuring an equally soft piano. 

Parker, who has come to fame for the psychedelic, dreamy pop sound he shares as Tame Impala, teased the single on Instagram last night. "New track. 1 hour. Speakers/headphones people," the post said. 

He and his touring band will be headlining Coachella and Lollapalooza this year and starting a U.S. tour after the Indio, Calif. dates. He said that he would like to release a new album by mid-2019. 

"I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have something out by then." Parker told Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1. "I love playing the songs live, I love playing Currents songs I love playing Lonerism songs and everything but I think I'm ready to play some other songs live."

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Lila Downs Announces New Album Paying Tribute To The Chile Pepper, Releases Tour Info

Lila Downs 

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Lila Downs Announces New Album Paying Tribute To The Chile Pepper, Releases Tour Info

The announcement was made with the release of the first single, a cover of the Peruvian cumbia classic "Cariñito"

GRAMMYs/Apr 11, 2019 - 04:42 am

GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Lila Downs, known for her eclectic mixture sounds from Mexico and beyond, has announced that her latest album, Al Chile, will pay tribute to the chile pepper and will drop May 3. The news came with the release of the first single, "Cariñito."

Al Chile, produced by the GRAMMY-nominated DJ and producer Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) and mixed by Mario Caldato Jr., who has worked with the Beastie Boys and Jack Johnson, is not a joke; it sincerely shows love for the fruit. 

"Yes, the music is a tribute to the fruit that causes us so much craving and suffering, but that we really love!" Downs said in a statement. "We fry the chile, add beats from the city, then saxophones, trumpets and drums from the Mexican coast to keep the dance going. The village and the city are united by the same beat. With a mezcal in hand, we dream of a place with a palm tree where one falls in love and reflects."

The first single is Down's take on a Peruvian cumbia classic. The singer also released dates for the album's supporting tour that will take her to Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall, New York City, Seattle and other cities across the U.S.

For more information on the tour, visit Downs' website

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