Christine and the Queens, rising in France, packs New York
Christine and the Queens, the stage name of French pop singer Heloise Letissier, underlined her fast-growing success by selling out a key New York venue.
She played before a packed and enthusiastic crowd Wednesday night at Webster Hall, the 1,500-capacity venue with a storied history of showcasing artists emerging from the underground.
While she has been performing to major crowds in France, the show marked a new feat in the United States.
When Christine and the Queens last came to New York in April she played (Le) Poisson Rouge, an eclectic Greenwich Village venue that fits only a few hundred people.
"I'm trying to enjoy the moment," she told the crowd with visible emotion, later joking that her father must have paid the audience to ask her for an encore.
Christine and the Queens has won an avid following with tightly woven pop tunes that are accompanied by hip-hop-inspired choreography, with some echoes of Madonna.
Yet unlike the provocative-minded Madonna, Christine and the Queens habitually wears a utilitarian black pantsuit, as she moves between a pair of sleek male dancers.
The 27-year-old singer at one point gave a shout-out to the "fierce" women in music, naming Beyonce and Rihanna as she associated herself with the superstars in terms of their attitude.
But she nonetheless became overcome with emotion as she performed "Saint Claude," a song about feelings of personal isolation and failure to fit in.
"I want to be fierce. I don't want to cry," she said as she brushed away tears.
In contrast to many French stars who try to make it in the United States, Christine and the Queens speaks impeccable English.
She performed for the crowd her latest song, "No Harm Is Done," which features the Philadelphia rapper Tunji Ige, who appeared behind her on a screen.
Active in France for several years, Christine and the Queens recently released a first, self-titled album for the US market.
"I don't have any more songs," she said with a laugh as she ended the show. "I have to come back with more material."
© 2015 AFP