Christine and the Queens on stage at the 6 Music Festival in Manchester

Christine and the Queens is playing a series of festivals this summer following the 6 Music Show

French singer Christine and the Queens talks about hiring Madonna for her new album, parts of which premiered at the BBC 6 Music Festival on Saturday.

“The first time I met her was actually on stage,” Chris explains of his first encounter with the Queen of Pop.

“She was on tour and there was a song where she invited people she loved to come on set – and I was lucky enough to be invited.

“At first it seemed like a joke because I got a text message from the choreographer and I was like, ‘Are you sure?’

“And so I witnessed the power of the Lord and Queen on the stage.”

Chris, using he/him, spoke before introducing tracks from his new album entitled Paranoïa, Angels, True Love at the 6th Music Festival in Manchester.

Released in June, it is the second part of Christine and the Queen’s record-breaking concept rock opera project based on Tony Kushner’s 1991 play Angels in America.

Recorded by Kanye West’s producer of choice, Mike Dean, the 2022 follow-up to Redcar les Adorables Étoile stars Madonna as Big Eye, a mysterious character who appears throughout the album.

Dean had previously worked with Madonna and when Chris developed the narration for Paranoïa, Angels, True Love, Chris decided the US superstar would be perfect for the role.

Christine and the Queens on stage at the 6 Music Festival in Manchester

Christine and the Queens was inspired by Tony Kushner’s award-winning play Angels in America

“What is the most emblematic female voice we have on the pop landscape?” asks Chris. “She has such an imprint on everyone’s subconscious.

“She did a very risky FaceTime when I was explaining the whole concept and I was like, ‘Do you want to be an actress in this weird musical? To be the great actress that you are?’ Because it’s multifaceted, it’s not even locked into one person.

“The Wisdom We Need”

“And she said, ‘Yes!’ I think because she was seduced by the madness of the whole thing. She said, “You’re crazy. I will do it!”

“I sent her lines that I wrote because she embodies the character of Big Eye, a very ambivalent ‘being of light’. We don’t really know if it’s an AI, a real angel or maybe my mother?” adds Chris.

“Or if it might be me. She has that voice that encapsulates everyone else and she pierces the record to give just the wisdom we need.

Madonna on stage in 2022

Madonna can be heard on three tracks of the new Christine and the Queens album

“She sent me the lyrics and she delivered them so perfectly. So I had the emotion of a stage director directing the best, best performer, and it delivered in just the right way.

“I’m really glad she trusted me enough to give me this flawless play.

Christine and the Queens debuted songs like Lick The Light Out – with Madonna’s voice – as part of the four-day 6 Music Festival in their new permanent home of Manchester, on a program that also includes The Lathums, Arlo Parks and Loyle Carner.

Chris is also playing Coachella, Glastonbury and Primavera Sound this year and is curating the Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Center in London in June.

Christine and the Queens with 6 Music DJs Stuart Maconie and Cerys Matthews at the 6 Music Festival in Manchester

Chris with 6 Music DJs Stuart Maconie and Cerys Matthews at the 6 Music Festival in Manchester

He invites artists such as Django Django, Sigur Ros, Warpaint, the Nigerian singer Oxlade, Yemi Alade, Bat For Lashes and Squrl, a US band with film director Jim Jarmusch.

“Gosh, it was super intimidating,” says Chris, following in the footsteps of previous Meltdown curators like Grace Jones, The Cure’s Robert Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Nick Cave. “But at the same time you work with a great team at the Southbank.

“We will also have a good program of theater groups and in situ dance groups because I want to open the outside space to everyone. I wanted it to feel a bit like Shakespeare. I want theater in the city. I would like to be able to take people to an open-air dance workshop.

“It’s about how music makes everyone’s heart beat and focuses on that community. So you have to make it very warm and all-encompassing.

“I wanted to see the audience as the main character. It was my great pleasure to do so. A little scary at first, but then very fulfilling.”


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