Changing the name of the artist: a well-known and bold refusal

Don’t call it Christine and Queens anymore, call it Redcar: changing artist names in a song is a common exercise, from Prince to Cat Stevens, even if social media is changing the game, sometimes risky. The artist writes in his intention notes: “When I was working so hard and alone (…) red cars passing by interrupted my every beautiful thought. Therefore, the one who now conforms to the male gender and commits to seeing himself as “trans” on social networks. And to add a layer of mystery by linking these car images to “signals” sent by his recently deceased mother in an interview with Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.

On Friday, the album The beloved stars appears, the French prologue of the expected sequel in English. A visceral and esoteric performance was set up for the ultimate fans before the release, preceded by two concerts at Cirque d’hiver in Paris mid-week.

“We can draw parallels with Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, who created characters for himself; Redcar is in this logic, and I bet that in a year or two, after an album or two, the artist will change again, he will not be Redcar for the rest of his life”, deciphers Christian Eudeline, editor-in-chief of the French magazine Vinyle&Audio.

Redcar is not his first reincarnation. In 2014, her debut album, Chaleur humaine, was released under the name Christine and the Queens, opening the door to success far beyond her native France. The next one in 2018 is called Chris with a new identity.

“Name changes happen a lot in music, but rarely for philosophical reasons like Redcar,” continues Christian Eudeline.

The closest approach is that of Kae Tempest, a British artist between rap, slam and poetry, who recently got rid of all genres by still dropping one letter from her first name on the bill (Kate).

Cat Stevens is a special case: he stopped his musical career in the late 1970s when he converted to Islam and became Yusuf Islam (he wouldn’t convert until decades later).

When you think of an established artist, the episode where Prince becomes a Love Symbol quickly comes to mind. While the kid from Minneapolis found success with 1984’s Purple Rain, he moved behind the cover icon in the 1990s to clash with his record label. marker on his face to protest the terms of the contract. He will reclaim the crown of Prince in 2000, when he is freed from his obligations.

Career bifurcations are also out of the way. Like Snoop Dogg. So, as the rapper said in an interview between two clouds of smoked weed, he called himself Snoop Lion after a “revelation trip” to Jamaica in the 2010s. The American will not convince anyone and will quickly restore the surname that gave him the foundation in the 1990s.

Another mixed experience this time. The members of Kiss had a minor comeback in the 1980s when they lost their momentum, abandoning their make-up rather than their names to go naked.

Is Redcar taking a risk? “The artist is very well known on social networks,” assures Christian Eudeline, the author of Iggy Pop, fun & destroy (“The Iguana” often changes its music volume, but never gives its nickname). Redcar actually tries to document her journey on Twitter or Instagram, decrying the “prefab gender binary.”

Philippe GRELLARD/AFP

Don’t call it Christine and Queens anymore, call it Redcar: changing artist names in a song is a common exercise, from Prince to Cat Stevens, even if social media is changing the game, sometimes risky. “Because I worked hard and worked alone (…) passing by red cars punctuated my every beautiful thought,” he writes…

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