In recent months Conchita Wurst has been on everyone’s lips—and not just those of her many fans. From haters in Belarus to Eurovision favourite Aram Mp3, everyone has had something to say about Miss Wurst—and her sausage. But, like the phoenix she sings about in her song, Conchita just keeps on flying. She recently caught up with our Austria correspondent Patrick Melbler. In a wide-ranging interview they discuss her Eurovision staging, her fans around the world, and her thoughts on Aram Mp3.
Thanks for taking the time to chat. How does it feel to be part of the biggest music event in the world?
A big, big “thank you” that you’re interested in me and are taking the time to speak with me! Hmm…how does it feel? AMAZING. I’m full of energy and motivation. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to perform in Copenhagen.
Your real name is called “Tom Neuwirth”. Can you tell us about the moment you became “Conchita Wurst”?
Actually, she was always present. I always like to say Conchita was a second puberty. Conchita has been a part of me since I can remember, but she didn’t have a name. No teenagers have a finished face. So there was no special “moment”.
Your song is called “Rise Like A Phoenix”. What story are you telling and who are you thinking about when you sing?
The song talks about the pain and the hate that you feel when you are in a bad situation. It’s a conflict both with somebody else and with yourself. The main thing with bad experiences is that you grow and learn from them. And that’s the secret of my song – Never give up and believe there will be a good ending. You can fall but you have to rise up again.
You will represent Austria in the second semi-final on the 8th of May. Have you figured out staging and costume yet?
Hm… not really. In the last weeks the focus was on the song. Certainly there were a lot of discussions about the performance but there is no fixed picture. And I can tell you one secret about my stage outfit. It’s a dress and it will sparkle like the sun.
The female members of our team are jealous of your face and your body. How do you manage to be so beautiful, and how long does it take you to become Conchita?
Oh wow! A big thank you for that! To create the look of Conchita I need an hour, but I have to say, rather unfairly, I have really good genes and I really don’t do many things for my body, like going to the fitness studio or something like that.
Austria has two minds about you. Many people are thrilled that you will represent Austria, but others are shocked. Does the negative sentiment drive you forward?
I don’t really think about that. Negative things don’t get me anywhere. There is no value that I can take from it. I make things that I believe in and nobody can distract me from that.
Aram MP3 recently made controversial comments about gay and transgender people. Do you have a special message for Aram or those who agree with his views?
His thoughts are really uninteresting and I don’t care about that. I think that means we will never celebrate our wedding. The young boy thinks that I would love to be a woman…As I have said, “Aram my heart, I’m a busy working woman and a really lazy boy in my freetime. And that won’t change. And if you have problems understanding that, I would love to explain it to you over coffee and a piece of cake”. About his homophobic statements, I really have to talk with him. It shows me that I’m doing the right thing and that tolerance and acceptance is not natural [to everyone].
Are you the next Dana International? Will you be added to the list of winning divas?
To clarify to everyone: Dana is no drag-artist, she’s a woman! And that’s the difference with me. I’m acting out a character, but to be born in the wrong body is a more serious ordeal and it’s not comparable to my art. Dana is big, big personality and I think she really had to fight throughout her past. I really don’t know if I can be part of the winner’s list sometimes.
You recently performed your song live for the first time. What was that like and how was the feedback?
It was unbelievable. I enjoyed every single second of it. The feedback was amazing. I only got positive feedback and I was really happy about that. The song speaks from my heart as nothing has before.
Do you watch Eurovision? Any favourites?
Oh yes. I have been following the Eurovision Song Contest for a long long time. Since I can remember me and my mummy have been big fans. And obviously my evergreen is “Ne partez pans sans moi” performed by my Celine Dion.
We asked our Twitter followers to submit questions and we’ve picked a few to share with you.
Jason Kevin Schembri (@Kevin_4598) is from Malta and asks: “Will you shave your beard before or at any stage of the Eurovision Song Contest?”
Hahaha. No, in no case. The beard is my trademark!
@Pargas_Enrique wants to know: “What’s your biggest inspiration for ESC?”
Inspiration… Many things are inspiration for me.. Music, art, people, places… I always think about my creative process.
Izrael Salas (@IzraaeLL) is sending you love all the way from Chile. “How does it feel to have fans all around the world and especially in South America, where I’m from?”
It’s stunning! I can travel to many countries where I never been because of Eurovision. To arrive there and meet your fans is the best feeling an artist can have.
@rorygahan wants to know: “Have you already heard some of the other songs competing this year? Who are your favourite”?
Because of my love for Eurovision, I have already checked a few of the songs. I really have to say that Aram, my lovely friend, is my favourite! Followed by Spain, Italy and the catchy Polish song. This year is a really strong year – again.
Do you have a special message for your fans on wiwibloggs.com?
First of all I have to say thank you for your support! I really know that it’s not natural. I would be very happy to meet you guys in Copenhagen!
See you there! Lots of luck from the team!
Thank you. Lots of kisses!
Patrick Melbler contributed this report from Austria. Follow him on Twitter @eurovisionboy77. You can also keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following wiwibloggs.com on Twitter and Facebook.