The Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth created the stage character Conchita Wurst in 2011. The bearded diva won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen for Austria and became a global figurehead of the LGBTI community overnight with her victory slogan “We are unstoppable!”. This was followed by her platinum-certified debut album “Conchita” (2015), numerous awards, performances at countless Prides, appearances, and TV shows in more than 20 countries on four continents, his first solo tour with a live band (2016) as well as shows at the sold-out Sydney Opera, the Berlin Philharmonie, Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle, and BBC Radio 2’s “Friday Night is Music Night” at the Palladium in London, as well as appearances as host of the internationally renowned charity event Life Ball, the opening of Wiener Festwochen, and the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards.
The following album, “From Vienna With Love”, was recorded with Wiener Symphoniker and released in October of 2018 with a sold-out gala concert at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. The album reached gold status within one week after its release. This album was also released by Sony Music Entertainment Austria for which Conchita covered worldwide hits by Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Alanis Morissette, Sam Smith, and many more. It also includes an extended version of “Rise Like A Phoenix” as well as Conchita’s co-written song “Have I Ever Been In Love” and Hildegard Knef’s famous German song “Für mich soll’s rote Rosen regnen.” The collaboration with Wiener Symphoniker constitutes a further milestone in Conchita’s musical career, not least because of its excellent production by Dorothee Freiberger.
After this excursion into the philharmonic realm, the restless artist went on tour with his band again in autumn of 2018, where he presented his favourite cover songs of the last years as well as excerpts from his orchestral program, which included well-known hits from his debut album such as “Firestorm”, “Heroes”, and of course “Rise Like A Phoenix”. He gained even more stage experience during the pleasant evenings of his “so weit so gut” (“so far so good”) tour with its captivating live music and pointed entertainment at the highest level.
In 2019, the third studio album was released, featuring – for the very first time – electronic music under the project title WURST. These new soundscapes were developed by Neuwirth in close collaboration with Eva Klampfer (lyrics & music) and Albin Janoska (producer & co-author). Meeting the requirements of today’s music market, these songs are released individually, while a physical limited edition of the album on CD was released in October 2019. The new style is electronic, danceable, and as close to the musician’s personal experiences as never before, whose artistic goals take centre stage on these new songs.
The artist Tom Neuwirth emphasizes the contrasts of both musical worlds even further, by no longer presenting Conchita and WURST as a dual role but unadulteratedly living out the two different facets of his stage character:
Conchita, the polite media icon who has been creating a worldwide buzz since she won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 and is known for her brilliantly captivating live entertainment with her special blend of Glam-Pop and diva songs. WURST, on the other hand, the uncompromising electro-artist, who seems to care for no one’s opinion and delivers sexy, driving, and thoroughly danceable soundscapes but reveals more about Neuwirth and his life in his lyrics than it was ever possible for the unapproachable character of Conchita.
Besides focusing on his musical career, he often uses his media attention to support sociopolitical causes. As the Eurovision-winner, he was presented on the world’s biggest LED-screen on New York’s Times Square at New Year’s Eve 2014, was invited by Ban Ki-Moon, who was UN Secretary-General at the time, to a joint appearance at a UN-conference, and he spoke at the European Parliament in Brussels. The New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) even dedicated a video installation and a subway campaign to Conchita. In addition to his honorary contribution to Life Ball, one of the biggest and most media-effective Aids/HIV charities, he also harnessed his popularity for social engagement with performances at benefit concerts like “Voices for Refugees” on Vienna’s Heldenplatz or appeals to increase voter turnout, like before the European elections in 2019. Conchita was ambassador of EuroPride 2019, and is ambassador for United Nations’ / UN Human Rights campaign Free&Equal.