Conchita Wurst: Winning Eurovision opens doors but you won’t be “set for life”

The 2014 champion shares her tips for Eurovision victory and reveals all about her Radio 2 special

Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song "Rise Like A Phoenix" after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Grand Final in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND        (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Win Eurovision and you’ll do it in front of a global audience of hundreds of millions, but there’s still hard graft ahead. That’s the message from 2014 winner Conchita Wurst, who has gone from strength to strength in the music business since claiming victory for Austria in Sweden.

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The Rise Like A Phoenix singer, who presents her own Friday Night is Music Night special on Radio 2 on Friday 11th May, told RadioTimes.com that winning the contest changed her life and allowed her to live her dream, but emphasised that there’s a lot of work involved too.

“Winning the Eurovision contest is just a door opener, this is not that you’re set for life,” Wurst said. “Definitely not, don’t mistake that, because you really have to work your behind off to sustain in this business.”

Wurst has been busy doing just that, touring Europe and releasing music across the continent in the four years since her Eurovision victory.

It took her two years to prepare the set list for her two-hour show at the London Palladium, which was recorded in front a live audience in February 2018.

Accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and her own rock band, Conchita serves up a variety of songs, including Prince’s Purple Rain, her Eurovision-winning hit Rise Like A Phoenix, and Julie Andrews’ famous rendition of The Sound of Music.

“I don’t know why, I did it in the original key,” Wurst confessed. “I thought, ‘I’ll play a little Julie Andrews here’.”

While Conchita may worry about living up to Julie Andrews, many a Eurovision contestant would love to follow in her footsteps. What advice does she have for this year’s batch of hopefuls?

“I wouldn’t dare to say that I have the recipe to win because I think it depends so much on luck and the song and the momentum, but I think if you really try to enjoy it, that would be the goal that you should try to achieve.”

And with Norway’s Alexander Rybak returning to try and win the song contest for the second time in Lisbon, could Conchita ever be tempted to try and do the double herself?

“I am sorry to disappoint you, I’ll never compete ever again at the Eurovision,” she said, “but if you need a nice host I will be up for it.”

Friday Night is Music Night airs on Radio 2 from 8pm on Friday 11th May

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The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Grand Final takes place on Saturday 12th May. You’ll be able to watch the show live on BBC1 from 8pm with Graham Norton on the night, or you can tune in on Radio 2 with Ken Bruce from 8pm