I just spent a wonderful 10 days in Vienna, Austria and, while I was there, I met and interviewed Virginia Ernst. An Austrian singer whose music I was introduced to by someone at Austria’s Hitradio Ö3, and who I loved so much I’ve listened to ever since.
Interviewing Virginia Ernst
I was to meet Virginia at Vienna’s Hard Rock Cafe, late on a Sunday morning but when I arrived and asked if she was there, I was told she was outside sitting in her car. Not surprising really when you see her cool car (see photo above) as, if I was her and owned that car, I’d be sitting in it as much as I could as well.
She soon arrived inside, however, and introduced herself with a beaming smile and a firm handshake, and I knew immediately I would like her. Once we sat down and began to talk I was sure of it, as we spoke about how most people talk to celebrities as if they are not human, and it was then Virginia Ernst taught me an Austrian saying.
Because, like me, she speaks to everyone the same — celebrity or not. As she believes, “I’m cooking with the same water as everybody else”.
Now how could you not like someone as down to earth as that?
She then went on to explain what suddenly becoming well known in Austria has meant to her, and how it must have affected her family and friends.
“I was a normal girl just working in a fitness studio, doing music on the side, and I was just waiting for my breakthrough. Then suddenly it happened with ‘Rockin’, (see video below) and I didn’t expect this coming. Because suddenly I have so much fans that were crying and screaming when they saw me.
From the beginning everything was so nice for me, because I was so happy. But it must be such a huge difference to my friends, to my family and to my girlfriend, you know. It must be really hard when you see your own girlfriend on the stage, and 25,000 people are screaming”.
What’s it like for you with your fans?
“It was really amazing when the ‘Kiss’ video and song came out this year in the spring, because everybody was asking me “Is that your girlfriend?” Of course, I’m used to showing my whole life also for my fans, because that’s the most interesting thing that they want to see. They ‘like’ my posts when I make a selfie or show something from my life, but when I show a photo done by a photographer I get less likes, and that’s really nice that they like my real life things so much”.
On choosing between having a family and a career
“I think the time will come when I have to decide between family or career. Because right now I’m 24, and I really try to concentrate on my career to go higher and higher. But it makes a really huge difference if you have a relationship. Because then you have two really important things that you have to concentrate on.
And if a relationship really has to work good then you also have to work on that. That’s my viewpoint. If you aren’t happy in a relationship, then your career doesn’t work that well too. Because you want to come home and want to be happy, and go happy to work. And music is not work for me, it’s my passion.
When my girlfriend is happy and we have a happy relationship, then it also makes me happy to work, and to do my music right. But if we have fights or discussions then I just concentrate on my relationship, and then I don’t give that much energy to my music anymore.”
And I got the feeling Virginia Ernst’s relationship with her girlfriend, Stephanie, is just as important as her career, if not more so, as she is so obviously in love she goes all happy and smiley when she talks about her.
On her relationship with her girlfriend
“We’re really really close. She comes to every concert that she can, and always supports me. And I try to always support her with her career. But she does her own thing with her own friends as well, and I do my own thing. So we’re really happy. We also have a future plan and a goal, which is the most important thing in a relationship. To have a goal.”
And did I mention Virginia Ernst has a good head on her shoulders? Because I could tell in just the hour I talked to her she knows exactly what is important in life, (family, friends and loved ones, being kind to people, working hard, and doing things the moral way), and avoids the things that are not.
On her Dad, a musician who used to work with Alan Parsons and who is now incredibly supportive of Virginia and her career
“My Dad is also a musician, and he was so passionate about music, he wanted to go to the States and become international. Then my mom came, and kids, and he had to put all the money into the family as musicians are not that rich (and she laughed). So he decided to concentrate on his wife and family, and get a different job”
When I asked her if she thought he regretted having to make that decision, she immediately said “I don’t think so. Because right now, when I started with music, he got the passion back. His dream was to become a singer songwriter, and right now that’s my biggest dream. And he’s just sitting on it, and trying to push me through that”.
Do you and your Dad write songs together?
“Not yet, but we’ve decided to write a couple of songs together soon because he plays piano and also guitar, and he’s a really good singer songwriter”.
On her music being a “family business”
Virginia then went on to talk about her Dad and how he is very interested in what she’s doing with her career, and is helping her as much as he can. He’s even making sure she makes good financial decisions while, at the same time, her mother is dealing with the management of her career. And she said:
“That’s what I love. We have like a family business. And I have had a couple of people try to tell me I should separate from my family and have someone else do that, but I’m like “Get the hell out, I know what’s best for me”.
See, I told you. Virginia Ernst has a good head on her shoulders as she knows there is nothing more important than family, and she knows hers will always have her best interests at heart.
On being a good role model
“I want to make a change. I want to tell my fans, and anyone else who is interested, that it also works in the music business when you don’t drink and you don’t do drugs. The success comes even more.”
“Pink is my biggest idol. One day I’m going to sing a song with her. That’s my biggest dream. Because when people hear me they always say “On my God, she sounds like Pink, but younger”.
I’ll never do what Pink does (the incredible aerial acrobatics), because that’s not a goal for me, but I would like to dance and sing at the same time, but I still have to practice a lot” (and she laughed).
Of course, I’m still so small. And I want to get bigger, but it’s just step by step.”
And I guarantee you she will sing a song with Pink one day, as this girl she knows exactly where she’s going and she won’t stop until she gets there.
Why she avoided the typical Austrian casting show route
“I think I’m one of the first Austrians in the music business, who has made it without being on a casting show.”
And she went on to say she chose that way for a reason, as she thinks the Austrian casting shows often allow artists to get very high in the music industry very fast but most don’t last and, when they fall, they fall hard.
“But for me, I made it there myself with my mom, my dad, and my team. I worked my ass off to get where I am, and that’s how I know I can reach everything I want to reach”.
On Conchita Wurst winning Eurovision for Austria
“Yes, I totally knew we were going to win. Because she was Eurovision. She was it. We were sitting in front of the TV, I can still remember that, and then she entered the stage and even on the TV screen we got goosebumps. And I’ve never been so nervous on a Eurovision as I was two years ago, and then she won this shit. I couldn’t even sleep because I was still so excited. And I was just a normal human watching it. I can’t imagine how she felt.
And you know how many people tried to pull her down? With really really bad things. But she was fighting through it. She was fighting. And that’s why she’s a winner. Because she was still like standing up. She was never sitting on her ass saying “I won’t do this, because I can’t handle that”, and that’s the right thing to do.
Every time you have like 2 percent of the 100 percent who are your enemies, but they are the loudest. And you have to ignore them.”
And I left my interview with Virginia Ernst very happy that I had met her, as she is yet another incredible example of an Austrian singer who is working as hard as she can to get where she wants to go, while still remaining kind, considerate, honest and humble, treating people well, and not taking any of it for granted.
What I loved even more was one last thing she said about her dad, when she was talking about often being nervous singing in front of a large crowd.
“My Dad is my anchor point, and when I look at him, all the nervousness goes away.”
Honestly. How could you not love a girl like that?
Also, keep a look out for her debut album, which she is currently recording, and which will be released sometime in 2016. I’ll guarantee it’s going to be fabulous.
Meanwhile, leave any comments below.
I'm a former radio DJ, an ex non-profit Director of Development, and a left-wing human rights advocate with a 20 year background in gay rights and HIV/AIDS rights advocacy. I'm also an avid video game player. Minecraft is my obsession.