**Special Note – I’ve embedded two photos from Conchita Wurst’s Instagram account to go with this article because they exemplify exactly how she appears to me in this BBC Radio 4 show. Unbelievably sweet and innocent yet, at the same time, a fabulously melodramatic diva. And don’t I just love that about her.
Inheritance Tracks, a BBC Radio 4 piece Conchita Wurst recorded earlier in the year, popped up on my radar today. As the Beeb explains, it “celebrates the music that special guests cherish and would like to bestow to the future”, which is a fancy way of saying “these celebrities like these songs, and we wanted to find out why.”
And, if you’ve read other articles I’ve written about Conchita Wurst, you’ll already know I use things like this to flesh out the idea of her I have in my head. Because I’m greedy when it comes to finding out more about who she is, and how she thinks and feels.
As for ‘Inheritance Tracks’, (which you can listen to here) it’s one of the best Conchita Wurst pieces I’ve heard in a while as, in this short segment, she is incredibly real.
She wrote to Shirley Bassey
After I’d scrunched my eyebrows and pursed my lips in that way you do when you think “Awwwww”, and then added to that Conchita Wurst file in my head the phrase “massive fan girl”, now I know she wrote to Shirley Bassey, I love her even more.
Because there’s something so sweet about the person I think is simply astounding and, of course, the same person who won the world’s biggest song contest, idolizing Shirley Bassey so much she would actually write to her to tell her how much she meant to her.
And listen how she talks about it.
“I have a deep connection to Shirley Bassey. She doesn’t…well, she knows now, but she didn’t know before. And I wrote a letter to her a few months ago, and she answered and that was just…I mean I was sitting there shaking of happiness, and that was brilliant”.
It’s the way she says, “well, she knows now”, as if she still can’t quite believe Shirley Bassey knows she even exists that shows me, yet again, the innocence, vulnerability and humbleness she has always had are rooted so deep in her core, they’ll never go away. Thank God.
Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger‘
As for the song Conchita Wurst chose as her ‘Inheritance Track’, it’s Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger‘. The same song Conchita’s alter ego, Tom Neuwirth, sang so superbly during the Starmania casting show when he was only 17.
And what she loved about ‘Goldfinger‘ is what I always loved about it. The orchestra. And Bassey’s powerhouse voice. Plus, how dramatic the track is.
But what I find the most interesting here is the way she talks about Bassey and the song. Because she refers to Bassey as an “outsider” and, whether she connects it in her own head or not, I think that’s why she relates to her so much, as Conchita Wurst has been an outsider most of her life as well.
She’s also had a similar career path to Bassey, in that Bassey struggled for almost a decade trying to carve out a successful music career for herself before she hit it big, just like Conchita did, and with lots of disappointments and a fair bit of abuse.
Plus, if you look at their music styles, they’re quite similar. In that, Shirley Bassey never cared about the music that was en vogue at the time. She just recorded and released the music she liked. Just like Conchita does today.
A photo posted by conchitawurst (@conchitawurst) on
Who would play Conchita in a musical of her life?
Then there’s the segment where she talks about her life being “a musical” and decides who would play the part of Conchita if a musical was ever made about her life. Angelina Jolie, of course. Or the main girl in Conchita’s life — Victoria Beckham — who she idolizes like no other.
And it’s how she says “If there would be a musical about my life” (especially that cute inflection on the word ‘life’) that makes me realize for all that half the time she looks so elegant and mature, in reality much of her is just 12-years-old, and still living in that beautiful dream world she created in her head years ago. And I find that so incredibly touching.
Paloma Faith’s ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’
One of the many reasons I like Conchita Wurst is that we like the same things. In fact, I’m often astonished when she answers questions about particular preferences that she often chooses the things I have always loved.
Her taste in music is just one of those things, as the style of music she loves, and the songs she favors have been my favorites for years.
One such song is Paloma Faith’s ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This‘, a song I’ve been obsessed with since I first heard it, and the song Conchita chose as her Inheritance Tracks song to ‘pass on’ to others.
‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This‘ is an incredible song, Because, as Conchita says, it’s ‘simple’, yet it goes right to the core of that soul-ripping feeling we can all recognize, if we’ve ever been truly devastated by love.
But she, like me, also experiences that feeling differently than many other people, in that, as much as it’s soul-crushing to be hurt by someone you love, it’s often the feeling itself, rather than the person that hurt you, that becomes paramount. As it’s a feeling you can really sink into, and allow yourself to be almost drowned by, until the feeling itself becomes even more important than the act that caused it.
As she explains “Sad emotions, for me, are deeper than happiness”. Something I have always thought from being a little child. She’s a singer. I’m a writer. It’s probably an artist thing.
As for Paloma Faith, she’s just like Shirley Bassey and just like Conchita Wurst. Someone with a massive voice and a huge talent, but…an outsider. Someone who struggled to find her musical path, and someone who still gets quite a lot of abuse from the general public because of the over the top dramatic way she sings, and how she doesn’t care what she looks like when she’s on stage and ‘lost in the moment’.
If you haven’t seen Paloma Faith singing ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This‘, she does an amazing extended performance of the song live at a Burberry fashion show last year. One of the most truly raw but technically almost perfect performances I’ve ever seen.
Now listen to Conchita Wurst on ‘Inheritance Tracks’, and do download the audio file from the link on the BBC’s page. It’s well worth listening to again and again. Because she is simply beautiful here.