Conchita Wurst meeting Céline Dion is a bigger deal than Céline probably realized
And so there’s this.
A photograph of Austrian singer, and my favorite girl, Conchita Wurst with Céline Dion one of the world’s biggest music icons. A photograph taken at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin during events surrounding a Céline concert at the venue.
And if you knew nothing much about Conchita, you would probably look at that, think “Nice photo” and move on to some other Instagram delight.
But know anything at all about Conchita, and the first look at that photograph would make you gasp.
Because that girl has wanted to meet Céline since she was a small boy in short pants living in the tiny Austrian town of Bad Mitterndorf, listening to recordings of Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey and teaching himself to sing.
Related: Conchita and Shirley Bassey sing ‘Diamonds are Forever‘ in a spectacular virtual duet
Twenty years later and, there she is. Standing next to Céline, looking as shell-shocked as I’ve ever seen her, but there all the same.
A decade or two of a dream now realized, and a dream Céline herself, as lovely as she is and likely was to Conchita, probably didn’t really understand was such a huge deal.
Because not only was Céline one of those artists that taught Conchita to sing, the song Céline is most famous for — ‘My Heart Will Go On‘ — was the one Conchita chose to sing when she entered Die Große Chance, an Austrian talent show that launched her into the national spotlight. (Watch video below).
So, to some extent, you could say Céline helped her get there.
In connection to that Die Große Chance performance, there is also an interesting anecdote Conchita relays in her autobiography ‘Being Conchita‘ (pages 104-106). An anecdote that really made me think this week.
A story of how she talked to Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book, about Céline during a photo shoot with designer Karl Lagerfeld.
As Roitfeld is a Céline Dion fan and told Conchita about her admiration for the singer, and about her ‘point of no return’.
“It was the moment she brought out her first album in English,” said Carine. “It went platinum in the USA, and the single ‘Where Does My Heart Beat Now‘ jumped to number 4. And yet she remained true to herself. The same year she was set to receive the Felix Award for best anglophone artist, but she turned it down, saying that she was a francophone singer and always would be. Elle est courageuse. She’s very brave. Very true to herself”.
And then she asked Conchita what was her point of no return?
When she followed in Céline’s footsteps.
“It was a moment that steered my life in a new direction. I was on my way to Die Große Chance. After spending hours on my make up, I had taken one last look in the mirror before leaving the house. I was happy with the way I looked…Arriving in front of the TV studios, I found a few hundred people waiting there. All of them talented, all of them ready to give their best. I hesitated a moment before joining the queue”.
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Conchita’s point of no return, as she hesitated, and then made the decision to go for it regardless of the consequences.
A point of no return that, in just three years, led her from unknown Austrian singer to become the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 and, during that first year after the contest, the most famous singer in Europe.
You can have more than one point of no return
And I mention this point of no return, because I have a feeling finally meeting Céline Dion may have etched another one into Conchita’s life. A point of no return I think she really needed.
As recently, although she has always said she wants to be an international superstar and a Grammy Award winner, I’ve had the feeling Conchita has been losing her confidence a little bit when it comes to those goals, as I haven’t seen the same level of intense focus that I used to see in her during the two years after Eurovision.
Instead, there seems to have been a lot of toing and froing as she tries new looks, grows (a lot!) more hair, becomes far more masculine than feminine, is a bit all over the place when it comes to the types of performances she is choosing to do and, to some extent, seems a little lost.
Not able to pin herself down or get herself moving in that straight-as-an-arrow direction towards her goals she used to have.
But now that she has met Céline and felt what it’s like to be around someone that iconic to her, I’m hoping it’s going to give her even more confidence to get to those massive goals she has always set for herself.
Because I looked at that photograph of Céline and Conchita side by side, and I first saw something that, I would guess, Conchita sees herself when she looks at that photograph.
A contrast in black and white
Céline 20 years further along in her career than Conchita. An elegant blonde woman dressed in black and with all the self-confidence that kind of iconism gives you.
And Conchita, a slender dark-haired figure in a long white coat looking determinedly into the camera and with an outwardly calm smile. But, if you look closely at her eyes, you will see she is gripping onto reality as hard as she can and about one hairsbreadth away from absolutely losing her shit.
Because, come on. Meeting Céline. It was everything to her.
But the thing I actually see, when I ignore what Conchita probably sees in that photo, the most important thing, is this.
I see a woman who is incredibly talented and with a massive international career already behind her, and who deserves all the accolades that have been given her.
But I also see another woman who has just the same abilities as the first. Someone who, if she holds tightly onto that vision she has always had of being one of the most famous artists in the world, will be just as iconic as the first woman in years to come.
And so look, love, that’s another point of no return for you. And one as equally important as the first.
That moment in time when you met Céline and you absolutely made up your mind that, one day, that was going to be you. Because I know you. And I know you did.
And it’s the the way she says “die Königin” that makes me belly laugh
And finally, there’s a funny little snippet of audio Austria’s HitRadio Ö3 put out a couple of days ago. It’s a message Conchita left on the presenter’s What’s App, talking about meeting Céline.
“I am still in seventh heaven. I finally met the woman who taught me to sing!”, Conchita exclaims dramatically.
She then goes on to confess,
“I did not tell her that, because otherwise she would worry that I’m not right in the head”.
And then it’s the next bit, and how she says “Céline Dion is the Queen of my life” that had me laughing so hard.
Because just listen to how she says ‘ die Königin‘ (the Queen) in that starstruck way that makes you realize she never really grew up from that 12-year-old boy singing his songs in the attic at his parent’s guesthouse when it comes to Céline.
And that. It just made me belly laugh. And then think “Awwwww, bless her”.
Listen to Conchita babbling on about Céline Dion in the video below and, if you don’t speak German, hit the subtitles button as there’s an English translation of it too.
Yep. Awwwww, bless her indeed.
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