Interviews & articles
Interview by Stalker Magazine
19 Jan 2008
Tarja Turunen: No looking back
Tarja Turunen managed in a very short time to become one of the most popular personalities in the international music scene. As front woman of the band Nightwish she became a Gothic Metal icon. Her classical education and her trained soprano voice that covers three octaves she gave new impulse to the hard rock scene and created a new genre style.
Mastermind Tuomas Holopainen seemed to write songs just for her, and she - seemingly without effort – gave expressive emotionality and new life to those majestic compositions, creating a unique atmospheric sound. Quickly those pioneers of symphonic bombastic Metal became popular, five cds in seven years put this Scandinavian band on the peak of their career. But with the success the tension within the band grew and finally 2005, after the final show of the “Once”-Tour, they split up. Quite surprisingly, for fans and media as well.
A new chapter …
More than two years have passed, and after some stormy days Tarja returns to the limelight with new strength. “My Winter Storm” is the first solo album of the pretty Finn. She is still dedicated to her style, combining Metal sounds with orchestral components, but not just that: The ambitious classic fan added to her creative repertoire and presents some operetta style songs with epic dramatic soprano as well as this melancholic sinister feeling that delicately pervades throughout the whole album. Based on an elegant aesthetic quality, Tarja lets bygones be bygones and opens a new chapter of her career.
(the engl. version was translated from the German text, the ed.)
”When Nightwish was over it was a disaster for me because I just could not cope with it. I could not understand it and I will never understand it, but it is no point in discussing this any further. I wish the best to the band – and I will always keep the time with Nightwish and those wonderful songs in my heart. Since the split I have grown, despite all the pain. I had time to focus on myself, and the reactions of fans and fellow-beings showed to me that they have found a place for me in their hearts, therefore I had to be strong on their behalf, too. I felt deep inside that I have to make a big step forward just to find myself again, and I decided to go for a change.”
The Scandinavian singer did not waste time and made her ideas she had had for a while become reality:
“I had the idea of an album featuring music that I like when watching movies. I wanted to cooperate with people who write and produce soundtracks. As long as I can think of I have been fascinated by cineaste bombast sound, I just love movie music! I often wondered how those artists work, how they create this atmospheric intensity?”
The answers came from Hans Zimmer who wrote music for block busters like “Gladiator”, “Pirates Of The Caribbean” and “Black Hawk Down”.
“Fantastic!” excalims the attractive singer. “I went to Los Angeles to Control Studios and worked with artists who have been part of the biggest block busters in movie history. I have always wanted to do something like this, therefore those artists supported me in every respect, and it was worth it: Those opulent arrangements on the CD are combined quite magically with this epic sinister atmosphere, but it is still not a negative album”, says Turunen. “Just the opposite! It has a lot of positive energy, all emotions that inspired me, everything I am, is reflected in My Winter Storm. I´m not looking back anymore, there have been bad things happening, but there were plenty of even worse things happening. Hatred is losing your spirit, and what doesn´t kill you just makes you stronger! And I have found my true strength – just listening to my inner voice only – quite clearly only in the recent months.”
She has grown, this is obvious, and she knows what she is fighting for, although this new responsibility cost quite an effort, because the trained opera singer gives intimate insights to the audience as never before:
“I haven´t had much experience with songwriting, but with the assistance of some musicians I took on this task and was taken over by a passion that keeps you going. And when it´s all about emotional connection of words, you cannot do it wrong. I am very proud of myself, that I could open up so much, because lyrics are very personal and like a mirror of your soul.”
”Oasis” is the fulfilment of Tarja´s dream, this song was entirely written by her, at home at the piano:
“Although the title is English, the song has Finnish lyrics, because I still feel most comfortable in my own mother tongue, where I can express myself. Oasis symbolises the inner peace that I have found now. Every human being should have these moments of peace and freedom, despite all this every-day stress. It´s the small things in life that count! It doesn´t have to be those big dreams, it is important that you still have dreams and follow them, that´s the point!”
Speaking these words the soprano singer, who started with music already in the tender age of six years, just confirms the overall impression:
“I love what I am doing. I enjoy my freedom as solo artist and I can decide now on my creative influences on my work. I am happy, just happy…”
Author: Jasmin Froghy, transl. K. Weber, photos: T.Turunen