On March 3, Mark Holmes of Metal Discovery conducted an interview with former NIGHTWISH singer Anette Olzon. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Discovery: In terms of the lyrics, [your solo debut, "Shine"] strikes me as a very personal album, so did you have any apprehensions about making yourself so emotionally bare in the songs?
Anette: I think it just came naturally. I've done some lyrics and stuff when I was younger, at the age of 20 in my former band, and then I was writing a lot of melancholic stuff. I always tend to write better when I'm in a sadder mood; I don't know why, we are all different. So that album, I was quite tired after the long tour and all these things that have happened, and being in a big band, and doing all those new things. I think I just had to get everything out. And then it started to be personal, of course, even if not every single word is personal, but, of course, it's from my life. And I think it was good; it's some kind of healing process too when you write down the things you have inside, even if it's from your childhood or whatever. And I think the next album might be more positive, you never know. It depends on how you are but, at that time, I was quite exhausted and tired from the whole touring of "Dark Passion Play", which was a huge tour. So maybe that's why they were a bit more melancholic, in a way… [Laughs]
Metal Discovery: You mentioned healing through writing, so was it a cathartic experience when capturing some of those personal experiences and emotions in your music?
Anette: Yeah, I think so. And I think, you know, I'm also that kind of person. I'm very open and talkative with people and you can easily get to know me, but I have a big integrity when it comes to how I feel deep inside… I'm quite a positive person when you meet me, because I don't want to sit down and moan about negative stuff. I only show that side to the very closest people around me so, of course, I need to get it out in something. And I think the lyrics and writing it down is really good because, even if it's personal, I'm not talking to you about it directly; I can write it in the lyrics. And people can interpret them as they want. I think it's a good way; it's like writing a book, in a way, to get it out of your system.
Metal Discovery: Obviously, you made two incredible albums with NIGHTWISH although your vocals throughout this one are even more heartfelt and intense with a lot more emotional depth. So did that come quite naturally through singing about such personal subjects?
Anette: Yeah, I think it did and it is easier to implement singing and your emotions in your own songs, I guess. It feels like that. I mean, I have been singing other people's music mostly, and it was something different when you got in and sang these songs because, of course, if you write about something personal, like some family or something, of course, it's something that will reach down to your heart and it will be easier to express that. I think it was mainly because it was my own songs coming out.
Metal Discovery: Despite the hard time you must've had emotionally when parting company with NIGHTWISH, is it now a very exciting time for you to be making this fresh start, and completely on your own terms as well?
Anette: Yeah, of course, and I think it's important that you go out from something that has been a bit harder to try and look ahead, and I did that quite fast. I was focused and I wanted to do this album and get it out, and I think it went quite fast too. So I think it's a good way to have this out now, one year later, or one and a half or something. Of course, I'm also a bit nervous how it will go because I'm a new, fresh artist; I don't have a band behind me; I don't have big management and stuff in that way, that brings you up on the bigger scene. So I have to start from the beginning now and, of course, it's a bit nervous too but I hope for the best… [Laughs]
Metal Discovery: Would you ever want to revisit NIGHTWISH songs in your live solo sets, or is that something you want to leave completely in the past?
Anette: To be honest, I wouldn't mind doing it because I like the songs and I'm proud of the songs that we've done. I mean, there are many songs I would love to do. But I know, also, that Tuomas [Holopainen, NIGHTWISH mainman], I don't know whether he'd like me to do it, and that out of respect to the songwriter, I don't want to disrespect him by taking his songs and doing them while they still play with the band. I mean, they're going on tour and I'm sure Floor [Jansen, current NIGHTWISH singer] will sing a lot of songs that I've done and it wouldn't be fair to compete in that way. So it's not that I wouldn't do it because I don't like them anymore, it's a bit of respect for him too. We'll see. Maybe one day we'll meet and he'll say, "Hey, do some songs from NIGHTWISH." "Okay, I will do it." But, for now, I'm not gonna do it in the first thing.
Read the entire interview at Metal Discovery.
Photo credit: Patric Ullaeus