TARJA TURUNEN: 'I Am Growing A Lot As An Artist And A Person'

James Young of UK's Live 4 Metal recently conducted an interview with former NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Live 4 Metal: What kind of reception has the new album got? You're number one in Finland so it must be good!

Tarja: Very good news! Also number 3 in Germany — for me it's a blast, and a really important moment. Because of course it's my first album so I feel it very personally; it's a personal success to think that all the hard work and paid off, and this is a great moment in my life as I am growing a lot as an artist and a person in this process. I cannot complain as this is a good beginning, even though yesterday I was talking with some fans and they saw it as a continuum for me.

Live 4 Metal: Who or what are your influences on this album?

Tarja: Mainly the people have been my biggest influence. There has been a big blast of energy behind me and I call the people my "winter storm." They have been the biggest influence holding me there and kicking my ass and it's very important. Also, I have been reading Paulo Coelho's books a lot, and I like his view of life in general. I like how he talks about living in a dream. He has helped me for many years with his way of seeing things, which helped me to understand myself better. It's very important to feel that inner good feeling. Life can sometimes be pretty tough for an artist considering the moment you are living in. Bad vibes from the environment get to you. Now I understand that there is nothing bad in life that can't make you stronger, but can make you understand who you are and what you want to do with your life, and I live my life in a way that I am following my dreams. Not in the way that they can come true though — it would be very sad if I had big goals in life, such as singing in the Royal Albert Hall, and then I do it, and it's gone! I don't have those kinds of dreams, I have dreams to live and stay positive. Like, I'm really looking forward to tonight's concert — that is my dream once again. There will be some familiar faces for me but also hopefully some new people.

Live 4 Metal: How much have you gone for a metal or rock sound on the new album, or is it more classical? With what kind of ratio are the genres applied?

Tarja: The album is a mixture of things. As an artist, there is nothing better that the opportunity to go on stage and headbang with hard-sounding guitars. I love it so much that I feel it in my bones and it bursts out as a massive sound. I love it, it's fantastic, but on the other hand a couple of songs later are so smooth and quiet with beautiful melodies and harmonies, giving people a different perspective and atmosphere. That is a challenge for me that I have being doing for many years. I love that contrast. I love that if I do a solely heavy metal concert, I can go to an opera festival two days later and do an opera concert.

Live 4 Metal: Are you a metal fan, or is your listening more opera-based?

Tarja: Both. Actually I do not listen to much opera music. I listen to classical music when I need to relax. It depends a lot on mood. I go to metal concerts as well as classical concerts, and I love both of them. When I need some energy in the morning I can put a metal CD in my player, because it gets me going! Classical music will send me off the road! [Laughs] Seriously, my interest in both sorts of music, I have been doing them for so many years that neither of them tells the complete story of me as an artist, but together they do.

Live 4 Metal: So why did you choose ALICE COOPER's "Poison" of all the tracks in the world to cover?

Tarja: Good question! [Laughs] This happened because it was a coincidence - I wanted to have one cover for the album and it was so difficult to make the decision. You wouldn't believe how much good music is composed and how many great artists there are. Always when I was searching for a song, I was led to the 80s and my teenage years when I was listening to hard rock. I was having some trouble! In May or April, I was driving along in Finland and on my car radio they were playing ALICE COOPER four or five times in one day. I was laughing about how when I was driving they were playing this song again and again, so I started playing around with crazy ideas. What if I do a cover of this? What kind of cover should it be? How should I make it fit around the sound of the album for me as a singer. There were many things I was playing around with. And it was definitely not an easy song - there are hundreds of backing vocals and guitar riffs. I said to myself I don't have any guitar solos on my album, just cello solos. So there will be a cello solo in this one too! The record company truly loved this song, and my idea of it, and it started to work. It was a good thing, I really like this track.

Read the entire interview at www.live4metal.com.

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