NIGHTWISH's official web site has been updated with an interview with the group's new singer, 35-year-old Swede Anette Blyckert (a.k.a. Anette Olzon). Read on:
Q: What is your musical background? Have we already heard you sing in other bands?
Anette: I was born and raised in a musical family. I have been singing since childhood and was forced by my mum to play the oboe for 8 years! I was with mum on tour with her band and sang with them now and then. I then competed in several talent shows from 13 years of age.
My first band was a cover band, named TAKE COVER, with older guys when I was 17, then I got into a band called ALYSON AVENUE, first just as a studio singer, then took lead role and we have released two albums since 2000. At age 21 I had a lead role in a rock opera/musical in Helsingborg called "Gränsland" and then got in at Balettakademien in Gothenburg. I have been in many different bands and choirs, and have done studio jobs and weddings during the years. I recently sang a duet on Michael Bormann's (ex-JADED HEART singer) album "Conspiracy".
I have taken singing lessons in my earlier days at Music Conservatorie in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a private teacher and nowadays when I need a private teacher, in Malmö Music University. I have been singing almost any genre there is.
Q: Tell us about the steps of becoming the new NIGHTWISH singer. Sending in the demo, getting the first answer, meeting the guys for the first time, etc.
Anette: I had just heard of NIGHTWISH a couple of months before Tarja got fired, so I didn't know the band or its history at all. I first got into them because my sister's daughter is a fan. I felt that maybe I should listen to them since I am always interested in new music. I bought their collection album and liked it immediately. When I read about Tarja's departure, I was in an ABBA cover band where the sound engineer said he thought I should apply, but since I'm not a classical singer, I wasn't sure. After some thinking I decided to ask two friends of mine if they could record background music for "Ever Dream" and they did. I went in and hadn't even practiced the song, since I wanted to interpret it my own way. A couple of hours later it was done. I found an e-mail to Tuomas, got his address and sent the demo away and just one week after sending it, Tuomas answered me himself... he was thrilled and really loved my voice and the song! Wow, it was such a nice mail and I was of course totally happy.... he then asked me to sing three more songs, from an instrumental version of "Once", which he sent me some weeks later. I then recorded "Nemo", "Higher Than Hope", "Wish I Had An Angel" and I also did a bonus for them, "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan"...with my poor Finnish they must have laughed their heads off...
I sent the second demo and then I e-mailed Tuomas if he had gotten it. He said he had and he said thanks and good job, etc. I didn't wanna push him, since he had told me already in the first mail that they wanted to take it easy and melt all the hustle that had been with the media etc., so I tried to let it go and just wait.... Then in March, they put out the ad that they wanted demos, etc. and I felt that I needed to check with Tuomas if I should send in something more, so I mailed him and got a devastating mail back where he said that I was one of the best candidates, but that he could already then say that I wouldn't get the job!!! I was in shock, I didn't understand anything and he didn't say why... so I assumed it was because of my age or that I have a child... But since I am very stubborn and really felt that this was meant to be, I sent an e-mail again in the summer asking if I could send them a live DVD from my band, ALYSON AVENUE, and Tuomas said yes. I sent it away and in August, I received a mail from Ewo [manager] asking me some questions, which I answered. I then got invited to meet the guys in the beginning of September to try some songs out. I got there, met the guys and sang five or six old songs with them. The next day I went to Emppu's studio to sing some new stuff for them. It felt very good and they were such nice guys. I felt immediately that I wanted to work with them, since they were so down to earth and had very good sense of humour. When I landed in Kastrup Airport in the evening, I got an SMS from Ewo that they all liked me a lot and wanted to see me again in a month's time.. Soooo happy that I cried on the way home.
I got some songs to practice before the next time in the studio and went back in October. We first went to Tuomas' island in Kitee, partying and just being together in a very relaxed and nice way. Since I am a country girl too, I felt very good in Kitee and it was such an honour for me to be invited to a special place of Tuomas'. After Kitee, we had some test pictures taken of me and Tuomas with a make-up artist and a very good photographer. Then I went to the studio to record the songs I had prepared for and then I went back home, after 6 days in Finland... I got a mail from Tuomas the same night that they were gonna wait til next year to make a decision. I waited and was of course very nervous, but had contact with the guys and Ewo during that time and they were very positive, so it felt good.
Then January 30th, Tuomas called me and was talking about some other stuff and then he just said: We have decided that we are gonna give you lots to do the coming years....haha! He said it so calm and I felt that I couldn't scream then so I tried to be calm, but through the whole conversation I had difficulties listening to what he said... It took me many weeks to really, really understand that my long wait (1.5 years) was over and I got the job.
Q: What do you think of the fans who say that NIGHTWISH is dead without Tarja?
Anette: I can understand that the fans are worried, since a singer is very important to a band. But at the same time, I think that a band is all of its members and since the guys have decided to continue the journey, I hope the fans will stay with them (and me) and give the new album a chance. It's not the whole band that has changed — it's the same music, lyrics and feelings as before, with the exception that it's me singing now.
Q: What are your feelings towards the day your identity will be revealed to the public? Are you looking forward to it or are you worried how the fans will react?
Anette: I am looking forward to it since I will no longer need to keep it a secret from my friends... and then I can go out with the guys in public, not worrying if someone will see me and spread a rumor in the newspapers.
Q: Have you done long tours before? How do you think you'll cope with the fact that traveling and getting too little sleep will be hard especially for the singer?
Anette: No, I haven't done long tours, but have done musical and several shows in a row. So I know very well that it's gonna be hard. It will, of course, be a new and big situation for me to deal with. I am thinking about how my voice will cope with lack of sleep etc. so I am already now taking more vocal lessons to strengthen my voice for the tasks that are ahead, rehearsing the show at home already to get into the songs and be able to sing them with various techniques. But sleep is THE most important thing for my voice, so I'm gonna try and sleep as much as I can, whenever and wherever I can on the tour.
Q: What do you expect from the forthcoming album release and the following world tour?
Anette: I really do hope that this album is gonna be welcomed by the fans and hopefully we'll gain some new fans also. I hope people will hear that I like to sing the songs and that I really love what I do. The tour is gonna be a hell of a ride for me! I have been longing for this my whole life and here I am, going to see the world with my new "family"... it's gonna be the best time in my life, I'm sure!
Q: Have you had any part in the writing and arranging of the new songs?
Anette: No, the songs were written long before I recorded them.
Q: What is your first impression of the new material?
Anette: They are as usual very good songs and Tuomas has implemented the orchestra and choir in such a nice way on all the songs... It's an album with a lot of variety, the listener won't get bored... As much as there are powerful songs, there are also very soft and emotional songs on the album. And there's also some ethnic stuff in there...
Q: Tell us some things about yourself. What is important to you besides music?
Anette: I'm an emotional person, which means I live life through my heart and stomach, not always through my head....When it comes to what is important to me, I think I really need to feel that I can be myself with the people I am close to, that I don't need to be something I'm not... As much as I am a person who loves to be together with others, I still need my space and possibility to be alone too, to reflect and go into myself. I like to listen to other people, feel them and guide them if they're having problems or difficulties, but I don't give advice if I feel no one wants them...I don't like negative people, so I try and be around positive people if I can... I don't like it if someone says to me that I can't do something, 'cause there is nothing I can't do! Everything is possible if you really want it to happen!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans?
Anette: Keep your dreams alive, never stop believing, 'cause anything is possible!!! Rock on and hope to see you all on tour!
A short video "greeting" from Anette is available for download at this location (MPEG, 5 MB).
Anette Blyckert promotional photos:
NIGHTWISH new promotional photos:
Check out Anette Blyckert's recordings with ALYSON AVENUE at this location.