„Now I am happy”

Marlena Darocha: Hello! First of all, I just want to tell that it’s a great honor for me! I’m your big fan since first Nightwish album! How do you do? You’re continuing 2nd part of „Colours In The Road” tour. You played many concerts. What can you say about these shows? How about fans reactions to new material live?

Tarja Turunen: I am doing great, thank you! I have been on the road since October last year and it’s been a lot of fun. The concerts have been beautiful and the audiences have grown since my last album, so it only can tell that something good is going on. People have received my latest album well and I have got great reviews. I am really delighted about all this of course, because for me personally “Colours in the dark” is my best album so far.

MD: Now you’re playing festivals. Recently you played at Wacken Open Air. Tell something about this show? How was it? In the fall you’re playing in clubs again.

TT: I visited Wacken as a guest singer in Van Canto’s concert. It was a lovely experience to me. The people of Van Canto are very humble and nice people so it was great to take part in their show. We played as the last band in the festival on that night. In the fall I have big Arena shows in Czech Republic, South American tour, one more European tour and in December a Christmas concert tour, so lot to do. I love the broad career that I have as an artist, because it gives me the chance to experience what is to sing in front of thousands of people and in front of an intimate, smaller audience.

MD: Recently your last release „Left In The Dark” was out. It contains unrealized versions of songs from “Colours In The Dark”, among other things. Tell, what was the idea to release this material? Interesting thing is related with album cover and booklet. It was contest. Was it difficult choice?

TT: I wanted to make a product for the hardcore fans, since myself I enjoy products like “Left in the dark” is from the artists that give me inspiration. I also wanted my fans to take part in the production for the first time and that’s why we invented the competition of the artwork. I loved receiving hundreds of cover arts, but choosing the best ones was not the easiest job.

MD: One year has passed since „Colours In The Dark” was released. Tell me, how do you look at this material, in retrospect? Is something you would like to change today? Did anything surprise you in the fans reactions?

TT: I guess that my listeners have felt the happiness of mine in this album and that’s why it has been so well received by them. I was very happy during the writing and production process and I think that all that is somehow obvious when you listen the album. I feel confident with this album. I am also very proud of being able to find my own sound with it, finally. It took many years, but now I can say that this is what I was looking for.

MD: Comparing „Colours In The Dark” to your previous albums, I feel this album is the most mature musically. It’s perfect combination of elements from “My Winter Storm” and “What Lies Beneath” and it has some new freshness. I think you found perfect balance between heaviness, strength and classical sound. How do you mention work on “Colours…”?

TT: That is exactly what I meant when I said about that I found my sound with the album. I also found out the easiest and most comfortable way to produce. The elements are the same than on my previous albums, but they are just produced differently and the song writing is stronger on this one too. I think I will be exploring a bit more of that progressive side that I have on Colours in the dark album, on my next one. Let’s see.

MD: As usual, your lyrics are very personal. Also every album is related with other period of your life. Tell me, what are the lyrics on a new album about? How usually the work on them look like? Are the lyrics important for you or they’re supplementary to music?

TT: The music comes first to me. Only after I start writing stories for the songs. The lyrics are definitely as important as the music itself. This time the album is very personal to me and I don’t want to openly discuss about the meaning of each song, because I also want my listeners to be able to be free to interpret my songs the way they see them. In general I write about my journeys in life, what I see, what moves me and what I have experienced.

MD: „500 Letters” song is about the issue of persecution by the stalker. Can you say something more about this situation? You made very emotional video to this song. When you watch it, you can feel these emotions…

TT: Yes,  “500 letters” is the only song I told about the meaning of the lyrics because as I wrote them, it is quite obvious I am talking about the issue I have with stalkers. I have just needed to start taking care of my family’s security a bit better than I have needed to do earlier. I have a little daughter traveling everywhere with me, so this issue is something that needs to be taken care of. I am not afraid of people nor my fans, but I have realized it is hard for some people to understand that there is just a normal person behind the artist face of mine. The reality is shadowed. I understand that music clearly touches people, as it is doing it with me the same, but the fact that we musicians are living a normal life outside the artistic one, stays in shadows sometimes. I have very passionate fans in many countries which is lovely, but when the fanaticism gets out of hands, it becomes dangerous.

MD: Let’s leave last album for a while. Recently on your Facebook page it was posted a picture of some unusual instrument and information about making new songs. Very quickly! Can you tell something more? Can you tell what kind of material we can expect?

TT: My new album will have the same elements as the previous ones. I just have them again refreshed! I will use different sounds as an experiment, but the overall sound and style won’t change. If you liked my “Colours in the dark” album, I am pretty sure you will love this one too J. You can expect the new album release in 2016. Before that I have too many tours and projects to do.

MD: Speaking about your other projects. “Beauty and the Beat” is doing well. You released a material and you’ve played shows. What was the idea of creating this project? Watching audience on these shows, besides your fans of course, are there also people who listen only classical music? What are your experiences?

TT: It has been amazing to sing in front of many orchestras and choirs. That is exactly what I studied for so many years. This project has been a real challenge and success. The audiences that have been present in the concerts, have been a great mix of people. Those ones who love rock and others that in general love music. I am very proud to be able to show young people that classical music is beautiful and that performing it can be also a lot of fun. The youth of today don’t know much about classical music and they definitely don’t think it is cool at all, so we wanted to show them that they should check it out first. We are going to be making more concerts with “Beauty and The Beat” next year.

MD: You released a DVD „Act I”. Tell me, do you think about next live release?

TT: I guess that will happen after my next studio record.

MD: Speaking about your collaboration with other musicians. There’re a lot of this. You cooperated with such a bright stars like Doro Pesch, Scorpions or Mike Oldfield. Have you ever refused to participate in some project?

TT: I get asked a lot for different kinds of collaborations all the time, but the time is my limit. I also get into projects that I really feel the interest. I love collaborating with different kinds of artists, because every time I learn a lot from those experiences. Everybody works differently, so it is interesting to live the challenge that is always involved. I have been extremely lucky to be able to make beautiful collaborations and make friends through them.

MD: You have really good musicians in your band. Tell, how did you choose them?

TT: I have chosen the musicians I work with for different reasons. I liked their sound, style, human skills.

MD: Returning to your last album „Colours In The Dark”. The work on it coincided with your pregnancy and birth of your daughter Naomi. Tell me, how did this situation affect on work on a music? Has it changed your approach to art in general? And by the way, I see Naomi travels with her mom… ;) Do you always get your daughter with you?

TT: I was writing the songs during the pregnancy and even before. The recordings started when I was on my seventh month and I continued producing the album few months after my child was born. It was not hard at all to work on the album during the pregnancy, because I never felt sick. Only tired sometimes. My approach didn’t change at all because of my daughter. I was just happy to be able to work as usual and that I am still today. Our daughter travels with the family always. This will probably change when it is time for her to go to school, but I want to have her around as long as I can. She has totally accepted the fact of constant traveling, which makes things a lot easier. She is already a world traveler!

MD: Recently on your website it appeared a post that you’re one of the coaches in “The Voice Of Finland”. Did they invite you? When are you going to start recording? How are you preparing yourself to your role?

TT: Yes I got an invitation to take part in this program. I have been invited several times before for different kinds of formats and programs, but I never had the real interest until now. I am grateful that I still can do my tours and other projects during the TV- show, so I didn’t need to sacrifice much. The recordings will start in October and last until April next year. I haven’t really been thinking about the program much yet, but very soon I need to start my new challenge. I am truly excited about it.

MD: Your solo career is big success. Tell honestly, after parting with Nightwish, did you expect this? Tell me, how do you look at these difficult moments from the past today? What is Nightwish for you, today?

TT: I didn’t have any expectations after the long career within the band. I needed to work very hard in searching new ways of making music, which I definitely did. I also found out that I can be free with my music and happy with what I do. I am truly grateful for what happened, because I could have never felt this way in the band. Now I am happy. Nightwish for me means a new, different era in my musical life. It introduced me to heavy metal and me for heavy metal. I am glad that I took the challenge when it was offered to me, despite of the bitter and awful ending of it.

MD: I’m curious, do you have other passions besides music? What does inspire you to create your music?

TT: I love scuba diving, good food, wine and traveling. But what inspires me most are my journeys.

MD: You’re singer with long experience. Tell me, do you practice your voice besides shows and studio recordings?

TT: I have to keep on training my voice, so when I am at home, I practice. I still want to make progress as a lyrical singer, so that only means I have to train hard in order to do so. I also take singing lessons when possible.

MD: You’re considered as a singer – icon who perfectly connected two worlds of classical music and metal. Have you always listened heavy music or your started when you joined to Nightwish? What are your favorite bands?

TT: As I mentioned before, Nightwish introduced me heavy metal music. I listened rock before, but never really metal. After joining the band, I started to listen metal and discovered many great bands. I like more American metal bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Sklipknot, Disturbed, also In Flames…

MD: Finally, I’d like to ask you about shows. On November you’re playing four shows in  Poland. Tell me, will be some changes on current setlist? What can we expect? Generally how do you mention your previous shows in Poland?

TT: My visits in Poland have always been wonderful. The Polish audience have received me warmly every time. I also have had a chance to sing classical music for you, so I am grateful for that too. The concerts in Poland are part of the world tour that I am doing at the moment with my new album, so the setlist will remain more or less the same than in my previous shows in this tour, even though there will always be some changes. I am going to be presenting you “Colours in the dark” album, but also playing songs from my previous albums.

MD: Thank you so much for an interview! Would you like to say something to your Polish fans? See you on 9th November in Krakow!

TT: I am looking forward to rock with you like never before, soon! Thank you for the support and love.

 

Pics by Tim Tronckoe, Eugenio Mazzinghi, Jens Boldt