Tarja Turunen: Under Judgement All the Time

This interview was done just a few days before Nightwish kicked her out. Tarja talks about baby plans, leaving Finland, the difference between the private and the performing Tarja and – very sarcastically – about new music plans, if she would ever split up with Nightwish…

In December you are going to give some classical concerts without Nightwish. Is that a different feeling for you being on stage as a solo artist? Is it more personal to act alone, than belonging to a band?
These concerts in December, are my Christmas concerts and it is going to be a tour with 6 concerts in 4 countries, with 2 concerts also in Germany. Those in Berlin and in Frankfurt. The program includes some classical Christmas songs, traditional,-and international Christmas songs. I will be performing with a string quartet, pianist and flutist. Performing classical music or in general acoustic music, without PA or microphones, differs and lot from the way that I am used to sing along Nightwish. In this way the audience, listeners, can easily hear the real voice of mine and sense the feelings I am trying to express through the music. I don´t want to tell you which way is better, you should judge yourself, but what I can say is, that both ways of singing are definitely different. Of course it is more personal to perform alone or as a solo artist on the stage than with the band, especially if we are talking about classical music.

Classical music was your entrance in the music itself, right? So is it still your first love or would you say there´s a balance between your solo career and Nightwish?
I started my classical music studies when I was a little kid. My biggest love and dream still is to become a classical singer, because this started a long before Nightwish and the band hasn´t changed that. Nightwish has given me a different approach in a music field and that approach was unexpected. Nowadays I am used to do both things, but I am trained as a classical singer and still learning and practising that every day.

Just an imagination: If you would quit with Nightwish someday – what would you do instead? Would you join a metal band again or just concentrate on classic music?
If that happens, I don´t want to join another metal band. Maybe I will be doing different kind of music and also some classical concerts here and there.

At the moment in sees, like in every corner of the world, metal bands with female singers are growing and growing. How do you see this development? Does it get on your nerves?
It is definitely amazing how many metal bands have female singers nowadays, but it is just flattering for me to know that I was there among the first ones. It is good to know that girls have won their right to be in that position in a so called “ men´s world”. It is anyway not easy to be convincing in that position. I have felt that I am under judgement all the time, because I have to look good enough, be strong enough.

Are there some “symphonic metal” bands with a female singer you like as well?
Not from that genre of music, but I like singers like Liv Kristine (Anm. der Redaktion: Ehemals Sängerin bei “Theatre Of Tragedy”, aktuell Sängerin bei “Leaves Eyes”) Anneke van Giersbergen (Sängerin bei „The Gathering“)

Tarja, you are a married woman. Are there some “baby plans” or do you focus right now just on your career?
At the moment the time is not correct for the babies. I will be very busy these following years and I can not even think having a baby on tours or in my plans. The baby clock in my head is not ticking yet, so I think when the time is correct I know it and it will happen then.

Did you ever think of leaving Finland and to move to a country, where you are not that popular?
I have another home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is the place for me to escape the normal rhythm of my life. Even though there are many fans of Nightwish and I get from time to time recognized in the streets, it is still not the same than living in Finland where everybody knows me.

Are the some days when you lying in bed and reflecting the last years? Which thoughts are coming to you mind in those moments?
It has been a life on the road. No time really to stay at home and to relax. I have learned how to use my free time in a best way in order not to get sick and too exhausted. The importance of my family has become big and the value of home and friends too.

Is the private Tarja completely different to the performing Tarja?
There is a difference for sure. The image of mine on the stage has a lot to do with the music of Nightwish. I have been designing the clothes for Nightwish with my cloth designer and the rest is also coming from my own ideas. It is me on the stage, is my voice and my personality, but the real private Tarja is much more quiet and sensitive. I am smiling quite much on the stage, so I am also very happy person in private.

What would be the best song ever written to describe your life?
I haven´t found a song yet, sorry.

Thank you very much for this interesting interview!

Author: Jasmin Froghy, Photos: hfr., translation: Kathleen Gransalke

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski