10 Questions: Tarja Turunen
- What constitutes a perfect morning for you?
If I have been able to sleep more than seven hours, that’s a good morning for me. A double espresso with a big glass of water and the view from my own bedroom window and terrace make it perfect.
- Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Was there a time where you thought about doing something completely different?
I definitely always wanted to become a professional musician and make a living out of it.
- You are renowned for your skills as a classical singer. How would you describe your current sound?
I have developed my sound through the years singing rock music. For that I never got advice from vocal coaches. When I am performing classical music instead, I am using the knowledge and experience in lyrical singing and it’s technique. Prog-rock-metal-score meets classical.
- What band or artist best represents Finnishness and why?
This question can be interpreted in many ways. If I think of ‘The’ Finnish artist, immediately Kari Tapio comes to my mind, singing his song Olen suomalainen, but that would mean for Finnish audience only. Now, if I think about Finnish artists and bands that are widely known abroad, I could mention Apocalyptica, Nightwish, Sunrise Avenue, myself and many others, but we are all performing in English! After all it all depends on the artists themselves how they feel about their roots. I have been waving the Finnish flag very proudly abroad during my career, even though I have not lived in Finland for a long time. You can take a Finnish girl away from Finland, but you cannot ever take Finland out of the girl. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland made an emoji with my image recently, calling it “the voice of Finland”. This made me very happy and proud.
- You have recently published a new live-art-album Act II. What was it like putting this collection together? What was the inspiration for the songs on it?
It took me many months to work on this product. It consists all together eight-and-a-half hours of music and images, so the video editing and sound mixing took me a long time. Also the artwork of this live record was done carefully and it is based on photos taken in the streets of Florence, Italy, and beautiful live photos. I still today see importance in producing live records, mainly for me to realise where I am standing as an artist today. It is an opportunity from where people that haven’t witnessed my live concerts yet can see what I am doing and those who have been following my career can re-live the experience.
My first live record ACT I consists of two of the first studio album’s songs and this new one the last three. So the setlist is based on the last three records. I really hate repeating myself, so ACT II is refreshing, live-art-video whose arty looks I have deeply worked on.
- What has been your most memorable gig so far? Why?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because my 22-year career consists of very many different kinds of concerts. But once I got to sing to a person as a surprise and make his knees bend and tears pour from his eyes, because he just couldn’t believe it was happening. This little surprise made his day shine and mine as well. I love making people happy with music, that’s my inspiration and motivation still today.
- What have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
Film music, a few metal bands, Peter Gabriel and Paulo Coelho’s books. The fact that there is always something new to discover in music is motivating. You can only try to be the best, but you cannot ever be.
- Do you ever find yourself unable to express your creativity to the fullest? What kinds of things inhibit you?
If I jump into something new, into a new challenge, I have to be sure in advance that I will be capable of doing a good job with it. I have my limitations when it comes in singing as well and mostly my gut feeling is the one that I trust. I won’t do something if I don’t feel good about it. I have realised that life is too short to be spent on things that don’t give you anything.
I am my own boss, so I basically decide myself what to do and when, so when it comes to being creative, I definitely express myself within my limits and never I have found myself incapable of doing that. That’s a huge blessing to be honest.
- What are your other interests apart from music?
I love movies, interior design, gym, fashion, scuba diving.
- When are you at your happiest?
When I am playing with my little daughter. Her innocence and love are pure and real.
*This article was originally published in December 2018.
Photo: Tim Tronckoe