VILNIUS - Tarja Turunen, whom the Finnish president nicknamed “The Voice of Finland,” rose to fame as the singer with Nightwish, one of the world’s most successful heavy metal bands. Educated as an opera singer, between 1996 and 2005 she contributed decisively to Nightwish’s distinctive sound, which combines metal with operatic music.
Tarja is currently pursuing a successful solo career. On her albums “My Winter Storm” and “What Lies Beneath” she combines rock and metal with elements of classical music.
Her voice is described by critics as remarkably powerful and emotional. Sometimes it is stated that her voice is too trained or operatic for metal music, but even critics who do not like classical voices admit that her voice suits the kind of metal songs she sings unusually well.
Throughout their collaboration, Tarja’s singing was a trademark of Nightwish. She was known as the face and voice of Nightwish, while bandleader Holopainen was the soul. Turunen was seen as a key to Nightwish’s success. She is respected by other musicians of the metal genre and is an influence on their work; for instance, Simone Simons names her as her inspiration to study classical music and apply that vocal style to a metal band.
Turunen receives most of her media attention in her homeland of Finland. In December 2003, she was invited by Finnish President Tarja Halonen to celebrate the Finnish Independence Day at the Presidential Palace together with other Finnish celebrities. The event is televised annually, live by the state-owned broadcaster, the Finnish Broadcasting Company. In December 2007, she performed different versions of the Finnish national anthem “Maamme” (“Our country”) accompanied by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Finnish independence. The concert was televised by the Finnish Broadcasting Company to 2 million Finnish viewers. During her solo career, Turunen has sold over 86,000 certified records in Finland, which places her among the top 50 of best-selling female soloists.
In Europe, her popularity is mainly limited to the hard rock and metal scene. She had a chance for broader exposure on Nov. 30, 2007, when she was invited to open the farewell fight of Regina Halmich. Her performance of “I Walk Alone” was televised live by the German television station ZDF to 8.8 million viewers.
Her very first solo album, “Henkays Ikuisuudesta” (“Breath From Eternity”), which focuses on the Christmas holiday season, was released in the beginning of 2006. But already in August 2006, she started to work on her next solo album, “My Winter Storm,” the beginning of her main solo project. It was the first time that Turunen had written songs. She was supported by some professional songwriters. The choir and orchestral arrangements were written by film music composer James Dooley. Turunen released “My Winter Storm,” an album featuring various styles including symphonic metal with classical “operatic” lead vocals, in November 2007. The album took the number one spot on the Finnish charts, and went platinum in Finland, double platinum in Russia and gold in Germany.
In one of her interviews, she explained that “My Winter Storm” was the first album where she had the chance to use her full vocal range.
“Now that I can use the whole range of my voice, it feels very nice. I have never sung so low as I did on one of the songs on the new record, and there’s a song on which I sang my highest notes ever! I really have used a huge range on this album – around three octaves – because the moods are changing in every song and this reflects that,” says Tarja.
2010 saw the release of her second album, “What Lies Beneath,” which she will present on Jan. 17 at Forum Palace in Vilnius in her What Lies Beneath World Tour. Turunen recorded the album in 2009 and 2010 and it was released on Sept. 1, 2010. The album combines metal with classical “operatic” elements in an out-of-the-box approach.
Tarja is taking a musical path that (in terms of direction, variety and scope) should keep her existing fan base happy, while at the same time reaching out to a wider audience. Anyone who likes their music dark of spirit, dramatic in intent and shot through with giant slabs of melody will find plenty to interest them at the concert, and as always, Tarja is pulling out all of the stops…
Tarja Turunen’s “What Lies Beneath” album will also be presented at Rock Cafe in Tallinn on Jan. 31.
Vilnius: 83 - 123 litas,
Tallinn: 23 - 31 euros.
Ticket information can be found at: www.bilietai.lt or at: www.piletilevi.ee