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 Tarja Turunen

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Tuomas - Nemo

Messages : 407
Date d'inscription : 2013-05-24
Age : 26
Localisation : France

Tarja Turunen Empty
PostSubject: Tarja Turunen   Tarja Turunen I_icon_minitimeThu 13 Jun - 12:34

The path lying ahead of Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen-Cabuli certainly could never have been guessed from its humble origins. She was born on August 17th, 1977 in the tiny Finnish village of Puhos, near to the town of Kitee, the middle child amongst two brothers; a green-eyed Karelian girl from a village of five hundred inhabitants.
Music marked her life from the very beginning. Her parents would humorously reminisce that Tarja had begun to sing even before she learned how to walk, and were fond of retelling her fearless exploits climbing up tables at family parties to perform for indulgent relatives… sometimes with rather inventive lyrics. It was clear that drama and limelight were things that Tarja already understood very well – unsurprisingly, it did not take her long to realize her calling.
I had no other girls to play with before I went to school since we had no neighbours close by, so I was very independent in the early age. I loved theatre and arts in general and wanted to be an artist. I remember that every time somebody of our family friends came to visit my parents, I was performing a play with my puppets behind the big TV that we had in our living room. I made up the stories in an instant. Anyway, music was number one for me always. My parents were very supportive and they bought me my first piano when I was 6 years old. I still have it.
Encouraged from the outset, Tarja started her musical studies at the age of six, and continued them in a musical institute in her home town until she moved to picturesque Savonlinna at fifteen, where, paying her own rent and existing on a meagre diet, she attended the Senior Secondary School of Art and Music. There she was the first student to pass all singing exams with top grades in the college’s history – an achievement that elicited tears from both student and teachers alike!
The school’s own musical project, ‘Romeo ja Julia’ presented the first opportunity for Tarja to unleash her voice in the recording studio. She participated in two songs, and hearing herself on playback for the first time, the young Finn was filled with a great sense of… distress. In fact she couldn’t bear to listen to herself at all. It took a long time for the future star to acquaint herself with her own-recorded vocals.
The next step in her education was to apply to the prestigious Sibelius Academy of Kuopio city, specializing in church music and classical singing. As well as developing her vocal technique, she was forced to study piano seriously, not merely as a hobby, and the gruelling practice finally paid off with a certificate of perfect marks at the end of the year. She even picked up skills such as playing the organ and choir directing – though it is rare to hear her admit to it these days.
Tarja’s home village was a small one, and by then her singing talents were somewhat renowned. A few months after being accepted at the Academy, she was invited to record three songs for an acoustic project. Her acceptance breathed life into a band that would change her outlook on music entirely.
Nightwish began as an acoustic mood project hatched around the embers of a campfire – gentle, ambient music composed to the strum of a guitar. However, the bombastic, majestic timbre of Tarja’s voice overpowered the other instruments, and soon the acoustic guitar was being replaced with an electric one, and drums were brought into the mix. The band’s first demo-tape was enough to get them a recording deal with Spinefarm Records. In 1997, they released their debut album, ‘Angels Fall First’. The reaction of listeners and media alike was unbelievably positive, and Nightwish were soon performing their first live shows. For Tarja, however, the world of metal was unfamiliar and unwelcoming territory, dominated by males, in which she was a complete stranger. The soprano who would go on to conquer the hearts of a nation knew absolutely nothing about the sea into which she was about to dive… but dive she did.
I never thought of being a singer in a heavy metal band. My dream was always to be a singer, but since my studies were completely built around classical music, I thought that was my way. Anyway, I have always loved challenges and been brave, so I thought “Why not to try out?” It was exciting to see the reaction of the listeners of Nightwish´s first album and how people accepted the fact that I was classically trained singer singing melodic heavy metal. It was something that didn’t happen every day at that time!

From then on, Nightwish was a serious occupation – gradually, Tarja’s studies were swept away with the band’s success, and her keen motivation for her scholarly pursuits was cast into turmoil. Despite sacrificing her studies, the young woman showed an admirable determination to make time for her other commitments. That summer she sang as part of the Savonlinna Opera Festival choir, switching from the riffs of Nightwish to the melodies of Verdi and Wagner.

I remember being the youngest singer in the Opera Festival Choir at the age of 18. I was so thrilled to be part of the magnificent talent and sound of this very famous choir. I was blown away when I heard the male choir singing their pilgrimage part in the Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser for the first time. Tears in my eyes, I was sitting and listening quietly their rehearsals. I was so proud of them! It was a fantastic summer and a great experience for me, who was willing to learn everything about opera.

It seemed that what Tarja really needed to learn about opera was how to incorporate it into metal – a daunting task. The ‘symphonic metal’ genre was still unexplored, and Tarja had become its unanticipated figurehead. A fork appeared in what had been a smoothly unfolding future of classical music. Tarja found herself facing an uncertain compromise as she struggled to balance two contrasting styles in her voice, her career, and her life.

Their debut was followed in 1998 by Nightwish’s breakthrough album, the platinum selling ‘Oceanborn’, which carried the band away from the shores of Finland, and into international fame, combing the breadth of Germany as support for the German trio of metal-heads, Rage.
Another indicator of their burgeoning notoriety, Tarja was able to balance the ‘Oceanborn’ tour with a secondary project in 1999, when she was asked to sing a solo part in the modern rock ballet ‘Evankeliumi’, staged at the Finnish National Opera House.
It was such an experience to be singing in the main hall of the National Opera House. All the participants of the project were so nervous before the premiere including me, because we hadn’t had too many rehearsals and we received the scores only few days before our first performance. It was magnificent from the National Opera to approve a modern ballet, which was based in heavy metal music in their seasonal program. I can assure you that this kind of thing is not happening in every opera house!
The show was directed by the famous Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen and written by Kärtsy Hatakka of the Finnish band Waltari. It was certainly a unique production (and indeed, Tarja certainly sported a very unique costume), but it was received well by the audience, with tickets selling out each and every night.
In the beginning of 2000, Nightwish took part in the Finnish qualification of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Sleepwalker’. Despite an overwhelming win in the public televoting, Nightwish was placed second – much to Tarja’s relief.
I need to admit that I really hated that Nightwish was taking part in the Eurovision contest. I was against it since the idea started. I was at that time performing in the “Evangelicum” when I received a call and got to know that our song was going for the finals in Finland. I was crying, since I thought it was the biggest mistake of my life to be part of it. I didn’t want that people would remember me as a singer from Eurovision contest. In the end, I did my part and sang the song and the event eventually made the bigger audience aware of Nightwish´s music. It is a song that I won’t be performing live ever again…

This wasn’t the first nor the last TV appearance from Tarja, who also starred in some well-known Finnish programmes as a guest, performer, judge… and here and there taking on a cameo appearance as an actress. As with all elements of show business, the acclimatisation to fame was a learning curve. A wave of interviews, photo shootings and press recordings accompanied Nightwish’s rise. Tarja’s image was splashed across the covers of countless music magazines across Europe. Even so, selling neither scandals to the tabloids nor skin to the cameras, she never quite managed to fit the mould of a stereotypical rock star.

In May 2000, Nightwish released their third album, ‘Wishmaster’, which immediately rose to the charts all over the world and went platinum in Finland in a matter of weeks. It featured a bombastic choir and an altogether bigger, bolder sound: the symphonic, trademark style Nightwish is recognised by today.
The year 2000 was very busy for Tarja and Nightwish, who set off on a tour around Europe, Canada and South America. There was more demand for gigs than the band could handle, and so on New Years’ Eve, Nightwish filmed their gig at the Pakkahuone club in Tampere, Finland, and put together their first live DVD.
It was exciting to play a concert while there were cameras around. We had few gigs behind us already, but we had not that much experience yet being surrounded by the cameras while people were screaming in front of us. How awful it was to check the live recordings for the first time, hear my voice and see my performance.

‘From Wishes to Eternity’ reached gold status in Finland in CD format and in Germany as a DVD. Onstage, the small woman exuded a presence that burst with confidence and charisma. Her movements no longer betrayed any kind of anxiety or nerves; gone was the skinny Karelian girl from the quiet village of Puhos. In her place, Tarja walked with a buoyant step and smiled with an infectious candour that dominated the strobe-lit stage.

Before making their next album, the band released a mini-CD, ‘Over the Hills And Far Away’, which achieved double platinum status in their home country. After the EP, the band started working on their fourth full-length studio album, ‘Century Child’, but while the musicians were recording and writing the album, Tarja decided to go one step forward with her vocal studies by enrolling in the Music University of Karlsruhe in Germany.
I wanted to get deeper in my classical singing studies and to breathe some fresh air. I knew that I wanted to study somewhere in Germany, but I wasn’t sure where. That’s why I visited many music universities in Germany before I went to Karlsruhe. When I saw the magnificent pink-orange castle of the University where some of the studies are held, I fell in love with the place immediately. My goal was to study with a teacher specialised in chamber music, particularly in German Lied. By being accepted as a student of lady Mitsuko Shirai was a dream come true for me.   

The move helped her to develop not only her technique, but also her confidence. There was a more Bohemian vibe to her surroundings now, where all manner of voices and ranges were catered to and accepted. The scene was bigger, broader; she was no longer the conspicuous girl who forsook her classical training to throw in her lot as a rock star – in Germany she was equally respected as both a metal and a classical singer.

Although the studying schedule in Karlsruhe was very tight, Tarja managed to find time not only to record her vocals for ‘Century Child’, but also to record vocals for the Argentinean bassist Beto Vazquez’s album ‘Infinity’ and for Anssi Tikanmäki’s album ‘Perinteinen Pop-Levy’.
Before hitting the road once more with Nightwish, Tarja found some time to nurture her classical career. After some rehearsal concerts in Germany, she toured the classical stages of South America in Chile and Argentina performing a Lied concert named ‘Noche Escandinava’.
I got truly wonderful and talented friends in Karlsruhe. It was so much fun to bring flavours from Scandinavia to Southern American audience. Northern music is very much loved there even though the knowledge of the repertoire of Scandinavian and Finnish artists is not that known yet in that continent. It was great to see the mixture of different music lovers in our concerts. Heavy metal and classical music listeners under the same roof!   
The concerts, sponsored by the embassies of all participating countries, brought songs to South America from an array of Nordic composers.  Thrillingly, the concerts were sold out; an intimate connection was established between the artists and the South American audience, one that Tarja would go on to develop in her classical career in years to come.
Noche Escandinava means Scandinavian Night in Spanish. The reason why we chose this name was obvious at that time: the concerts were going to happen in Argentina and Chile, both Spanish-speaking countries. As well, the program was going to be based in Scandinavian songs (Norway, Sweden, etc).
During their first tour with ‘Noche Escandinava’ in May – June 2002, Tarja sang in the company of Marjut Paavilainen (Finnish mezzo-soprano), Ingvild Storhaug (Norwegian mezzo-soprano) and Izumi Kaawakatsu (Japanese pianist).
Nightwish’s fourth album, ‘Century Child’, was released in the spring of 2002 and was followed by the massive ‘World Tour of the Century’, which was three months long. Exhausted from the world tour, Nightwish chose to take a long break to give its members some time of their own. Unfamiliar with the concept of rest, Tarja went back to Karlsruhe before the end of the year to continue her studies.
It was a hard for me to study and do gigs at the same time. Especially when I have always been perfectionist in everything I do and never have wanted to fail. There were times when I was so tired of everything happening around, that I just cried myself to sleep. Anyway, I knew that I needed to manage on my own without getting any help from anybody else. Luckily I got to marry a man who started to help me so that I could concentrate in making the music that I loved.
Following the supposed relaxation period, Nightwish jumped into the ‘Summer of Innocence’ tour, beginning in June 2003. The experience left its mark on 14 countries and 400.000 enraptured pairs of eyes. In the fall of that year, a documentary, ‘End of Innocence’, was released, charting the band’s journey from simple school friends in Kitee to their formidable position atop the charts, cresting the waves of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
For Tarja, however, even greater éclat lay in store before the year’s end. She received an invitation from Finnish President Tarja Halonen and her husband Dr. Arajärvi to the Finnish Independence Day Party at the President’s Palace, the most important social event of the country, and an incredible honour for Tarja, whose charming presence caused a storm amongst the media. Finnish broadcasting stations hailed her as the most impressively dressed lady of the entire gathering, while leading Finnish newspapers crowned her ‘the queen of the night’.
It was unbelievable honour to receive the invitation from the President Halonen. It is an event that gathers most of the Finns around the TV and makes them talk in the next days. I was surprised by the amount of press in the event and unfortunately didn’t have even a chance to taste the famous food buffet, since there was all the time somebody from the media requesting for an interview.

To end an astonishing year, in December 19th, 2003 Tarja gave her own Christmas concert before an audience of 600 in a small church in Valkeala. There were no effects and trimmings here, merely a handful of talented musicians, a microphone, and Tarja herself. After sixty minutes of traditional Finnish Christmas music, the audience rose as one to deliver its warm applause. This was to form a tradition of intimate, classical church concerts – drastically at odds with her rock career – that continues to this day.

How nice it was to see people sitting on the floor of the church when I tried to find my way to the front of the church through the people. The little church was completely packed.

Nightwish started recording a brand new studio album and after Tarja had recorded her parts, she travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina to offer a one-month singing course to trained musicians.

There were singing students from all ages coming to take lessons from me. It was lovely to be able to be helpful and to see how pure the love towards music can be. I enjoyed teaching and I am planning to teach in the future too when there is enough time for it.

The lull between the album release and the beginning of the tour gave Tarja time to fit in a second tour with her classical friends from Karlsruhe: ‘Noche Escandinava II’.  They flew to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Romania in a second tour that was equally successful as the first. There was a change in the line-up: Ingvild Storhaug was replaced by Finnish baritone Juha Koskela and the program, this time, consisted entirely of songs by Finnish composers such as Oskar Merikanto, Yrjö Kilpinen, Jean Sibelius, Toivo Kuula, Erkki Melartin and Finnish folk artists. As a memory of this tour, the performance in Buenos Aires was recorded and released as a limited souvenir CD for fans.

We didn’t want to change the name of the tour anymore, because so many people knew us already from Noche Escandinava. As you know, Finland is not a part of Scandinavia, but despite of that, we decided to keep our touring name as it was before.

2004, the busiest year for Tarja so far, was the first milestone of her fledgling solo career, culminating in a long-planned seasonal project, an EP called ‘Yhden Enkelin Unelma’ (One Angel’s Dream), that featured different versions of two traditional Finnish Christmas carols known to Tarja from childhood, ‘En Etsi Valtaa, Loistoa’ and ‘Kun Joulu On’. It sold platinum in Finland, the single becoming a winter favourite of popular radio stations.

It was lovely to work with well-known Finnish producer Esa Nieminen. He was always very positive and supportive. The recordings of the EP were a good starting point for a longer collaboration with Esa.

Amidst her other projects, Tarja was given the opportunity to co-write the song ‘Tired Of Being Alone’, with the German artist Schiller. The album, ‘Tag Und Nacht’, received a gold record. Four years later, the song was released in the USA version of Schiller’s current album and was pre-nominated for the Grammy Awards under the category ‘Best Song’.

 I have had a great time performing this song live with my band with which I made my own version of it. We have truly enjoyed it very much and it has become one of our favourites. The collaboration with Christopher was a nice experience for me and it gave me a chance to write music that was going to be published for the first time in my career. It was truly exciting. 
In another participation, Tarja made a guest appearance in the song and video for ‘Leaving You For Me’, with German singer Martin Kesici, the filming of which was quite eventful…

I didn’t know Martin’s music before, but when I heard his voice, I really liked it very much. I thought he was very talented and charismatic, so I loved to sing a duet with such a charming guy! We had a great time in Finland shooting a video together even though we didn’t manage to avoid some trouble during the filming. A goat attacked me leaving me some bruises in my leg and then Martin pressed my fingers between the door and the handle, of course without knowing that I was in pain. Well, after the day was finished, the result was that I had swollen fingers and aching leg. Could have been worse!

Their next album, ‘Once’, was Nightwish’s biggest success yet – it hit the number one spot in five countries, reached triple platinum in Finland and triple Gold in Germany, and took Tarja to uncountable photo sessions, press conferences and interviews worldwide. The upcoming world tour was expected to be the biggest so far for any Finnish act.

The last show of the tour took place on October 21st, 2005 in Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena. It was to be an extended performance, with extensive costume changes from Tarja. The entire show was recorded for the purpose of another live DVD. After the final bow her band mates dismissed her from the band with a letter. The DVD was titled ‘End of an Era’.
A media storm surrounded Tarja for a considerable time after the split. Nightwish was one of the first metal bands to utilise a female lead vocalist, and one of the pioneers of the so-called ‘opera-metal’ sub-genre thanks to Tarja. Critics and fans from all over the world had praised Tarja’s “Valkyrian” vocals regardless of her inexperience in the field of metal music. Her unique voice and classical technique adapted to metal music was a milestone in the history of metal, and the genre was blossoming. The decision to continue in that direction was instinctive.
There is a certain Finnish word, the equivalent of which does not exist in the English language. It is the concept of ‘sisu’, a characteristic said to be possessed by all Finns. It is not bravery nor resilience, but the enduring, gritty perseverance that can only rise to the surface in times of great hardship. It is the last reserve of strength that exhorts you to keep going through the darkest hour. Tarja focused on her solo career, touring in December 2005 with a series of pre-planned Christmas concerts that took her to Finland, Spain, Germany and Romania. Performing traditional Finnish and international Christmas songs, Tarja could tackle her situation by doing what she was best at – plunging into new challenges.
It was very hard to perform shortly after being fired from the band, but I didn’t see any other way to continue. Music is my way of life; I sing for the joy of it. The tour was a success and made me understand that I have an audience on my own and people have place for my music in their hearts. I am truly grateful for this gift.
2006 found Tarja participating in many projects, guest-starring in the Swedish ‘SPIN-The Musical’ and Robert Wells’ ‘Rhapsody in Rock’, where she sang a diverse range of songs, from classical to 1960s rock. In July of that year, Tarja performed again at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, but this time as a soloist, together with the famous Finnish tenor Raimo Sirkiä and the Symphonic Orchestra of Kuopio conducted by Maestro Riku Niemi in two sold out concerts. The audience and critics alike praised these crossover concerts, covering pieces from “Rusalka” to “Proud Mary”.
I was so happy to be again in the beautiful city of Savonlinna where I had been studying when I was a teenager. I have great memories from those times and I still treasure them. The castle of Olavinlinna is a wonderful, mysterious place and since I was a kid, wanted to perform there. Once again, it was a dream come true. People enjoyed our concert program, which was a challenge for all of us. I hope to return to Olavinlinna again one day.

Another special concert took place that August at Lahti Organ Festival. Backed by international concert organist Kalevi Kiviniemi, guitarist Marzi Nyman, and percussionist Markku Krohn, Tarja put together another vibrant set list that varied between the classical and the contemporary.  The performance, ‘Cross Over Organ’, included ‘Ave Maria’s as well as songs by Nirvana, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Deep Purple.

I have been a lucky girl to be able to sing with famous and talented musicians like Kalevi is. These are the things that I will never ever forget. I hope to tell my story one day to my grandchildren, who might not believe their ears! It is hard to find soul mates in today’s music business, but with Kalevi, Marzi and Markku everything works perfectly. We want to create something new for people to discover. The world would become a very boring place to live in, if everybody would do things the usual way. I don’t fit in that picture.
The mellifluous bending of genres was something that came very naturally by now. As she prefers to say: “I am not crossing over different music styles, but melting them together.” Two more successful Lied concerts with tenor Raimo Sirkiä and pianist Maija Weitz were performed in October in the churches of Seinäjoki and Kauhajoki in Finland.
In the fall, Tarja performed with the Tapiola Choir in Espoo for the concert ‘Tomorrow’s Child’, organised by UNICEF. Espoo had the honour of being named as the UNICEF city of 2006, at the same time as UNICEF celebrated its 60 years of helping children. Tarja and the Tapiola Choir donated their fees and the ticket income of the concert reached a stunning 18.688 Euros, which was directed untouched to the Espoo UNICEF account. Tarja and the Choir brought the biggest income of any singular event during that year in Finland!
Besides her singing projects Tarja also found some time to appear briefly in Finnish TV series Studio Impossible and Pääroolissa.
I had a time of my life in these TV comedy series. I was laughing so much that I think I will live at least 20 years longer because of the joy they gave me! I would love to do more things like that, since I learned a lot from the professional actors during those days. It is a hard job, my respect to them!

The hard-earned end to a hectic year, she was nominated as Best Soloist of 2006 in the Finnish Emma Awards. And, with the release of her much anticipated Christmas album, the soprano’s diligence was rewarded with a gratifying wave of enthusiasm from the public. Quickly ascending to platinum – and eventually double platinum – in Finland, ‘Henkäys Ikuisuudesta’ (‘Breath from Heaven’) was a mixture of traditional Finnish carols and covers of holiday releases. Tarja sang in several different languages, and composed her own Christmas song as the opening track. The following Christmas tour spanned both Finland and Russia, gently concluding a chaotic but fulfilling year.

Tarja dedicated the whole of 2007 to working on her long awaited first solo album. Well, almost – she still found time to record vocals for Nuclear Blast’s anniversary album ‘Into the Light’, appearing on a single song called ‘In the Picture’, and took part in MTV3′s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert together with other famous Finnish Artists, to an audience of diplomats and Finnish politicians including president Tarja Halonen.
Nobody quite knew the nature Tarja’s musical firstborn would take until the day of its release. Even when that day arrived in November 2007, Tarja’s debut was not an easy album to classify. Nine years in the world of metal had left their mark, and so too the symphonic elements could be found, yet it was not exclusively a metal album. Tarja introduced new sounds, new moods, reaching across into the landscapes of ambience and pop to lend hues to her palette.
A stellar ensemble of guest musicians and artists were gathered on the recording, among them Doug Wimbish, Alex Scholpp, Earl Harvin, Torsten Stenzel, Martin Tillman, Mel Wesson and many more. The famous soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer made his Remote Studios available for her, where further recordings and mixings took place.
When I visited for the first time the ladies’ room at Remote Control Studios, I saw that Mr. Zimmer had put his gold- platinum awards hanging on the walls of the toilet! I have to admit I was enjoying the moment! Over all, the experience of being working in those studios was overwhelming for me. I think I learned more about music in few weeks than I had learned in years earlier. I am lucky to be able still today to work with same people and have them participating in my music.   

‘My Winter Storm’ was released internationally in more than 80 countries on November 16th, 2007 by Universal Music, and achieved its first gold record on the very first day in her homeland, Finland, soon reaching the top of the charts. The commercial success didn’t take long: Tarja’s first album reached gold status in Hungary, Czech Republic and Germany and platinum in Finland and in Russia.

At the end of the year, having been nominated for both an Echo Award as Best Newcomer and an Emma for Best Finnish Artist, she kicked off the promotion for her new album with a warm up tour across Europe.
I had been waiting for the moment so long, that I could go for a rock tour on my own and with my own band. I guess the people could see me really smiling during the concerts and I think that smile has not faded away since. Everything is different when supporting and loving people surround me. There is nothing else I need to think rather than music itself.
The world tour continued into and throughout 2008 and 2009, passing through Europe and America with barely a pause for breath, reaching a total of 82 shows in 33 different countries for Tarja and her band. Many new fans greeted her in countries where Tarja had never performed before – Belarus, Ukraine, Israel, Bulgaria, Serbia, Luxembourg, Venezuela, Croatia and Turkey all saw her for the first time.
 The touring with “My Winter Storm” was such a great experience for me as an artist. I have amazing memories from my concerts, visits to new countries, and meetings with my fans all over the world.
During 2008 Tarja visited the recording studios once again to lay down new songs ‘Wisdom of Wind’ and ‘Enough’, as well as a duet for the newest album of legendary German singer Doro Pesch, who she sang alongside as a guest at her special 25-year anniversary concert in the same year. The UK was treated to an exclusive EP, ‘The Seer’, which contained both live tracks and new remixes. In 2009, performing as a guest for Argentinean rock band Rata Blanca, she dazzled a fresh audience with a breath-taking cover of Deep Purple’s classic ‘Child in Time’ in the Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires. Back in Finland, Tarja filmed her first cameo for the Finnish black comedy movie, ‘Mad Rush’, which later won ‘Best Movie Award’ at the International Film Festival of Madrid.
On Saturday, August 29th, Tarja participated in a very special Gala Concert that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the separation between Sweden and Finland in 1809. Swedish and Finnish people enjoyed the Live TV broadcast, attended by the Victoria Crown Princess of Sweden, which featured star performers from both countries, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds.

The day after, August 30th, Tarja performed in Mäntyharju Church as the main attraction of the Soi Suvessa Classical Festival in Finland together with pianist Sonja Fräki, flutist Emilia Kauppinen and cellist Max Lilja. The program consisted of Finnish and Argentinean Lied and Tarja’s own compositions.
By the end of October, shortly after finishing the Final Storm Tour 2009 in Europe, Tarja performed as a soloist with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. This special Halloween concert gave Tarja another great opportunity to present some of her new songs.
At the end of the year, she recorded vocals for three songs on the charity Christmas album ‘Maailman Kauneimmat Joululaulut’ (‘Most Beautiful Christmas Songs’) and embarked on another Christmas tour with Kalevi, Marzi and Markku that took them through sold out churches in several cities. Tarja composed her own ‘Ave Maria’ for this tour, a piece consisting of the traditional Latin text sung to minimalistic accompaniment. After touring in Finland, Tarja gave a single Christmas concert in Moscow, Russia, with the symphonic orchestra Globalis, which ended a very successful 2009.
Since already many years I have enjoyed finishing my year with performing Christmas songs. It feels nice, after a long and hard working year, to sing songs that are telling pure stories of love, friendship and family. This year was not an exception. I was truly amazed how many people came to my concerts this time and how wonderful was the atmosphere in the churches where the acoustics were helping us to create different moods.
In March 2010, German hard rock veterans Scorpions released their final studio album, ‘Sting In The Tail’. The album included a guest appearance from Tarja herself in the song ‘The Good Die Young’. It was for Tarja a gratifying sign that her talent and emotion were reaching more ears and hearts than ever before.
It is such an honour to be invited to take part in the Scorpions last album. I received a phone call from Klaus that was very kind to extend the band’s wishes to have me performing one of their songs. I was not aware it was going to be their last recordings until they announce it, so I have mixed feeling of happiness and bit of sadness too when I got the news. I can only thank them for the invitation and for letting me be a part of their last effort as a band. I am sure they will keep this particular album in their hearts the same way the fans and I will do.

Tarja performed together with Scorpions on the most successful European TV show, “Wetten Dass…?” at the end of the month for 9.000.000 viewers in Europe.

Before her world tour had even finished, Tarja had already filled her well of inspiration for the next album. Three years had taught her many lessons; she had grown a lot, and not only musically; there was a shift in her attitude as well. If she had stepped back in some of the decisions regarding ‘My Winter Storm’, now she fought for her freedom – and fought hard. Unable to find the producer she wanted, Tarja demonstrated her indomitable, gritty resolve once again, and simply produced the new album by herself. It was a hugely challenging responsibility, but she had already proven herself a Spartan in every other aspect of her career, and showed the same level of dedication in her new role.
 I remember being very nervous on the first day of the recordings, because I was not sure if I could pull everything through smoothly, without problems and if I were able to make decisions needed. But the nervousness disappeared right after I heard the first beats of drummer Mike Terrana. All the musicians respected me and those sessions were unbelievable fun.
Before the release of the album, there was time for a very special concert in Hungary. Backed by a full orchestra and choir, Tarja performed at Miskolc Opera Festival, to fans travelling from all over the world. In this resplendent setting, amongst old songs and classical arias, she treated her listeners to a glimpse of what was to come, playing a small selection of songs from the upcoming album, which was finally released on September 1st 2010, titled ‘What Lies Beneath’.
It was Tarja herself who best described the transformation from ‘My Winter Storm’. If those were the first steps, with ‘What Lies Beneath’ I learned to run.
In ‘What Lies Beneath’, the influences reached further, with allusions to Baroque and classic rock, and novel, experimental embellishments – double drums, Turkish chanting, and a star-studded list of guest appearances all contributed to raise ‘What Lies Beneath’ to a whole new level. The riffs were more aggressive; the hooks were catchier; the theme was darker. Through ‘What Lies Beneath’, Tarja explored the twilight zone of human nature, approaching the subject of her songs unflinchingly.
After the album release, the tour kicked off for real. In July, she became the first woman to appear on an apartment building in the town of Kavarna, Bulgaria – the latest in a line of portraits featuring rock artists such as Klaus Meine, Billy Idol, and Ronnie James Dio. In November, she was given the chance to mine a new fan base, as support for the king of shock rock himself – Alice Cooper. After storming Europe (not forgetting to slow down in December with her usual Christmas concerts in Finland), Tarja set off to reconquer South America in early 2011.
Following the tragic events that struck Japan in early 2011, she was inspired to release the beautiful ballad ‘Underneath’ as a charity single, featuring Jyrki from The 69 Eyes. The duet was performed live on a special charity show, ‘Idols Give Back’, broadcast to Finnish TV.
During the summer, Tarja made an appearance at several prominent festivals across Europe. In France, her set opened right before headliners Metallica at Sonisphere. A full orchestra and choir backed her at Masters of Rock in Czech Republic. At Rock on Volga, besides performing with her band, she sang a beautiful duet with rock legend Valery Kipelov – in his own native language, Russian in front of the biggest audience in one single event: 245.000 people. Her classical roots also received a privileged nod of recognition, when she was invited once again to return to Savonlinna Opera Festival, to sing alongside the sensational tenor José Cura in Olavinlinna castle, accompanied by the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra. A few days after sharing the stage with Mr Cura, she was singing with Scorpions again at Saimaa Open Air.
 It was magnificent, challenging summer. All the events were very different from each other. I enjoyed very much travelling through various kinds of sceneries and working with people that I respect.
That September, a truly unique event took place in Bulgaria. ‘Beauty and the Beat’ combined a symphonic orchestra, choir, and the monstrous drum kit of Mr Mike Terrana, all on the same stage – that stage being no less than an ancient Roman amphitheatre. The two hours show was split between classical compositions and more light-hearted contemporary pieces, interspersed with Tarja’s own material. The event was so successfully received by fans and media that an entire tour was scheduled for 2012.
That night showed to Mike and me that we needed to continue with this classical project further. It was amazing success and such a pleasure to both of us to see our fans together with ordinary people enjoying classical music in one single event. We will definitely make more concerts like this again.
Tarja predictably found the time to fit other projects into her year alongside all the touring. She formed a new project with German producer Torsten Stenzel and Argentinean guitarist Walter Giardino, both of whom, like Tarja, live far from their home countries, lending the collaboration its name: Outlanders. The song they made together bore the same name, and took its words from the works of writer Paulo Coelho. Tarja was able to present the song on Paulo Coelho day, November 26th, at Helsinki’s Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, with the blessing of the author himself.
Paulo Coelho has been one of the greatest inspirations to me in my career. The song was my way of telling him how much he means to me.

At the prompting of Kalevi Kiviniemi, she recorded a classical album, ‘Ave Maria’, a collection of pieces revolving around that central theme, compositions old and new, famous and little-known, amongst them Tarja’s own personal ‘Ave Maria’, which she had been singing in concerts for two years. The album itself, featuring Kalevi on organ, Marius Järvi on cello and Kirsi Kiviharju on harp, is awaiting release.

This is the first, pure classical recording of mine. It was challenging to go through hundreds of Ave Maria’s and to choose the ones that are suitable for the album. Actually there are thousands of compositions existing! I love chamber music and I think my voice suits well for this kind of music.
As 2011′s Christmas concerts approached, Tarja and her classical band released a live DVD from Sibelius Hall’s beautiful Christmas concert in 2009. It would be the first release from Tarja, Kalevi, Markku and Marzi, even though they had been working together for many years it seemed an ideal opportunity to christen the partnership. The classical band found the inspiration for its name in a peculiar Finnish word. Harus, the tensor that keeps the mast from falling in a sailing boat, or those that hold together a tent, was felt to be an apt metaphor for the solidarity and companionship between the four unique artists. ‘In Concert – Live at Sibelius Hall’ was the first release from Tarja Turunen & Harus – the next, they hope, would feature their own music, the efforts of a mutual collaboration.
2012 saw the ‘What Lies Beneath’ world tour finally draw to a close, and Tarja disappearing into the studio with a new album already up her sleeve. To shorten the wait, she had planned a live DVD of her own, this one an ambitious undertaking filmed with no less than ten HD cameras, over the course of two full length concerts that took place in the majestic El Circulo Theatre in Rosario, Argentina. A throwback to her classical roots, the DVD was aptly titled, ‘Act I’.
Those two nights in Rosario were truly magical to me personally. I was excited to finally film and record my first live rock DVD. This DVD shows you how great is my relationship with my fans. They have been extremely supportive throughout the years and on this release they play a big role.
Tarja made only one promise about her upcoming album, set for release in 2013: it would be sure to surprise.
That statement was perhaps less of a novelty than she hoped. The unruly girl from a rural village who grew into the only artist you could possibly expect to find singing in a rock club one night, and a cathedral the next… surprising her listeners is one thing Tarja Turunen has always been rather good at.
This story will certainly be continued.

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