NIGHTWISH Singer Rejects EVANESCENCE Comparisons

In a recent interview with Greece's Metal-Temple.com webzine, NIGHTWISH frontwoman Tarja Turunen spoke about the incredible European commercial success of the band's latest album, "Once", and her plans for a classical career away from NIGHTWISH. Several excerpts from the interview follow:

Metal-Temple.com: You've conquered Europe and the band is bigger than ever. Do you feel that perhaps your destiny lies with NIGHTWISH after all? I mean, a few years ago your top priority was to be a professional opera singer.

Tarja Turunen: "Not actually that. I'm a chamber singer, a lead singer when I’m making that kind of church music, I'm on my own lead concerts but my goal with NIGHTWISH is still as long as we’re having a good time, as long as we're doing this music with NIGHTWISH I'm going to be the singer of the band. But on the other hand, NIGHTWISH needs to give me time to do my own classical career. I mean, the thing with the concerts because I'm not studying anymore in order to be free and concentrate on all the concerts, the touring and stuff like that on my own. So this means that I'm still concentrating on those things too because they keep me going, they keep me healthy — mentally. I don’t think I'd be healthy if I only were a heavy metal singer. I am still concentrating on both things. Of course, priority number one is NIGHTWISH now."

Metal-Temple.com: I know Liv Kristine (LEAVES' EYES) is your favorite female metal vocalist. She's taken part in various projects. Would you consider taking part in any projects if you were proposed to do so?

Tarja Turunen: "I've been requested by hundreds of metal bands to be part of their albums or side projects. Basically I'm not into that because I already am a singer of a metal band so I don't think I'd do something metal again. But I am planning to do something that has to do a bit with pop already. I feel my voice can fit in many things so it's very interesting to combine things and music styles.

Metal-Temple.com: On "Once", you're using a much softer voice, less operatic. In my opinion it sounds much better than "Century Child". Considering though that your area of expertise is operatic vocals, did you feel weird or perhaps uncomfortable?

Tarja Turunen: "I feel very comfortable with 'Once' because I have tried to change my singing style with NIGHTWISH already since 'Century Child' because Tuomas [keyboardist/songwriter] requested that, the songs requested that. Also it's easier for more people to listen to this kind of voice. It has been hard work and I didn't manage to do that on 'Century Child', I was not very happy with it. On 'Once' it's all very natural, how I'm singing and what I'm singing. But as I said, it has been really hard work because I've been a classical singer for the last ten years so it was hard to start over again and think of different styles. Of course I'm always singing with my classical techniques, I never sing with my poor speaking voice — I cannot do that anymore [laughs]! So now I'm very comfortable with what Tuomas has done because he was able to write for my voice; it was also a lesson for him as it was for me."

Metal-Temple.com: Some of the people who probably discovered NIGHTWISH a couple of months ago, compare you a lot to EVANESENCE, which has pissed off a lot of your fans. They even compared the cover artwork of "Once" to that of an EVANESENCE single…

Tarja Turunen: "It was not meant to be like that, it did not have anything to do with EVANESENCE's cover. We just realized that afterwards, you know. Hey if people think that this is similar, so let them think. It has nothing to do with that really. I can also mention that when Tuomas heard EVANESENCE's music for the first time, he was completely pissed off. He was pissed off by the fact that it's a totally different style (that of EVANESENCE) and because they had a woman singing and because it had a little bit of metal inside it…but it's a totally different style and kind of music. People tend to compare our music to EVANESENCE and it's very funny because there are not that many elements there that we have in common. [laughs]

Metal-Temple.com: I've even heard journalists even say that you've copied EVANESENCE and I was like "What the hell are you guys talking about?"

Tarja Turunen: "Yeah, sure, sure…we’ve been around six years more than they have! [laughs] That was very funny of them to say."

Read Tarja Turunen's entire interview with Metal-Temple.com at this location.

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