bleistiftrocker.de asked Tarja Turunen some questions via e-mail. These are the original answers in English.
bleistiftrocker.de: What is the idea or the concept behind releasing two albums almost at the same time?
Tarja: I have felt extremely productive in the last couple of years, so I ended up writing many songs. Too many songs for one album only, that’s why we released two records within a very short time period in between them. I didn’t want to give my songs as bonuses this time, so we decided to work on two releases.
„The Shadow Self“ is quite a dark album, but you say that you are a very happy person. How does this go together?
It goes perfectly together, since I have understood that there is darkness living inside of me and that darkness is my creative force. I need that shadow in me to exist, so that I can create. All of us we have our darker side. We artists, we can use it for our art and embrace it through our work.
What is the biggest difference between being the lead singer of a band and being a solo artist?
Being a band member usually means that you are part of a group where the decisions are made together and the risk to make miscalculations is way smaller. Being a solo artist, you are in charge and you need to carry the responsibility on your own.
This year, you played the Wacken festival followed by a concert with a classical orchestra. What do you prefer?
Yes, I did that indeed and it was a wonderful challenge to live through. I don’t make preferences in music, when it comes to classical and rock. I have a career that consists of both these music styles and I work very hard in keeping them in my activities.
One of the key songs on „The Shadow Self“ is „Diva“, although you stated that the song is very ironic.
Yes, for sure it is a very ironic song.
But it also shows the wide range of your voice and the power you put into it. Do you see yourself as a diva? Or is this title referring to the „famous“ open letter that ended Nightwish?
You, like all my listeners have the freedom to think what ever you like about the meaning of this song, but the Diva-song for me was completely inspired by the Pirates of Caribbean movies. You should ask the people that really know me if I am a diva.
How do you treat your voice especially when you are on tour? Any special things you do?
I am training lyrical singing all the time, even while being on the road. I am working with the vocal exercises daily and doing the routine I have learned through the years. I also have to keep myself in a good physical condition, so I don’t get sick on tours that easily. That also means I need to rest and eat well enough.
There are some collaborations with other artists on your new albums, plus you did tracks with Within Temptation and The Scorpions some time ago. Do you like working with other artists?
I love collaborating with other artists and bands. I always learn something new from these kinds of situations, so I am very interested in making collaborations. I have been extremely lucky to collaborate with many awesome people.
With whom would you like to collaborate or sing a duet?
There are only so many great talents existing in the world that it would be sad just to mention one name. As I said earlier, I am open for collaborations if I feel capable of giving my best for them.
When you started as an artist in the 90s, the music industry was very different than today – especially looking at everything the Internet brings. Is this all in all a good or a bad thing for you as an artist? What do you think about today’s music industry in general?
Music industry is living its hardest times right now from my opinion. It is super difficult for new artists to build successful careers and for the older ones to keep up for what they have already built. I, like everybody else, have needed to learn new ways to make our work available for listeners and things like social media, for instance, has become a super important tool in marketing wise. Sometimes it feels like the value of music has diminished, but I haven’t lost my faith in music. There has to be a way to change this difficult era to a better one.