Fans of Progressive and/or Operatic music should need no introduction to Tarja Turunen. Over the years she has helped bridge the gap between symphonic and the heavy music, which spawned an entirely new subgenre of music. Her latest albums, Brightest Void (available now) and Shadow Self (available August 5), feature both of her musical loves in an expanded form that is still likely to leave you begging for more.
We were fortunate to catch up with Tarja via email to talk about the albums and here’s what she had to tell us…
Interview by mark1340
Hello Tarja! How are you doing?
Thank you for asking, I am great! Very busy at the moment but it’s okay to be busy.
You are coming off of some of your most traditional work to date. What made now the right time to make another Rock album?
I have been feeling very productive in the past couple of years and super happy about the freedom that I have as an artist to create. I have been coming up with a new record every three years, because of my touring activities so it was about the time to release a record now. The happy surprise was that actually I am releasing two records during this European summer, because I came up with so many songs and I wanted to have them properly released.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that you are well-respected and accepted in both the traditional and Rock markets. Would you agree with that or do you feel you have to “fight harder” for respect and attention in one of those markets?
I have always enjoyed the respect from my fellow colleagues and from the critics in general. When I started singing with operatic vocals in a heavy metal band which became one of the biggest ones in Europe in a short period of time, I was always very clear about my background in classical music. I never left the training of my lyrical voice behind and actually I am training still very hard to become better in what I do. Maybe the hard work of mine has been seen by the people in general.
The new albums, The Brightest Void and The Shadow Self, are closely connected. What led to you choosing to release them as two separate albums instead of a double album?
I thought a double album might be taking too much effort from my listeners. Not necessarily all of my songs would have fit in one single package. My style is pretty diverse.
When you began recording the new material, was there a particular idea or theme that you wanted to capture? If so, can you tell us a little about that? If not, can you tell our readers a little about the goals you had for the albums?
All the songs one way or another are connected with the theme of “The Shadow Self”. We all have our “darker” side that sometimes pops out in certain situations as anger or frustration or similar. Maybe we might not even understand why we act weirdly in these situations, but it just happens. Many times it is just too scary to start searching for the answers from inside of you. I have started to understand that there is this darkness in me as well, but my darkness is the creative force that I use to create music. I love my darkness. The both albums are very personal to me honestly and for sure I write from my own experiences and what I have seen during my journeys around the world with music.
You recently released a video for “The Bitter End,” do you feel it represents the new material overall or is it just one side to the new material?
I wanted to release as a first single a song that gives me good kick of energy and keeps me rocking hard. You should check my newest single release “Innocence” to understand the other side of me, being much more dramatic and mysterious.
Would you mind telling our readers a little about the song and what inspired it?
I wanted to write a song that could give me the feeling of having an energetic, hard rocking band supporting me.
Is there a particular song, off either The Brightest Void or The Shadow Self, that you feel is just perfect when you hear it? Maybe a song that makes you feel like you could say, “This is who Tarja is in 2016.” If so, which one and why did you choose that song?
The new single “Innocence” is quite good example of what I mean when I love fusing my classical back ground with rock. I also love shaking a bit the rock/metal scene with my classical roots and by doing so, I have gained their respect.
What’s next for Tarja? Will you be touring anytime soon?
I just returned from my Asian tour back home and am currently touring around Europe within the rock festivals. The actual tour of the new album starts from Europe in October and continues in other continents next year. You can check all the tour dates in the concerts section here www.tarjaturunen.com
Thanks so much for your time and we wish the new albums all the success in the world! Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to leave our readers with?
Thank you for the kind words! I would love to take a chance to thank my listeners for the support and love. I hope to see you soon on the road!!!!! Love you all!!!!