New singer of Nightwish talks about how hard it was walking on Tarja Turunen's(ex lead singer who was fired) shoes and life in Nightwish.
Translated into english
Nightwish-singer ANETTE OLZON: "Now I understand Tarja Turunen better"
Vacation and distance from the band's guys have helped Nightwish's Anette Olzon to deal with the stress that made her collapse in November.
- The atmosphere was tense and inflamed but the issues have now been solved.
"A big fight cleared the air"
The sliding doors to the airport lobby open rarely. It's quiet on Helsinki-Vantaa (airport) and the grey day doesn't seem to begin eventhough the clock already ticks the afternoon.
Singer Anette Olzon is used to travelling. The biggest tour of Nightwish's career is still unfinished but the group got three months of vacation around the turn of the year. They'll reunite on March 11th when the Dark Passion Play- tour continues in London.
This time Anette has left her large pink suitcase home and hurtles through the doors with just a hand bag. The black hair from the start of her Nightwish days has turned blond and I meet a reformed singer in a long honeyblond look and glasses.
Anette is regonized everywhere but with the new look she's been left suprisingly alone. The new disguise won't probably work long but Anette is happy.
- The old Anette is back! I was blond in my former band and this is closer to my natural colour than the black. The circle has closed in a way.
The singer has relaxed from touring by spending a luxury weekend in Stockholm where twenty-something-year-old boys came to talk to "a little older mama."
- I'm that old! Well not really, apperently me and my sister still look quite alright, the 37-year-old Anette chortles.
A refreshing fight
Anette glows energy eventhough the stress of the South-American tour and meltdown in the middle of a show in Brazil still heat the back of her head. Outsiders speculated what caused it but according to Anette she left the stage due to loss of her voice caused by the smoke machine.
- It's a big deal for a singer to loose one's voice on stage. On the other hand if the same situation had happened six months earlier I definetly wouldn't have walked off stage. Also the stress and bad feeling in the band erupted in Brazil.
Anette says she's an emotional woman. If the situation between the band would've been normal she'd been stronger. The long tour started to show in everyone.
According to Anette the atmosphere on the road was tense and inflamed and under the stress she didn't know how to have as thick of a skin as a performer as the guys had.
- They've had ten years of shcool in this business. I only have two years behind me. When people become tired of eachother they become alienated. Every group needs a war sometimes and we hadn't had one during the whole time I was in the band. We'd rather tiptoe around eachother than argue.
Talking about the tour at the end of the year gives Anette chills but the relief after the fight is even greater.
- A big fight clears the air. Everyone was tired but we got things solved. There's no point in dwelling in the past, you have to think ahead.
In creative work too much is sometimes just too much. Anette has had to get used to that the plans in the morning have by noon been mixed and the palette has been built all over again. And again. And again.
- On stage though everything is fine and we all have fun. The hassle outside the stage causes the most stress. It's not just about music, you have to constantly deal with new people and things around you, Anette ponders.
While clearing the everyday life in the band Anette decided to change a few things. She made a deal with a well known manager office Hagenbyrg. Anette believes that in the long run the know-how of a big company will also help King Foo Entertaiment who manages Nightwish.
- It was a hard decision for me because I didn't want problems with the band. I said that I have different needs in these things than the guys. I for example need clothing sponsors which doesn't intrest the rest of the band. Now I have a person for that kind of stuff.
Also the fact that the manager is Swedish has helped Anette's job. Against the expectations in the beginning working in English has been a little more complicated for Anette. Also King Foo has worked with the guys for ten years and because of the long history is more at their service.
Anette emphasizes that it's more about making the practical things more fluent, not a separation from the band. Now she doesn't have to get snappy if the manager hasn't done something and the rest of the band doesn't have to worry about Anette's special needs.
- I understand now that Tarja Turunen surely had a reason to take her own manager and so do I. That doesn't affect my desire to be in the band though. I believe this desicion will help us all.
Son's name tattooed on her leg
Artists in jobs filled with change have different ways of making themselves feel at home. For Anette one way was to tattoo her son's name Seth on to her right leg. The boy already old enough for school is the apple of Anette's eye. Eventhough her job requires beeing away from home alot, Anette rejoices about the long free everyday things they do together.
- Of course it's hard sometimes. When I'm away alot he asks when he could come along on tour. We play near home rarely and he has his school so the visits don't happen often. I anyhow feel great how proud of me Seth is.
Anette tells her son loves the whole band. The band members are his idols and he wants to be a guitarist when he grows up. One of Seth's top moments was when Nightwish performed on Metal Town-festival in Gothenburg.
- Seth came onstage to bow with us. I of course want to protect him but I had to allow him that chance. He says it was so cool to be on stage that he wants to come along next time and he decided to become a rock star when he grows up.
Taking a family on the road isn't unusual especially in big bands. For Nightwish though it isn't possible so far. They live in buses for long periods of time and family life with nannies wouldn't be possible in those circumstances. Instead there's quite a rock show going on at home. The guitar gotten from Nightwish's Emppu Vuorinen has been in a lot of use when Seth puts on his own concerts in the living room.
- Maybe he'll be the next Emppu, who knows? They do look a little alike, Anette laughs.
Divorce in bedlam
During the past year and a half Anette has experinced indulgence from the media but also the flip side. Especially her performing outfits have been criticized. Anette isn't greatly affected by the comments. She is going to keep on supporting Swedish designers by wearing their clothes in the future.
During the meltdown in Brazil the media grabbed to Anette's family affairs. Her now ex-husband had to answer the strangest questions and wonder where on earth the papers had gotten the idea that they were fighting over the custody of their son.
Anette has noticed that the style of the media has changed especially in Sweden and she has hired a personal coach to help her deal with the fame.
- Last spring was a hard time. I felt like I needed help with the media. At least I learned that you can't win with everything. If I comment on something things might turn even worse, Anette sighs.
Now she thinks she might become a media coach for other stars in the future.
- You can never know when the band thing ends or I loose my voice for good. I've always been intrested in psychology and studied it. I believe I might have a lot to give.
The behaviour of Nightwish fans earns praise from Anette.
- Our fans don't discuss our personal things on the internet. They understand that everyone occasionally has bad moments.
Anette is a great sushi lover but now the sushi restaurants in Helsinki are on a siesta following lunch. Luckily traditional Finnish food also works and Anette eagerly sticks her spoon in the fishsoup. In front of her meal she paints the scenery of her own future. Eventhough Nightwish is now the most important thing a person with a family has to think further about her career.
- Though I now enjoy having three months of spare time I can't just be and do absolutely nothing. It's good to have quiet moments when you have time to think what you want from life. In the middle of a rush you just try to please everyone and get everything done.
The limitation of life makes Anette reflective.
- Every moment could be the last one. You should enjoy life and leave unpleasent things behind you. If you stay and ponder every unpleasent thing or person you'd go mad. And there are a lot of shitheads, Anette sneers.
At one point Anette dreamt about her own barbershop but now the dreams have gotten clearer. To the daughter of a seamstress clothes have always been a passion and Anette plans to one day desing her own collection. She has found a night school in Stockholm that teaches clothing desing and studying intrests her as soon as the tour with Nightwish ends in September.
- My clothing has been criticized but I'd like encourage women to dress personally. Many female singers especially in harder music look the same which is a shame in a way. Also I think it's smarter to invest money on something than to simply blow it away. Why wouldn't I invest on my own clothing store?
Anette starts to talk about the men in Nightwish who have also gotten excited about styles. The criticized white coat worn onstage by Tuomas Holopainen was in Anette's opinion a good choice. Also Emppu is intrestd in clothes and even the antishopper Marco Hietala suprised eveyone by buying three coats and three pairs of pants all at once.
As her own style idol Anette mentions Nina Persson from The Cardigans. And though the Swedish fashion is very simple and black Anette plans to keep playing with styles in the future.
- Making my own collection may be a long project but you have to start somewhere. You have to have goals in life to aim for. Many artist run a record company after their careers but I don't see myself in that role. I'd rather invest on something I love.
With at least the same amount of passion Anette invests on her other loves. It's hard to hide the happiness glowing on her face.
- I'm really happy now. I again have someone important in my life, Anette smiles and this time isn't talking about her son.