|Also known as: Tarja Turunen
Born on: 17.08.1977
Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli was born on the 17th of August 1977 in a small town, Kitee, in Finland. She was interested in music from the beginning, stating that she believes she started to sing even before she could talk. At the age of six she started taking piano lessons and when she was 15 she started studying singing. One of her teachers told her that if she had practiced more, she would have made an excellent pianist, but Tarja was always much more interested in singing than in the piano.
At the age of 18 she was accepted into the Sibelius Music Academy where she studied classical singing. During her time in the Sibelius Academy she was approached by the founder of the internationally successful symphonic-metal band Nightwish, Tuomas Holopainen. He asked Tarja to participate in an acoustic project he was working on, as a guest musician. Tarja agreed to sing a few songs for him after which she had planned to continue focusing on her career as a classical singer.
But things don't always go according to plan. The record company Spinefarm loved the songs Tarja had sung so much that they offered them a deal to make an album. And thus Nightwish was born. Tarja stayed on Nightwish for nine years, a time she remembers as both hard and sad but also fun and exciting. She has often stated that she is very proud of her work with Nightwish.
Nightwish's first album was Angels Fall First, released in 1997, which featured a less metal, more pop like sound. It was very successful and was followed a year later with another album, Oceanborn. The second album was backed up by a lot of interviews, promotion, photoshooting, touring and, the most surprising to the members of the band, a steady fanbase.
In 2000, Wishmaster was released. It featured a more metallic sound than the two other albums and with it came a lot of requests for gigs. Tarja's amazing stage presence and charisma immediately earned her a spot as metal fans' favorite performer. One of these gigs was recorded and released as a DVD and VHS, as well as a live album in Finland. All publications were called From Wishes to Eternity and they were all very successful.
Before Nightwish released their next full studio album they released a mini-CD called Over The Hills And Far Away, which featured three new songs, among them the Gary Moore cover song Over The Hills And Far Away. In some countries the album also featured live songs form the From Wishes To Eternity CD. The band immediately started working on their fourth album, but Tarja decided to take her vocal studies one step further and enrolled in the Music University of Karlsruhe in Germany.
Tarja managed to find time to study at the university, record the vocals for Nightwish's album Century Child, which was released in 2002, have a successful tour of classical concerts in South America with some of her fellow students from the university, called Noche Escandinava and collaborate with Argentinean bassis Beto Vazquez for his album Infinity. Tarja was amazed at how many metal fans attended the classical concerts and was very proud that she had opened people's minds up to different kinds of music.
Following the release of Century Child came the long World Tour of the Century, which took the band all over the world and they performed for about 150.000 people. After this exhausting tour the band decided to take a break and Tarja went back to finish her studies in Karlsruhe. At the end of 2002 Tarja got married to Marcelo Cabuli, whom she had met while touring in South America a few years earlier, in a quite ceremony with only family and friends.
2003 brought once again a long tour where Nightwish performed for approximately 400.000 people in 14 countries. A documentary with footage from the three long tours as well as interviews with the band members was released in October, named End Of Innocence. The band had already started recording their next full studio album, Once, which was released in 2004.
Before 2003 was over, Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, invited Tarja and her husband to the President's Palace to attend the annual Finnish Independence Day party. This earned Tarja the title of Most Impressive Dressed Lady of the party and Queen Of The Night and her dress was voted the most beautiful of the night. At the very end of the year Tarja performed at an intimate Christmas concert in Valkeala's Church, which held 600 people.
In 2004 Nightwish's fourth album, Once, was released and backed up by a two year tour which took the band to several new countries, including Japan, Australia, USA and Denmark. Before the Once World Tour started Tarja performed classical concerts again in South America, Noche Escandinava II with the same people as two years earlier. Despite the tight tour schedule with Nightwish, Tarja found some time to record a Christmas single, Yhden Enkelin Unelma, which was the start of a longer Christmas project.
The last show of the very long and exhausting Once World Tour was recorded and later released as a DVD called End Of An Era. In truth it was an end of an era because when the concert was over, the other band members of Nightwish handed Tarja a letter, firing her from the band. The letter was made public on the band's website. In the letter, Tarja was accused of not caring for the fans, being only interested in money and not adhering to the "Nigthwish way of life". Her husband was also accused of being manipulative and greedy.
These accusations came as a complete shock to Tarja and Marcelo as well as the fans and the media. The scandal was blown out of proportion by the media and the dust didn't settle until many months later. Tarja revealed in a heartbreaking press conference in November that there had been problems within the band for many years and that she was not angry, not bitter, just very very sad that this had to end like this.
Despite this tragedy, Tarja was able to stick to her plans of performing a series of intimate Christmas concerts in Germany, Spain, Finland and Romania in December 2005. Tarja's fans were still as loyal to her as ever and realized that she did in fact care very much for her fans. This was proved once again with an opening of an Official Discussion Forum on Tarja's official website in the beginning of 2006, where Tarja herself often posted, holding contests with prizes such as a personal phone call from her or the opportunity to spend a day in her presence.
In 2006 she released a full Christmas album, Henkays Ikuisudesta, followed by a Christmas tour in Finland and Russia. She also participated in many side projects, including Savonlinna Opera festival, charity concerts for UNICEF and SPIN The Musical. In 2006 she also started working on her first solo album, My Winter Storm, which was recorded and released in 2007. The composing and production processes brought totally new experiences for Tarja, who had never before been involved in the whole process of making an album. Fans were allowed to follow the album making process through Tarja's official blog.
My Winter Storm was released in November 2007, followed immediately by a 10 concert tour called the Warm Up Tour. Tarja performed in Finland, Russia, Greece, U.K., Germany and Hungary among others and had with her great musicians many of whom had participated in My Winter Storm, including her brother Toni Turunen. Many Nightwish fans were relieved when she performed old Nightwish songs mixed in with her new material and Tarja stated that she saw no reason not to perform them because they were part of her career and she was proud of them.
Proof that she cared about her fans was offered once again in early 2008 when footage from one of the Warm Up shows was released on Tarja's official site, completely free of charge as a gift to the fans who had not been there. In May 2008 she started another tour, this time in Europe, performing in Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Norway and Sweden, then moving on to perform a tour in South America and returning once again to Europe at the end of the year. Following up on her Christmas project Tarja performed at a few intimate Christmas concerts in Finland in December.
2009 brought more touring, as well as the beginning of Tarja's next studio album set to be released in 2010. This time Tarja toured in the USA and Canada as well as South America and Europe and ended the year once again with Christmas concerts in Finland and Russia. Despite the tight tour schedule of the year Tarja managed to compose songs for the upcoming album, What Lies Beneath, and is set to start recording it in February 2010. So far the only concert that has been officially confirmed for 2010 is the Masters Of Rock Festival in the Czech Republic although her name as also been linked with the Miskolc International Opera Festival in Hungary.