Tarja Turunen: "I have not needed to grow balls."

Tarja Turunen
(Image credit: Tim Tronckoe)

Former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen has discussed her eventful career in a new interview, admitting that she once felt quite lonely in the metal scene due to the lack of female representation around her at the time.

"I felt very alone at the beginning of the late '90s," she tells Blabbermouth. "Only recently, a few years back, I went to Jakarta for a festival. I was one of the only female vocalists there and it brought memories from the beginning. There were no women around! Where the heck are you guys? [Laughs] It's so nice. We have so much in common nowadays. I have a lot of friends in this industry and companionship in metal. It's really a beautiful thing. I get to hear the stories — even from some famous singers — about how my work has influenced them. It's a wonderful thing.

"I have not needed to grow balls," she adds. "I have been different. I believe in having the voice I had from the beginning and kept progressing in it. I've never suffered just because I'm a woman. I found my own way. I've needed to fight my way, but it has not been easy and it would be lovely to have more of us around."

Turunen also admits that she was something of an anomaly in the metal scene when she first emerged with Nightwish in the 90s. 

"I was a weird birdie for the metal scene," she muses. "My life with music before was working with classical. I was dedicating myself completely, eight hours a day playing piano and singing, doing nothing. I had no life whatsoever. [Laughs] I discovered new music, a completely new genre. I was listening to Metallica and hard rock albums from other bands, but I did not know so much beautiful music existed in metal."

Tarja Turunen's new solo compilation, Best Of: Living The Dream was released earlier this month.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.