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Anette Olzon (The Dark Element)

Interview with Anette Olzon from The Dark Element
by Jean-Francois Poulin at 09 November 2017, 11:38 AM

Groundbreaking females in Metal have been a blessing in the last decade and a half. In a world dominated by men, women have taken center stage and are not letting go. They grabbed the bull by its horns and they have taken their rightful place in the world of metal. You can talk about the origins of female fronted metal from people like Doro Pesch, Besty Bitch and the girls from GIRLSCHOOL. It took some time to get something serious enough to take under consideration and that was a damn shame. I think the band that really broke the barriers was NIGHTWISH, it captured the attention of the Metal World and they opened the doors for other bands. Metal Temple writer Jean-Francois-Poulin recently had the pleasure to interview Anette Olzon, she replaced Tarja Turunen in NIGHTWISH and has been a force in female fronted metal ever since.

How was your musical upbringing? There seems to be always music in the household, from what I’ve read, your mother had a musical band and did a bit of touring.

It's not only my mother who's a musician but the whole family on her side. My grandfather sang and played violin until the day he died, my uncles all have played in bands, my brother has been a professional musician and my step father also were a musician so it comes from many people and I got the music from them and as you say my mum has been in touring bands where I were with her in the bus and on tour so it gave me a lot of insight in that business.

Any fun stories of being a wedding singer in your younger years?

I loved singing in weddings but it was also very nervous since it's such a special and big day for the couple and if I wouldn't do a nice job for them I could ruin a very big day. There's been some incidents and mainly due to church organ players being very classical in their playing and when they are gonna play a more modern song they sometimes tend to play it very static and not following my vocals which made some performances a bit funny.

Your first band was ALYSON AVENUE, not much is known here in North America about the band, I saw you were a backup singer and then transitioned to be the lead vocalist? How did that happen and did it change the direction of the band afterwards?

It wasn't my first band since I sang from a very young age in cover bands but it was the first band where we made our own songs. And yes my bonus brother Niclas asked me if I wanted to do some backing vocals when they hit the studio to do some songs and he got so happy over my voice that I was asked to sing as the second lead singer along with the male singer. And then it in the end ended up with only me being the lead singer since that worked better for the sound.

Was your split with the band amicable and would you be willing to collaborate again with the band?

We all decided to put the band down after many years since we had different goals with our music. I wanted more and to work professionally with music whereas they didn't. But we are actually reuniting next year for a gig in Sweden at Malmö melodic rock fest and who knows after that?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, your time in NIGHTWISH. NIGHTWISH is highly regarded in the Metal World, how did you get to replace Tarja Turunen? Was there any open auditions, how was it like? You spent only a few years but gathered two amazing studio albums, I know the split was pretty controversial at the time? What is your side of a story that has had some misconceptions ever since the split in 2012?

Well this is a very boring story since I've told it many times and all is said and done so nothing more to add to that.

How cathartic was it when you released your debut solo album in 2014?

It was a very special moment when my own album was released and the joy when i got to perform some of the songs live in our city's big arena opening together with a big symphonic orchestra is still the biggest thing I've ever done. I'm so proud of my album and only wish it could had been given a better promotion and push from the label. Maybe it can be re-released by another label some day to get more recognition than it did.

How was your experience on the Tahdet Tahdet show? Was it a learning experience and how did you get approached to participate on the Finnish Reality show?

It was a friend from my nw times who asked me if she could suggest me to the program and it felt like a fun thing to do and it was. It was surely a learning experience to do tv and try genres I wouldn't normally try like opera and dancing while singing. Which was very very hard by the way haha! I prefer to do my own kinda goofy dance on stage, it feels easier than taking choreography.

Let’s talk about the new band, formed with Jani Liimatainen, ex-SONATA ARCTICA guitarist. How did you gets get together to form a new band? What does THE DARK ELEMENT bring to you on a personal and musical level?

I had done vocals on one of frontiers bands, secret sphere, and got a question from them if I'd be interested in singing on a whole studio album project with jani. I had never heard his songs so I hesitated at first since he is a Finn hehe, but my husband said he thought I'd give it a go and well I'm very happy I did now. For me this is a fun little project on the side that grew to be something really good and I hope jani and me can do more albums cause he is just an amazing songwriter who really captured what my voice is capable of doing.

Any bands or artists you would love to tour with in the coming future? Do you have a favorite city or town you have been to in your musical career?

I have toured with lots of nice bands in the past and my favorite is always Pain. Crazy and funny swedes like me haha! I loved to play in Japan. Such an interesting place to visit, kind fans and amazing food!

What were your influences growing up? Were there some out of the box artists that just caught your attention and made you want to be a singer?

I've always been a musical all eater except from classical music and opera. I listened a lot to my mums favorite singers like Nathalie cole, Ella Fitzgerald and also musical singers. I took a lot of my inspiration from Whitney Houston, sheena Easton, Olivia newton John and of course the gurus in Abba.

Any plans on maybe doing a musical project in the near future with Johan (PAIN bassist and husband of Anette)? How do you guys balance the family life (with your three children) and the touring process with both of your bands?

Well both me and johan has put the music on hold since we got our last son Mio  since it's family life we wanted to emphasize in. But johan has been a very big support moving over with me to Finland with the kids for Tähdet tähdet and he also travelled with me with nightwish and had Nemo to take care of. He's an incredible man that do these things for me and I know he'll always support my career if I choose to do it again and the same with me for him. I would love to have a band with him in it and he was with me with my solo gigs and we had great fun.

What does the future hold for a new solo album or touring with your new band?

I have felt the last weeks that I am longing to do some more solo songs so let's see if I can write some stuff and release again. With the dark element we have gotten some offers but as you know it all comes down to if it's a win in it and so on but let's see what happens.

Thanks and it’s been a real privilege to interview you for Metal Temple!

Thank you for your questions and have a nice week!

Kind regards,

Anette

 



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