Review on Tarja as a Musician

Review by Jessica Clingempeel
Done in 2009

Kiss of Winter

Do you remember the times as a child after the first snow of the year? Mother wrapped you in layer after layer of clothing so much you felt more like a marshmallow than a human, but it makes no difference; you have waited all year for this one moment. Finally, mother satisfied that you will not freeze in the cold harsh winter, permits you to go. A child caught in a dream land, you play in the snow making angels and building forts. When someone comes once again to visit, their kiss is cold but oddly warm against your cheek. Surrounded by a harsh winter where the mighty trees bow down almost as if to some icy queen, but you feel the warmth of something singing in your mind. Now, sit and listen, child to the story of a winter storm and an angel.

Tarja’s time with Nightwish is well known having released six spectacular albums as vocalist for the band. When 2005 came, no one expected for the story to end, but as we all know, all good things must come to an end and she was fired from the band. Fans witnessed the angel, who had for years lured them to concert after concert, broken down in tears which flowed like rivers, was this the end of more than an era? Was this the last image fans would have of their beloved Tarja? Often we find in life the end of one chapter is not the end but the beginning of another chapter. This proved to be true for Tarja as well; putting the past in its place, she pushed on with Christmas concerts and the release of her Christmas album Henkäys Ikuisuudesta (Breath From Heaven) in November of 2006.

However, what would her first solo album be like? Honestly, no one could have known what to expect from the creative and imaginative singer. Her classical abilities were well known, but how has her time with Nightwish influence her taste and feeling toward music? Fans were forced to wait another full year for the release of My Winter Storm in November of the following year. Reading interviews asking about My Winter Storm the album can be summed up in one line as said by Tarja herself “this album is my story”. As the tour began fans could see that their angel had returned stronger than before. Every performance packed full of powerful emotion and love for her Winter Storm, as she affectionately calls her fans. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind, this was her story for all to see. We felt every happy moment as well as every sad one. Inspired by such songs as My Little Phoenix, to rise from the ashes of our darkest hour and if we could do so, emerge stronger than before. However, the most powerful song to ever have been performed by Tarja would have to be You Would Have Loved This, which is dedicated to her mother, Marjatta, who she sadly lost in 2003. This song touched our hearts compelling us to go tell mothers how much we love them or to rethink old hatreds for past deeds.

At the beginning of 2009, My Winter Storm had been re-released with two new songs, Enough and Wisdom of Wind. Enough is a song claimed to be a partial autobiography of Tarja’s life. A music video for the song, which fans still anxiously await, is to have scenes of Tarja’s life. Enough is a bit softer on the album then live where it was performed heavy with more angry and deep feelings. A second album, What Lies Beneath, is now in the making. Again we ask, what will this angel of music show us and that answer no one knows. Now children wait and listen for the voice of an angel come again tell us another story.

Let my scars heal and my wings unfold.
I am finally out of the darkness and out of the cold.
From the ashes I rise and enter into a new land.
I will stay true to you all. In the storm I will stand.
No angry words, no tense feelings.
No broken heart, only a mind left healing.
No more pain, like I felt so much before.
No doubts of tomorrow, now I have so much more.
I have tried so hard again and again.
I lost nothing and have gained new friends.
I will open my mind and share with you my voice.
This isn’t a requirement, this is my choice.
I soar higher and higher and I stand very bold.
A chapter put to rest and another to be told.
Challenges ahead but I will stand strong.
For the gift I give to you is the gift of my song.

© Jessica Clingempeel
— Poem written in dedication Tarja Turunen—

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