Interview with Riina Ammesmäki (TVOF)

Interviewed by Jessica Clingempeel

First, tell us a little bit about yourself? When did you decide you wanted to be a singer? Have you gone to any schools for training?

I studied classical piano for many years. When it took more and more time to practice, I realized it was not my passion. I had always enjoyed singing in choirs etc, but had never realized singing could be my career. At 16, I took my first singing lesson – and I was hooked, lol. Later I studied to be a professional pop & jazz singer.

Besides vocals, do you play any other instruments?

I used to play the drums, but unfortunately have not played in many years. I also still play piano a lot. When I was around 13, I played the clarinet for a while.

Are you more of the solo type or would you like to join a band someday? What style(s) of music are you interested in doing?

I have a cover band called Darlings, but I am the only soloist. I also sing in a pno/voc duet with self-produced backings, it is called Top40Lounge Ensemble. On top of those I sing both backing vocals (mostly in the studio) and solo gigs ranging from progressive metal to dance music. Depends on the project.

What musician(s) have inspired you?

Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin – and of course Tarja Turunen!

I heard you have recorded a song for Eurovision. What was it like?  Have you written others?

I love writing music! It lets me go through different thoughts and emotions and then express them through the lyrics and the music. I made an album in 2010 under the name Reena Darlin, called “I’m Here”. The so g for the Eurovision song contest didn’t become Finland’s representative, but it was still great fun. J

What kind of covers, if any, would you record? Any from Tarja? 🙂

Well, obviously I will record Titanium! On top of that I have to think which ones are best. Tarja has many great songs, so maybe. 😉

Lets discuss your history with The Voice of Finland. What made you decide to try out the first time for the show?

The first time all my colleagues (that are also my friends) decided to try out. So I wanted to be a part of it too. Unfortunately none of the coaches turned their chair. But because I never wanna give up, I decided to try again when I heard who the new coaches were. Thank goodness I did – because I got the best coach!!!

For the non-Finnish speakers, what advice did the judges give you the first time? Were you discouraged to ever try out again? What made you decide to give it another shot?

The judges just said they didn’t “feel it” (ironically), but that they can hear I am a professional. I needed to show myself I am not afraid to give it another shot. I wanted to prove myself I can make an impact.

Your audition of Titanium was amazing and it even brought tears to Tarja’s eyes. Was this your first pick to audition with or did you have any other songs in mind? If so, what made you finally choose “Titanium”?

I had sang the song with only piano on a couple of gigs (with Top40Lounge Ensemble) and I just felt the song fit me so well. I got many comments about it also. The lyrics suit me very well too, because I have gone through some very hard times in the last few years – but I never give up!

How has it been working with Tarja? What has she taught you on your journey?

She is amazing! I am so thankful to her. She has taught me to believe in myself. Also she has given me many small, but very significant tips regarding my performances. Yet through it all she has let me have my own style and has respected how I do things.

It was upsetting to see your journey on the show end. What are your plans now? Are you in the process of recording?

I was of course very sad that it ended! But I continue my work as a vocal coach, I perform a lot and also as soon as time allows, I will hit the studio.

What kind of advice would you give people wanting to audition for shows like The Voice of Finland?

Never let anyone or anything define you or your self-worth. Believe in yourself and in what you do – no matter the outcome.

Outside of music, what do you like to do with your time? Do you have any other goals in life?

I take ballet-lessons. It keeps me in shape to sing. I love being outdoors, especially sailing. But my passion is in singing!

What musicians/bands do you frequently listen to?

I listen to so many different artists. But soulful music is on the top of my list when I chill out at home.

What other things should we know about you?

I want to say that I have had to work very hard with my voice and performance to get this far. I haven’t had an easy road! So for anyone out there dreaming, just work hard and keep going even if you don’t at first succeed.

Would you ever consider collaborating with anyone on something?

I would love to sing with Miia (winner of 2015 The Voice of Finland) anytime. And my big dream is to be on stage with Tarja – and who knows, it might happen. 😉

Finally, what would you like to say to all your supporters and future fans? 🙂

I want to say a huge thank you for all the support!!! I can really feel the love ❤ you can follow my ongoing career on my FB- page. Love you!!

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