Interview with Tarja August 15th, 2022

Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor

Tarja, one of the most influential and iconic women in the symphonic metal/metal scene, has been quite busy! After having released her first book “Singing In My Blood” in November of 2021, and catching up on the Raw tours with live music back in full swing, Tarja, kind as always, took the time to answer some questions from our co-owner Ryan about life, covid, her stroke, Outlanders, US touring and more!

Ryan – Moi Tarja! Toivon että voit hyvin! My name is Ryan, and we met in NYC at the meet and greet on September 9th, 2018 during your US Act 2 release shows in the states (we even spoke a little bit of Finnish!) and have been a fan of yours since 2000! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat! 

Tarja – Hi! A pleasure Ryan!

Ryan – First, with Covid at the forefront of everyone’s minds, how are you and your family fairing?

Tarja – Thanks for asking. We are doing fine. Together with Marcelo, we have been working and preparing things for the future through all this challenging time. Naomi is at the moment having summer holidays and soon starting her school again. We feel very lucky to live in Andalucia, Spain where the weather is always great, we have friends around and the atmosphere is wonderful.

Ryan – That’s so great to hear! I’ve never been to Spain, but have seen pictures of Anadalucia, and it looks simply beautiful! Speaking of health and wellness, I’m so incredibly grateful to see how well you have recovered after your stroke in late 2018 after returning from the US! It’s clear that nothing stops you from doing your art, and we are so thrilled you are able to continue writing and performing because it’s what you truly love! How are you feeling?

Tarja – Yes, I was very lucky. It was a first warning for me, so I needed really think again my future plans and how to change things for better in my life, so that I won’t see myself in that situation ever again. I am healthier and in a better condition at the moment than probably ever before. In a way, I am grateful that it happened this way, so that it made me realise how important it is to take time for yourself and seek for help if one cannot find the way alone. 

Ryan – Wow, that’s an absolutely amazing outlook to have! I’ve seen first hand how debilitating strokes can be, so I’m incredibly thankful you’re okay, and are healthier than ever before! We saw recently on your socials that you and your family had a well deserved vacation in the Maldives! How did you like it? Seeing it’s beauty while you were there, did you draw any inspiration for any future work?

Tarja – Oh we loved it! We really needed some time off and as we had been in Maldives before, we knew that we could totally disconnect. It was great. Naomi turned 10 years and did an open water scuba diving course on the island and now she is ready to explore the underwater world with her parents as a diver. We are of course super proud of her. She is fearless, little girl. I was regaining my batteries and just enjoying the peaceful surroundings without any contamination or noises, other than the voice of the ocean. It’s always inspiring to be near the ocean. 

Ryan – So glad you enjoyed it and were able to decompress and recharge! Also, that’s great for Naomi, so glad she was able to complete her open water scuba course! I hope to make it to the Maldives one day, it’s beautiful, and that must be an absolutely breathtaking location to dive as well! Speaking of beauty around the world, Antigua holds a special place in your heart. Outlanders has been releasing songs these last few months, and they have been amazing! Jessica’s Webzine that I help with, Ethereal Metal Webzine, has been reviewing each of the songs, and we absolutely LOVE them so far! Which is your favorite from those released so far? 

Tarja – It is very hard to answer this question, since they are all my creations and quite different from one another. They hold a special place in my line of work, because the whole project is so unique. Just wait to hear all of them!! 

Ryan – I can see how they would all hold a special place in your heart! The ones released so far are absolutely captivating and beautiful! What was it like working with all of the special guest artists that you worked with on this project?

Tarja – I feel truly blessed to gather in this incredible list of talented guitarists. They all did more than I expected really and poured their souls into our songs. It was magical to hear the songs becoming alive with the help of these great musicians. I chose the players for each of the songs, depending on the style and needs of each song and having mind of the guitarists sound as well. Then I talked personally with them and we went through the process together. It was a very enjoyable experience for me.

Ryan – I can imagine it was! Outlanders did see a lot of challenges over the years, from hard drive crashes, finding the right timing and more recently, Covid. Can you speak a bit more about the challenges you all faced, and how Covid made things even more challenging?

Tarja – Actually funny though, Covid gave us time to finish the project. If I would have been on touring constantly and working in other projects as before the pandemic, Outlanders wouldn’t have probably seen the light of the day yet. I decided to write all the remaining lyrics, record the vocals and pushed Torsten to finalise the productions while we were in quarantine. But yes, there were problems and challenges along the way, since we had been working with the project for such a long time already and we were not based in the same place, nor even the continent. Sometimes the time difference, lack of good connections (Torsten lives in Antigua where the internet/electricity is not the best in the world) and communication problems caused us issues, but we managed. After all, we can be very proud of the project. 

Ryan – It’s great to see how the down time Covid created allowed the project to be finished! We’ve been excited to hear Outlanders for sometime, and are really enjoying the gradual release of songs! What can you tell us about the rest of the Outlanders songs that we haven’t heard yet? We’re dying to hear more!

Tarja – Hehe….you need to wait for the news to arrive. Hopefully you will find them as interesting and different as the songs that have been released so far. 

Ryan – With just a few days left until the next release, I’m excited to hear the next song! With all of the collaborations on Outlanders, it would be a HUGE undertaking, but are there any thoughts on touring this project once released in full?

Tarja – To be honest with you, I would love to go on tour with Outlanders. BUT, realistically speaking it would be a quite big challenge for any guitar player to replay these songs live. They have so many layers of guitars, played with pedals and different sounds and styles, so it would be truly challenging. Anyways, time will tell if we manage to plan something. I am open for it.

Ryan – The layering is one of the things that sticks out most me! As a guitar player, it grabs my attention and I can’t get the patterns out of my head! Shifting gears slightly – on the solo front, are there any thoughts of bringing the Raw tour to the USA in 2023?

Tarja – We are actually working on it right now!!!!! 🙂

Ryan – That’s so exciting! We’re definitely looking forward to seeing you in the US again! Lastly, what can you tell us about any plans for your next solo rock album?

Tarja – There is an album release happening at the end of this year (!) and a re-release of another album as well AND I am currently working on two other album releases for next year. For more info what these albums and projects are about, you will need to wait unfortunately. I love to keep my fans excited….haha! 

Ryan – You are going to be very busy! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in the future, but we trust your process and know that it will be well worth the wait! Tarja, kiitos paljon, kun käytit aikaa tähän haastatteluun!

Tarja – Kiitos sinulle! All the best and lots of love from Spain! -Love, Tarja

Be sure to join Tarja on her socials, linked below!

Co-Owner Ryan Murray & his wife Chrissy Murray at a pre-show meet and greet with Tarja in NYC 9-9-18

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