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A classically trained soprano with a three-and-a-half octave range, Tarja is best known as the former lead singer and co-founder of Finnish gothic/symphonic metal legends Nightwish. After leaving the group in 2006, she began a solo career that skillfully combined classical, heavy metal, and rock music. Her platinum-selling sophomore solo effort, 2007's My Winter Storm, spent two-and-a-half months on the Finnish Albums Chart. Subsequent offerings, Colours in the Dark (2013), The Shadow Self (2016), and In the Raw (2019), also saw commercial success, as did her debut all-classical affair, 2015's Ave Maria en Plein Air. In 2021, she published the autobiography Singing in My Blood and teamed up with EDM pioneer Torsten Stenzel on the progressive electronic project Outlanders. Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen was born on August 17, 1977, in Kitee, Finland. Her prowess as a soprano landed her a place studying classical voice at the Sibelius Academy in Kuopio, where fellow student Tuomas Holopainen took on Tarja as vocalist for his musical project, which was to be christened Nightwish in 1996. Tarja continued to pursue solo interests during her time recording and touring with Nightwish, including a solo in a 1999 rock ballet, a 2002 tour of South America, and a 2004 Christmas single titled "Yhden Enkelin Unelma" ("One Angel's Dream"). In 2005, Tarja was asked (via "open letter") to leave Nightwish, with the rest of the band citing financial and personal concerns. A public display of he-said/she-said followed, and Tarja became a solo artist full-time. After her forced departure, she made some live appearances, as well as guesting on an album of her brother's, before beginning work on an album of her own. October 2007 saw the release of her first solo album, My Winter Storm, which was released on Spinefarm Records. In 2009, she began work on her second solo effort, taking time out to record a duet with Klaus Meine of the Scorpions, "The Good Die Young," which appeared on the veteran group's 2010 album Sting in the Tail. In the fall of 2010, Tarja's second solo album, What Lies Beneath, was released; an ambitious effort combining classical and metal elements, Tarja supported the release with extensive touring, including a series of German dates opening for Alice Cooper. A live album, Act I, was issued in 2012, with Tarja's third solo effort, Colours in the Dark, following the next year. The album was a commercial success, rising to the Top Ten of the album charts in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the U.K. and charted in 12 countries overall. She also made a guest appearance on the EP Paradise (What About Us?) by the Dutch group Within Temptation. In 2015, Tarja issued her third live album, Luna Park Ride, which was recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Later that year, she issued her classical debut, Ave Maria en Plein Air. In March 2016, she announced two new studio albums. The first, Brightest Void: The Prequel was released in June and included guest appearances from Michael Monroe (a duet on the single "Your Heaven and Your Hell"), Chad Smith, and Within Temptation. She performed the set during a summer tour that also featured material from The Shadow Self, which was released in August. In November 2017, she released From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas), applying her classically trained vocals to more gothic influences to explore the dark side of Christmas. The following year she issued the live album Act II. Billed as a sequel of sorts to 2012's Act I, it had been recorded and filmed at a special show on November 29, 2016 at the Teatro della Luna, Milan. Tarja's fifth solo studio rock album arrived in 2019. In the Raw saw her set deeply personal lyrics to heavy, dark, rough-hewn music, as implied by the title. 2021 proved to be a busy year with the release of her autobiography, Singing in My Blood, and the first set of singles from Outlanders, her electronic project with Torsten Stenzel. Another string of Outlanders singles, including the Joe Satriani-assisted "Sleeping Indian," appeared in 2022.
© Chris True & James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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