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Live to Tell the Tale

The story of Nightwish: in their own words!

Part 6: "The End"

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Just when it seemed the Nightwish train could not possibly be stopped, Tuomas slammed on the brakes in the most unexpected way: moments after the final concert of the Once tour, a letter was delivered to Tarja from Tuomas and the other bandmembers, dismissing her from Nightwish and forever splitting the Nightwish community into two separate entities. Although it was Tarja getting the walking papers, it was clear that it was someone not even in the band that caused the rift...
Tuomas Holopainen:
"It's not really Tarja that's the main problem, it's Marcelo, her husband. I think it's tragic that one of my best friends from elementary school has been brainwashed by an Argentinean mafia-dude. Marcelo is scary! He can talk you around his finger, and is a manipulator of another world[...]she's too good for this serpent!"
(Scream, November 2005)

"This letter includes it all. I have to put it to the internet in a moment. My biggest wish is to continue Nightwish with a new singer. At the moment I'm not sure who this is going to be. I'm still shocked and the situation has to calm down first. Then we can go on planning the future. This decision is the biggest tragedy of my life."
"Actually I thought about disappearing from the scene and going on holiday but that would be the easy way out. I want to defend the band and I want to tell the true story. That's what I owe us and the fans. When you are on a stage you take responsibility. We never disappointed the fans, not even when we were ill or tired or just in a bad mood. Unfortunately Tarja had a different attitude towards this matter."
"I already suffered the whole year. It can't get any worse. Actually I'm really happy that I finally talked about all of this. At the moment I have a real chaos of feelings inside of me—it's a mixture of sadness, of hope and of relief. I'm sure that Tarja suffered from this situation as well. It's not easy for both of us and it won't be easy for a long time. But in spite of everything that happened I do not hate Tarja. I'm just completely disappointed. Nightwish will go on with a new singer and she will cause a stir with her solo-projects."
(Rock Hard, December 2005)

Tarja Turunen:
"I was naturally enough both shocked and surprised. I was shocked that I was left out there without a chance to defend myself. That's what stuck as the strongest and most bitter reaction. I could have understood the content of it a lot better if I'd been confronted with it face-to-face, and thereby had a chance to defend myself, and straightened out misunderstanding that lies behind it. I never got that opportunity, and that really hurts me. I didn't think I deserved such treatment after all of these years."
(Scream, November 2005)

"There were many things that were very private, talks about my personality and me. In that letter, they try to put words in my mouth, thoughts in my head, and feelings in my heart without giving me a chance to talk or respond in any way. I need to face this situation now, as the Tarja I have been, and that Tarja I am and that is that person that is not accusing or attacking with anger. I cannot do that."
(NightwishSpain.com press conference, November 14th, 2005)

Book signing

Once the world got over the initial shock of Tarja's departure, the next obvious questions were: who would the new singer be? Who could possibly replace Tarja? The band held an "open audition", inviting women from around the world to send in demo tapes and show if she had what it took to gain the most enviable, yet most difficult position: stepping up to the microphone and becoming the new frontwoman of Nightwish. The band would give the fans a tease at the beginning of 2007 by releasing the song "While Your Lips Are Still Red" as part of a soundtrack for the Finnish-language movie Lieksa! with only Marco on vocals; but as far as who would take over as the new feminine voice of Nightwish, it remained one of the biggest mysteries on the current metal scene. It seemed that any female that came within a mile radius of any Nightwish bandmember was rumored to be the new singer; everyone from Lady Angellyca to Vibeke Stene (formerly of Tristania) to Liv Kristine was named, but as 2007 dawned, it seemed that no one was any closer to finding out if the band had found their new vocalist yet.

Tuomas Holopainen:
"I know that there are a lot of people outside there who will never accept the new singer---no matter how talented and charismatic she will be. Our new frontwoman has to have the biggest self-confidence in the world because she will have the hardest job in the world. Everybody will talk at length about her and she will have to take a lot of criticism. Honestly said, I do not care if the next record will sell 50,000 or 1,000,000 times. The most important thing is that we get along with our new singer and that we can lead a normal band's life again as it used to be."

"The first demo I got one day after I published the letter on our homepage. Until now I received about 400 applications. Most of them are from Finland, Scandinavia, and Germany. I am still surprised about the amount of letters. I never thought so many women dare to follow in Tarja's footsteps."
(Rock Hard, June 2006)

The story continues...