Top Questions

What is Tarja Turunen known for?

Tarja Turunen is known for her powerful operatic soprano voice that redefined the symphonic metal genre. She rose to fame as the lead vocalist of the band “Nightwish” before embarking on a successful solo career.

Where is Tarja Turunen from?

Tarja Turunen hails from the village of Puhos in Finland.

How did Tarja Turunen become famous?

Tarja Turunen became famous as the lead vocalist of the band “Nightwish”, with whom she recorded several acclaimed albums like “Oceanborn” (1998) and “Century Child” (2002) that showcased her exceptional vocal talent.

Does Tarja Turunen write all her songs?

While Tarja Turunen has contributed to the songwriting process for both Nightwish and her solo work, not all songs are solely written by her. She collaborates with other musicians and songwriters.

What are Tarja Turunen‘s most popular songs?

Some of Tarja Turunen’s most popular songs include Nightwish tracks like “Nemo”, “Wish I Had an Angel”, and “Sleeping Sun”, as well as solo works such as “I Walk Alone”, “Until My Last Breath”, and “Innocence”.

Born in 1977 in Finland, Tarja Turunen’s extraordinary soprano voice redefined symphonic metal. As the lead vocalist of “Nightwish,” she skyrocketed to fame with albums like “Oceanborn” (1998) and “Century Child” (2002). Parting ways with the band in 2005, Tarja embarked on a successful solo career, releasing acclaimed albums such as “My Winter Storm” (2007) and “The Shadow Self” (2016). Her collaborations with renowned musicians showcase her versatility. Tarja’s dedication and talent have left an indelible mark on the music world, establishing her as one of the most influential voices in the genre.

Tarja Turunen

Category: Female Metal Singer

In full: Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli

Born: August 17, 1977, Puhos, Kitee, Finland

Associated Bands: Nightwish (former), Solo Artist

Notable Works: Rocking Heels: Live at Metal Church (2023), In the Raw (2019), The Shadow Self (2016), Colours in the Dark (2013), What Lies Beneath (2010), My Winter Storm (2007)

Childhood and Youth

The singer’s full name sounds much more complex – Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli. She was born on August 17, 1977, in the Finnish village of Puhos, near the city of Kitee. The family was ordinary: her mother worked in the city administration, her father was a carpenter. In addition to the girl, the family had two more sons: Tarja’s older brother, Timo, and younger brother Toni. 

Tarja first sang for an audience at the age of 3: in the Kitee church, she performed the classic Lutheran hymn “Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her”, known in the Finnish interpretation as “Enkeli taivaan”. After that, Tarja began singing in the church choir, and from the age of 6 – learning to play the piano.

During her school years, the girl sang at all concerts, which did not benefit her relationships with peers. Schoolchildren envied Tarja’s voice and in retaliation made her the object of bullying. Therefore, in her youth, the singer was very shy and communicated with only a few boys.

But the talent of the future celebrity kept growing: her music teacher noted that the girl could literally sight-read compositions that other performers would have to learn for a long time. At the age of 15, Turunen was the soloist at a church concert attended by thousands of people.

After completing her school education, Tarja studied at the Savonlinna Music School, after which she moved to Kuopio to continue her studies at the Sibelius Academy.


In December 1996, during the Christmas holidays, Tarja’s former classmate Tuomas Holopainen invited her to join his band – at this time “Nightwish” was recording their first demo album. In the process, it became clear that Turunen’s vocals were too strong and dramatic for the band’s original acoustic format.

As a result, Tuomas decided to revise the concept of the band and start playing metal. In 1997, “Nightwish” completed the recording of their first studio album “Angels Fall First”, and, to everyone’s amazement, it immediately hit the top 40 of the Finnish charts. The band began touring, and Tarja had to quit her studies – the performance schedule turned out to be too intense.

In 1998, “Nightwish” recorded their second album “Oceanborn”, the main focus of which was directly on Tarja’s vocals – the girl became the band’s “calling card”. During this period, Turunen continued to periodically combine work in the band with opera performances.

In 2000, Tarja began studying at the Karlsruhe University of Music in Germany. The girl also needed this in order for people who considered singing in a metal band a waste of time to start taking her seriously. 

The year 2000 was also marked by the fact that “Nightwish” participated in the selection of Finnish candidates for “Eurovision”. The band passed the audience voting stage, but the judges awarded the group 2nd place, and the musicians did not make it to the competition in the end.

The band’s 4th album, “Century Child”, recorded in 2002, immediately acquired gold status after its release, and a few weeks later became platinum. In addition to original compositions, this disc included a cover of the duet between Christine and Erik from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera”.

Tarja managed to combine recording albums, filming videos and concert tours with her studies. In addition, in 2004, the vocalist recorded a solo single – “Yhden enkelin unelma”.

At this time, discord began to emerge in the “Nightwish” group. In December 2004, Tarja informed her colleagues that she wanted to leave the band, but agreed to record one more album, as well as take part in the 2006-2007 tour. However, on October 21, when the tour in support of the “Once” album ended, the band members notified Turunen in an open letter that she was no longer a member of “Nightwish”. 

The singer, founded by this form of “dismissal”, was forced to respond also with an open letter.

Tarja began her solo biography with a series of concerts in Finland, Germany, Spain and Romania. There were few events in 2006 – the vocalist had previously planned that she would be busy on tour with “Nightwish”. In July, the artist performed at the opera festival in Savonlinna, accompanied by the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, and in November 2006 her first solo album “Henkäys Ikuisuudesta” was released, proving that Tarja is capable of recording platinum albums on her own.

The singer’s next album was created during 2007 and released in mid-autumn. “My Winter Storm” is a heterogeneous disc; among its songs you can find both classical arias and the symphonic metal loved by the singer’s fans.

The third studio album took longer to record and was presented to the public only at the end of summer 2010.

In addition to recording albums, Tarja continued to perform concerts: her voice could be heard both at solo concerts and as part of large music festivals of various genres. In June 2011, Russian fans of the singer had an amazing surprise: at the “Rock on the Volga” festival in Samara, Turunen performed a duet with Valery Kipelov, singing his hit “I’m Here” with the Russian rocker.

In 2013, the artist once again participated in a joint project. Together with the band “Within Temptation” and its vocalist Sharon den Adel, Tarja recorded the single and video “Paradise (What About Us?)” for the band’s mini-album of the same name.

In 2014, the singer released the DVD “Beauty and the Beat” with recordings of 3 live concerts, and in 2015 she performed 2 new songs from the album planned for the future. Announcing the future album, the vocalist reported that the disc would be in the same style as the previous ones, but would take her work to a new level.

The album, titled “The Shadow Self”, was presented on August 5, 2016. The next disc was released a year and a half later – in November 2017. The Christmas album “From Spirits And Ghosts”, despite its festive theme, turned out to be mystical and gloomy even according to Tarja herself. While recording it, the vocalist thought not only about the bright side of Christmas, but also about people who are forced to meet this holiday in loneliness and longing.

Personal life

On December 31, 2002, changes took place in Tarja’s personal life – she got married. The singer’s husband was the Argentine businessman Marcelo Cabuli. On July 27, 2012, the couple had a daughter, Naomi Erika Alexia Cabuli Turunen.

Fans learned about this event only in November – then Tarja published a photo with a child in her arms on her Facebook page. The vocalist’s unconditional love for her daughter is best evidenced by the tattoo – in 2013, the woman tattooed a floral ornament with Naomi’s name on her calf.

Fans can observe the changes in Tarja’s life in the woman’s accounts on social networks Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The singer does not show off how she lives, but she does not close herself off from fans either: on the page you can find shots from rehearsals, funny pictures, and even photos without makeup, proving that a woman looks great even without cosmetics.

Tarja Turunen – Present

On July 27, 2018, Tarja released the new live album “Act II”, a continuation of “Act I” released 6 years before. 

“Colours in the Dark” was released on August 23, 2013. To promote the album, Tarja began a world tour called Colours in the Road Tour in October 2013, which lasted from 2013 until November 2015. In September of the same year, it was revealed that Tarja would appear as a guest vocalist on the song and video titled “Paradise (What About Us)”. In November 2015, at a recital in Argentina where she finished her world tour, she performed a version of the song “Ji ji ji”.

Tarja participated in the soundtrack of the film Corazón Muerto (Dead Heart), winner in the best film category at the Cinema Monster Film Festival. She also co-wrote the main theme of the film titled “An Empty Dream”. Due to artistic differences with drummer Mike Terrana, it was announced that they would part ways and the Beauty and the Beat project would end. However, Tarja will continue the series of concerts scheduled in Russia under the name Tarja the Orchestral Tour. In September 2015, she released her first classical music album “Ave Maria – En Plein Air”.

In March 2016, Tarja announced “The Shadow Self”, a new album scheduled to be released on August 5 of that same year. She released a 60-second snippet of “No Bitter End”, the first single from the album. Weeks later, on April 7, 2016, she surprised her fans with the announcement of “The Brightest Void”, an album that will serve as a prequel to “The Shadow Self”. The title will include 8 new songs and a remix of the well-known “Paradise (What About Us?)” in collaboration with Within Temptation, which was released on June 3, 2016.

In May 2019, Turunen released the song “Dead Promises”, which would be the first single from her next studio album titled “In the Raw”. Later, she released her second single “Railroads” which includes the participation of several fans of the singer from all over the world, who are members of her international fan club. 

On August 30, 2019, Tarja released her fifth metal studio album titled *In the Raw* which contains 10 songs and collaborations with renowned vocalists in the metal scene such as Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil, Tommy Karevik from Kamelot and Björn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork.

In June 2021, Tarja announced the publication of a book titled “Singing in My Blood”, in which she tells her life as a singer through photographs over more than 20 years of career.

In October 2022, in celebration of 15 years as a solo artist, Tarja announced the publication of her first compilation album titled “Best Of: Living the Dream”. It is available from December 2, 2022 and will have songs from all her studio albums from “My Winter Storm” (2007) to “In the Raw” (2019), as well as songs from her facet as a classical music singer and a live concert that was filmed in Romania in February 2020. At the same time, she released the single “Eye of the Storm”, in which she mixes elements of tango with metal, arguing that this mix of genres was inspired by Argentina and Finland.

On June 14, 2023, Tarja announced the live album Rocking Heels: Live at Metal Church, released on August 11, 2023 by earMUSIC. The album features recordings from her 2016 Wacken Open Air performance, covers of Linkin Park’s “Numb” and Metallica’s “The Unforgiven”, as well as her original songs and a Nightwish cover. The singles “Numb”, “Alias”, and “The Unforgiven” were released on June 14, June 30, and July 28, 2023, respectively.

On June 23, 2023, Tarja and Torsten Stenzel released their debut album titled Outlanders.

On November 1, 2023, Tarja announced her third Christmas album, Dark Christmas, released on November 10, 2023.


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