NIGHTWISH frontwoman Anette Olzon has uploaded the demo recording that she sent to the band in November 2005 which led to her being hired to replace Tarja Turunen as the Finnish group’s lead singer. The track, her version of the 2002 NIGHTWISH single “Ever Dream” (from 2002’s “Century Child”album), can be streamed below.
Around 2,000 women applied for the vacant vocalist spot in NIGHTWISH and only 10 actually auditioned in front of the band.
In a 2007 interview with Sweden’s Metalshrine, NIGHTWISH mainman Tuomas Holopainen spoke about the audition process that led to Olzon being chosen as the band’s new singer.
Metalshrine: How many [people] auditioned for the lead singer spot?
Tuomas: “There were about 2,000 demos that we received from 55 different countries, so that was amazing. I was expecting something much less and out of those 2000, 50 were promising enough that we sent them a reply and out of those 50 we met about 10 in person. That’s the statistics for you.”
Metalshrine: Wow! Did you listen to all those 2,000 demos?
Tuomas: “Yeah we did. Every single one of them. You have to do that and it was a lot of fun actually. It wasn’t that much work as it may sound. It took about a year, so we had a lot of time to listen to those and at some points it was a lot of fun and then some demos you only needed to listen to for ten seconds. It was the worldwide “Idol” syndrome where everybody thinks they can be stars.”
Metalshrine: What was it that Anette had that made you decide that this is the one, because I read that you first told her that she didn’t get the job?
Tuomas: “That’s true. For a change, the rumors have a truth behind them, so this part of all the rumors is true. It was only because of her having a child. I got a little bit scared about that and I remember, I guess I was a little bit drunk (laughs) and I acted spontaneously. We already knew each other for months via e-mail and she was really nice and she had a great voice. Then she sent me an e-mail, ‘By the way, I have a 4-year-old son!’ and I was still in a bit of a shock of what happened with Tarja and everything so I kind of wanted everything to be as perfect as possible. That was like the initial thing. I didn’t think, I just sent her an e-mail, ‘I’m sorry, this is it!’ It was totally my mistake and I’m just glad that she was stubborn enough. But the first thing that really impressed me was her voice, of course. I just felt that it came out so easily and it’s something we are looking for. It especially fitted the new songs perfectly. That was the first thing. We had no idea what kind of person she would be, but after we met her for the first time, we immediately clicked. She’s definitely the most positive person in the band. She talks a lot, she laughs a lot. You get an easy laugh or cry out of her. She’s really emotional and very honest and down to earth with everything. Things that I respect. She’s different from us but she kind of like feels the unity of the band.”
Metalshrine: Did you ever think that you would go for a well-known singer or was the idea from the beginning to take someone that was unknown?
Tuomas: “You know, the thing is that we really didn’t care at the time. We were just keeping all the options open to see what kind of demos we had. Whether it was a well-known person or an unknown didn’t really matter. The same thing with the nationality. It didn’t matter to us at all whether she came from Greenland or South America or Finland or Sweden. We were just looking for a good girl.”
Olzon announced in April that she decided to push back the tentative release date of her debut solo album to after NIGHTWISH has completed touring in support of its new studio album, “Imaginarium”. She explained, “The solo was meant to be a fun thing and a thing for me to start doing my own songs since that is something I feel I want to learn more about.
“When I got pregnant with Nemo [Anette‘s second son and first with current boyfriend, bassist Johan Husgafvel of the Swedish metal band PAIN], I felt that I didn’t want to stress during the pregnancy since my pregnancy with Seth [Anette‘s older son] was hard and I had to take it very easy. So to not ‘jump in’ and promise things I couldn’t keep, I put the solo down.
“When Nemo came, and I felt that he was healthy and I also felt good, I started to feel that I could put the album out and still had time to do that. We started to discuss with different labels, but the progress took so much time and things happened along the way — the biggest thing being a producer who suddenly couldn’t do it due to personal problems — and all of a sudden it was April and my time is running out. So I pulled the break [in April] and just said ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to the record label ’cause it can’t be done at this time.
“My autumn is quite full with ‘Imaginarium’, so the solo [album] will have to wait to be released. I will work with the production of the songs when I have the time, but there won’t be an album out. Then, after ‘Imaginarium’ and the tour — if I still feel like releasing it — I will do that then.”
Olzon worked on material for her solo CD in 2009 with Swedish producers Stefan Örn and Johan Glössner. The album was slated to be co-produced by Swedish producer/songwriter Anders Bagge, who has previously worked with MADONNA, CELINE DION, JANET JACKSON and JESSICA SIMPSON, among others. He was also one of judges on the Swedish TV talent competition “Idol” and a producer of the TV series “Made in Sweden”.
Olzon in 2009 hired a personal manager — the Swedish management company Hagenburg Management, which also represents EUROPE and THE CARDIGANS.