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Live to Tell the Tale

The story of Nightwish: in their own words!

Part 1: The Early Years

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From acoustic mood music to movie score metal, Nightwish has experienced a career as epic and emotional as their music. From the small town of Kitee, Finland to international superstars, the members of Nightwish each recall their humble roots and their first exposure to music...
Tuomas Holopainen:
"I've been living in an imaginary world since I was a little kid. That pretty much answers the whole question. I'm a huge fan of fantasy: literature, movies. I'm a collector of Walt Disney items, and I love Disney cartoons and movies and stuff like that. I just find myself living in a constant fantasy land, so that reflects to my lyrics as well."
(ProgPower interview, 2003)

"My mother—who also teaches piano playing, had put me to clarinet and piano classes to the Middle-Carelia music institute. Besides of playing skills I of course learned music history and theory there. But it didn't feel as the thing for me...Going through those etudes alone with your clarinet felt very mind-numbing. I got school-leaving certificate [from music studies] in 1992, when I was 15 years old and that's all the musical education I've ever had. Although I did do several gigs with the musical institute at that time.
  "Then I went to Wichita in the state of Kansas as an exchange student. During my "Yankee year", the music really hit me hard...In U.S.A. I joined the local school big band, which performed in football matches and other occasions, but starting my own band or joining some other did not occur to me at that time. A funny thing happened when a friend of mine, who had this band called Carnification had made a demo called Satanic Rebirth. I was very proud of my friend and was showing this tape with its handsome cover art to my music teacher. He got mad and gave me a long scolding and even sent a letter about it to the host family in U.S.A. Well, maybe the picture of Jesus hanging upside down on the cross in the tape cover had something to do with it."
(Soundi interview, September 2004)

Tarja Turunen:
"...My mother often tells me this story. I'm supposed to suddenly start to sing. My mother then sat me on the table, for no one would have seen me otherwise. That must have been the first time I sang to an audience.
  "The choir appeared at all possible causes in the region and I was always hardworking with them. That was always a great pleasure to me. My greatest idol was Whitney Houston. I always wished to be exactly like her, and often tried to imitate her. My vocal teacher liked that. He always told me that I would be the next Whitney Houston one day. But one day I started to make an education in classical singing. He never spoke a word to me again. I think he was very disappointed about my decision and would have wanted me to go on singing soul."
(Metal Heart Magazine, November 2003)

Emppu Vuorinen:
"I guess I picked up my first acoustic guitar when I was 11 and I played at home very many hours every day. I really didn't have any formal education."
(Metal Underground, August 25th, 2004)

Jukka Nevalainen:
"In drums I got by accident because I was going to this music-class and my teacher told me I should start playing some instrument. He told me there is going to start a percussion teaching in music-school and he told me to try to get in. I did and rest is history. I've listened to rock/heavy metal music more or less forever but final blast came in 1996 (I guess...) when I saw Stratovarius in summer festival. That was great."
(Cursed With Oblivion, October 10th, 2002)

Sami Vänskä:
"I started playing bass...as a private study. At that time I've played in a few bands which have been mostly from the metal genre."
(Nightwish member profiles)

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