Carl Begai

ANETTE OLZON – Careful What You ‘Wish For

by on Feb.02, 2014, under The Interviews

By Carl Begai

There’s no doubt that the controversial firing of former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon in October 2012 made her out to be the bad guy, turning any press she does for her forthcoming solo album into a potential exercise in character assassination. It doesn’t help her situation in that the Nightwish camp has been quick to refute many of her recent accusations of backstabbing and mismanagement that have appeared online. Quite frankly, I was prepared to be stonewalled when asking questions about Nightwish due to the fact Olzon came across as a self-centered diva when she slammed the band for playing to a Denver, CO audience in 2012 with stand-in vocalists Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) after she fell ill. Turns out I was way off the mark and had to give Olzon the benefit of the doubt.

Thus, in the interest of giving her solo album Shine a fair shake we’re getting the Nightwish debacle out of the way first, to be followed soon by a full story on the new record.

Anette 5

Rather than dig for the scurvy details and assorted dirt kicked up before and after her firing, the focus is on Olzon getting booted in the middle of the North American tour for Imaginaerum. It’s not a move most bands can afford to make in today’s music industry economy, sure as hell not without a back-up plan. And yet, 48 hours after Olzon was cut loose former After Forever vocalist Floor Jansen had taken over her post on stage, becoming the band’s permanent singer less than a year later.

“It’s hard for me to say why the firing happened when it did because I don’t really know what happened behind my back,” says Olzon. “I think there were some thing happening that I didn’t know about. It has become clearer to me now that they had some sort of a plan when I told them I was pregnant. I actually think they had some suspicions I was pregnant during the summer festivals, so I think they may have had a back-up plan.”

Olzon pegs the band’s reaction to her pregnancy as the primary reason for the falling out. She also claims Jansen wasn’t as much of a last minute consideration for the Nightwish line-up as people think, albeit in a temporary capacity.

“We had some discussions during the tour in America about how to cover the remaining gigs for the tours that were coming up, and we did have something of an argument before that. I didn’t want to have a substitute singer in the band, I wanted to do the South American shows. I would have been too pregnant to go to Australia so I wanted to push the dates back, but Tuomas (Holopainen / keyboards, founder) didn’t want that. Discussions about a substitute came up and at first I was like ‘Yeah, well…. okay…’ but when they mentioned Floor it was an automatic ‘No’ from me. I didn’t think it was a good idea because I knew what would happen; I knew the fans would love Floor because she’s a metal singer and I’m a pop singer, and I wanted to keep my job. Because I couldn’t do the Australian tour, I think that’s when they started thinking about a new singer. We had a bit of an argument, then I got ill, and after that…. I don’t know if they planned this.”

“They say it wasn’t like that – that the pregnancy wasn’t an issue – but if I wasn’t pregnant I don’t think this situation would have happened. Of course we had some problems before with different opinions about how touring should be, how many gigs in a row, the places where we played. We didn’t fight because of that, though. If I didn’t want to go somewhere and they did, we went because the majority decided. I had my 3-year-old son with me, so we did try to solve the touring problem. I can’t say it was definitely like that because they say it isn’t, but for me that was the problem.”

Anette 3

“If I would have been (former vocalist) Tarja, I wouldn’t have been nervous about having Floor step in as a substitute because I know the fans would wait for me. They would have been saying ‘We want Tarja back.’ But, I’m Anette and I’ve received a lot of hatred against my voice and my persona since I joined Nightwish. I remember thinking that if I agreed to Floor coming in to substitute I would end up thinking ‘This whole thing again?’ when I came back. I could see what would happen.”

“Of course I knew we had our gigs to do, and I was pregnant so it was my own fault, but it was only one small tour that I wanted to push back. I could have done all the other gigs and I didn’t understand why they needed a substitute singer when I wanted to go. Maybe they felt that they wanted to have another singer. I think that’s what they wanted, but they weren’t quite honest about it. I guess when I said no they got frustrated. Maybe when I got ill they saw a way out. Of course, then I got angry when they did what they did and wrote something in my blog. They got pissed off at me, I was pissed at them, and it led to where we are now, I guess.”

During a recent interview with Holopainen (found here), he revealed that in spite of the bad blood between Nightwish and Olzon there was every intention of including her in the band’s new Showtime, Storytime documentary. The production was 80% complete when Nightwish were ultimately forced to take all interview and live footage featuring Olzon off the DVD at the insistence of Olzon and her management. Asked to explain her reasons for the move, it’s the only time during the discussion where Olzon truly sounds bitter.

“First of all, I didn’t think they would do the documentary because… what kind of documentary could it be?” she asks. “I could just see they could do something like what they did with Tarja to make it look like I was the evil person, because that’s what they’ve done before. I was really suspicious about the whole thing, and of course I was really angry because they fired me in a really bad way. I wasn’t happy about the situation. I didn’t want to be looked at in a weird way on a DVD, and I didn’t want to be compared with Floor. There were many reasons. I was angry, I didn’t want to have anything to do with them, and I didn’t want those comparisons again.”

Regardless of the bad taste left in her mouth, Olzon admits the Nightwish experience was a valuable one with long-reaching positive effects on her approach to music and life in general.

“I’ve changed since I joined the band. My mother says I’m quite a different person. When I joined Nightwish I was still that young girl with a dream of becoming a professional singer, where everything would be just fun and glory. My mom is a singer, she’s been in the business, and she knows that’s not how it is when you’re in a band. So, at the time she was like ‘Okay…’ (laughs). She says that I got a lot from the Nightwish experience because I’m wiser and experienced, and I won’t take bullshit anymore. She can see that I have tougher skin now.”

Anette 2

Watch for Part 2 coming exclusively to BraveWords soon. For information and updates on Olzon and Shine go to this location.

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23 Comments for this entry

  • Sam

    Thank you Carl.
    Another interview to cement the fact I will not be following Anette’s solo career.

  • lars

    anette didn’t wanted to be replaced by floor she was afraid of the reaction of the fans, but the the guys insisted and they pretty muck backstabbed her in the worst way. She got sick and before she knew she was invited to “part ways out of good will”…. Why im not surprised?

  • Mathews

    this interview seems to be something against Anette.
    Anette and Tarja said the same thing about the guys and there are still people who doubt.
    Anette is amazing and I miss her in Nightwish

  • carl

    I’m curious to know how this interview is against Anette. If you read the opening paragraph, you’ll see that I originally thought she was a diva and admit that she changed my mind.

    Any negativity you read or feel in the story are HER words, not mine. She was simply explaining her side of the story.

    Fact is that this was a great interview, and she proved to be very human (which a lot of people seem to forget when bitching about / trashing professional musicians).

    I separated the two parts (Nightwish and Anette’s solo album) on purpose, so that people can get the drama out of the way now and focus on the new music, which is ultimately the most important thing for Anette at the moment.

    Thank you for reading.

  • Bridget

    You boys don’t understand, and neither doesn’t Anette seem to, what kind of big health and miscarriage risks she would have taken if she had tried to do the South American gigs. And it would not have been an easy thing for the band to postpone the Australia + New Zealand tour, they had other projects too.

    You should find out what the guys of Nightwish say too and not just swallow every emotional word that Anette (or Tarja) has said. Of course everyone makes mistakes, but sacking Anette was a right decision, otherwise they would have been many many times in trouble with her sick absences etc. Nw is not anybody’s “background band” or a “secure shelter job”…

    Thanks a lot for this interesting interview.

  • carl

    “You should find out what the guys of Nightwish say too…”

    That’s my job, my dear, and if you click on the link provided in the story you’ll see that’s exactly what I did:

    http://www.bravewords.com/news/212165

    Fact is there are three sides to this: her side, their side, and the truth. This interview is just one part of that. It has nothing to do with “swallowing” anything.

  • Bridget

    Sorry Carl,I didn’t mean you but those “fanboys”, you sure know how to do your work. :)

  • lenya

    The interviewer is a bullie. He already took the side of nw, not impartial at all. Anette was fired while she was sick and pregnant, this is a fact. Stop defending NW when they did something incredibly sexist and cruel to a woman who spent years working with them.

  • carl

    I’m a bully? Wow. I’m impressed by your lack of attention, and allowing your worship of Annette get in the way of the big picture.

    You probably missed this comment from me in the story:

    “In the interest of giving her solo album Shine a fair shake we’re getting the Nightwish debacle out of the way first, to be followed soon by a full story on the new record.”

    If I was a bully I wouldn’t give a damn about treating Anette fairly. In fact I’m doing a huge feature on her new album with Part 2 because I have new respect for her.

    Did I like here before this interview? Not particularly. Do I like her now? Yes.

    Furthermore, all Anette had to do when I asked her about Nightwish was to say that she would rather not answer questions about the band. Instead, she chose to answer all my questions knowing her comments would be used in a story.

    And at what point in the story do I defend Nightwish? I merely re-stated information that has been made public by the band.

  • Winterheart

    I wrote a long comment regarding Carl Begai’s Anette Olzon interview on the Nightwish English forum, subforum Nightwish & Anette Media, post # 13.
    The comment contains a lot of facts collected from interviews, statements and Anette’s blog plus my own conclusions.
    http://www.nightwishforum.com/index.php?/topic/3362-nightwish-anette-media/#entry210457
    Carl Begai’s Anette interview is not unfavourable towards Anette, actually it lacks really tough questions. E.g., would it have been morally right towards the fans, the band mates and their technical staff and other persons involved to postpone the rest of the US tour due to Anette’s illnesses and the Oceania tour due to her pregnancy into indefinite future or cancel the tours for good when no suitable slot could not be found in one year due to Tuomas’s and Marco’s other projects. Also, how did Anette think to manage the Latin American tour with her complicated pregnancy and the Japan tour with a 2-month old baby?

  • carl

    Agreed.

    Out of respect for Anette having a new album, that was the focus of the interview. This was just a small part of it.

    There could have easily been an hour’s worth of Nightwish questions alone before we ever got to her new album.

  • Helena Deveraux

    Hi Carl,

    On the Bravewords website (http://www.bravewords.com/news/217508) there just published the same thing that here, just added more info about the Anette´s solo album, Is all Bravewords will publish about the interview, or will be more?

    Thanks and have a nice day :)

  • carl

    I published the interview on BraveWords as well. There will indeed be a second part to this interview published exclusively on BraveWords at the beginning of March, closer to the release of Shine.

    Very little Nightwish talk; pretty much all about the new album.

  • Stephanie

    I think a lot of fans are jumping on Carl here for simply asking questions. He wrote a respectable interview and I can’t see any “bullying” here.

    What I do want to say to these people who are being too quick to jump to Anette’s defense, please read all her interviews and blog. Read them carefully.. the amount of times shes contradicting herself and changing her story is puzzling. I read Winterheart’s post on the forum (commenter further down) who points out some great examples.

    I used to like Anette, I really did then I read her blog. Even when she was in the band, she was talking bad about her bandmates if you read between the lines.

    Carl has since changed his opinion about Anette. Everyone is entitled to this, but the more I’m reading from her the more respect I’m losing for her.

    People really think she got fired for being pregnant? 3 out of the 5 male members have children of their own and know what it’s like for a women to have children. I can’t see how it’s possible to think that and shame on Anette for suggesting it and then to say in another interview/comment (can’t remember if was interview of blog comment) that she wasn’t sure if this is why she was fired. You shouldn’t spread such harsh accusations if you are not 100%, which she admitted she isn’t.

    Anette is suppose to be promoting her album here, but instead is agreeing to reporters questions on the split. Sure interviewers are going to ask these, but the wisest thing to do would be to say “Let’s focus on my solo, NW is history” and push the good instead of looking more and more desperate to be ‘oh woe is me’.

    I read a lot of forums etc, and a good portion of her fanbase is turning against her, Winterheart gave somewhere that is a good example of that. It’s a shame, she could of had something special but just turned it into airing laundry.

  • avi

    What she is saying makes perfect sense. The boys must have known that a singer like Floor will cause even more anti-Anette sentiments among the fans. Why would you subject your bandmate to even more ridicule and negativity? After all, it was Tuomas who chose her and he should protect his choice from unfavorable comparisons.
    As for rescheduling – HIM cancelled an entire American tour due to Vile’s sickness. Rammstein cancelled half a tour after their vocalist got injured. Nobody went looking for replacements or asked their backups to sing off of lyrics sheets. Did they lose any fans because of a few missed gigs? I doubt it. The image of these bands is as strong as ever. Meanwhile Nightwish has been giving off a very weird vibe.

  • Theodora

    What she is saying AO is making no sense at all. If you read interview she said ok for the substitute, and when they mentioned Floor (according to guys she was free in that moment) she said NO.I mean i dont understand. If AO had any self confidence, and good relationship with guys, they could agreed with her when she finish with maternaty leave to return to NW.
    But she aid NO, and i think that was the end. Who are you to say NO to a band where hundreds of people depends on you, and waiting something to earn.Ok say NO and you are out. And for her that was ONLY A JOB, as she stated. No devotion, no emotions…Only a JOB. So baby if its only a JOB for you, sorry you just got fired. And considering Floor, she got freak out of her name????? Why….ohhh yes…she knew that FJ is Godess among supporters. So, on the end, she was not meant to be in NW at all. Who would heard about her if there was a NW and TH. And she is giving them back like that…..So loooooow…..

  • fred

    i’m with anette’s on this, her situation it’s obvious she was scared of taking over once floor gt involved.

    Don’t you see how SNEAKY was the way the guys acted/act? Like really? Two times already? no, this guys are the ones with the troubles not their singers.
    IF THEY’VE WANTED her to COMEBACK they WOULD’VE CHOSED a singer like her (elize etc) NOT floor it was like a slap in the face

    “girl we don’t need you anymore, yet we don’t have the guts to tell you in your face so we’re gonna kick you in the less expected way trough email”

    but as always they seem to have some issues with telling this things to people’s faces

    now nightwish + guest female singer is what the band has come to..and im sure floor knows this, she’s not allowed to write they dn’t like to speak in english which is also why floor is learning finnish (anette said so herself “they don’t want to speak in english, i felt insolated”) little details yeah but in the long way it became this thing called “The Nightwish Drama”

  • fred

    + this thing of “WE DO IT FOR THE FANS” lmao c’mon DO YOU STILL BELIVE THAT… IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE TUOMAS STOPED WRITING OUT OF HIS “LOVE FOR MUSIC”
    im going as far as, READ his songs he said so himself it’s clear.

  • Theodora

    @fred

    What a nonsense you said now…Whay was sneaky??? And whats wrong if they hired Floor.Who is AO to command them who are they gonna hire for substitute. What ae you people talking about???…What is this disrespect?

  • fred

    @theodora take out your fangirl mascarade for a moment PLEASE..

    Everything became Sneaky once they choose to call floor ignoring what anette told them she wasn’t sure about that, she didnt want the same hell she had went tru the first time which is understandable, THEY ACTED BEHIND HER BACK all of them are friends until money subj is “brough to the table” and lets not forget the press release after tht

    if they didnt wanted her in the band anymore it was way more easy and let me say POLITE end things in a peaceful way, instead of taking advantage and wait an easy way to throw her wich was the pregnancy thing for.

    their historial tell those guys have comunication problems especially tuomas (as we say he throws the rock and hides the hand) sami was fired tru their manager because tuomas didnt have the nerve to tell him, tarja was kicked tru a letter given by tuomas himself because he couldnt tell her those things to her face, anette was kicked tru an email send to her manager you want me to go on???

  • fred

    and the press release i’m talking about is the one with the “help you wifes with the dity laundry” right before anette gave his version… obviously a “Good way to show how much the role of a woman matters to them”

    dont you see them now talking about how the letter was a bad thing that hurted everybody?

    Yet years ago (tuomas especialy) was telling how good it was and how they didnt have any regrets how he would’ve done the same thing…

    AND Now suddenly all of them agree the letter thing was a bad move..
    WELL THT’S NOT BECAUSE THEY’RE NOW SOME NICE DUDES REALIZING THEY DID SOMETHING “LOW”

    it’s called “marketing” you know? because all the drama that letter gave them has only left them with a bad image and that’s their only regret.. But according to you it may be ONLY because they love the fans so SO much

  • fred

    the same thing would’ve hapened with the shows they needed to cancell for anette IT’S NOT BECAUSE OF OUR DEAR FANS LOOSiNG A COUPLE OF SHOWS.. AND LETTIN THEM DOWN

    it’s MAINLY IN PART OF THE LAW ISSUES THEY WOULD’VE GOTTEN INTO, lawsuits ETC. for cancelling THOSE shows…

    I REPEAT, THINK WITH YOU HEAD, ITS’S NOT ONLY A FONBOY talking right here.. It’s a factual thing mixed with inner factors: they way they treat their singers/ex members, trying to blame everything on those that leave those fanboys acting as if they did nothing wrong, that the ones leaving are the ones with “the problems”..
    I rest my case.

  • David Shelton

    Sorry, but to me Anette still comes across as a diva in this. In Denver, they had a choice: cancel the gig or continue and (because the singer isn’t the be all and end all of Nightwish) they continued the gig. When Simone Simons was ill several years ago, Epica continued their tour, some gigs with Amanda Somerville and some with just the band and Mark grunting his way through the set. Didn’t see any moaning from Simone that they should have cancelled the tour. I’ve long suspected that the reason was to do with pregnancy and the pregnancy wasn’t a simple one.
    Also, to say that a substitute singer is ok, to then backtrack on that statement just because the person in question is one of the biggest and best singers in symphonic metal is very selfish. Comparisons between her and Tarja have never stopped and while there would have been between her and Floor, the majority of them would have still been between her and Tarja.
    Unfortunately, playing in a band professionally is just that, your job. You may be free to write whatever music you want and how you want, but at the end of the day, bills have to be paid and to reschedule the remaining US, South American and Australian tour could have easily bankrupted the band. How do we know that Floor wasn’t the only singer available that could sing Nightwish’s songs well? Leave Anette to have her solo career, her era in Nightwish is over, we can now look forward to a new era of Nightwish with Floor.

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