By Carl Begai
Dutch singer Floor Jansen is best known these days as the voice of Nightwish, a post she’s held since 2012 following the controversial firing of Anette Olzon, but her music career began long before Tuomas Holopainen had the presence of mind to ask Jansen to help pilot his ship of dreams. Jansen made name for herself fronting After Forever from the band’s inception in 1997 until 2009. In that time she also worked with Ayreon, Star One, Devin Townsend Project and MaYan on an assortment of albums and launched her own band, ReVamp, which has since been put to rest due to her Nightwish commitments. Although Nightwish spent most of 2016 on the road in support of their latest album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Jansen found time to record vocals for two tracks on the new Evergrey album, The Storm Within, collaborate once again with Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen… and make a baby with fiancé and Sabaton drummer Hannes Van Dahl.
Jansen is featured on two tracks for The Storm Within, ‘In Orbit’ and ‘Disconnect’, the former having been released as a single and video. I spoke with Evergrey frontman Tom Englund for the official bio released for The Storm Within earlier this year and he offered his thoughts on bringing Jansen in for the album.
“That was actually my wife (Carina Englund) thinking for me. Floor is a personal friend and major Evergrey fan, so it was over a glass of wine between her and my wife, who asked her if she wanted to do the song. ‘In Orbit’ is a powerhouse of a song and it would be easy to make it the first single, but it’s not the first impression we want to make. That said, it would be stupid not to release it as a single, and if we could get Floor to do the video, that would be a home run.”
During a BraveWords interview for the forthcoming Nightwish live DVD, Vehicle Of Spirit, due out this December, Jansen opened up about her participation on The Storm Within.
“Hannes played in Evergrey (2010 – 2013) and I got to know Tom and the guys and Tom’s wife, and we became friends. In that sense, doing ‘In Orbit’ was a case of friends working together because I have this history of liking the band so much. That brought something really special in because I could sing with a band that I’ve always listened to. Hannes also told me that I’m the first guest singer on an Evergrey album that’s not a member of the Englund family (laughs). It’s always been Tom’s wife that has sung on the Evergrey albums, and now his daughter as well, so that’s pretty damn cool. It’s an honour to be able to do that.”
“The whole thing about ‘Who is in the biggest band?’doesn’t really matter. Of course it helps Evergrey if they’re connected to a name like Nightwish, but at the end of the day it’s just Tom and me making music and that’s super cool. It’s very important for me to keep making music regardless of how ‘big’ my name is or how much exposure I’ll get; it should be fun to make music. If you can’t make music without enjoying what you’re doing, you shouldn’t bother.”
Details on the forthcoming as-yet-untitled Ayreon album are sparse for the moment, but Jansen will be sharing space with noteworthy artists including James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Simone Simons (Epica), Tommy Rogers (Between The Buried And Me) and Michael Mills (Toehider) for another Arjen Lucassen-concocted epic. The audio snippet posted by Lucassen features Jansen on multiple tracks, all of them very different from what she does with Nightwish.
“Working with Arjen again was an absolute no-brainer,” laughs Jansen. “Our history goes back before Star One, which was 2002 when we did the album and the live shows. The first Ayreon album I sang on (Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer) was either in 1999 or 2000, so it was about 16 years ago when I went into the Electric Castle for the first time (laughs). At that point I’d just gotten to the table, I was a teenager with a dream.”
For information and updates on the daily mayhem in the Nightwish, Evergrey and Ayreon camps, click the following links: