Everything started when Tarja was three years old and sang her first Christmas song in front of an audience, in the church of Kitee. She sang “En etsi valtaa, loistoa” and she was so small that she had to stand on a table, so that the people would also see her, and not just hear her voice. Since then, Tarja took part in a large number of Christmas projects or events, especially in the last years.
Tarja’s plan to record a Christmas album existed since 2003, but that was impossible because of the busy schedule with Nightwish, so one year later, a single was released. “Yhden Enkelin Unelma” (English: “One Angel’s Dream”) contained two songs in Finnish: “En Etsi Valtaa Loistoa” and “Kun Joulu On”. After the succesful tour promoting the Nightwish album “Once” ended, Tarja had six classical, Christmas concerts in Finland, Spain, Germany and Romania, combining traditional Finnish Christmas songs, such as “Varpunen Jouluaamuna” or “Kun Joulu On” with other more known songs, like “White Christmas”, “When A Child Is Born”, “Ave Maria” and even a cover of ABBA’s “Happy New Year”.
2006 was the year when Tarja’s first solo album, “Henkäys Ikuisuudesta” (English: “Breath Of Heaven”), which featured, among songs that had been already played during previous concerts, the song “Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta”, which was initially a poem written by Sinikka Svärd, and the music was later composed by Tarja together with Esa Nieminen. Other songs included were “Walking In The Air”, a song from the soundtrack of “Snowman”, composed by Howard Blake, which was, according to Tarja, the song that inspired her to record the Christmas album, and a cover version of Cori Connor’s “You Would Have Loved This”, dedicated to Tarja’s decesed mother. The album reaced gold award status in Finland shortly, and several concerts in Finland and Russia promoted the album. A recording of the concert from Lahti was broadcasted on YLE TV on Christmas with big success; every third television set was on to watch the concert.
The following two years were filled with concerts all around the world promoting Tarja’s debut album, “My Winter Storm”, but she still participated in events such as the Kummit charity concerts, Marimekko events, and even two classical concerts in Tampere and Helsinki, in the end of 2008.
This year, Tarja recorded three new Christmas songs for an album produced by Olli Ahvenlahti, “Maailman Kauneimmat Joululaulut” (English: “The World’s Most Beautiful Christmas Songs”), a charity project for missionary workers in Finland. The album, featuring artists like Jari Sillanpää, Irina, Veeti Kallio, Maria Lund and Mikko Kuustonen, was released in Finland on the 18th of November, and the songs sung by Tarja were “Heinillä Härkien”, “Maa On Niin Kaunis” and “Arkihuolesi Kaikki Heitä”, a duet with Veeti Kallio. These songs, combined with a choir, managed once again to attract attention on Tarja’s amazing voice, and to arouse even more interest in her classical projects. The three songs were also included on a special single, available exclusively through the official webshop. Eight Christmas concerts will also take place in December, one of them in Helsinki, promoting the album.
Tarja is probably most known for combining heavy metal with classical music, and in the last years she has managed to attract metalheads not only in opera houses for classical concerts, but also in churches for her Christmas concerts.