Anette Olzon says that she is "sad in many ways" about her departure from NIGHTWISH, explaining that she and her former bandmates "had a nice thing going on for many years."
Olzon originally joined NIGHTWISH in 2007 and recorded two studio albums with the band before being dismissed in 2012 in the middle of the group's North American tour. She was replaced by former AFTER FOREVER singer Floor Jansen.
In a recent interview with Wayne Noon of "Rat Salad Review", Anette reflected on her time with NIGHTWISH, saying (see video below): "I don't wanna talk about how it ended, because every time I say something, their whole fanbase jumps on me, so I have to be very careful with what I say. But I was sad [about the split], because I felt we had kind of a nice thing going on for many years before it started to be a bit difficult between us. And we were also quite different how we wanted to work; I'm a Swede and they're Finns. So I'm sad in many ways, because it was fun — in the fun days. But I'm also very happy that I'm not there because of the touring schedule."
She continued: "It was very stressful for me to be away; I was almost never home. I was away six weeks, then I was home maybe one or two weeks, just unpacked my bags and then I went off for five weeks again. It's not a lifestyle I felt I wanted to continue for more than that. And actually, now I feel that I have a good life with music and a normal job, and I can decide myself what I wanna do and no one tells me what I have to do. So, I'm a free spirit more now than I was at that time."
Olzon also addressed the incessant criticism that was leveled at her for stepping into the shoes of original NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen, whose operatic vocals were far different from Anette's more pop-oriented approach.
"You don't know how people will be, but, of course, I was the one who got all the hate, and it was, of course, very hard for me to handle that situation," she admitted. "If I was the original singer, I wouldn't have all that kind of bad YouTube comments that I have. And they follow me around quite a lot. It has been better now — people have started to stop saying so many bad things. But, like I said, if I say anything in any interview, they twist and turn it. It's kind of sad that we can't be free of speech, so I'm a bit careful with what I say. But I'm happy about the years we had, and it's great that they still continue doing what they do. And if they're happy, I'm happy. And that's how it goes."
Not long after Olzon was fired from NIGHTWISH eight years ago, she claimed that an argument arose between her and NIGHTWISH when she asked for an Australian tour to be postponed during her pregnancy. Mainman Tuomas Holopainen suggested that Jansen should front the band on a temporary basis, but Olzon said no.
Anette explained in a 2014 interview: "I would have been too pregnant to go to Australia, so I wanted to push the dates back, but Tuomas 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."
A year after NIGHTWISH fired Olzon, the band released a statement denying that she was dismissed because of pregnancy or illness. "We discovered her personality didn't fit this work community, and was even detrimental to it," the group said. NIGHTWISH went on to say that Anette was initially receptive to the idea of hiring a temporary replacement if she couldn't "manage everything," but that she later "took back her decision, and the difficulties really started. Fear of losing money and position seemed obvious." The band also insisted that "Anette and her company" were "paid a fifth of everything that was done during her time" with NIGHTWISH.
Since the end of her five-year stint with NIGHTWISH, Olzon released a solo album, 2014's "Shine", and formed THE DARK ELEMENT with former SONATA ARCTICA guitarist Jani Liimatainen. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 2017; a follow-up, "Songs The Night Sings", came out last November.
Olzon and noted progressive metal vocalist Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB) will release a collaborative album titled "Worlds Apart" on March 6 via Frontiers Music Srl. The project will be issued under the moniker ALLEN/OLZON.