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2006: The search for a new singer


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Over the years, a number of demos from the singers auditioning in 2006 for the lead NW role have surfaced on YouTube. Here's a rundown of known candidates and their demos...

I remember the old forum had a list of other known candidates, or rumoured candidates. If you know of other names, do let me know. 🙂




Attention vocalists!

Hello there! The hassle with the media seems to have died. We´ve been off tour for some months and we´ve had a nice and long vacation. It´s time to get back in business:

Nightwish is currently and actively looking for a new singer/front woman for the band. We need the obvious things: Looks , charisma, courage and, of course, a big voice. Good grasp of the English language is also very helpful. We don´t necessarily need a classically trained vocalist like Tarja Turunen (the former vocalist). We welcome all kinds of styles and voices, natural and trained, from rock and pop to classical, and all that you can find in between. You should however be prepared to sing with a lot of dynamics and versatility. From loud and high to very sensitive stuff. You should preferably send us a cd containing 2-3 songs, that you consider to be your best work. If you send an album, would you mark out 2-3 most important songs, please? If you record and send Nightwish songs, then the most important thing is your PERSONAL TOUCH. Photographs are needed as well.

We will look into different applications and all candidates, but doing it this way would save us some time and energy. If you think you have it, just send your stuff to our management, and we´ll be happy to take you onboard.

Here´s the address. Good luck!

Note: Remember to include your age, a recent photo and your e-mail address!

Fredrikinkatu 61 A 7.krs/floor
FIN-00100 Helsinki



2007-01-17 - Finnish symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH have posted the following message on their official web site: "The auditions for the new vocalist have ended, with more than 2,000 demos sent to us (yesterday, Jan. 15, we received 120 demos!). A big thanks to everybody! So please don't send anymore demos, since now we need to concentrate on finishing the album recordings. The new vocalist will be announced at the end of May, together with the release of a new single."


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Anette Olzon


According to an Instagram post (2021-01-12) for the audition Anette first sent in Ever Dream, then Ghost Love Score, Nemo, Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan and Romanticide.


Ever Dream demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_Tv0bTV7To

Romanticide demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noZVO5EMhXE


Edit: more details from a 2007 interview (http://web.archive.org/web/20070702235537/http://www.nightwish.com/en/article/8)

Tell us about the steps of becoming the new Nightwish singer. Sending in the demo, getting the first answer, meeting the guys for the first time, etc..

I had just heard of NW a couple of months before Tarja got fired, so I didn't know the band or its history at all. I first got into them because my sister's daughter is a fan, I felt that maybe I should listen to them since I am always interested in new music. I bought their collection album and liked it immediately. When I read about Tarja's departure, I was in an ABBA-cover band where the sound engineer said he thought I should apply, but since I'm not a classical singer, I wasn't sure. After some thinking I decided to ask two friends of mine if they could record background music for Ever Dream and they did. I went in and hadn't even practised the song, since I wanted to interpret it my own way. A couple of hours later it was done. I found an e-mail to Tuomas, got his address and sent the demo away and just one week after sending it, Tuomas answered me himself... he was thrilled and really loved my voice and the song! Wow, it was such a nice mail and I was of course totally happy.... he then asked me to sing 3 more songs, from an instrumental version of Once, which he sent me some weeks later. I then recorded Nemo, Higher Than Hopes, Wish I Had An Angel and I also did a bonus for them, Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan...with my poor Finnish they must have laughed their heads off...;=)

I sent the second demo and then I e-mailed Tuomas if he had gotten it. He said he had and he said thanks and good job, etc. I didn't wanna push him, since he had told me already in the first mail that they wanted to take it easy and melt all the hustle that had been with the media etc., so I tried to let it go and just wait.... Then in March, they put out the ad that they wanted demos, etc. and I felt that I needed to check with Tuomas if I should send in something more, so I mailed him and got a devastating mail back where he said that I was one of the best candidates, but that he could already then say that I wouldn't get the job!!! I was in shock, I didn't understand anything and he didn't say why... so I assumed it was because of my age or that I have a child...
But since I am very stubborn and really felt that this was meant to be, I sent an e-mail again in the summer asking if I could send them a live-dvd from my band, Alyson Avenue, and Tuomas said yes. I sent it away and in August, I received a mail from Ewo asking me some questions, which I answered. I then got invited to meet the guys in the beginning of September to try some songs out. I got there, met the guys and sang 5 or 6 old songs with them. The next day I went to Emppu's studio to sing some new stuff for them. It felt very good and they were such nice guys. I felt immediately that I wanted to work with them, since they were so down to earth and had very good sense of humour. When I landed in Kastrup Airport in the evening, I got an sms from Ewo that they all liked me a lot and wanted to see me again in a months time.. Soooo happy that I cried on the way home.

I got some songs to practise before the next time in the studio and went back in October. We first went to Tuomas' island in Kitee, partying and just being together in a very relaxed and nice way. Since I am a country girl too, I felt very good in Kitee and it was such an honour for me to be invited to a special place of Tuomas'. After Kitee, we had some test pictures taken of me and Tuomas with a make-up artist and a very good photographer. Then I went to the studio to record the songs I had prepared for and then I went back home, after 6 days in Finland... I got a mail from Tuomas the same night that they were gonna wait til next year to make a decision. I waited and was of course very nervous, but had contact with the guys and Ewo during that time and they were very positive, so it felt good.

Then January 30th, Tuomas called me and was talking about some other stuff and then he just said: We have decided that we are gonna give you lots to do the coming years....haha! He said it so calm and I felt that I couldn't scream then so I tried to be calm, but through the whole conversation I had difficulties listening to what he said... It took me many weeks to really, really understand that my long wait (1.5 years) was over and I got the job.

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Cassiopée/Cassie Stone (Véronique Lapierre)


Cassie Stone (also known as Verónique Lapierre or Cassiopée) is a Canadian singer and entertainer. She is the lead singer of melodic metal band
Anemonia and is also part of the Cirque du Soleil show, Zarkana. Stone caught the attention of Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish and mastermind Tuomas Holopainen after have auditioned to be their new singer in 2006. She also went to Helsinki in early 2007 to record some Dark Passion Play songs, but those recordings weren't given to her. Cassie and Anette Olzon applied for the frontwoman position after over 2,000 demo tapes, but Olzon succeeded. She is also cited on Marko Hietala's biography "Stainless?". The singer auditioned with the songs Wish I Had an Angel, Nemo and Higher Than Hope, all from the 2004 album "Once". (bio from


Nemo demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUj9v3LrccU

Wish I Had An Angel demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBHOr5gyJHY

Higher Than Hope demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX8_mD8DXrI



With Tuomas and Marko: https://www.facebook.com/soprano.on.the.rock/photos/a.179380278783542/184870531567850/


https://soundcloud.com/cassiop-e-v-lapierre-perso (look for the recording of The Phantom Of The Opera)


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Tuomas Holopainen speaks out in one of the first interviews since the departure of Tarja Turunen

by Louise Brown, RockMidgets.com (from https://web.archive.org/web/20060822021145/http://www.rockmidgets.com/features.php?page=3&id=637)


On the 21st October 2005 Nightwish handed their vocalist Tarja Turunen a heartfelt letter of 'Dear John' proportions asking her to leave the band. In the six months since that final concert at The Hartwell Arena in Helsinki Tuomas Holopainen, the mastermind behind the Finnish operatic metal group has had to re-live his decision every day with hounding from the media and in his own latest project, a DVD of their final stunning concert with their former singer.

At the time of the decision to part ways with the woman who had always been at the heart of Nightwish the band were undoubtedly at the height of their career. They had released an album of great magnitude, Once, that was hailed as a work of genius and the group were enjoying sold out shows wherever they toured. But underneath the success was a schism, the band was growing apart from their singer, who in their words had become "a diva, who doesn't think or act the way she used to."

For Tuomas and the other members of Nightwish the soul of the band was not in the platinum-selling albums or in the trappings of fame, it was in the music and since October this is what Tuomas has been able to concentrate on. With the DVD out at the start of June and recording set for the autumn it looks like Nightwish are able to get back to what they do best. Louise Brown pinned Tuomas down a quick chat in Germany to catch up on what's been happening since Hartwell.

So it's been six months since that final concert in Helsinki. Have you been enjoying a well-deserved break?

TH: Actually I've been really busy, I think the past six months have been more stressful than the past three years put together so we should have been back on tour to have a vacation. I've been doing the DVD and I've been writing new songs all the time and then we had all the hassle with the media. It's been quite a six months but things are finally calming down.

Have you been quite hands on with the production of the 'End Of An Era' DVD? You didn't just hand the rushes over to a production company and let them get on with it?

TH: No, I was kinda supervising the whole thing of course but there was always so much that I needed to do elsewhere. I watched through the first editing of the concert and it was almost perfect by then but I just had to make some minor changes. And when it came to the documentary it was the same thing.

I know you don't want to dredge up the past but obviously you've watched the DVD... Does it make you nostalgic? Obviously Tarja is quite a dominant feature on it, does it bring back any good memories of the time you had as a group?

TH: Actually we had this media presentation of the concert last Monday in a cinema here in Germany and it was the first time I watched it through on the big screen, and I felt, I don't know, such mixed feelings, I mean bittersweet would be the best way to describe it. But on the other hand I also felt so proud of every single guy on stage and the girl because we started the thing ten years ago and this the was kinda like the climax of every thing, the highlight of the whole career, the symbolic highlight. So I was proud of everybody and I'm really happy that we had a chance to immortalise this show in that way.

You had released the name of the DVD End Of An Era before we knew what you were planning in terms of the line up changes. Were you surprised when it came as such a shock to everyone when you actually announced it? To most people End Of An Era signified maybe a change in musical direction not band members.

TH: Yeah, the symbolism is really obvious in that one. We decided to do this DVD back in the beginning of 2004 before we even decided to tour and the idea was that the last show would have to be something spectacular and we would film it and come up with a DVD of it. The original plan was to do it with an orchestra and a choir but that didn't happen so we just made like a normal big spectacular show. The title End Of An Era came last summer and it was actually made up by Marco, the bass player because I just couldn't figure out a perfect title for the DVD. He called me up and was like "hey what about End Of An Era", because in the band we already knew what was going to happen, so I thought, yeah that was perfect.

Were you expecting the media furore that it caused?

TH: It shocked so many people and you can't believe the media hassle we got; in Finland especially, it wasn't that big outside our country but in Finland we were in the tabloids for two or three weeks. Every single talk show was talking about the Nightwish issue. Even the prime minister of Finland had an opinion of what happened. It was ridiculous. Everybody had an opinion. There were psychologists on TV telling me what to do with my life in the future and many religious people came to me and told me I had sinned big time and had to pray to Jesus Christ as I had betrayed my friend and was going to hell. And I got a lot of really weird letters and emails so I was wondering, have I created a monster or what? Things are a bit easier now.

The Prime Minister had an opinion? Wow, it does seem that in Finland even the government are interested in heavy metal, they really seem to support it over there. Are you proud to be from a country with such a great metal heritage?

TH: Absolutely, I believe Finland is the only country in the world where extreme metal bands always top the national charts. Just one example but Children Of Bodom were number 1 in the singles charts for 11 weeks a few years ago and not the rock charts but the actual charts and this is a phenomenon that can only happen in Finland. And I think metal music is like a national music.

And what about Lordi being Finland's 2006 Eurovision entry?

TH: I'm very proud them, it's very good for them and I voted for them I think five times in the finals and they made it so we'll see. The Eurovision Song Contest, it represents everything I hate about music, you know? It's so cheesy, it's horrible. So I'm just glad that Finnish people were finally able to put in something different to shock the pack a little bit and I really hope they go far and win the sh*t.

Um didn't Nightwish represent Finland one year?

Yeah back in 2000, with a song called 'Sleepwalker'. We ended up being 2nd in the Finnish finals, the audiences gave us full points but the jury voted us off. They did us a favour I guess, we never made it to the finals, which is a good thing.

So back to the present, you've just launched the search for the new singer, how is that going? Any good? Any terrible?

It's been overwhelming when it comes to demos. So far I've been listening to close to 500 different demos sent to me in the past 2 months or so and word is that I've got another 100 waiting for me at home. Some are good, some average, they are coming for all over the world and we have been checking out every single one of them, I want to emphasise that but absolutely no decision has been made yet and we are in no hurry. There are 20 coming still each day so we are taking our time. Personally I would be happy even if we didn't find anyone till the end of the year.

So no deadline then?

TH: Not really. All the studios have been booked for the next album and I have written the songs for the next album and we will enter the studio in September but you know for the past 10 years the singer was never in the rehearsal room so its not going to change like that. Obviously if we find a replacement next week all the better but it can be done this way as well.

So if someone out there is thinking, I want to sing for Nightwish, what qualities should they have?

TH: The last thing we are looking for is a cheap replica of Tarja. I mean she did her job perfectly and her voice was perfect for the band so there is no use trying to top that in any way so I think that I will bravely go into new directions with the female voice. The most important thing she must have is versatility, she needs to be able to sing those high notes with a lot of force but also sing the ballads with emotion and some recognisable voice wouldn't hurt either. I mean there are a lot of good singers with personality out there but the most difficult thing to find will be the charisma, the right character because not only does she need to have the voice, but she needs to have a sense of humour and the best self esteem in the whole world, because just imagine the hell she is going to go through when we announce her to the public.

So you didn't think of doing this in the media's eye? Surely you could have done some kind of MTV or Pop Idol type show to find a new vocalist.

TH: We were proposed that, there was one broadcasting company in Finland and actually one from abroad that suggested it to us that wanted to make a reality TV show like INXS did. I think it's a ridiculous idea and it would be really bad for the image of the band and I think we can take care of it ourselves.

Thank goodness for that! Are you also fed up with all the speculation surrounding your new singer? It seems impossible to pick up a music magazine and not see some established singer associated with you guys, are you fed up with the press suggesting Sharon den Adel or Liv Kristine are gonna sing for you?

TH: It's a really cheesy stuff for the media and the press, you couldn't believe the amount of rumours. Liv Kristine was on the front cover of one of the biggest magazines in Finland one day saying that she is the new singer of Nightwish. Amy Lee was in the tabloids in the Finland saying she is the new singer and then Simone from Epica. Pretty much every female metal singer has been announced as the new Nightwish singer but you shouldn't believe anything and I truly trust people will not believe anything. I mean the only really reliable source for this information will be nightwish.com.

Back to the DVD, this is going to be the only Nightwish release for some time and you're not hitting the road again any time soon. Do you think that your fans are sticking by you? What's the response been to the DVD?

TH: People seem excited to see it. Naturally there are people out there who think that, "we'll give them a chance" and I think this is most healthy way to approach the whole thing and unfortunately there are people who are die hard Tarja fans and won't accept anything under the name of Nightwish again.

The one thing that does stand in your favour is that in your open letter to Tarja you talked about your love of music and your refusing to let fame and greed get in the way. You've said you don't mind playing to 10,000 people or 300 people, is that true?

TH: Exactly, it sounds so cliché and I believe all the bands say this but it's actually and honestly true. It's really simple: All we want to do is play, we love playing and we like to be with each other, travel the world, meet new people, you know it's the best possible life you can have. I don't really care about sales, I know some people will think it's commercial suicide but if the next album sells 100,000 copies instead of 1,000,000 but we're still having fun as a group and seeing the world and playing different places - who cares?

While we're waiting for new material, are the Nightwish members up to anything else music-wise?

TH: Nightwish will definitely be a priority when we start recording in September but of course Marco is doing a new Tarot album and Emmpu has founded a new band called Brother Firetribe (Click HERE for more information - Ed.), which is a straightforward good mood 80's hard rock band in the style of Van Halen, which is really good, I can recommend that to you and I am playing in a couple of Finnish rock'n'roll bands and doing some live shows now and then. We still see each other, we live in different cities but whenever we get the chance we'll go for a drink or something. These guys are really like my best friends.

So you're all busy with the writing of the new album. Is it a solo effort or do all of you get together for a brainstorming session once in a while?

TH: It doesn't really work that way for us. Songwriting is a really intimate and personal process for me so I really need the solitude and the time being by myself. I couldn't imagine Nightwish doing an album of songs from jamming in the rehearsal room the way Pantera did. It's a really good way and I really respect that but it's not our style. I sure hope you are not going to be disappointed. I am feeling really confident about the new songs, there's 15 of them already and the other guys seem to be really happy about them. All we need is a singer now.


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  • 1 month later...

Olivia Sparnenn (currently of Mostly Autumn)


"I met Tuomas Holopainen through Troy and we’re great friends now. We regularly take them camping up in the mountains. Funnily enough, Olivia nearly got the job as their singer a few years ago – we now know that she was down to the last two or three vocalists – so it’s a really weird coincidence that our paths have crossed again."

(Bryan Josh of Mostly Autumn, from https://www.loudersound.com/features/mostly-autumn-we-could-be-an-arena-band)


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  • 10 months later...

Sani (Saija Aartela) (of Aikakone)

Wikipedia (Finnish translation)

Thanks to @Ocean Soul for this one! 👍

I can't find the original report right now, but several sources mention that Voice Music News reported in 2008 that Sani was possibly the runner-up for singing with Nightwish.


Nightwish's big secret revealed?

According to Voice's Music News, Saija "Sani" Aartela, known for her Aikakone and solo career, was a strong candidate for Nightwish's new singer after Tarja Turunen left the band. According to Voice, San would have become the frontrunner of Nightwish if Anette Olzon had refused the place. "I'm not commenting. I could imagine interpreting music like Nightwish. It would be great to call Tuomas, if not for some collaboration," Sani says in an interview with Voice.




Big arenas are still interesting!

Saija "Sani" Aartela, who is familiar with Aikakone, tells Iltalehti that large international performance arenas are still of interest.

According to Voice Music News, Sani was a strong candidate for Nightwish's new singer after Tarja Turunen left the band in 2005. According to the source, Sani would even have been elected if Anette Olzon had refused to wash. [🤣 great job Google Translate!] Voice reported in 2008.

Sani commented on the allegation, saying the details were secret. However, she says she has met with Nightwish members on several occasions.

- There were many meetings and things were twisted on both sides. I really liked the guys a lot. They do things properly and it was such a messy mood, Sani describes.

- A disco girl like that likes heavier music, she still hints.

Sani says she got to taste big international arenas while touring with Darude in Australia in 2000. The woman says she is still ready to go on long tours abroad if Nightwish, for example, were connected.

-If the invitation to bigger arenas came, I would be ready for it.

Nightwish’s ballads in particular are to the singer’s mind.

- It's a great feeling to be able to pull high and hard.


This last article sounds very much like an opportunistic sales pitch, given that it was published on October 2, 2012 right after Anette left the band. 🙄


Anywyay, here's a sample from her material:


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3 minutes ago, Ocean Soul said:

Marco told about this case in his book, 'Stainless?'. @Fugazi, if you want to something translated in English, let me know. I'll be happy to do it! 

Thanks for the offer! 👍 I do have a request if you have time for that, my search mojo in Finnish is no good, do you know if the original 2008 voice.fi article about this singer is still available online?

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Just now, Fugazi said:

Thanks for the offer! 👍 I do have a request if you have time for that, my search mojo in Finnish is no good, do you know if the original 2008 voice.fi article about this singer is still available online?

I might have time to check it out tonight, I'll get back to you in a moment! 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/31/2021 at 10:36 AM, Fugazi said:

Sani (Saija Aartela) (of Aikakone)

Wikipedia (Finnish translation)

Thanks to @Ocean Soul for this one! 👍

I can't find the original report right now, but several sources mention that Voice Music News reported in 2008 that Sani was possibly the runner-up for singing with Nightwish.


This last article sounds very much like an opportunistic sales pitch, given that it was published on October 2, 2012 right after Anette left the band. 🙄


Anywyay, here's a sample from her material:



😳😳😳😳😳 whew

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