Interview: Magazine Flair

Interview: Magazine Flair

in Dutch | em Português  – Translation: Head up High, my dear!

The singer Floor Jansen confesses to Flair: I thought metal music was a terrible music.

floor-jansen-beste-zangers Interview: Magazine Flair


Floor Jansen (39) goes around the world as the main vocalist of the metal band Nightwish, and recharges her batteries in her house in the woods, in Sweden. When she participated in “Beste Zangers” last year, the Netherlands could finally get to know her. “Somehow I like this, strange, isn’t it”

At first, she didn’t know what she was getting into nor the other artists that have participated. She has been living with her Swedish husband, Hannes – with whom she had a daughter in 2017, Freja –  in Sweden for 5 years and doesn’t watch to dutch TV. So why did she participate? She was impressed with everything she saw. And beyond that, there was a great chance to make people curious about metal in general, and specially, Nightwish. In the last episode she sang The Phantom of the Opera in a unique way with Henk Poort, and the performance was promoted everywhere in the world. And now, all Netherlands know who Floor Jansen is.

She is sitting down and relaxing in one of her chairs in the hall. Denim jackets, jeans and long dark hair. People around her are busy calling or working in their notebooks. Meanwhile, Floor is in an inner peace state. She drinks tea, speaks softly, almost as if she is shy. She talks about how good is Sweden. About her isolated house in the woods. It is similar to Limburg, where she spent most of her teen years.

Wasn’t Limburg an option?
Hannes and I lived in Finland when we met. I moved there because Nightwish is a Finnish band. Even though I sing in English, I wanted to learn the language, and it works better if you get immerse. Finnish is too difficult and I ended up never learning how to speak correctly. And of course, it doesn’t help if you have a Swedish boyfriend. Hannes missed Sweden and as I was already so use to the peace and space from Finland, we decided to move to Sweden. Now we have a beautiful country house. With a huge dog, cats and two horses. When we decided to live in this house, there was a huge field around it, so I immediately said that I wanted to have horses. It was my dream since I was a kid.

You suffered bullying when you were young, and you call it “dark times”. Was being with horses your (temporary) way to get away from it?
As we used to move a lot, I was always some sort of Maverick. I talked a lot and act differently from the other kids my age, and I was tall. My parents used to go to my school a lot, but they would always tell me they couldn’t do anything. I still get very angry at this, because you’re basically saying: “Good luck with it, solve it yourself” So yes, somehow it was a way to escape from the bullying.
Music was also a way. Until a certain moment in time, it was these two things I used to seek shelter on. My vocational test revealed not only my professional choice but also revealed an aspect for sports and equitation. I really wanted to go to the conservatory, and I even studied about singing but either it was too jazz or too classical.

None of them worked. That’s why I ended up going to the Equitation Centre (Hippisch Centrum). And it was incredibly hard. I ended up finishing HAVO (some sort of preparatory for specific studies in the Netherlands, divided in 4 phases, HAVO being the third) and I had to work hard every day. Some of my muscles got so stiff that my blood flow in my arms didn’t work properly. I had a small loss in my hand movements, I barely could ride the horse because the reins would slip away from my hands all the time. So, it wasn’t fun anymore. That’s when I knew that Rock Academy was the way to go, so I enrolled immediately.

Were your parents surprised when you did this?
I believe not. I was also doing musicals in school, so nothing was that sudden. I believe that it may have been they worried about due to its uncertainty. But they were always there for me. They said: “You are talented, you need to do something with it. My father plays the guitar and he also sing. He’s more of a blues guy. My sister Irene also sang in a metal band for a while and we performed together. But I’m the only one in the family that made it work.

Did you start immediately in Metal?

In general, I didn’t like it. A friend of mine used to listen to it and I thought: “Wow, what horrible music is that?” I was still developing my musical taste. The first band I sang in school was a pop/rock band. I liked Grunge a lot, but only as a listener. So, when I moved to Limburg, I had friends that listened to different Metal bands so I could see the beauty in it. It’s not only guitars and screaming. Music like we do in Nightwish is filled with nuances that contains pop, folk, rock, symphonic moments and it’s really accessible and melodic. It’s the type of metal that for me, it’s the final combination between heavy music, pure feelings and female vocals.

The Metal world is filled with men. How does that work for you?
I entered this world right after college. So, I don’t know what to say, I just work with men and I feel good, it works well. Men are straight to the point, so there are no misunderstandings. I never think: “What are their secret agenda?”
As I got older, I realized that I missed a feminine company. Just because women see things differently, and sometimes it’s a relief – especially when you’re surrounded by men. That’s why it was so nice to take my friend on tour as a nanny. We had a lot of different conversations. She also noticed when I wasn’t comfortable with something and immediately asked how I was. Men don’t ask that so quickly or sometimes they don’t ask at all.

By participating in “Beste Zangers”, you expected that more people would listen to your music. Did it work?
Yes. Our concert shows in the Netherlands sold out immediately. It is good because it worked for both sides. Many people that listen to my music embraced Henk Poort’s music. And what makes me happy is that I have been able to show that Metal music isn’t only something satanic, or with men singing it in an angry form.

Now you think: “I’m finally recognized in The Netherlands.”
Haha I like that. It always bugged me somehow that we are known in the entire world but we didn’t even have a space in the Netherlands.

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