WSRJ - How do you start your career? Which are your vocals references and what made you pursue the sing
Paolo: I began singing when I was a small kid, and my dad used to strum tunes by Italian singers-songwriters on his guitar. But I really started being ‘a singer’ when I was about 20, fronting the rock band of a friend who invited me there. At the beginning I wasn’t really good at all, so little by little I decided to take singing lessons, and I improved my skills and expressivity.
Singing-wise, my strongest reference is Steve Perry beyond any doubts, his voice is something absolutely amazing, deeply human and heavenly at the same time. But I have many other beloved singers, mostly in the rock genre: Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, David Coverdale, Eric Adams, but also Michael Bolton, John Farnham, Ted Neeley and a countless number of other great artists. It might sound a bit cheesy, but I try not to restrict my interests to only one or few musical genres, and in every type of music there are amazing artists which are able to leave me speechless.
I think I didn’t choose to pursue the singer’s career, it’s something that comes naturally out of me, like a light that at some point just turned on in my life. I’m sure that music itself guided me to the point where I am now.
WSRJ - Where are you from? Was hard to learn Finnish?
Paolo: I’m from Mantova, a small town in the North of Italy. Finnish was quite difficult for me because it’s a completely foreign language to any other European one (apart Estonian, which of course I didn’t speak). The only easy thing was the pronounce, because that is really close to Italian… But fortunately I had many people around me who helped me in learning Finnish, and provided me with the instruments to communicate in the native language of the country where I live now.
WSRJ - Do you work on other profession? Or only in branch of music?
Paolo: I am a PhD researcher at the University of Helsinki, although I’m not part of the university staff. I look all the time for funding, sometimes I get them, mostly not! But my PhD research is in Musicology, so I don’t know whether I should consider it part of my musical career… When I have the opportunity, I also work as a violin teacher.
WSRJ - You have tried to enter on The Voice sometime? Or was your first time on a program TV?
Paolo: This was the first time. I never tried, either in Italy or in any other country, because I don’t believe very much in talent show, many times they just pump talentless singers up to a success they cannot withstand. And the results afterwards are really disappointing and sad. But The Voice of Finland is really different, starting from the quality of the coaches: all the four of them have a successful and well-earned career in their respective musical fields. And some friends told me the team of producers was well-organized and formed by absolutely nice people, which is definitely true.
WSRJ - When you approve by Tarja, what passed in your head?
Paolo: All the four coaches turned their chairs, so you can imagine how confused I was at that point. Before singing at the blind audition, I was pretty certain that – if the possibility had come – I should go for Michael’s team, because he’s a rocker from the golden age of the Eighties, to which also Journey and Foreigner and the more AOR stuff by Rainbow belongs… So let’s say I thought it ‘fitted’ me better. But then when Tarja spoke her reasons why I should decide to join her team, I felt such a particular warmth, energy and connection, that it was clear for me I should choose her. And to this day I am absolutely convinced I made the right choice!
WSRJ - Did you see difficulty in the music that was performed in the first program? (Don’t Stop Believe) Or you
Paolo: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is probably not a very easy song to perform, and surely Steve Perry’s performance is unparalleled: he is the one who really ‘owns’ the song, and this is natural of course because he sang it originally. But for me the music of Journey has such a deep and strong meaning, it is so important in the events of my life especially in Finland, that the power of the song overcomes any technical difficulty. As for the interpretation, I just don’t have to ‘perform’ anything when I sing it, I just have to live it through and the rest comes by itself! When I applied to The Voice of Finland, that song was my first suggestion to the producers, and they were enthusiastic at the idea of having somebody performing that one.
WSRJ - Tell us, how or when you met Tarja Turunen?
Paolo: I met her the first time at the blind audition for The Voice of Finland. Of course, I knew her because of her artistic career, but I had never met her in person before the show, also because she lives quite far away from Europe and I’ve never been in South America. I must say that – when I think of the blind audition where I first met Tarja – I remember a very different person than the one I know nowadays. The contact we had was very fast, and only later I got to know her better. Now that I have spent more time with her and we’ve talked so much, I can appreciate even more how kind and warm-hearted a person she is.
(Carlos Pacheco –Portugal) How is Tarja and Samu while coaches? How is the preparation for the performances?
Paolo: Samu is very enthusiastic and a really straightforward person, if he thinks something can be made better, he’ll speak it out loud and give you his best advice in order to make things work at best. And he’s a super nice guy, always ready to laugh and give you a smile when you are in trouble. Furthermore, he knows music business very well, he brought the band Sunrise Avenue to an insane level of success, especially in Germany where they are real rockstars, so he has a huge deal of experience.
About Tarja I think I need to spend a bit more thoughts. First of all, we share the classical background because I played violin for 14 years when I was in Italy, so we both know the importance of precision, eagerness and hard work. Secondly, she is a fantastic singer, and although our singing technical approaches are very different one from another, we often find common images and technical concepts that make us connect on this level as well. Every time we prepared a song, we focused on some issue and tried to solve it. For the first live, where I sang ‘Hunting High And Low’, we worked a lot on relax and ‘coolness’, so I lost a bit of my gym-addicted posture… But I feel that, even though she gave me a lot on the singing level, the greatest aid he received from her all the time was definitely off-stage. She is a really sensitive person, and she can read people around her really well. I think we are pretty similar in this respect, and I daresay this is why it’s easy for us to connect as persons. The more the show has continued to this point, the more Tarja has been able to understand me and see when I have a good or bad moment… And she is really supportive all the time, but without ever leaving the ‘demanding’ attitude: she wants me to do my best every time, always 110% and one step forward. And I like it, it’s the same approach as I have. In addition to this, she brings her sincerity and enthusiasm to other people, shows all the happiness in her life and makes you strongly believe in yourself.
WSRJ - Do you have some dream? Which one?
Paolo: Well I suppose we all have dreams, don’t we? Mine is to go around the world and sing for people, and make their life better through music. The world is not an easy place, and life is a tough trial to stand in front of every single day, but I believe that there is a little part of the human being – a ‘good’ one, assumed that it makes sense to talk in terms of good and bad – which can’t be just erased or annihilated. It might be silenced and concealed sometimes, but it’s always there and that’s why our strongest emotions are moved by great music. I want to be able to raise these emotions in the people who listen to me… Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have the privilege to do it with Tarja’s help!
WSRJ - Ever wanted to know Brazil ?
Paolo: I’ve never been there, but I’d love to visit the country one day for sure! I like traveling very much and I hope I’ll be able to see many more places one day… And I’d certainly love if Brazil was one of them!
Many thanks for the possibility of this interview, I send my warmest regards and a big hug to all Tarja’s fans all over the world and especially in the magic city of Rio!
Visite your page: PaoloOficial
Entrevistador: Rick Pessanha *
Tradutor: Fernanda Neves
*Carlos Pacheco : WS Portugal