By Steven Neff, Rock At Night Orlando Correspondent
The Metal Gods have sent angel and dynamic vocalist Elina Siirala to earth to take the stage with Leaves’ Eyes for what has proven to be a very successful move for the band. Siirala has erased any doubt on whether the band could continue without former frontwoman Liv Kristine. Siirala’s voice is beautiful and molds perfectly into the Leaves’ Eyes’ universe.
Elina took the time to talk to us from Finland about her recent North American tour with Leaves’ Eyes, her beginnings into music, joining Leaves’ Eyes after the departure of Liv Kristine, and her own band Angel Nation.
As you’ll see by our interview below, Elina is warm and friendly and it was a pleasure speaking with her.
Rock At Night: Elina, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, we really appreciate it.
Elina: It’s my pleasure!
Rock At Night: You recently completed a tour in North America with Sonata Arctica. What was your favorite part about touring in North America?
Elina: It’s hard to pick any one thing but of course playing all the shows to such great crowds was really unforgettable! I got to meet many new people and also saw some old friends which was lovely.
Rock At Night: What was it like touring with Sonata Arctica? Did you already know them or was the North American tour the first time you met them?
Elina: It was great! It was the first time I met them and they’re all lovely people. We traveled in different buses and had a bit different schedules but it was nice to have a little chat here and there 🙂
Rock At Night: Is there anything you wanted to do in the U.S. while on tour but couldn’t and want to do the next time you come here?
Elina: Of course there’s an endless amount of things to see and with the day rhythm we had there wasn’t much time for sightseeing. We also passed Niagara falls during the night which was a shame. I would have gone to Disney World if there had been enough time 😉
Rock At Night: Could you give us a little history of Elina Siirala from the point you knew you could sing to now? How did your journey into music begin?
Elina: I grew up in a family of classical musicians so music and singing was always a big part of my life. I started taking lessons when I was 17 and went on to study a degree in Helsinki. I always loved writing music so I decided to move to London in 2008 so I could also study other styles of singing. After the year of studying I stayed there and late 2011 started my own band Angel Nation (formerly EnkeliNation). We’ve been playing shows in UK and Finland and released our debut album in 2014.
Rock At Night: I heard online that several of your relatives are musicians and that you’re a cousin of Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish. It sounds like there is quite a lot of musical talent in your family. Beside yourself, what are other family members doing musically?
Elina: Yes my mother is a violinist and both brother and father are pianists. Tuomas is my second cousin, I’m sure we’ve met as kids but we don’t actually know each other personally. We’ve been in touch via email and he’s a really nice person, hopefully we get to meet properly sometime 🙂 Most of my other relatives are musicians too so it really seems to run in the family.
Rock At Night: Your other band Angel Nation (EnkElination) also has a new single out called “Do it Anyway” (2016). Congratulations! Did you take that song title literally and “Do It Anyway” when it came to joining Leaves’ Eyes with some of the unfortunate controversy following the departure of Liv Kristine? Was it a hard decision in joining the band or did you know this was meant to be for you?
Elina: Thank you! I wrote that song already before joining Leaves’ Eyes. It’s more about the every day struggle and also frustration one faces in the music industry very often. It’s sometimes hard to keep your mind clear when everyone has their own opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do but I think it’s always best to follow your own instincts and do what feels right and genuine.
To be honest it almost didn’t really feel like making a decision because I had so little time to even think about it haha. But of course it was a huge opportunity for me and I felt ready to try it out. What came after with all the controversy wasn’t anything I had been thinking of or had time to think about at the time as I was busy learning the songs and doing the gigs. For me it’s always about the music and doing the best I can on stage.
Rock At Night: Your voice is just absolutely beautiful. When you get on stage, what do you want fans to experience when they come to hear Leaves’ Eyes perform?
Elina: Thank you very much! Whenever I get on stage I feel like the music leads the performance. Anything I do needs to feel genuine and natural. That applies to my voice, performance, even what I wear. I enjoy singing and being on stage and that’s what I hope fans will see and experience. I hope they feel like they’re part of the show!
Rock At Night: Do you see yourself and Angel Nation coming to the U.S. anytime soon?
Elina: I think for us it would be great to get to Europe first. I know everything that goes into touring US and it’s not very easy for European bands but hopefully we can make that happen someday too 🙂
Rock At Night: I went to your website elinasiirala.com and was reading some of your information there. I found the site to be interesting and thought it was a very good idea to have another business while growing your music career. Do you see yourself always singing at various functions and writing songs for people getting married or will there be a time when you’ll make the jump to full time frontwoman?
Elina: I think everything has to happen naturally in life. I’ve always enjoyed doing different things in music, like teaching, playing different instruments and I even took part in composing competition of children’s songs…and won 😀 Surely the balance between things will always change but at the moment it’s nice to do other things too when I have time.
Rock At Night: You’re coming back to North America in 2017 with Sabaton. Could you tell the North American fans when you’ll be coming back?
Elina: Yes we’ll be back 20th of April – 22nd of May!
Rock At Night: We look forward to seeing you and Leaves’ Eyes back in the states soon. Happy New Year!
Elina: I’m very much looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces on the road! The same to you! 🙂
Steve is a Brevard County, Florida based concert photographer who loves the experience of live shows and tries to bring that experience back to fans through the great medium known as Rock At Night.
Whether it’s a one concert event or extended on the road tour coverage with music’s best bands, Steve covers the exciting experience of “the moment” and paints it across a blank canvas that he hopes music connoisseurs will enjoy.
A graduate of the prestigious New York Institute of Photography, Steve’s music of taste ranges from the symphonic awesomeness of bands like Within Temptation and Nightwish to the rock heavyweights of the 80’s and back to the beat of Armin van Buuren, with a little jazz and blues mixed in for some variety.
One of his favorite mottos: “Life is too short to drink grocery store coffee.”
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