With the pandemic wiping out all hopes of touring for what could eventually be 12 months+, musicians and artists have had to adapt, think out of the box, as well as look to social media for ways to keep their fanbase engaged. Nightwish were one of the unlucky bands who had a new album (Human. :II: Nature.) out there for all the world to enjoy, but found themselves unable to tour in support of said album.
For Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen it signaled the beginning of a purple period of connecting with her fanbase, a period that shows no signs of slowing down. Stage outfits are raffled to lucky winners who have purchased a signed card from Floor’s webstore. Video diaries are posted on a regular basis under the heading ‘Storytime’, episodes offer up an insight into the personal life of Floor by featuring her at home, tending to her horses, swinging an axe – you know, the normal day-to-day things that the Queen of Metal gets up to during downtime. Then there is ‘Floor Finds’, where Floor interviews special guests including bandmate Marko Hietala, and Henk Poort who Floor performed alongside on a jaw-dropping cover of ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ (the Lloyd-Webber one, not the Iron Maiden one) for the Beste Zangers TV show. A new, free, vocal masterclass tutorial video series has just launched on her YouTube channel. And then there are the cover videos.
First up was a metalized version of ‘Let It Go’ from Disney’s Frozen, which if you think about it, makes perfect sense. Modern Disney and Symphonic Metal go hand-in-hand, and who better than Floor Jansen to tackle the role of Queen Elsa? The video currently sits at over one million views on YouTube, and started a thread about what should Floor cover next? The first clue came via her Twitter feed and the post that simply read “cor meum” – Latin for “my heart”. So, would it be Celine Dion ‘My Heart Will Go On’ or ‘Alone’ by Heart? The suspense ended when the video was released on YouTube, and the answer was the latter; ‘Alone’.
Ann Wilson has been one of the strongest rock vocalists around for decades, and one of the most respected by fans and peers alike. Floor Jansen tackling the vocal gymnastics of Ann Wilson? Floor has covered ‘Alone’ on a handful of occasions, but it was still an intriguing prospect and one to relish. The gentle piano intro from the original is still present, but this is as stripped back as the track gets. Heart played it lowkey on their last UK tour and this is quite a similar version to that one. With just a piano arrangement (provided by Ayreon’s Joost van den Broek) to accompany her, there is no place to hide. No wall of hi-sheen production qualities to hide behind. And my God, Floor Jansen makes the arm hairs stand to attention just as Ann Wilson did all those decades ago, and shows yet again why she is the THE one to catch when it comes to modern day rock/metal vocalists. A simply beautiful version of a track that means so much to millions of people worldwide. As the song builds towards THAT part, the thought “She’s gonna do it, she’s gonna do it!” comes to mind. And yes, yes she does and she hits the high notes with such ease that it looks like she has plenty more left in the tank. Instant Floorgasm.
The passing of the torch from one generation to another. Metal, hard rock, Lloyd-Webber, Disney: what next for Floor Jansen? Tune into her YouTube channel here to find out.
Review – Dave
Live images – Rob Wilkins