023: Arjen Lucassen: Metal Opera Giant – Part I

The Charismatic Voice with Elizabeth Zharoff

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What exactly goes into making an opera metal? Or is it the other way around – do you make metal operatic? 

Today’s guest is Arjen Lucassen, the mastermind composer, multi-instrument player, and producer of both Ayreon and Star One. Arjen is known, not only for his massive collaborative projects but also for having a knack for finding the best singers to collaborate with – singers that can handle both metal and opera, and lots in between.

Arjen has worked with almost every major metal talent that I’ve been introduced to in the last 2 years – and all of them can’t speak highly enough of Arjen. His ability to scout and retain great talent is unparalleled.

Everyone wants to work with him as well because he makes them sound greater. He coaches them in a way that encourages creativity and excellence. Indeed, he is a master of finding great talent – and even making them greater. Listen in as we try to dig up Arjen’s secret to finding great singers, how he approaches the collaborative process, and how he puts metal and opera together.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • The importance of staying in contact with your community
  • Arjen’s early influences and how he developed his own style of music 
  • Electric vs. acoustic guitar
  • What he does as a multi-instrumentalist and the importance of sound production
  • Loudness wars and paying attention to the health of your ears
  • His talent and passion for discovering talents
  • The back-and-forth process of working with a singer


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