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Turkish Pop Music
Pop music in Turkey had its beginnings in the late 1950s with Turkish cover versions of a broad range of imported popular music styles, including rock and roll, tango, and jazz, which were labeled as light western - (Turkish: Hafif-batı) music coming from a wide range of artists like Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Nat King Cole, the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley and Paul Anka. Turkish music artists began to produce English language cover versions of these songs and write their own. The first original song of this type is credited to Erol Büyükburç in 1958 for his song Little Lucy, which was released as a 10-inch single known as a taş plak. With the emergence of 7-inch or 45 rpm single records in Turkey listening and distribution of this type of media was easier and thus the sound became more popular.
Gülben Ergen was born August 25, 1972 in Istanbul, Turkey and is a Turkish singer and occasional actress. Her most famous role is probably that of Melek in Dadı, the Turkish version of The Nanny. She was named Miss Cinema 1987 and later by the help of her famous friends such as Seren Serengil and Ibrahim Tatlises she started her singing career. During her career, Ergen has released six successful albums and has become a top Turkish singer. Throughout her career many of her songs have hit number one on the record charts, including "Abayı Yaktım", "Sade ve Sadece", "Arka Sokaklar", "Uçacaksın", "Kandıramazsın Beni", "Küt Küt", "Yalnızlık", "Lay La Lay Lalay", "Sürpriz" and "Giden Günlerim Oldu". One of her nicknames is the "Queen of Arabesque-pop music". She married Mustafa Erdoğan, the founder of Fire of Anatolia dance group, on September 5, 2004, and they have a son named Atlas Erdoğan, born on January 18, 2007. She then had twin boys named Ares and Güney in 2009. Since her marriage she sometimes goes by Gülben Ergen Erdoğan. Gülben is one of the Turkish celebrities who takes part of the social networking site Twitter where she communicates with her fans daily.
Burcu Güneş was born on the 12 of August, 1975 in the city of İzmir. Since her early childhood, Burcu grew up surrounded by music allowing for her early exposure into the music industry. When she composed her first piece at the age of 12, it became clear to her along with those that surrounded her that music would play a large an active role in her promising future. Starting off as a vocalist for her father, Burcu obtained her first stage experience at the age of 13 when she moved to Antalya as a result of her father’s work. This experience would also allow her to take her first step towards a professional stage performance that will play a large role with the music industry she will later devout herself to. She earned the title of being the best female debut pop artist in 1997. Following the success with her first album, Burcu moved on to work with three other strong vocalists who would later help her build her career as an artist. By the time she had released her third album, "Ay Şahit" on June 8, 2004 her talent as a composer was evident. It was not long after that Burcu released her 4th album in November 2006 called, “Ben Ateş Ben su”. The album was produced by herself with some aid from Tufan Taş and Mert Erken. Since then she has released On The Club in 2008, Sihirbaz in 2009 and Tamamdır in 2010.
Serdar Ortaç, born 16 February 1970 in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the leading singers in the Turkish popular music movement which roughly started in the 1990s. Ortaç was a VJ and was also working at a radio station when he composed his hit song “Karabiberim”. He shared a simple version of “Karabiberim” with his listeners during an ordinary radio broadcast and the song became a major hit and also made Ortaç a star. His first album was the best selling album of the year by 2 million copies. His album, Cakra was the best selling album of 2004 as well. He composes most of the songs in his albums and has composed more than 950 songs. His songs have been recorded by other singers and have been released in many languages like Arabic, Greek and Russian. He hosted the TV show "With Serdar Ortaç" for three years which was chosen as the best program of the year at the 2003 Turkish Radio & TV awards. He also released a book on January 2005 titled Who Are These Songs For? - (Turkish: Bu Sarkılar Kimin İcin?) which contains his poems, memories and various lyrics. Ortaç has enjoyed a large fan base and high album sales for more than 10 years. He never got support from big artists like others had from Sezen Aksu, Nazan Öncel and other famous singer-songwriters. There were plans to work with Ayberay Kaba, a successful multi-instrumentalist singer and pop producer, who is famous for his top 10 hits Abis ve Bebisler and Kaderimsin in Turkey, but they never came to pass. His latest album Breath (Turkish: Nefes) was released in 2008 and in May 2010 Serdar released his album Black CatKara Kedi - (Turkish: Kara Kedi) which featured collaborations with many international artists.
Tarkan Tevetoğlu, simply known as Tarkan, is an award winning Turkish pop singer. He was born in Alzey, West Germany, and raised in Turkey. Tarkan has been known for the use of sexual and romantic themes in his work and has been nicknamed the "Prince of Pop" by the media. He has released several platinum-selling albums during his career, with an estimated 29 million albums and singles sold. He also produces music through his company HITT Music, which he established in February 1997. One of a few European singers that has managed to span chart success over three continents without singing in English, Tarkan is also noted for his live stage performances. Tarkan's effect on Turkey has been compared by The Washington Post as analogous to Elvis in America circa 1957 and Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegün described him as one of the best live performers he had ever seen. He has also been listed by Rhapsody as a key artist in the history of European pop music, with his signature song "Şımarık" as a keystone track that moved the genre forward. In addition to his record-breaking album sales, he is known for staging concerts that draw tens of thousands of people. In 2004, at the Karadeniz Ereğli Love, Peace and Friendship Festival approximately 700,000 people watched his concert, while in 2006 authorities reported almost the same numbers. "I've never seen such a sight before. I'll never forget this picture as long as I live," he said after the 2004 festival. Tarkan does not like to talk about his personal life, but lived together with female lawyer Bilge Öztürk for 7 years until they amicably split in 2008.
Gülşen Bayraktar was born on 29 May 1976 in Istanbul. She became increasingly famous following the release of four albums and an image based on her sex-appeal. She did her studies in the Istanbul quarter of Şehremini and in the Turkish Classical Music Department of Istanbul Technical University. Her first album, Be Adam (O man!) which was released in 1995, gave Gülşen a good debut in Turkey's music world, and her second album, Erkeksen (If you are a man), came three years afterwards in 1998. Following another interval of three years, the album Şimdi (Now), released in 2001 was released. This did not attain the popularity she had hoped. The music video for the main title Sarışınım (My blonde), in which she was barely covered with blurred spots on a few parts of her slim body, was judged as obscene by the state watchdog for TV broadcasts, RTÜK (High Board for Radio and TV), and a number of TV channels were issued warnings for having broadcast the clip.
The 2006 album titled Yurtta Aşk, Cihanda Aşk, an adaption of Atatürk's famous phrase from - Peace in the country, Peace in the world to Love in the country, Love in the world was released in June 2006. In the meantime, Gülşen's private life also got a lot of coverage in the Turkish news media and gossip tabloids. In order to reach the international audience, she uses the name "Gulshen" to assure the correct pronunciation of her given name. 2010 brought the release of Gülşen's seventh album called Önsöz, on which Ozan Çolakoğlu served as music director, arranger and co-composer. She is of Georgian descent by her family from Ordu.
Ayşe Hatun Önal, born July 29, 1978 in Adana, is a Turkish model, actress, singer and Miss Turkey 1999 who represented her country in the 49th Miss World 1999 in London, England who stands 5' 11" tall. She graduated from Adana Borsa High School in Adana and was a professional model while she was a university student. She studied Public Relations at Anadolu University in Eskişehir but left after the second year. She participated in the Miss Turkey contest in 1999, and won the title. The same year in July, she represented her country at the Miss World 1999. Since 2004, she successfully played in a number of films, mini television series and commercials. She is interested in music and listens Sezen Aksu, Sertab Erener, U2, Madonna, Depeche Mode and Prince. In 2004 she released a single called Sonunda and in 2008 at the Radio Bosphorus Music Awards she won an award for Best Electronic Album - Sustuysam which was released that year. Her film work includes Mumya Firarda in 2002, Bu Film Bitmez in 2001 and Derman Bey also in 2001 which was a TV Series.
Aslı Güngör was born 27 September 1979 in Izmir, Turkey and is a Turkish pop-folk singer and songwriter. It was with the TRT İzmir Youth Choir that she began her journey of music. At University she studied in the Fine Arts, Faculty of Science Department. She became a professional singer when she was discovered by the TRT İzmir Gençlik Korosu Talent Show while studying at Dokuz Eylül University. While attending school she composed songs for many years and began to work in the studio. Recordings completed in Izmir in 2007 composed by Aslı were 'Heart Against Heart' and 'Izmir Bilir Ya'. She was featured in DMC's Pop Muzik Project with ENBE Orchestra singing the songs İzmir Bilir Ya, Kalp Kalbe Karşı, Son Opucuk and Ask Her Seye Deger and Ben de Dahil. On January 22, 2009 she released her first full album which carries her own name. The first track from this album was Son Öpücük which became a hit song. The second track is Dön Gel Yeter which was released on Valentines Day in 2009. In 2010 she signed with Sony Music and her second album is Aşk Alev Aldı was released in 2010.
Atiye Deniz, born November 22, 1988, in Bremen is a German-born Turkish-German singer. The musical culture inherited from her family helped her develop a some sense of musical rhythm and at the age of six she started to receive piano lessons. Eventually she went to Turkey so that she could establish herself a musical career. After some help from some well known Turkish composers and lyrical writers, Atiye's voice began to be heard in Turkey. With the two cultures being embedded into her mind, she was able to follow a new sort of genre which binds, Turkish oriental music tunes, R&B rhythms as well as soul to evolve. With this introduction, Atiye hoped to place a twist of combination of sounds on par with other genres that could be appreciated by fans in Turkey. Atiye's first release was ready in the song called, "Don't Think (Sanma)". The song gained some success and managed to become a popular tune on certain radios in Turkey. The second album by Atiye was self-titled and released under the Sony Music label. It spawned a number of hits for the artist with the lead single "Muamma" and the second single "Salla" becoming huge hits in Turkey. They peaked at respectively number 5 and 3 on the official Turkish chart. A collage of live show footage was made for the third video "Deli Ya". The fourth single was a duet with popular Turkish Rock singer Teoman and was named "Kal". The song peaked at number 7 at the charts and was used in various soundtracks. Atiye was nominated for Best Turkish Act at the 2009 Europe Music Awards. Atiye Deniz's songs are now featured in a Turkish TV Series called "Küçük Sırlar". Her third album "Budur" was released in 2011.
Demet Akalın, born 23 April 1972 in Gölcük, Kocaeli is a famous Turkish pop singer, former model and actress. Akalın studied at Gölcük Barbaros Hayrettin Lisesi and initially wanted to become a journalist or a teacher. She won the 'Miss Mayo' beauty competition organized by Yaşar Alptekin. She joined Neşe Erberk Modeling Agency and worked as a professional model for six years. During this period, she also acted as the female lead in the movies 'Sensiz Olmaz' and 'Tele Anahtar'. In 1996 she started her music career with the song "Sebebim" (My Reason). Her album Unuttum (I've Forgotten) which was released in 2003 can be called her debut album and with this album she had returned to an active music career from which she had taken a break 2000. In 2004, she released her third studio album Banane (I Don't Care), and the album's debut single "Bittim" (I'm Done) made her a famous popstar. Since 2004 she released hits such as, "Aşkın Açamadığı Kapı" (The Door that Love Couldn't Open), "Banane" (I Don't Care), "Vuracak" (It's Gonna Hit), "Afedersin" (Sorry), "Herkes Hak Ettiği Gibi Yaşıyor" (Everybody Lives the Way They Deserve), "Alçak" (Ignoble), "Tatil" (Holiday), "Mucize" (Miracle), "Tecrübe" (Experience), "Evli, Mutlu, Çocuklu" (Married, Happy with Children), "Çanta" (Suitcase), "Olacak Olacak" (It Will Be, It Will Be), "Aşk" (Love). Demet Akalın is one of the most famous singers in Turkey. Her songs, mostly become summer hits and usually include lyrics about broken relationships, fights and being stronger afterwards. She became famous a decade ago having a relationship with the famous basketball player Ibrahim Kutluay. Then they broke up and she started her music career with her hit single “Senin Anan Güzel Mi” (Is Your Mother Beautiful) and became popular with the hit album “Unuttum” (I Forgot You).
Murat Boz, born on March 7, 1980 in Karadeniz Ereğli, Turkey and currently resides in Istanbul is a Turkish pop singer. He rose to fame with his first-ever single Aşkı Bulamam Ben (I Can’t Find Love) in 2006. Boz completed his primary and secondary education in Karadeniz Ereğli, Zonguldak, then in 1995-1996 he attended a fine art oriented high school in İstanbul. At the time he pursued his musical career at various music halls as a back-up vocalist. In 1998 he won a nationwide contest held for High school students for best male solo vocalist, which was organized by the Milliyet Newspaper - a major Turkish newspaper. In 1999, Boz attained a scholarship at Istanbul Bilgi University, where he studied Jazz music. In 2003, Boz continued his education at “İstanbul Technical University”. Boz first entered the Turkish music scene in 2004 when he was featured in Nil Karaibrahimgil’s music video “Bronzlaşmak”. A year later he featured on the single Yalan, which was released by Turkish girl group Hepsi. It wasn’t till the summer of 2006 that Boz released his first single “Aşkı Bulamam Ben”, working with Nil Karaibrahimgil once again. His follow up single “Maximum” earned him his first number one single on the Billboard Turkey chart. His debut album was released some time after, also titled “Maximum”, proved to be a great success also and propelled him even further in the Turkish music scene. All his releases were made under Stardium label. Some of the other musicians Boz has worked with include Tarkan, Ajda Pekkan, Shakira, Nilüfer, Nazan Öncel and Hande Yener. Boz has also done advertisements for many commercials, such as McDonald's, "İstikbal" and Cola Turka.
Hadise Açıkgöz, born 21 October 1985, is a Belgian born Turkish singer of Circassian descent. Hadise's career began in 2004 with the release of her debut single "Sweat", which peaked at 19 on the Flanders chart. Hadise continued to release more successful singles, most notably the single "Milk Chocolate Girl". Hadise's debut album, which was released in 2005 earned Hadise her first TMF award in Belgium and a "Altın Kelebek" Award (English: Golden Butterfly Award) in Turkey. Hadise's follow up album called Hadise, was released and promoted in both the artist's native country and Turkey. The album produced two successful singles, "A Good Kiss" and "My Body", this earned Hadise her second TMF Award in the "Best Urban Act" category. It was during this time that Hadise became the presenter of the Belgium version of The X Factor. In 2009, Hadise represented Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Düm Tek Tek". The song gained a total of 177 points, which placed Turkey fourth in the final. "Düm Tek Tek" was the first single from Hadise's third album called Fast Life, released in May 2009. Hadise's first Turkish studio album, Kahraman (English: Hero), was released in late June year 2009 in Turkey.
Hadise has rejected two offers to star in a film. One of the parts was the leading role in a Turkish movie. Not much is known about this film, apart from the fact that the film supposedly focused on 2 sisters, one of whom was to be played by Hadise. In July 2008 Hadise was again offered a role in a Turkish comedy film.
Pamela Aslı Spence, born 25 February 1973, in Heidelberg, Germany and is a Turkish pop-rock singer. Born to a British American father and a Turkish mother, she sings in Turkish, which she learned at the age of 15, after her family moved to Turkey. In addition to her solo career, she has collaborated with a number of other Turkish singers including Teoman. She also acted in several musicals. Spence studied Theater Arts at the Ankara State Conservatory. She was first noticed in a musical version of the play They Shoot Horses, Don't They? staged in Turkey, where she had acted alongside the experienced actors Okan Bayülgen and Fikret Kuşkan. She then starred in a TV miniseries as Lahmacun ve Pizza and took part in Teoman's group of vocalists. Her first album Eğer Dinlersen is the product of a long period of preparation. With the songs in her second album Şehir Rehberi, Pamela displayed a style that was closer to rock music, as opposed to the pop notes of her first album. One of the songs in her second album, İstanbul, attracted particular public attention with its touching and easily memorizable lyrics. In May 2006, Spence produced her third album Cehennet. In 2010 she released another album called Stil Zengini (English: Style-rich).
Murat Dalkılıç, born August 7, 1983 in İzmir, Turkey is a Turkish pop singer. Dalkılıç began learning to play piano when he was very young, later starting his first band at fifteen. Dalkılıç is a graduate of Beykent University of Performing Arts.
On October 10, 2008, his first single Kasaba (English: Town) was released on the radio. A music video, which was produced by Dokuz Sekiz, was later released on December 22, 2008. Dalkılıç’s close friend Murat Boz also appeared in the music video for Kasaba, lyrics by Soner Sarıkabadayı with music by Tolga Kılıç who composed it. The song ultimately peaked at number one on the Billboard Turkey list, where it remained for seven weeks. After the success of Kasaba, Dalkılıç signed a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment. Dalkılıç released his first full-length album, Merhaba, in 2010.
Nezihe Kalkan, born in 1979 in İzmir, Turkey and better known as Nez, is a popular Turkish dancer and singer known for her modern-oriental hybrid dancing style combined with techno-inspired pop music. She spent a long time in the UK for her education and after returning to her home country in early 2000s, she started performing regularly in a renowned jazz club in Istanbul with a unique show. Her rise to fame started with her nightclub show starting to be mentioned in the press and also by some columnists in Turkish newspapers. She currently has released two albums.
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