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13 July 1954

Sezen Aksu was born as Fatma Sezen Yıldırım in Sarayköy. Sezen’s family moved to Izmir when she was 3 years old and she spent her childhood and early youth there. After finishing high school, she began studying at the local agricultural institute, but left college to concentrate on music. Sezen Aksu released her first single, 'Haydi Şansım'/'Gel bana' ('Come on my luck'/'Come to me') in 1975 under the name of Sezen Seley. However, she remained undiscovered until her 1976 single 'Olmaz olsun'/Vurdumduymaz' ('Wish it never happened'/'Insensitive') reached number one in the Turkish charts. Her first album was 1978's 'Serçe' ('Sparrow'), which was to give her the nickname, penned by a Turkish journalist.

Sezen Aksu’s ambitions were higher then Turkey alone ands she tried to break the European market. The ideal vessel for that was the Eurovision. Ironically however, even though she competed in the national finals for the competition three times - 'Küçük bir aşk masalı' ('A little love tale'), 'Heyamola' and '1945' but none got the chance to represent Turkey abroad. It was to be left to her pupil Sertab Erener to finally win the Eurovision.

In the 80's, Aksu had a relationship with producer Onno Tunç that was both romantic and professional. The couple put their signatures to works that broke new ground in Turkish pop music. Her music matured in the 90's, when she co-produced her best selling album to-date 'Gülümse' ('Smile') with Tunç. During that time she also began to produce albums for her vocalists, notably producing Aşkın Nur Yengi's debut album 'Sevgiliye' ('To the one I love') again with Tunç. She was to repeat this successfully with artists Erener and Yüksel.

Parting ways with Tunç, in 1995, Aksu branched out with the experimental album 'Işık doğudan yükselir' ('Light rises from the east'). In 1996, she released 'Düş bahçeleri' ('Dream gardens') as a tribute to Tunç, who died that same year tragically when his private plane crashed. In 1997, she released 'Düğün ve cenaze' ('The wedding and the funeral'), this time collaborating with Goran Bregović.

She returned to her roots with 'Adi bende saklı' ('Its name is hidden in me'), which was released in 1998. She began to use experimental sounds and was once again pushing Turkish pop into the future. Aksu continued with this trend with her subsequent albums 'Deliveren' ('Crazymaker'), 'Şarkı sSöylemek lazım' ('Gotta sing'), 'Yaz bitmeden' ('Before the summer ends') between the years 2000 - 2003. After a two year hiatus, she returned with 'Bahane' ('Excuse') in 2005. That same year she released 'Kardelen' ('Snowdrop') where all proceeds went to charity. In 2005 she was also featured in Fatih Akin's documentary film "Crossing the bridge: The sound of Istanbul" with a performance of the song 'Istanbul Hatirasi'.

On the web:
- Sezens official website: http://www.sezenaksu.com.tr
- Fansite: http://www.sezen-aksu.com

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts

Haris Alexiou (Greece)

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What do we think:

DB: Thanks to Semra Yilmaz from Rotterdam for introducing to Sezen Aksu and Turkish pop. Her tape with Aksu, Tekin and more brought us on the path of this music scene. Sezen is unmistakably the queen of them all, reigning supreme since the seventies. Her influence can be found everywhere in Turkish pop today. And a great live performer as well.

PR: Sezen simply ís Turkish pop music. If it was not for Sezen, people in Turky would probably have no pop music at all. She succeeded in combining pop musi with a local, Turkish flavour. Furthermore, she writes most of her own material and is a great and highly respected lyricist. And - last but not least - Sezen is a great performer who loves the stage and with her deep, dark voice she communicates her stories with audiences all over the world through her music. Even if you do not understand a word she is singing, you will be moved by her immensely. Should you think this diva must be resting on her laurels nowadays, you are mistaken. Sezen continues to experiment and with every new album release she adds another chapter to turkish pop music.


♪ - Allahaısmarladık (Goodbye) - 1977

♪♪♪ - Serçe (Sparrow) - 1978

♪♪ - Ağlamak g üzeldir (To cry is beautiful) - 1981

♪♪♪ - Firuze (Turquoise) - 1982

♪♪ - Sen a ğlama (You don't cry) - 1984

♪♪♪ - Git... (Go...) - 1986

♪♪ - Sezen Aksu '88 - 1988

♪♪ - Sezen Aksu söylüyor (Sezen Aksu sings) - 1989

♪♪♪♪ - Gülümse (Smile) - 1991

♪♪♪♪ - Deli kızın türküsü (Crazy girl's ballad) - 1993

♪♪♪♪ - Şık doğudan yükselir (Light rises from the east) - 1995

♪♪♪♪ - Düş bahçeleri (Dream gardens) - 1996

♪♪♪♪ - Düğün ve cenaze (Wedding and funeral) - 1997

♪♪♪♪♪ - Adı bende saklı (Its name is hidden in me) - 1998

♪♪♪♪♪ - Deliveren (Crazymaker) - 2000

♪♪♪ - Şarkıs söylemek lazım (Gotta sing) - 2002

♪♪♪ - Yaz bitmeden (Before the summer ends) - 2003

♪♪♪♪ - Bahane (Excuse) - 2005

♪♪♪ - Kardelen ep (Snowdrop) - 2005

♪♪♪♪- Deniz yildizi - 2008

♪♪♪ - Yürüyorum düş bahçelerinde - 2009

♪♪♪♪ - Öptüm - 2011

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided