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17 October 1972

Tarkan Tevetoğlu was born in Alzey, Germany, to Ali and Neşe Tevetoğlu. His parents were part of the generation of Turkish immigrants that came to West Germany during that country's economic boom. Although Tarkan was raised in Alzey until the age of 13, his father Ali suddenly decided to move the family back to Turkey in 1986. Here Tarkan began to study music in Karamürsel at high school, before being accepted at the Üsküdar Musiki Cemiyeti Academy in Istanbul. Music legend has it just as he was preparing to return to Germany, he met Mehmet Söğütoğlu, chairman of the record company İstanbul Plak. Produced by Söğütoğlu, his debut album ‘Yine sensiz’ ('Without you again') sold 750 thousand copies after its release in December 1992. Considered rebellious for his lyrics, his dressing style and his earrings by traditionalists made him even more attractive to the young.

Two years later Tarkan teamed up with producer and songwriter Sezen Aksu, for his second album ‘Aacayipsin’ ('Oh - You're something else'). Aksu wrote two songs for the album, the radio friendly ‘Hepsi Senin Mi?’, which was later relicensed as ‘Şıkıdım’ ('Shake'),  and ‘Şeytan Azapta’. In part to remove himself from media scrutiny, Tarkan moved to New York in 1994. While in America, he met the Turkish founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegün, who had seen him perform in İstanbul. In July 1997, the hit song ‘Şımarık’ kick started promotions in Turkey for his third studio album ‘Ölürüm Sana’ ('I'd die for you'). This album took a total of three years to complete. Tarkan collaborated once more with Aksu and music engineer Çolakoğlu. After success in Turkey Universal decided to release Şımarık as a European single in 1999. It became a huge hit throughout the contingent. A quickly compiled album for the European market soon followed it’s success.

This album was also to mark an end in his successful musical partnership with Aksu and temporarily end the friendly relations between the two artists. A copyright dispute erupted between Tarkan and Aksu over the track ‘Şımarık’, which ultimately blocked the singer's chance to release an English-language version of the song. At the height of his fame in 1999, Tarkan was called up for military service, which had been legally deferred since 1995. The deadline for commencement had ended in 1998, but due to contractual obligations abroad after the success of his compilation album he did not return to Turkey to do his military service. The media discussed whether Tarkan should be viewed as a deserter and stripped of his citizenship; even the Turkish parliament discussed the issue. In the years that followed the issue was resolved leaving Tarkan to pursue is already successful career. After becoming the face of Pepsi in Turkey, Tarkan also became the official mascot of the Turkish national football team for the 2002 World Cup. He recorded the football song ‘Bir oluruz yolunda’ (‘United for you’), which became an anthem for the fans.

In 2005 he released his first English language album ‘Come closer’. Originally the album was planned in 1995, when media mogul Ahmet Ertegün encouraged Tarkan to break into the international market. The delay to the initial release was delayed due (amongst other legal issues) to disagreements with Ertegün concerning the concept of the defunct album. Ertegün preferred something more American in style, while Tarkan insisted on including many Turkish elements. The album was not a breakthrough success. In 2007 Tarkan returned to form with Turkish language album called ‘Metamorfoz’ followed by Adımı Kalbine Yaz in 2010.

On the web:
- Tarkan's official website: http://www.tarkan.com

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What do we think:

DB: Highly successful in Turkey and rightly so. Tarkan mixes modern beats with middle eastern melodies and arrangements into an interesting output. Telling Ertegun to f**k off when being pushed to sound more American is exactly the point we try to make. OK, it probably costed him a breakthrough on the USA but it shows character to keep your back straight when being promised mountains of gold. Tarkan has the potential to be world famous without denying his cultural background.

PR: Interesting singer, not only because of his international successes. Like many other (international) succesfull pop artists, Tarkan does not have the best singing voice, the best songs or the best arrangements. It is the combination of elements that is the base for his attractiveness as an artist, and in the end the guy does have what you might call the 'X-factor'. His albums tend to have more or less Turkish elements, but are definitely in the first place pop albums. The 2001 release 'Karma' is in my opinion the album on which everythings comes to a perfect fit.


Yine Sensiz - 1993

Aacayipsin - 1994

Ölürüm Sana - 1997

♪♪♪ - Tarkan (International debut) - 1999

♪♪♪♪♪ - Karma - 2001

♪♪♪ - Dudu - 2003

Come Closer - 2006

♪♪♪ - Metamorfoz - 2007

Metamorfoz remixes - 2008

♪♪♪ - Adımı Kalbine Yaz (Write my name into your heart) - 2010

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