At A Glance
Sezen Aksu is the most important name in contemporary Turkish pop history. She has been an extremely successful career singer, composer, song writer, and supported, and in many cases led to fame, almost all the great names in contemporary Turkish pop scene, including Tarkan, Sertab Erener, Nazan Öncel and many others.
Sezen Aksu was born Fatma Sezen Yıldırım in Denizli, Turkey. Her family moved to İzmir when she was 3 years old and she spent her childhood and early youth there. After finishing high school, she began to study at the local agricultural institute, but left college to concentrate on her music.
Along with her close friend Ajda Pekkan, Aksu is credited with laying the foundations of Turkish pop music in the 1970s. Her sound has also spread across the Balkans and Greece. It was this sound that changed the face of the Eurovision song contest when her protegé Sertab Erener won in 2003. Aksu has also toured in Europe and the U.S to critical appraise.
She has championed a variety of causes, including women's rights, the environment, and Turkish education. Aksu has been married and divorced four times, but kept the name from her first marriage to Ali Engin Aksu, a doctor of geology who currently resides in Canada. She has a son with Sinan Özer.
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.
An Aksu drive finally got Turkey to apply for the Eurovision Song contest in the mid-70s. Ironically however, even though she competed in the national finals for the competition three times - "Küçük Bir Aşk Masalı" (A Little Love Tale) was a duet with Özdemir Erdoğan, "Heyamola" was performed as a trio with Coşkun Demir and Ali Kocatepe and "1945" was her solo performance - none got the chance to represent Turkey abroad. It was to be left to her pupil Erener to win the Eurovision and realise Aksu's dream to push her musical vision further into Europe.
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, such as Sen Ağlama (Don't Cry), Git (Go), Sezen Aksu'88 and Sezen Aksu Söylüyor (Sezen Aksu Sings). Her music matured in the 90's, when she co-produced her best selling album to-date Gülümse (Smile) with Tunç. The A-1 track from the album called Hadi Bakalım (Come On Now) was a hit in Turkey and Europe, and was published as a single in Germany. It was to be later rediscovered in Europop by singer Loona as Rhythm of the Night. 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), drawing both on western classical and regional Turkish musical traditions. This album made her name outside Turkey and gave her a world music following across Europe. 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 Bregovic.
She returned to her roots with Adı 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 Söylemek 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, and before the end of 2005 released a Bahane/Remixes (Excuse/Remixes) double-CD album which contained the original Bahane album in disc one and the remixes of songs in Bahane in disc two. At the end of the year her albums Bahane, Kardelen and the re-released album Şarkı Söylemek Lazım were the three best-selling albums in the country.
In 2005 she was featured in Fatih Akin's documentary film "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul" with a performance of the song "Istanbul Hatirasi."
Biography in Turkish
Denizli ilinin Sarayköy ilçesinde doğan Sezen Aksu, 3 yaşındayken ailesiyle İzmir'e taşındı. Müzisyenliğe başlamadan önce 1973 yılında Ege Üniversitesi Ziraat Fakültesi'ne girdiyse de müzik aşkı ağır bastığı için eğitimi yarıda bıraktı. İlk 45'liğini 1975 yılında Sezen Seley olarak çıkaran Aksu, bu albümün neredeyse hiç satmaması yüzünden hayal kırıklığına uğradıysa da 3. 45'liğiyle ünlü oldu ve Olmaz Olsun şarkısıyla müzik listelerinde 1 numaraya çıktı. 1979 yılına kadar 8 adet 45'lik yapan Aksu, ilk uzunçaları 1977'de "Allahaısmarladık" adıyla çıkardı. Bunu 2 plak içindeki 21 şarkının bulunduğu ve sanatçıya "Minik Serçe" lakabını kazandıracak olan "Serçe" albümü izledi. 1978 yılındaki bu albüm daha sonra Fono müzik tarafından sözlerini Deniz Türkali'nin yazdığı "Çocuk ve Dev" ve Hurşit Yenigün'ün yazdığı "Ben Bir Dul Kadınım" şarkıları hariç yayınlandı ve ancak bu albümün tamamı, sanatçının albümün haklarını satın almasıyla, orijinal kayıtlara sadık kalınarak, 2006 yılında; bu kez 2 CD olarak yayınlandı. 1984 yılındaki "Sen Ağlama" albümüyle 1985 yılı ortalarına kadar zirvede kalan Aksu, bu zamanlarda tanıştığı besteci ve aranjör Onno Tunç (asıl ismi Ohannes Tunçboyacıyan)'la 6 albüme imza attı ve bu albümler de çok beğenildi.
Aksu,224 sayfadan oluşan ilk basımı Aralık 2006'da yapılan 197 şarkı sözünü kapsayan Eksik Şiir diye bir şiir kitabı yayınladı.Kitabın ikinci baskısı Ocak 2007'de yapıldı.