A lot of people may think of Tarkan when Turkish music is mentioned, but Turkey’s music scene is a wide and varied world that ranges from the most classic to the most eccentric and experimental. It is also the women of Turkish music who have made an impact on the scene, from the established to the up-and-coming. We took a look at some of our favorite female musicians who have managed to make quite a mark on the Turkish music scene.
Turkish music cannot be discussed without mentioning Sezen Aksu, certainly one of the most powerful female voices in the Turkish music scene. A singer, songwriter, and producer, Aksu has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and is known as the Queen of Turkish Pop. Having debuted in 1975, the talented singer’s success continued to rise and she is credited for laying the foundation for Turkish pop music from the 1970s onwards. Aksu has also been a patron to other musicians such as Tarkan, Sertab Erener, and Aşkın Nur Yengi, whose personal successes were influenced directly by her musical collaboration.
Certainly one of the quirkiest artists in the Turkish music scene, Nil Karaibrahimgil has a whole lot of talent that accompanies her often experimental style. Noted for her distinct lyrics, Karaibrahimgil’s love for music came from her father, Suavi Karaibrahimgil, who was also a musician. Up until 2007, the singer released three successful albums with songs that remain an important part of the Turkish musical culture. Live on stage, the musician is a master of improvisation, often making up lyrics on the spot and always shining through with her positive disposition.
It’s a good thing that Candan Erçetin decided to go after her true passion, after graduating Istanbul University with a degree in Archeology, by continuing her studies at the Istanbul Municipal Music School. By 1986, the singer won the right to represent Turkey in the Eurovision contest and by 1996 she released her first solo album and in the same year received an award from Alem FM for the best-selling Turkish pop album of the year. Erçetin continued to release best-selling albums and has traveled the world, giving concerts in such countries as The Netherlands, Germany, and Morocco.
Currently one of the most talented up-and-coming musicians in the Turkish music scene, Kalben has a style that thoroughly represents her generation and their particular emotions. Equipped with a guitar and a stunning voice, Kalben has been involved with music since the age of eight. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that her talent was truly discovered when she played an intimate concert for Sofar Sounds in the living room of an Istanbul apartment. Her Sofar Sounds video soon became the most watched, prompting her to continue performing live and releasing her own debut album.
One of the most successful female artists in Turkey, Sertab Erener is not only a pop music singer but also a cross-over soprano with a very impressive vocal range. Having represented her country in the Eurovision Contest in 2003, Erener’s career goes back to her first album, which she released in 1992. A native of Istanbul, Erener studied opera before beginning her musical career working with Turkish music icon, Sezen Aksu, and has since then released one successful album after the other.