Sedef Sebüktekin

She is my favourite singer in Turkey right now: Sedef Sebüktekin. Perhaps to be described as “indie” with some jazzy influences, but Sedef says she likes to experiment in different genres.

Sedef chose music at the age of 21, after it turned out that her landscape architecture study had less to do with art or design than she had hoped.

Sedef Sebüktekin – Ara (September 2019)

Music was Sedef’s escape. She started writing and recording songs, often in collaboration with her close friend since college, Can Ozan. In recent years she has released a dozen singles.

The self-written song Ara dates from earlier this year, the dance-themed video was released last month. Sedef can be seen in the dazzling clip with Zeynep İlhan, who also did the choreography.

IG: @sedefsebuk

I put together a playlist on Deezer with Sedef Sebüktekin tracks. You can check it here.

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Tuğba Yurt

Müslüm Gürses (1953-2013) is a musical legend in Turkey. With his mélange of arabesk, pop and rock, he became a cult hero in his time – and he still is for a lot of young Turks.

One of his best known songs, and probably one of the most beautiful songs in Turkish, is Nilüfer. There are a trillion Nilüfer covers on YouTube, but for me this version from Tuğba Yurt is one of the best.

Tuğba Yurt – Nilüfer (April 2019)

Tuğba, born in Belgium, is a true pop diva and has been one of the most successful female singers in Turkey in recent years. She had her big breakthrough in 2014 with Doğukan Manço’s cover of a Sezen Aksu song, Sakin Ol. The video is one of the most viewed on YouTube in Turkey.

Just like quite a few other Turkish pop singers, Tuğba has a past in classical music. She studied at the Uludağ conservatory and played the viola in several orchestras.

IG: @tugbayurt

Tuğba Yurt regularly posts videos of intimate acoustic sessions on YouTube. I therefore highly recommend following her channel.

Nova Norda

Singer and songwriter Nova Norda is one of the most eye-catching newcomers in the Turkish music world. Started playing the piano as a 7-year-old girl, studied music at Boğaziçi University and ended up in a corporate job in the media world.

Nova Norda – Zor Akustik (May 2019)

But two years ago her passion for making music eventually won, and since then Nova Norda has released a series of singles and EPs.

All songs are written by the vocalist herself, like Zor (Hard) from earlier this year. Turkish electro pop with a dash of R&B flavour. Personally, I really like the acoustic version – check the video above.

IG: @nova.norda

Göksu Taşçeviren

It’s probably because I’m getting older, but more and more, autumn gets to be my favourite season. The city turns quieter, gloominess alternates with golden brown splendour, and we are not dealing with heat waves or bitter freezing temperatures.

The most beautiful song about autumn’s melancholia is İstanbul’da Sonbahar (Fall in Istanbul) by Teoman. But this is *Kadin* Sesler, so I chose this wonderful version of singer Göksu Taşçeviren and her band Sufle.

Sufle – İstanbul’da Sonbahar (April 2018)

“İstanbul bugün yorgun üzgün ve yaşlanmış – Biraz kilo almış – Ağlamış yine, rimelleri akıyor” (Istanbul is tired today, upset and getting old – Has gained weight slightly – She cried again, her mascara is running down).

Göksu Taşçeviren co-founded the band Sufle when she studied economics at the University of Ankara. The band initially played pop-rock covers, and posted them on YouTube. Later, the warm voice of Göksu could be heard at festivals and in TV shows throughout Turkey. The EP Pus (Haze, 2017) contained only self-written work.

Earlier this month their most recent single Mücevher was released.

IG: @sufleband

Sıla Gençoğlu

Since the release of her self-titled debut album in 2007, Sıla Gençoğlu has become one of the biggest names in the Turkish music world.

Over the past decade, Sıla – singer, songwriter, composer, poet – has made a series of albums that have been admired by critics and have often reached the top position in the Turkish best sellers lists.

Acısa da Öldürmez, Vaziyetler and Zor Sevdiğimden are just a few of her many top 5 hits. One of my personal favourite Sıla songs is Engerek:

Sıla – Engerek (September 2016)

In 2010 and 2014 Sıla was the best-selling artist in Turkey, and in 2015 she was named Woman of the Year by GQ Türkiye magazine.

Sıla’s unique timbre and her both powerful and elegant appearance make her one of my favourite Turkish singers.

Sıla – Karanfil (July 2019)

The past ten months have not been easy for Sıla – the singer had to deal with domestic abuse (and the legal aftermath). Womens rights organizations in Turkey praised her courage to talk openly about this.

Fortunately, there was also a lot of good news: Sıla released two great EPs in 2019. Acı (in March), and Meşk (in July) of which Karanfil became the first single.

L!LA

A catchy melody and a flamboyant singer dressed in pastel colours.

Meet L!LA. Electro pop, Turkish style.

LiLA – Kalp (September 2019)

L!LA’s first single insta aşk had some obvious K-POP influences, but in Kalp (Heart) the well-known “Türkçe Pop” vibe dominates.

Check L!LA’s Instagram profile for more.

IG: @lilamusictr

Sena Şener

Even if the name Sena Şener does not immediately ring a bell, you most definitely know her voice. Sena is the vocalist on the massive indie dance hit Feel (2016) by Turkish producer Mahmut Orhan.

Mahmut Orhan – Feel feat. Sena Şener (April 2016)

She was only 16 years old at the time of the Orhan collaboration, but Sena’s musical career started even earlier. Before that, she shared her acoustic covers of English songs like Radioactive and Don’t You Worry Child on SoundCloud and YouTube.

Sena’s first studio album İnsan Gelir İnsan Geçer was released in 2018. A blend of folk, blues and rock music, all in Turkish, and all written and produced by Sena herself.

Sena Şener – Ölsem (March 2019)

The Ölsem track was released as a single in March 2019. Sena Şener, who is sometimes compared to the late Amy Winehouse, turns 21 later this week. Doğum günün kutlu olsun!

Melisa Uzunarslan

The multi-talented Melisa Uzunarslan released her first studio album in December 2018. But at that time she already had an impressive musical resume.

Getting her first violin lessons as a 9-year-old girl, Melisa has a classical background. She was a member of various orchestras, including the Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic and the İstanbul State Opera and Ballet.

Melisa worked with international celebrities like George Benson and Lang Lang. Since 2013 she has been a violinist and vocalist at the concerts of the famous Turkish rock singer Teoman.

Melisa Uzunarslan – Kabus (September 2019)

She wrote all the tracks on her debut album Tanıdığım En Güzel Deli, and Melisa also played the violin, piano and guitar. The video for Kabus was released this month. I think it’s a very powerful song.