• SALUTE: How are you feeling after the nomination for the SALUTE Top 100?

I was very chuffed about it, I must say. I do my work as an independent artist. Release music, do gigs regularly, etc.. Is nice to every now then get some sort of affirmation from other pro’s in the industry.

  • SALUTE: How are you? How’s the summer been for you leading up to your inclusion in the Top 100?

Very good, thank you. Done a few really nice gigs with my band during the summer, been to a few festivals in Switzerland, Italy, Portugal. Also been writing and crafting new songs. Ah and also been taking driving lessons finally, hooray so hopefully one day soon I can carry even more gadgets to gigs in even further destinations and make my life more complicated!

  • SALUTE: Where did you grow up? What was it like musically?

I live in North London now but I started in a small town called Samsun in North Turkey, then moved to south at the age of 11, spending winters in a town (Adana) and summers in a small holiday village (Kizkalesi) where my mum used to manage my grandma’s motel.

Musically it has always been a crazy mix and mash. In Turkey we had access to a lot of music from Europe, America, Russia, as well as our own music and I was exposed to all of them and loved a huge variety.

At the age of 5, I was dancing like crazy to Boney M, and crying dramatically to Turkish arabesque in which the string section sounds mostly like they are coming to rip your heart apart.

We did not get the very cool UK stuff though, I must say, apart from the biggies like Queen and Pink Floyd which I loved anyway but that was pre-internet so anything below huge, you needed to somehow come across.

I, however, have always searched for music and I have been very lucky that I always found someone who had a massive record collection or played an instrument. I always found them and copied their music or sang with them. My best mate’s mum is German and she had a massive record collection. American soldiers from the base nearby used to come to our hotel on the weekends and one particular one, a pilot called Tony would come with all his CD’s for me to go through. My ears were always craving for more, so if I didn’t search, they would probably dry and drop cos especially in the summer the few bars on the beach would play the same top 10 till you cant handle anymore (Macarena is engraved in me!).

  • SALUTE: What do you think of the music and culture in the UK? Was it a culture shock musically for you?

I always was into the music culture in UK but didn’t realise how huge the underground was and how everyone just kept on ‘doing’. All these years I still love it! I love that altogether we keep creating and taking part in music scenes. Any scene involves promoters, DJ’s, venues, not only musicians. And there is so much love for it that you can keep going independently.

  • SALUTE: Were there local scenes that you could go to play your music or listen to other people’s music? Were there places where you could collaborate with other musicians?

Adana, my winter town, had quite a bit of a music scene, I must say Rock was a big thing, so by the age of 14, I was in my school’s rock band, we were rehearsing regularly, doing gigs in our town. We even recorded and released a CD.

It was a great start for me but Rock wasn’t gonna be enough, I loved singing everything. I loved literally ‘eating’ music. So further on, when I moved to Istanbul, I collaborated with more musicians, got into some classical, Turkish Folk and classical and jazz as well. Also had the chance to get vocal training from an amazing musician, a whole music passionate called Timur Selcuk.

  • SALUTE: How did you get started making music? 

So singing bit as a vocalist was when I was 14 with the rock covers. I used to write poems and some vague songs when I was really little but then didn’t till all the way up to 17. At 17, I wrote a couple of songs for that album we released with our band. But it took me quite a good few years till I gained any confidence in my writing.

  • SALUTE: What gear do you use for recording and production?

I have a Motu Traveller at home that I use with Logic. Got a Yamaha electric piano that I love writing on, also use as MIDI input. I also have a couple of synths. However, I do more the prep at home. So far, I finished my songs with others in their studios. There are a few people that I have always loved working with and we produced several tracks together, like Raz Olsher, George Botis, Tansay Omar…

  • SALUTE: What was your latest release/music to come out?

My latest is Dancing Feet that I have released last November. I wrote this song years ago but didn’t come around to properly recording it. People always loved it at gigs and finally, I thought I owe it to them, so time to let go. I did really enjoy the making of it!

I am very soon releasing a Turkish one which I have just finished, the complete opposite to Dancing Feet. a very sincere expression of my sadness over the world. A plea for peace.

  • SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?

It’s great! Took me a while to understand the system as its so new but once I did, I thought its genius. It seems more ‘for music’. I must say, It was going to be more difficult for me to ask people, ‘just go there, find me and vote.’ I think this is fairer for people and I appreciate that I myself have discovered lots of new nice music.