Tarkan Tevetoğlu (born October 17, 1972 in Alzey, West Germany), popularly known as Tarkan, is a successful World Music award-winning pop music singer in Turkey. He has released several platinum-selling albums during his career, with an estimated 15 million albums sold, and is also involved in producing music through his own music company HITT Music, which he established in 1997. Noted for his live stage performances, the Washington Post has compared Tarkan’s effect on Turkey as analogous to Elvis in America circa 1957, while co-founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegün described him as one of the best live performers he had ever seen.
Alzey, West Germany (1993 – present)
Alzey, West Germany (1993 – present)
Tarkan is one of a few European singers that have managed to span chart success over three continents without singing in English. Often cited as the Turkish Prince of Pop, the German born singer has charted in Russia, Europe and in the Americas with the song “Şımarık” (Kiss Kiss). As a result of its widespread success, Tarkan was listed by Rhapsody as a key artist in the history of European pop music, with his signature song as a keystone track that moved the genre forward.
Immediately recognisable with Tarkan’s kisses on the track, “Şımarık” was reincarnated as “Kiss Kiss” by Holly Valance after the composer Sezen Aksu sold the music rights, and has been covered by various artists across the world.
Born in Alzey, Germany on 10-17-1972, Tarkan is the fifth child of six siblings. Tarkan was reared by his loving mother who noticed his talents and encouraged his artistic ability. Coming from humble beginnings, music was a form of release from his realities. Seeing how music moved their child’s very being, was reason enough for Tarkan’s family to encourage his journey into the world of music. He began on his quest by taking lessons in Turkey in order to study the craft of traditional Turkish song. Studying at the Turkish classical musical institution, Tarkan was surrounded by some of Turkey’s most respectable songwriters & musicians. It was at this very young and impressionable age that Tarkan absorbed the essence of music.
After graduating from high school, Tarkan had a string of jobs that led him nowhere in the music arena. Experiencing this disappointment, Tarkan was planning on moving to Germany and leaving his dreams of pursuing music and stardom behind. However, prior to his departure, destiny had different plans in store for him as Tarkan met producer Mehmet Sogutoglu. Mehmet eventually signed Tarkan to his record label, Istanbul Plak. This resulted in the release of Tarkan’s debut album Yine Sensiz in 1993 in Turkey. The first single “Kil Oldum Abi” quickly struck a chord with the public, garnering airplay at nightclubs & eventually hitting Turkish radio’s Top 20 charts. The songs “Cok Ararsin Beni” and “Vazgecemem” perpetuated the album’s success. These songs’ airplay was boosted by music videos in which Tarkan, though innovative and unique, maintained a loyalty to his roots & culture, as he was seen donning a necklace with the crescent & star, a Turkish symbol of national pride. Tarkan’s look was one that was never before seen, with his boyish charm and searing eyes, he managed to win the hearts of the youth. He ultimately sold over 700,000 units, taking his place among Istanbul’s prominent artists.
Tarkan’s sophomore album entitled Aacayipsin was released in 1995. The title track, a collaboration with Sezen Aksu (Turkey’s acclaimed composer/producer/lyricist/performer) became the singer’s first number one single. In 1995, Tarkan held 74 live concerts throughout Turkey & Europe. A New York Palladium concert was broadcast live in Turkey nationwide, to rave reviews. The album’s sales jumped to over 2.5 million units, more albums sold than any other artist that year, cementing Tarkan as a force to be reckoned with in the world of Turkish music.
Following his successes throughout Turkey, Tarkan chose to leave Turkey to collect his thoughts & learn English, relocating to NY. Prior to his departure, as fate would have it, Tarkan met Atlantic Records founder & executive Ahmet Ertegun, who decided to take the talented musician under his wing & consequently became a guiding force in Tarkan’s life, silently grooming him for the world’s stage.