Sezen Aksu (Turkish pronunciation: [seˈzen ˈaksu]; born: Fatma Sezen Yıldırım; July 13, 1954 in Sarayköy, Denizli, Turkey) is a Turkish pop music singer, song-writer and producer who has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. Her nicknames include the "Queen of Turkish Pop" and Minik Serçe ("Little Sparrow").
Aksu's influence on Turkish pop and world music has continued since her debut in 1975, and has been reinforced by her patronage of and collaboration with many other musicians, including Sertab Erener, Şebnem Ferah, Aşkın Nur Yengi, Hande Yener, and Levent Yüksel. Her work with Tarkan resulted in continental hits like "Şımarık" and "Şıkıdım" and her collaboration with Goran Bregović widened her international audience.CD Baby 6Moons Review Sezen Aksu and Her Children
Sezen Aksu was born in Sarayköy, Denizli, Turkey. Her family moved to Bergama when she was three years old and she spent her childhood and early youth there. Aksu's parents discouraged her singing because they wanted her to have a steady profession as a doctor or engineer. She used to wait until they left the house and sing on the family's balcony. After finishing high school, she began studying at the local agricultural institute, but left college to concentrate on 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 protégé 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 support for constitutional reform, minority rights, women's rights, the environment, and educational reform in Turkey. Aksu has been married and divorced four times, but kept the name from her second marriage to Ali Engin Aksu, a doctor of geology who currently resides in Canada. She has a son with Sinan Özer, named Mithat Can which is also lead vocalist of Pist'on band.Grant, Neva (12 April 2010). "Sezen Aksu: The Voice Of Istanbul". Morning Edition. Retrieved 24 May 2011. Aksu's expressive vocal technique, distinctive songwriting, and prolific output were all integral to her success and to the development of a unique Turkish pop sound. Many musicians--for example, Alexander Hacke and several of the artists he interviewed for the documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul--have acknowledged Sezen Aksu's broad influence. With the Greek diaspora from Turkey in the seventies, many brought their musical tastes, which included Aksu's music to Greece; the Greek musicians Haris Alexiou and Giorgos Dalaras acknowledge her influence. Sezen Aksu (June 19, 2002). The Guardian Cite error: The named reference 6Moons_Review was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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. As a couple they 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 a Lover) again with Tunç. She was to repeat her success with artists Erener and Yüksel also.
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 Bregović.
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) which also featured former Sparks bassist Martin Gordon as engineer/mixer (and also as bass player on her subsequent European tour), 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.
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."
Aksu has recently been re-releasing all her old classics digitally remastered and with specially designed new sleeves.
In 2008, Aksu released her album called Deniz Yıldızı through Starfish Records. And in 2009 she released her latest album Yürüyorum Düş Bahçelerinde. The album contains new original songs as well as some older songs which were composed by Sezen Aksu for other singers, most notably Çakkıdı, Kibir, Yok Ki.