10 Songs

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About Özlem Tekin

Rebellious icon of Turkish rock music, and one of the leading figures of female singers, Ozlem Tekin has proven herself in various genres of music, film, and television performances. Born in the U.S. on November 18, 1971, she returned to Turkey to start primary school. A self-taught guitar player, Tekin also received piano lessons during her high school years and was later accepted in the clarinet department of Hacettepe State Conservatory. Fronting many cover bands during her education, she moved to Istanbul after graduation and became a part of Volvox, the first all-female Turkish rock band, which also included Sebnem Ferah.

After two years of full-time Volvox, Tekin decided to pursue a solo career, working with producer Hakan Peker. Her debut, Kime Ne, was released in 1996. Although produced with the general, polished approach of the '90s, Kime Ne was full of original hits. First single "Ask Her Seyi Affeder Mi?" paved the way for the rest of the album, which was mostly a mix of traditional instruments with Western pop formats -- like "Sebepsiz Savas" or "Duvaksiz Gelin" -- or just plain, alternative disco tracks, like "Yar Bana Varmadi" and cool rockers like "Herkes Sansli Dogmuyor." Her socially involved, yet intimate lyrics were praised immediately, and the album put Tekin in the spotlight.

Leaving Peker's label, Tekin released her second album from Istanbul's Plak, home of the Turkish pop star Tarkan. Released in 1998, Oz was an all-electronic album and included the hit "Yol." Tekin, spinning into her own world, mixed Depeche Mode-like tracks with her soulful Morissettesque voice. One year later, she was back with her third album, Laubali (meaning "overly familiar" or "free and easy"). The opposite of her second effort, Laubali was mostly a party album full of uptempo, soul-lifting tracks. Changing her focus after Laubali, Tekin started to host a daily TV show for the summer; the show would later become one of her main interests.

Over the next two years, Tekin took some time off and didn't even play the guitar for a minute, as she said in an interview. As a result, the 2002 album Tek Basima saw a more mature, less "laubali" singer and the prevalent theme of "being abandoned by a lover." Shortly after Tek Basima's release, Tekin toured the summer cities of Turkey with Rock'n Dark, and a free remix album of her five hit songs was given away as a souvenir to listeners.She participated in a soundtrack to the film Neredesin Firuze with the cover of a Black Sea-originated folk song. She also toured with Fatih Erkoc and Levent Yuksel in 2004 as part of a Turkish pop history organization. Tekin's fifth studio album was released in 2005 and named 1234 5 67890. A harder, edgier sound was instantly obvious as she returned to her roots for inspiration and again surprised her fans, and the media, as well. Featuring songs varying from hard rock to punk with her Turkish accent, Tekin was one of the favorite live acts of the year, and was featured in the single "Kalpsiz" by Badem in 2009. While recording and touring, Tekin also starred in a TV serial, took small parts in feature films, sang in a stage musical and was the leading actress in the widely acclaimed Cem Yilmaz feature Hokkabaz with comedian Yilmaz and Mazhar Alanson. ~ Vefik Karaege

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