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'It's the kisses that are universal'

Tarkan finds his moves take him across borders

Web posted on:
Monday, August 09, 1999 3:51:54 PM EST

(CNN) -- Turkish singing sensation Tarkan (TAR-kuhn) is hitting the charts in Europe, with his third album "Ölürüm Sana" ("Crazy About You"). And the 27-year-old artist has another one in the works -- this time it's in English.

Tarkan sat down with CNN WorldBeat Correspondent Bruno del Granado to talk about his life and art.

Tarkan: I was raised in Germany until I was 13, and then my family decided to go back to Turkey. It was good in a way, because I studied music. And I went to a Turkish classical music school and studied music for three years. And then I just realized that I can't do anything else but singing music. And everything just happened naturally.

Q: How does it feel to be the first artist of Turkish origin to sell 500,000 albums in France, of all places?

Tarkan: It feels wild, you know, because in the beginning I never thought it was going to really happen. It's all in Turkish, you know, and nobody understands a word. But I think it's a groove. It's the kisses that are universal.


Listen to a clip of "Simarik"
[95k MPEG-3] or [125k WAV]

(Courtesy Polygram Records)

Q: How did you hook up with Ahmet Ertegun, who's also Turkish? (Ertegun, the son of a Turkish diplomat, is the chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records.)

Tarkan: Yes. He was my mentor in a way -- as a musician and as a businessman. He came to Turkey once and saw me on stage performing, and then he came up to me and said, "You've got to call me. I'm Ahmed Irdigan."

I said, I would love to. And that was the first thing I did when I came to New York. Then we did an agreement, a deal, with him for the English albums.

Q: So you're going to record in English now?

Tarkan: Yes. Actually, I've been working on an English album for two years, and it's almost done. "Sikidim" (the song) is the hook because "Sikidim" doesn't mean anything actually. There's a definition I have, but it's a way of moving in Turkey. It's a very sexy, kind of Oriental kind of moving.

Q: There are five million Turkish people in Europe and most of them are in Germany. Do you feel they've been very supportive of your music, of you as an artist and everything else?

Tarkan: Oh, definitely. My fans -- when I see them somewhere, outside my concerts -- I get that, that vibe. They're really supporting my projects and everything, because it's a first time that a Turkish singer is, you know, able to express himself out of Turkey.

And I think they're proud of me and they're really supporting me. I can feel that.

Tarkan official Web site
Tarkan fan site
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