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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Tarkan We Know

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Tarkan in Antalya earlier this year for a special concert aimed at Russian tourists spending their Spring and Labour Day holiday in Turkey, 3 May 2007As the countdown to the release of Tarkan's latest lyrical offering in a career that has marked nearly two decades in song begins for Turkish music fans in Turkey and across the globe, Tarkan Deluxe examines the recent news stories that have appeared in the Turkish press about the artist and his music.

Among other things, Tarkan has come under scrutiny by magazine reporters concerning details about the up-coming 2007 album, his turbulent industry relationships and the scheduled end-of-year showcase for his latest tracks.

Turks countdown to saint's rebirth

Italian film director Ferzan Özpetek directed Tarkan's music video for the 2001 Hup song and seemingly worked his iconic status into the role by making the singer resemble another iconic image - Jesus ChristWhile Christendom gets ready to celebrate the birth of their saviour in 2007, Turkish pop industry's icon own is getting ready to be "born-again" with an album that is regarded as a "make-or-break" turning point in an illustrious music career that spans almost two decades.

Even with the digital age of music adversely affecting CD copies sold in the high street, people in the music industry believe the artist to be a saviour of shop sales, while Tarkan fans hail him as the patron saint of pop music.

2007 Tarkan album set for release

Turkish newspaper Sabah supplement Günaydin's magazine correspondent İpek Durkal writes today that having finished the latest Turkish language album recording's at studios İmaj and Sarı Ev, Tarkan's album is set to be released on 24 December, under a DMC label.

Tarkan Deluxe had previously published that Tarkan was considering publishing his latest release to coincide with his début album Yine Sensiz, which had been put out for retail on 24 December exactly fifteen years ago - marking the artist's decade and half in the Turkish music industry.

The 1992 album was Tarkan's musically weakest to date, with the lowest domestic sales of all his albums. Only his English release Come Closer sold less copies in Turkey.

A Tarkan-only feature with guest appearances?

In Durkal's article, she goes on to claim that the first song to be put on film will be an up-beat track called "Vay" (Oh). Lyrics written by Tarkan and music composed by Tarkan and Ozan Çolakoğlu, it is reportedly to be directed by Kıvanç Baruönü.

Baruönü has worked with Tarkan before, directing the video for Tarkan's songs "Start the Fire", "Hüp (Ozinga Remix)" and "Verme". He also edited Tarkan's music video for his first English language single "Bounce".

Other details given include that the music video will be recorded in a studio in Maslak, a main business district of Istanbul, rather than on location. It will only feature Tarkan.

There are unsubstantiated rumours there will be two duets on the album, and female Turkish singer Sibel Can revealed to reporters that she would be featuring in the release. However, most believe this to be an appearance at the end-of-year show the pop artist is scheduled to appear on, and not on the album itself.

Tarkan had "made an appearance" in Can's 2007 project that went on sale earlier this year, by lending backing vocals to a song he gave for her album.

With pre-release news suggesting 10 tracks in the play list of his latest album - boasting a new blend of urban and pop sounds - the musical arrangements have been engineered by Çolakoğlu, who has worked with the artist since 1992.

It is seen as almost a certainty that Tarkan and Çolakoğlu composed most of the tracks together for the artist's recent Turkish outing, and if the artist is the only major songwriter on his latest album, it will be a first since his openly homosexual first manager penned most of the lyrics with him to his début release.

A "green" album?

Tarkan Deluxe published news at the end of May this year that the artist had taken pictures for the album's cover art at a popular holiday resort in Antalya. The news had been overshadowed by a high speed car chase with the paparazzi, but the "tree-house" holiday resort lent proof to rumours that the album would be an "ecological" one, including songs about the environment. Although recent rumours suggest the album art designs have changed, Tarkan confirmed the existence of such a song in a September interview aired on Turkish TV.

In Kanal D's weekly entertainment news slot, "Canlı Canlı" (4 September, 2007), he mentioned an "earth-song" type track he had penned, which would deal with the current issue of the environment, while reiterating his concerns over global warming. A video of the TV interview is posted further below, with English subtitles.

History of Tarkan's 2007 album

There has been a lot of rumour surrounding the enigma of Tarkan's 2007 Turkish album.

Tarkan had declared that he wanted to release a Turkish pop album in the summer of 2007, but it was postponed twice in the summer.

Reasons cited in the magazine quarters of the Turkish press for the constant delays included claims that Tarkan, unhappy with some of the songs, had changed the list of tracks many times. Testing the patience of his production team, some surmise that Tarkan could have released three albums with the repertoire of songs amassed during the making of the album.

Another press rumour attributed the delays to disagreements with female songwriters Sezen Aksu and Nazan Öncel, which pushed the release to an autumn start date. Again Tarkan mentioned a "public holiday" that many thought to mean October. However in September, during the "Canlı Canlı" TV interview the artist made clear that this date had been postponed, too.

Tarkan also revealed that the song he had given to Can for her 2007 album, had in fact been intended for his album.

You can watch the TV interview, posted by Tarkan Deluxe with English subtitles, below.

Watch Tarkan's September 2007 Interview

Weekly entertainment news slot Canlı Canlı
(Kanal D) (Aired: 4 September, 2007)

Click on the play button to view if your browser doesn't start the video on load.
Length: 3:15
Size: 3.55 MB
Sound: 158 kbps (Mono)
Language: Turkish (with English subtitles)

Notes: Tarkan discusses a range of topics from his 2007 album to song writing, from his thoughts on working with Sibel Can and Turkish classical music diva Müzeyyen Senar's illness to how he deals with criticism. (Notes provided by Ali Yıldırım)

Copyright Notice:
Kanal D logoThe clip from Kanal D's TV show Canlı Canlı has been published after reference to their copyright guidelines. If you believe this video infringes someone else's copyright or violates other such Terms of Use, or you contest you own all copyrights in this video, or have express permission from all copyright owners to contest its use, please click here to contact us.

Tarkan and Aksu

Tarkan and Sezen Aksu at Ataturk Airport having arrived from New York, March 2007His previously successful musical partnership with one-time mentor Aksu has suffered many setbacks. Rumoured to be on bad terms again, both artists have refused to answer questions about each other to the press, and whether Aksu will contribute to Tarkan's 2007 offering.

It had been a different story in 2006. Tarkan had signalled a warming in their icy relations, after admitting to being wrong in the copyright dispute over their hit collaboration "Şımarık" in a magazine interview. The song had become Tarkan's signature tune and garnered him various Turkish and international music awards.

Soon after his positive 2006 statements in the media about the female songwriter, came the news that Aksu was to support Tarkan on his new album.

However, creative differences caused problems again. Her contribution dwindled from an initial three songs to just one, with the last song "Nezaket" removed from Tarkan's album at the last minute, and dividing the popular duo once again.

While there are still claims as recent as 10 December in the magazine press that Aksu has in fact contributed to Tarkan's latest album, news of Aksu's strange comments to reporters when out at a birthday party a few night's ago along with the story that Tarkan and Aksu would be appearing separately on the same New Year show for Turkish state TV channel TRT, seemingly confirm their relationship has suffered another rift.

He will be duetting with close friend Can on the TV show, instead.

And now, with the upcoming gala of Aksu-inspired film "O Kadın" (That Woman) tomorrow, and Turkish paper Hürriyet's magazine supplement Kelebek reporting that Aksu was admitted to hospital briefly, journalists wait to see if Tarkan will make an appearance at the pop diva's side - and quash the rumours once and for all.

Are Tarkan's PR team members stars too?

In her column yesterday, Şengül Balıksırtı took Tarkan's PR team to task over the end-of-year concert for Turkish state TV TRT, which is being planned to kick-start Tarkan's promotions for his latest album.

"The first condition of being a star might be to be unreachable. Just like Tarkan... But it's somewhat strange when you want to ask a question, you can't even reach his helpers, his manager or his press agents, let alone Tarkan. Is everyone a star I wonder? Anyway... the answer to the question "How much money did Tarkan get for TRT's New Year show?" is a mystery. They reject the given $1.5 million. They say that after the release of this story, they were put in a difficult position. But they won't say exactly how much it was! I'm curious, don't these things have receipts? And why is it so hard to speak about things that must be documented on paper? Isn't the easiest way to rebut a lie to tell the truth, rather than to say, "They're writing lies"?

Sabah columnist Bakılsırtı does fail to mention that if the Turkish press were prepared to treat the singer fairly, possibly his press agents would be more quick to respond, however fans also wait to see whether Tarkan will become more accessible over the Net. Many wonder what improvements will be made to the artist's official sources, and if a site will be opened for the new album.

The artist's official site or his own music production site have yet to confirm details made public about his latest work.

Other News in Brief

Meanwhile, in an article similar to a Tarkan Deluxe May 2006 post ("Tracing Tarkan Trends with Google"), Sabah newspaper ran a story three days ago about Google's analysis tool that provides insight into broad search patterns, claiming that in 2007 most search hits for Tarkan came from Bulgaria.

And finally, Günaydin has yet again given Tarkan space in their columns to write that Turkish music critic and radio presenter Şafak Karaman has declared the artist's energy from the 90s as "over".

Obviously, he doesn't know the Tarkan that fans know.

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