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Friday, February 06, 2009

Taking a Chance

Eidtorial by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK

Tarkan with LA studio Pacifique's Ken Deranteriasian and mixer Dexter Simmons in 2006
Tarkan with LA studio Pacifique's Ken Deranteriasian and mixer Dexter Simmons in 2006
Regurgitation of previous news reports in the Turkish press reiterate once again that Tarkan has returned to the studio this week to begin work on his as yet untitled seventh Turkish language album.

In 2006, the singer had been unable to follow his previous successes with his first English language release Come Closer, while his following Turkish language 2007 album Metamorfoz only helped to divide popular opinion in his home nation.

Mindful of that, should we be expecting a subdued Tarkan, more careful of change with any follow-up, or will he be inspired again to try and say something new?

A Year On

Only a year after the release - and far less for its re-release - of Metamorfoz, Tarkan has uncharacteristically forgone a long musical hiatus to signal that a new musical offing might currently be in the works.

Naturally, hardcore fans by now know to take what the singer says with a pinch of salt, as - never mind the incompetence of his team - the only thing ever certain about what Tarkan says is that it will fail to materialise.

However, releasing a new album in such a short space of time for Tarkan might signify to some that he has indeed begun to re-think his musical strategy and direction that he had promised us with his 2007 synth-dense metamorphosis.

Although his 2007 album was comparatively successful with the other albums of its day by notably going platinum in just a week of initial sales and a week of pre-orders, its comparative failure against Tarkan's own personal discography is even more noticeable.

Given that music piracy has affected a huge downturn in hard copy sales since Tarkan released his last million-seller Dudu way back in 2003, initial figures still suggest that Metamorfoz might have shifted less records than his poorly-produced début album Yine Sensiz. We won't know that until music industry society MÜ-YAP releases its annual sale figures for 2008 later this year, but however way we crunch the numbers, a quick release for Tarkan will always open the door to innuendo from his critics.

When Dudu was only released two years after his smash-hit Karma transformation, some in the media had pooh-poohed the EP as nothing to do with music - puffed out with so many remixes of the same few tracks - but a money making device, instead. Although, despite the criticism, that record went on to sell over a million copies not only in Turkey, but Russia, too.

Ultimately, however, nothing matters if the music moves us in the right ways, and maybe Tarkan is instinctively trying to go back to a period when he was making all the right moves to bolster fans with a snap release. It's also possible he wants to keep up the impetus with the changing musical sales climate and give fans a rapid and visceral recording experience.

It's a sign of the times not to want to drag out the production stage any more, now that music is so easily accessible to the masses for free, or to minimise the danger that - as with his English language project - you might suddenly find the musical world has moved on without you.

Looking back

So, it looks like this time there won't be any procrastinating.

As an artist, kudos must be given to Tarkan in making a record like Metamorfoz, which reflects how he has matured. It takes a lot of courage to embrace the new, and there's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. And as each succeeding album has shown, as far as Tarkan is concerned, change isn't an option then, but a necessity.

It's an improvement to change, but alongside needing to change with his music, Tarkan needs to keep updated with the industry and the latest technology that affects it. He needs to make use of the latest web technologies to get closer to his fans, and to promote and generate awareness of his music more successfully. For example, his Karma and Dudu web platforms were much more successful than the ones for Come Closer or Metamorfoz.

Tarkan belly dancing in his Hup music videoBut if he keeps making a copy of the same record it's going to be no good for anybody. He knows he has to change.

For the truth of the matter is that Tarkan will not be the same person that made his first record, or second, or even third. The emphasis lies on the score that today's Tarkan will not be the one that gyrates at us from Ferzan Ozpetek's timelessly directed video to "Hüp".

That was eight years ago. You can change a lot in eight years.

If Tarkan simply continues to make more music like that, as a pioneer in his genre, he'd surely feel to be doing the music a disservice. There will always be fans that will want just that, but Tarkan will be hoping that the majority of his fans will follow him no matter what - until one day he releases an album big enough to change history once again.

And after all, change is all about taking a chance.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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