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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tarkan: A Manifesto for Freedom

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Emir on Kanal 1 show Yuz YuzeAppearing on entertainment correspondent Kenan Erçetingöz's new magazine show Yüz Yüze for Turkish TV station Kanal 1 (pictured left), newcomer Emir - who was snapped by Tarkan's music label HITT after their mutual friend and producer Ozan Çolakoğlu brought them together - spoke about Tarkan on the late evening show yesterday.

In the first part of the interview, after Erçetingöz got a common consensus from the two actresses sharing the couch with the singer that Emir did in fact look like Tarkan, Emir himself said that he did not think he was an "exact replica" of his famous mentor, but he "wasn't bothered by those that thought he was."

Talking about his past career in television, having started working in the entertainment industry from the age of nineteen, Emir explained how he had got many offers during that time to release an album, but had wanted to wait for the right moment to enter the music scene, and to meet the right people.

When Erçetingöz suggested that it was brave of Tarkan to take someone that resembled him so closely under his wing, Emir replied that Tarkan didn't think of him as competition, but was at a point in his career where he wanted to pass on his knowledge to a new generation.

"Tarkan is at such a stage in his life that he has no need to be jealous of anything, let alone me," he said. And when Erçetingöz suggested that Emir was in fact better looking than Tarkan, the singer disagreed.

"You say that because you haven't seen Tarkan close up. Once you do, he is so handsome, you can't stop looking at him," he said.

Also revealing that Tarkan is currently in America again, Emir spoke of asking Çolakoğlu to set a meeting with Tarkan, to which the famous recording artist had agreed after listening to Emir's songs - especially one track called "Şiki Şiki".

Stating that he wasn't trying to copy Tarkan, but was following the examples he had set in the industry, "People of my generation were all influenced by Tarkan. We fell in love to his songs, spent great summers listening to Tarkan," he explained.

"In Turkey Tarkan is one of the first names that people should look up to. Why is it we can easily say our influences have been Madonna or Michael Jackson, but when it comes to one of our own it's held up to ridicule? I've never hidden the fact that Tarkan is my idol, I've always said it."

Emir also said that he wasn't so stupid as to ask producers to make him an album on the basis of any similarity between him and Turkey's megastar, and that he was honoured by having Tarkan involved in his début album.

"It has set me apart from the rest," he said, before Erçetingöz invited him to sing the song that Tarkan had given for the album.

After Emir lip-synced to the track, Erçetingöz read from the lyrics to Tarkan penned chart topper "Ben Sen Olamam" (I Can't Be You), and asked Emir whether there was a secret meaning behind the words. When Emir denied any such coded meaning in the song, Erçetingöz asked whether it was a response to criticisms about Emir's close resemblance to Tarkan.

"It is my freedom manifesto," Emir replied. "I wanted to come out with a bang, not with the usual type of song and Tarkan thought the same. I was ready for what people would say, as working with Tarkan is a major thing, so I wanted to respond to the obvious straight away."

During the interview, Erçetingöz played the video single to "Ben Sen Olamam" and asked Emir whether it was Tarkan's voice or his singing the song.

"It's my voice. Tarkan added backing vocals, but it is a Tarkan song, and this is the way to sing it to do it justice. I can't understand why people get bothered about such things.

"There won't be two Tarkans in the music industry. There will only be one Tarkan, and hopefully one Emir," he said.

Singing songs from his album on the show, including "Ben Sen Olamam" and Yıldız Tilbe's "Eline Düştüm", female singer and close friend Gülşen also featured via phone link to praise Turkish pop music's latest addition to the industry.

Female singer-songwriter Tilbe had appeared on Erçetingöz's Akşam Keyfi show last May on the same station - where she revealed her collaboration with Tarkan on two songs for an album that Turkey's most famous recording artist has since postponed.

It is not known whether Tilbe's songs will make the final cut of the new album.

Other News Reports

Screencap of reportMeanwhile in other reports, Mexican celebrity site En El Show hasn't forgotten Tarkan, as its news section covering the celebrated events of 17 October has added the Turkish singer's birthday (see left pic), while Turkish paper BirGün has run an article about the country's prime minister in a speech relating to Tarkan's nature campaign about a controversial dam being built in a southeastern region of Turkey.

The Istanbul-based Turkish left-wing daily has published that the Turkish prime minister spoke of his sadness when hearing celebrities are campaigning against the government without being fully briefed on the matter.

"We will be rejuvenating the region to safeguard it against being a hotbed for home grown terrorists, and nothing of historical value will remain underwater. I truly believe that once this amazing project has been completed, those celebrities revisiting the region will want to live there," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is quoted as saying.

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