Facts & Figures
The story so far
He has been the best selling artist in Turkey for years
now, and the past year he's been conquering every European country with his
songs "Şımarık" (commonly known as "the
kiss-song") and Şıkıdım. His music is the
perfect balance between Western pop-music and oriental influences. His
lyrics are loaded with Turkish slang, often sexually tinted. He dances in
a sensual, provocative way. But who is this man really ? Let's get
to know him a little better...
At the beginning
Tevetoğlu was born on October 17, 1972 in Alzey, near Frankfurt
(Germany), where he lived with his parents, two brothers and three
sisters. His parents lived in a rental house and worked in a
factory. Later on, his father started a successful business as an interior
decorator. Therefore, it was a complete surprise that, when Tarkan was
about 14 years old, his father suddenly decided for the family to move back to
Back in Turkey, Tarkan started his classical musical education at the Music High
School in Karamürsel. He worked together with famous and successful
Turkish composers. Afterwards, he continued this musical education in
Istanbul. At the age of 16, he already performed in Turkish bars and clubs
to earn his pocket money.
In 1993, while he and his family were still having problems adjusting to the
Turkish way of life and decided to move back to Germany, Tarkan would have done
the same if it wasn't for Mehmet Söğütoğlu.
Mehmet Söğütoğlu is the owner of Istanbul Plak, one of the most successful
record companies in Turkey. A mutual friend gave him a demo cassette with
Tarkan's songs, and he jumped right to it. If he would have reacted a few
days later, Tarkan would already have moved back to Germany, and his life would
have taken a complete different direction, and he would probably be leading an
anonymous life over there.
The take-off of his
After having met Mehmet, who is his producer today, Tarkan's musical career
started off. His debut album "Yine Sensiz" (Again without you)
was released in December 1993 and sold over 700.000 copies. The second
album "Aacayipsin" (You are wonderful) was released in May, 1994, and
sold over 2.000.000 copies in Turkey and 700.000 copies in Europe, which hadn't
been accomplished by any other Turkish pop star before.
A megastar was born !
Tarkan broke sales records and rose to the top of the Turkish rock- and pop scene.
From then on, he couldn't take one step without media attention. His life
was documented on every front-page and every TV-program. In fact, he was
the first male ever to appear on the cover of the Turkish Cosmopolitan.
Finally, he had the success he always dreamed of, but this huge success also had
its price. When he couldn't take a step anymore without a bodyguard and
the paparazzi following him around, Tarkan decided to move to the United States
at the end of 1994.
Tarkan studied for two years at the Baruch College in New York. As a
result, he speaks English fluently.
Ahmet Ertegun -who has Turkish roots also-, the founder of the giant record
company Atlantic Records, is eager to support Tarkan in becoming the first
Turkish top act in America. He heard Tarkan perform in Istanbul, and
immediately felt that he could reach the top in America too. Next summer
he will release his first album in English.
Taking over Europe
In the mean time, Tarkan was taking over Europe. In 1995 he toured in 26
Turkish cities and managed to rush over 800.000 fans to the stadiums. At
the end of that year he did some concerts in Western Europe and over here he
also found a large circle of fans.
In March, 1997 he toured together with Sezen Aksu, who is the Queen of Pop in
Turkey, and with whom Tarkan has written some songs (e.g. Şımarık,
After a break of three years, Tarkan released his third album "Ölürüm
Sana" (I'm crazy about you) in July, 1997, which was followed by a giant
European tour. Locations like London (Hippodrome), Paris (Bataclan),
Berlin (Arena) were just some of the locations Tarkan easily filled. The
album sold over 3 million copies in Turkey alone.
When the single "Şımarık" (spoilt) was released, it became a giant hit
all over Europe: it reached the Top 3 in France, in Belgium it even raised to
For the European market, the record company released a compilation album simply
called "Tarkan", which contains basically the same songs as the "Ölürüm
Sana" album, but with some additional songs from the "Aacayipsin"
album. e.g. Şıkıdım, Dön Bebeğim, Gül Döktüm Yollarına.
In the spring of 1999 (March-April) he did another successful European tour,
which brought him to the following countries: Germany, France, England, Belgium,
The Netherlands, Denmark and Austria.
This tour was followed by a summer tour (July 1999) to Portugal, Ukraine,
Morocco, Tunisia and even Russia and Australia.
In May, 1999, he was voted the "Best selling Turkish artist" at the
World Music Awards in Monaco, which got him world-wide attention .
Tarkan a deserter ?
November 1998, Turkish newspapers reported that Tarkan could be stripped of his
citizenship, because he failed to show up for military service. An
18-month service is compulsory for every Turkish male.
Due to his current success in Western Europe, Tarkan refused to start his
service. Efforts to make him an honorary cultural ambassador for Turkey
and thus postpone the military service, failed. The case attracted wide
attention in Turkey. If he returned to Turkey, he would have been arrested
and sent to a military tribunal. If he stayed abroad (like he did, he is
still living in New York), he could be stripped of his citizenship.
October 1999, a new law in Turkey which allowed Turkish men to reduce their military service to
after paying a 16.000$ fee. At January 10, 2000, after having stayed 16
months abroad, Tarkan returned to Turkey to go to the military. After
giving a superb concert in Istanbul, during which he got an army haircut, he
went to the army a few days later and his service ended on February 14th.
My opinion on
I personally feel Tarkan is one of the best artists, if not THE best artist of
the last decade. His music is great, and besides that, he is an
excellent performer. He has a great, sensual voice which always stays in
tune, he's a superb dancer, and of course, he is strikingly good-looking.
I wish him all the luck in his big dream to become a world star, and I hope he
will provide us with his wonderful music for many years to come.