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Ajda Pekkan in 2012
|Birth name||Ayşe Ajda Pekkan|
|Also known as||Superstar, Pop diva|
|Born||February 12, 1946|
|Labels||Balet, Doğan Music Company, Emre Plak, Elenor Plak, İstanbul Plak, NVN Müzik, Ossi Müzik, Philips Records, Raks Müzik, Regal, Tempa & Foneks|
|Associated acts||Enrico Macias, Garo Mafyan, Sezen Aksu, Şehrazat, David Vendetta|
Ayşe Ajda Pekkan (Turkish pronunciation: [aʒˌda pe̞kˈkan]; 12 February 1946, Istanbul, Turkey), also known as Süperstar, is a Turkish pop singer and actress. Through a career spanning five decades thus far, Pekkan has released more than 20 albums and, with Sezen Aksu, is the most commercially successful female Turkish music artist with the sales of over 42 million copies worldwide. She is nicknamed the "Superstar" of Turkish pop music. Although famed for her music, Pekkan started her career as an actress with appearances in almost 50 films. During her music career, Pekkan has recorded songs in nine languages. Apart from Turkish, she is also fluent in English and French. She was awarded the honorary distinction of Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2013.
Early life and family
Pekkan was born to Rıdvan Pekkan, an officer in the Turkish Navy, and Nevin Dobruca, a housewife. She spent her childhood at the Naval Base Gölcük in Kocaeli Province. Ajda graduated from the Çamlıca Kız Lisesi, an elite and high-profile girls' secondary school in Istanbul that had been founded during the Ottoman era. Its alumni include foreign nobility and female members of the Imperial House of Osman and the languages of education are Turkish, French and German.
With the help of her sister, Semiramis, she began singing at the popular Istanbul nightclub Çatı (Roof) in 1962. The following year, Pekkan won a Cover Star contest sponsored by the Turkish music magazine Ses (meaning Voice) and was launched on a professional career.
Between 1963 and 1967, the statuesque actress appeared in 47 films opposite popular Turkish actors, mostly in singer roles. Pekkan’s first recording, "Her Yerde Kar Var", an arrangement of Salvatore Adamo's "Tombe la Neige" by Fecri Ebcioğlu, brought her great success in 1965. In contrast to many of her contemporaries, she transited from film to music and in 1968 her record, İki Yabancı (Two Strangers), became a top seller. Pekkan’s continuing success resulted in invitations to international festivals including the Apollonia Music Festival in Athens (1968 and 1969) and the Mediterranean Song Festival in Barcelona (1969).
Ajda moved to France in early 70s and she released her first French single after a collaboration with Mort Shuman. The success of her songs resulted in a series of concerts with Enrico Macias at the Paris Olympia in 1976. In acknowledgement of her nickname, Pekkan released an album called Superstar in 1977. The same year, she participated in the Yamaha Music Festival in Tokyo to great success. She released German and French records in the early 1970s, and her "Pour Lui" and "Viens Dans Ma Vie", became very successful in France. At this pinnacle, she released her second album Süperstar II in 1979.
On 19 April 1980, Pekkan represented Turkey with the entry "Petr'Oil" at the Eurovision Song Contest in Den Haag, the Netherlands. She then decided to take a break and temporarily moved to the USA. After returning to Turkey, she recorded two failed albums, Sen Mutlu Ol (You be happy) and Sevdim Seni (I Loved You) in the then current trend of Turkish music, but returned to her original type of Western pop and gave concerts in 1983 with enormous success. That same year, she released Süperstar III which she followed with Süperstar IV (1987). Superstar III was a huge success; coincidentally, it is her only album that is not available on CD. However, Superstar IV was not succeeded as Superstar III. It was last album on LP. She married with Mehmet Ali Bars, who is a businessman, in 1984 and divorced in 1990.
In late 1989, she began working on her an album with famous Turkish musicians including Fuat Güner from MFÖ (the band which represented Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1985 and 1988), Şehrazat, and Metin Özülkü. The album, simply titled Ajda 1990 signalled a new breakthrough for Pekkan, with sales of over a million. With the success of this album, she immediately began working on her next album.
In 1991, she released Seni Seçtim (I Choose You), to even greater success. Hits like "Sevgide Seni Seçtim" (I Choose You For Love), "Eline Gözüne Dizine Dursun" (Shame on You), "Vazgeçme" (Don’t Give Up), she topped all the charts in Turkey.
In 1993, she released Ajda ‘93 which she recorded this album in Switzerland, Turkey and United States. She worked with Atilla Şereftuğ on this album, a famous Turkish musician who had written the Eurovision ’88-winning song "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi" (Don’t Leave Without Me) for Celine Dion. The hits of the album were "Sarıl Bana" (Give Me a Hug), "Oyalama Beni" (Don't Occupy Me), "Eyvah" (Alas!) and "Ağlama Anne" (Don't Cry Mommy).
After many successful albums she decided to release a best of album, and in September 1998, she released her one of best seller The Best of Ajda . Successfully modernizing the known sound and image of Ajda Pekkan, the milestone album had very succeeded for refreshing her reputable existence within the music industry . Two years later, in 2000, Pekkan released another studio album, simply called Diva and enjoyed sales of over two million copies.
In 2001, she started performing in an Istanbul club Catwalk and her performances were all sold out, with the help of an eager audience looking forward to see "the superstar" after a three year hiatus. The performances were so successful that Pekkan postponed closing the show by about six months.
In 2002, she also began making a movie called Şöhret Sandalı (Boat of Fame). After several years of financial setbacks, it was released in 2006.
In the summer 2003, she released her single Sen İste (Just Want It), written by her friend Şehrazat, the popular songwriter. Six years later,in August 2006, Pekkan released her latest album Cool Kadın (Cool Woman). This album produced the number one dance hit single Vitrin and a funky disco beat called "Amazon". During the first six months over 800.000 copies of Cool Kadın was sold just in Turkey.
In the summer 2007, she began a completely sold out concert series called Ajda goes Disco performing her songs in disco rhythms with Turkey's most famous DJs live on stage. After that, Pekkan quickly began to work on a new studio album, recording it in Turkey. The album "Aynen Oyle" was released in Turkey, German and USA on July 23, 2008. To promote it, Pekkan began touring in Turkey where she performed two new songs "Flu Gibi" and "Gerisi Hikaye" from the album.
In 2011 Ajda took the Turkish music scene by storm when she released her new song "Yakar Gecerim", written by internationally famous Turkish popstar Tarkan, and her album featuring the song, Farkin Bu, received a golden record.
In 2013, Ajda released a brand new single, penned by Gulsen, called "Ara Sicak" and is written by international known lyricer Diren Teper. She is enjoying chart success and publicity while she is recording her new album.