Ajda Pekkan

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Ajda Pekkan
Ajda Pekkan 01.jpg
Ajda Pekkan in 2012
Background information
Birth name Ayşe Ajda Pekkan
Also known as Superstar, Pop diva[1]
Born (1946-02-12) 12 February 1946 (age 71)
Origin Istanbul, Turkey
Genres Pop, Schlager
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, actress
Years active 1964–present
Labels Balet, DMC, Emre Plak, Elenor Plak, İstanbul Plak, NVN Müzik, Ossi Müzik, Philips Records, Raks Müzik, Regal, Tempa & Foneks, HITT Production
Associated acts Enrico Macias, Garo Mafyan, Sezen Aksu, Şehrazat, David Vendetta
Website Official website
Notable instruments

Ayşe Ajda Pekkan (Turkish pronunciation: [aʒˌda pe̞kˈkan]; 12 February 1946,[2][3][4] Istanbul, Turkey), also known as Superstar, 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. In 1998 the Government of Turkey was awarded the title of State Artist to be given by the Ministry of Culture on the recommendation of the Ministry of Culture. She was awarded the honorary distinction of Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2013.[5]

Early life and family[edit]

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.


1962–1969: Early life[edit]

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).

1970s: Career beginnings[edit]

In the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest, Ajda Pekkan and her group

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.[6][7][8] 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.

Career peaks[edit]

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 90 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 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. 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. Naim Dilmener published a book entitled Hür Doğdum Hür Yaşarım written in 2007, about Ajda Pekkan's life and music career.[9] The album "Aynen Oyle" was released in Turkey, German and USA on 23 July 2008. To promote it, Pekkan began touring in Turkey where she performed two new songs "Flu Gibi" and "Gerisi Hikaye" from the album.

Today too[edit]

In 2011 Ajda took the Turkish music scene by storm when she released her new song Yakar Geçerim, 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 Sıcak and is written by international known lyricer Diren Teper. She is enjoying chart success and publicity while she is recording her new album.



  • Ajda Pekkan (1968)
  • Fecri Ebcioğlu Sunar: Ajda Pekkan (1969)
  • Ajda Pekkan Vol. III (1972)
  • Süperstar (1977)
  • Pour Lui (1978)
  • Süperstar II (1979)
  • Sen Mutlu Ol (1981)
  • Sevdim Seni (1982)
  • Süperstar III (1983)
  • Ajda Pekkan ve Beş Yıl Önce On Yıl Sonra (1985)
  • Süperstar IV (1987)
  • Ajda 90 (1990)
  • Seni Seçtim (1991)
  • Ajda 93 (1993)
  • Ajda Pekkan (1996)
  • Cool Kadın (2006)
  • Aynen Öyle (2008)
  • Farkın Bu (2011)
  • Ajda Pekkan & Muazzez Abacı (2014)


As an actress
Year Title Role Notes
1963 Şıpsevdi Filiz
Kendini Arayan Adam Gönül
Adanalı Tayfur Filiz
Şaşkın Baba
Öpüşmek Yasak Sema Selamet
1964 Abudik Gubidik
Çanakkale Aslanları
Plajda Sevişelim Ressam Lale
Kaynana Zırıltısı Fatma
Hızır Dede
Koçum Benim
Sokakların Kanunu Emine
1965 Artık Düşman Değiliz Alev
Cici Kızlar Nermin Gürsoy Çiftbaş
Kart Horoz Hizmetçi Fatoş
Kolla Kendini Bebek
Pantolon Bankası
Şaka ile Karışık Ayla
Şepkemin Altındayım
Yabancı Olduk Şimdi
Bir Caniye Gönül Verdim
Şehvetin Esiriyiz Sevim
Babamız Evleniyor Leyla
Sevdalı Kabadayı
Taçsız Kral Hülya
Dalgacı Mahmut
Berduş Milyoner
Helal Adanalı Celal
Bir Gönül Oyunu
Lafını Balla Kestim
Sevinç Gözyaşları Filiz Erkmen
1966 Avare Kız Ayla Doğanoğlu
Kara Tren Türkân
Şoför Deyip Geçmeyin
Seher Vakti Ajda
Ümit Sokağı
Düğün Gecesi Güler
Siyah Otomobil Selma
Dişi Düşman İren
Dağda Silah Konuşur
Günah Çocuğu
Affet Sevgilim Leyla
Ayrılık Şarkısı
Erkek Severse Serap
1967 Harun Reşid'in Gözdesi Dilaram
Düşman Âşıklar Gonca
1968 Kalbimdeki Yabancı .
1969 Tatlı Günler
2002 Şöhret Sandalı Yelda
2013 Romantik Komedi 2 Herself (Guest)

Awards and orders[edit]

Ribbon Award and order Country Date City Note Source
Ribbon of People Artist of Azerbaijan.png Art-Cultural and Human Artist Awards  Azerbaijan 14 July 2013 Baku The award was given by the International Eurasian Institute, headed by Ganire Pashayeva. [10]
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Chevalier ribbon.svg Ordre des Arts et des Lettres  France 1 November 2013 Istanbul The French Ambassador to Turkey, Laurent Bili, was introduced. [11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Crossing Generations and Borders: A Turkish Pop Diva's Musical Tour". The New York Times. 21 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "Gazinocular Kralı Ajda'yı kızdıracak". Hürriyet. 2002-12-23. 
  3. ^ "Ajda Pekkan 72 yaşına girdi". Haber7. 14 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Ajda Pekkan'ın soğan kabusu". Sabah. 17 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Ajda Pekkan'a sanat ve edebiyat şövalyelik nişanı". Anadolu Agency. 2013-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1980". Eurovision.tv. 
  7. ^ "Turkey". Eurovision.tv. 
  8. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest : Details : Turkey 1980 : Ajda Pekkan, Petr'oil". 
  9. ^ Dilmener, Naim (2007). Hür Doğdum Hür Yaşarım (Ajda Pekkan Kitabı). Everest Yayınları. p. 175. ISBN 9789752893672. 
  10. ^ "Superstar awarded in Azerbaijan". Hurriyet Daily News. 2013-07-14. 
  11. ^ "Ajda Pekkan, Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Istanbul, le 1er (...)". La France en Turquie. 
  12. ^ "Ajda Pekkan, Sanat ve Edebiyat nişanıyla taltif edildi, İstanbul" (in Turkish). The French Ambassador to Turkey official website. 2013-11-01. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nilüfer & Nazar
with "Sevince"
Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Ayşegül Aldinç & Modern Folk Trio
with "Dönme Dolap"