1940’s, 23 years after the Turkish Republic was founded, it was a decade dedicated to the modernism and Turkey was ready to catch up Europe. The musical trends of the day were shifting from the traditional tunes to either jazz or French chansons or Italian songs. After entering to NATO in 1952, the American influence on the country was evident too, the Turkish media were promoting a more Americanised lifestyle, the technology was developing and Turkey was being introduced to capitalism. During these years, a girl was born and her name was Ajda.
She was heavily influenced by these trends. She went on stage one night at a club at the age of 16, sang a song and later became a part of the band that was playing there. It was early 60’s, and pop tunes were spreading. Very eager, Ajda wanted to record her own songs too. It was a hard task and knowing that the movie sector was more popular than the music back then, Ajda took part of a contest in which they were aiming to find new movie stars, and she won it. Between 1964 to 1967, she starred in 47 movies. In 1967, she sang a Turkish version of Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night, and it became a chart topper.
After the success, she quit acting and focused on singing. She was young, beautiful and daring. Soon after, she became the face of the new generation. That’s why in 1970 an international company Philips took notice of her and signed a major deal with her. After recording in 7 languages with Philips (Greek, German, French, Japanese, Spanish and so on) They decided to continue recording in French. That’s when Ajda got the nickname “Superstar”, she started appearing on French media and became an “icon” for Turkey. She was the trendsetter. She was flying between France and Turkey and everytime she was coming back, she was presenting the new fashion and styles to Turkish women.
In her songs, she was supporting feminism. She was empowering females by portraying the strong women. She was the first singer to do so. She was also updating her image, and that wasn’t only with make up or styling. In an era when plastic surgery was a taboo or something that was very scary to most people, she was changing her nose, her lips, her teeth, with the help of the surgeons.
Ajda performing one of her most famous songs “Yeniden Baslasin”:
She is still regarded as the biggest pop star in Turkey and pawed the way for the other artists. Aged 69, she is still an active artist, who enchants the audience with her fit and young image and energy.
P. S. Check out my old post Sex Sells, So What? to read more information about Ajda!