Boasting a record breaking 1.7 billion YouTube views, 150 million Spotify streams and 750,000 Spotify monthly listeners, Aleyna Tilki is a musical tour de force who became an overnight sensation after appearing on The Voice Turkey aged just 14. Last March, she released her first English record, ‘Retrograde’, created by an all-star team including Dua Lipa, Diplo, Sarah Hudson, JR Blender and King Henry. The track hit #1 trending on YouTube in Turkey and gained over 24 million streams.
She has now released her brand new single 'Take It Or Leave It' and we had the chance to speak with her on the release and more...
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you!
"I am Aleyna Tilki, a 21 year old artist from Turkey. I started my career at the age of 14. The Turkey Got Talent show changed my life and introduced me to the Turkish audience. Since then, I have established superstardom in Turkey with ground breaking hits and my signature vocals. I have always managed to fuse genres effortlessly, with my unique style."
When did you start making music?
"My music adventure started when I was very young. And since that time it’s been reflected in every stage of my creating process. My audience knew me from my juvenile side and I never let go of my childish side when I am creating music. I am still chasing it."
Where are you from and what’s your favourite thing about it? Do you feel your surroundings have inspired your sound?
"I was born in a very mystical place: Konya. The hometown of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi which has a deep philosophy. My first playground was a cemetery. I know life and death so deeply. I am always inspired by these elements. My birth place has a huge influence on my soul."
Who are the biggest inspirations musically?
"I only have painter friends. The most inspiring things for my music are paintings and visuals. Because the paintings are extremely free to express feelings as music. Also, maybe they are much more free, which makes me jealous. Colours can tell every story to me. In ancient times, a hunter drew his prey first to capture the animal’s soul. I also draw my songs as paintings before I even write my lyrics, in order to describe the essence of it."
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
"I really like to sing with Selda Bağcan, who is a great inspirational, unapologetic Turkish singer. She’s a real rebel and an authentic Anatolian woman. I also wanted to make a collaboration with Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Ozzy Osborne and Billy Idol."
What would be your dream venue to play?
"I want a million people to sing my songs. I don’t think there’s a venue built for it. In my dreams I always see myself on stage with a purple dress. The colour indicates the maximum aura of the soul - singing my songs with the crowd of a million people."
You most recently released your new track ‘Take It Or Leave It’ which has amazingly already hit over 8 million streams! How does it feel to have that released and for it to have the reaction it has?
"This song showed that people will accept me for who I am. The global audience embraced me with my true personality. The feeling of acceptance as Aleyna is really great. This also shows that everyone can be unapologetically themselves."
Tell us a little about the track (writing / inspirations etc)
"I wanted to break the taboos of perfectionism and show my true essence with all my reality in it. I wanted it to reflect my happiness and my sadness, with all my truth and darkness in me crying out loud. I believe in the motto “where there is dark, there is light” and I have written about this in the song."
It's accompanied by a music video - what were the inspirations or ideas behind it?
"I have always chased for real love opposed to inequality and I was always a rebel rejecting the loveless people. I wanted to show that love can be natural, good, bad and still be together. The video is about my high school era; the school-out time, which is my favorite part of the day. The motorcyclists that were in the video are the real guys that were picking me up from school. My video BFF was my real BFF of mine when I was in high school. The garage in the video is my real garage from when I was a child and pure. In fact, I believe in the motto “essence to essence” and wanted to reflect my reality in the video."
Are there any chances to see you live in the near future?
"Surprises are coming. I want to establish my international career with great tracks first and then be on stage for my global audience very soon."
What's coming next for you? Any exciting things you can tell us about?
"You’ll be more surprised with my next releases because we’re all witnessing my journey of finding myself. All of my songs have the same feeling and vibe, but I want to embellish them with different sounds. My next solo release will be a hyper-pop release which is the genre that attracts me most nowadays."
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