İpek Dinç Yüce started singing at a very young age. She says “I would get on top of the bed, grab a hairbrush and give concerts” when talking about this. Music has always been a part of her life. She studied Chemical Engineering at Istanbul University. She didn’t like this department, so she took an education on commentating and worked in the media sector for a while. It seems like music didn’t stop pursuing her; she met İlham Gencer in 2005 and started her professional music life. She was in the finals during Nardis Young Jazz Vocal Competition in 2006 and she won the Istanbul Jazz Festival Youth Jazz Competition.
İpek Dinç Yüce has worked with many important jazz musicians and continues to give concerts both in Turkey and abroad, and attends festivals. She is also currently working on several different projects. I think there is an album coming. We are waiting eagerly…
During my “Bizim Cazcılar” program for NTV Radio, İpek Dinç Yüce played Musical Letter, a piece from Ozan Musluoğlu’s My Best Friends Are Vocalists album that she recorded with İlham Gencer, “Down In Brezil”, a Michael Franks piece reminiscent of summer days and “Dreamer” from Stacey Kent. If you wish, you can play one of these pieces before embarking on Yüce’s jazz journey.
I Would Become A Singer With A Hairbrush In Hand
I have been interested in music since very early ages. I would sing with a hairbrush in hand in the house. I sang as a soloist throughout my education. Though these school songs weren’t jazz pieces. My family would frequently play jazz at home. My parents’ favourite songs would range from Frank Sinatra to Dean Martin; they liked the standards. I grew up listening to them. However, I started singing jazz and performing on jazz stages after I met İlham Gencer in the summer of 2005. I was singing at a sports club at Yeşilyurt that summer. I was singing pieces in other languages, but we didn’t delve deep into jazz, because it wasn’t frequently played there either. I met İlham Gencer that summer. He was very surprised and asked “How come you know this many songs by memory?” My brain somehow recorded them all. And we started working together. Thankfully he took me everywhere with him. He promoted me everywhere. He would invite me on the stage for 3-4 songs. I was able to meet the jazz circle this way. Önder Focan, Kerem Görsev… I slowly met these musicians one by one and entered the jazz circle.
Our Girl Sings Really Beautifully
I would constantly sing by myself when I was home. I will never forget, my music teacher was making all the students sing one by one when I was in the fifth grade. When it was my turn, she said “İpek what happened to your voice? There is something different, you are using it really well!” I started using my diaphragm without noticing, Nobody taught me how to do this. I started doing so naturally. I replied my teacher’s question with “I don’t know.” I started singing pieces as a soloist in the school from that day on. We entered competitions. These were my first stage experiences. I sang in front of my biggest audience, a tribune full of people—parents, teachers, students—, when I was graduating from high school. I will always remember this; it was a very emotional piece. I was so excited. Then I received an offer from a sports club at Yeşilyurt in 2005. Actually, I was there with my parents for dinner. There was live Turkish music being performed. I wasn’t so familiar with Turkish music but a family friend who was with us said “Our girl sings beautifully, why don’t you invite her to the stage?” They knew the musicians. They invited me, and I said “I can only sing foreign songs. I don’t know any songs in Turkish.” They said okay. I don’t remember what I sang but I am guessing I sang a light Western music piece. They told me they were actually looking for someone to sing in English, and asked me if I would like to work with them. I happily agreed. We performed every Friday during that summer. That same summer I met İlham Gencer and started my professional music life.
Selçuk Sun’s Efforts…
My education had little to do with music. I studied Chemical Engineering at Istanbul University. Then I trained as a commentator. I worked as a news and sports speaker for about a year and a half. I worked as an editor at the same time, doing the montages and corresponding… I did all of these but as in all professions I had to dedicate all of my time to this and had no time to spare for music. So I quit everything else instead of letting music go. I didn’t like Chemical engineering while I was studying it. After all, I had no enthusiasm about chemistry after music entered my life. I wasn’t actually thinking I would work in the music sector as a profession when I graduated from the university at 2009. Or rather, I didn’t think I could do it in Turkey. I thought about working at a chemistry factory out of necessity. I was working with Selçuk Sun back then. We worked together for a year and a half. May his soul rest in peace, he spent a lot of effort on me. He told Şevket Uğurluer about me. Şevket Uğurluer performed at The Marmara Hotel at tea time for 25 years. He wanted to work with a female vocalist. So when he heard about me from Selçuk Sun, he called me and I started to work full-time at The Marmara Hotel with him six days of the week. I didn’t have to think about chemistry ever again.
I Copied And Became A Jazz Musician!
I have a funny story, too; I don’t know if telling this is a good idea but it is always good to be honest. I really disliked my department when I was studying in the university. We were taking an exam, of course everyone was cheating and I had hidden formulas inside my calculator. I was caught and I was expelled for 6 months. First I was very upset, but this turned out to be a good thing. You wouldn’t guess, but during that period I entered Nardis Jazz Club’s Young Jazz Vocal Competition and Istanbul Jazz Festival’s Youth Jazz Competition. I was able to stay at the final for both those competitions. There! My full introduction to jazz coincides with this expulsion period. Even though I was mischievous in my college life, I think this turned out to be a good thing for my music life.
Feel The Depth!
My family would listen to jazz frequently but these weren’t very advanced jazz. We would listen to pieces with vocals; ones we usually call easier. Heavier jazz wasn’t my parents’ style. So I didn’t know much about it either, but jazz is such a genre that once you get used to listening to it and understanding it, the other genres cease to satisfy you much. I listen to pop and rock in my daily life, in the car for example. I adore Beyonce’s voice. I think her voice is one of the most special ones. I like some bands and singers a lot, too. I love George Ezra, and admire his voice. I really like Ed Sheeran. I like the band The Weeknd aside from that. I have a confession to make: I occasionally listen to and like some of Taylor Swift’s songs. I like other genres as well but those are merely for entertainment for me, daily things. When I really want to listen to music, I can say that the only genre that satisfies my soul and my music taste is jazz. When you feel its depth, all the other genres start to feel superficial. So I think jazz has its own special place among all the other genres.
I Have To Sing In Turkish If I Am To Live In Turkey
I didn’t sing in Turkish for years. I was very stubborn about not singing in Turkish. A lot of venues made offers, and people asked me to sing this or that song, and I would say no. I didn’t know these songs, because I wasn’t interested in them, and I didn’t think Turkish lyrics suited jazz well. Maybe I might be failing at that. I sang in English for years, and I was told I pronounce Turkish words as if they were English as well. It is really funny. Then, I told myself I have to sing in Turkish if I was to live in Turkey and I slowly started to include them to my repertoire. So I now sing in Turkish as well. If we are living in Turkey, we are required to do this, I believe.
I Am Very Lucky To Have Worked With The “Masters”
I can say that Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most important musicians who made me love jazz. She is everyone’s teacher. I believe we call learn all the songs by listening to her. Aside from her, there are other vocalists that I admire. Cleo Laine has a special place in my heart. I think she has an incredible vocal range. I think Sibel Köse is a very important name in Turkey. Listening to her has always been a great pleasure for me. I went to her workshops in the past as well. I have had the chance to work with many important musicians. I am very lucky in this aspect. As I mentioned, I worked with İlham Gencer, Selçuk Sun, Şevket Uğurluer… I was able to work with the “masters”. Even though I wasn’t alive back then, they told me all about the older periods. I learnt about Çatı Kulübü and Kulüp 12 stories from them. I sometimes think and wish that we could have lived in those periods. Because those were the times when live music was much more popular and people were much more interested in it.
I think jazz musicians are different than other musicians. They are more humble, for example. Even though they have much more knowledge, they don’t see this as superiority. On the contrary, they dedicate themselves to improvement and want to learn more. There is a saying; the more you know, the full branch bends more easily, you become more humble. I really see this in jazz musicians. They have an attitude that says we know this, we know that. Knowledge brings maturity along. I think I work with incredible people.
Who Is Afraid Of Jazz!
Jazz musicians aren’t vein people on the contrary to popular belief. Because they are more mature and open to improving themselves, as I have said. I think this wrong perception is due to the fact that jazz isn’t a genre that comes from our own culture. I have lived this many times: They ask me “What do you do?” and I reply “I sing jazz”, they ask me “What is jazz? Give us some examples!” What kind of an example can I give? We are very foreign to it. People get afraid when they hear the word jazz. Asking a pop singer something actually is way harder than asking a jazz musician. At the same time, I see in my own concerts or when I go to listen to others that there is a serious jazz audience in Turkey… There is such a circle. The number of people have increased lately as well. I believe it really went up in numbers in these past few years. I think there is such a global trend. We experience its effects in Turkey as well. We can make people love jazz more by singing those with Turkish lyrics. I believe we can actually introduce jazz to them like this. The Turkish jazz audience really is a great group of listeners. They really know how to listen and are very knowledgeable. They can sometimes give you critiques as well. They can make comments like this and that happened in the back or this song would suit your voice etc. I really find this kind of listener and contribution very positive and constructive.