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Şebnem Ferah (born April 12, 1972 in Yalova, Turkey) is a Turkish singer and song-writer. She was the head vocalist of the all-female hard rock band Volvox until 1994, after which she went on to pursue an illustrious solo career. Her music style varies from pop rock to hard rock though her later albums have progressively incorporated more of the hard rock sound
Life and career
Şebnem Ferah was born on 12 April 1972 in Yalova to Turkish immigrant parents from Skopje of the Republic of Macedonia. She first took solfeggio and instrument lessons from her father who was also a teacher. She grew up listening to her father’s Rumelian folk songs played with bağlama, mandolin and piano.
She got her first guitar when she was in the first year in boarding at Bursa Namık Sözeri High School. She got acoustic lessons. During her second year, she hired a studio with her friends and formed the group Pegasus. The group had their first stage experience during a rock festival in Bursa, in 1987. After a while, Pegasus disbanded. In 1988 with her four friends, Şebnem formed Volvox, which was named after the microorganism named volvox they encountered in a biology lesson.In 1989 she provided the voice of Ariel for The Little Mermaid. She also reprised the role in the redub.
After graduating from high school, she attended Middle East Technical University, studying economics, and moved to Ankara with her sister. During this time, she met Özlem Tekin, who has now also become another recognized pop-rock musician in Turkey, and Özlem joined Volvox. Volvox could not do any practice for a year and a half because the members experienced a hardship with coming together, with the other members except Özlem and Şebnem living in Istanbul. In her second year at university, Şebnem changed her mind about being an economist, dropped out, and moved to Istanbul.
In Istanbul, she attended classes on English language and literature at the Istanbul University. For two years she performed in various bars with Volvox, until 1994, when Volvox disbanded.
An important change in Şebnem’s musical career occurred when one of Volvox’s records was featured on Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, the Turkish state television. She was noticed by Sezen Aksu and Onno Tunç, both important figures in Turkish music, and subsequently became a vocalist for Sezen Aksu.
She released her first solo album Kadın in 1996, and has gone on to release a total of five full studio albums, the last one being Can Kırıkları, released in 2005, which also marked her return to the hard rock genre after her previous experiments with soft rock. She is seen by many as the leading rock artist in Turkish music and one of the most admired singers in Turkey. In addition to composing the music and writing the lyrics of every song in her albums, she occasionally sings cover versions of work by artists of similar vocal qualities and style, like Amy Lee and Skin, on stage.
On her third album, Perdeler, she collaborated with the Finnish cello rock band Apocalyptica.
Şebnem’s current group consists of Buket Doran (bass guitar), Metin Türkcan (electric guitar), Aykan İlkan (drums) and Ozan Tügen (keyboard), who have been performing with her in studio and on stage since her 3rd album, Perdeler.