Hailed as “The Sun of Art” and the “Pasha of Turkish Music,” Zeki Müren was a singer, composer, actor, and poet who became one of the most important artists in Turkish classical music history.
Born in the historic Hisar district of Bursa on this day in 1931, Müren was the only child of a Macedonian timber merchant. While a student at the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts, he won first place in a contest sponsored by Turkish Radio and Television. In 1951 he gave his first live performance on Istanbul Radio. That same year he recorded “Muhabbet Kuşu” (Parakeet) with clarinetist Sükrü Tunar, the first of hundreds of songs he’d release on phonograph and cassette over the course of his career. His 1955 release “Manolyam” was the first Turkish recording to be certified gold.
For his first live concert in 1955 Müren took the stage in typical stage clothes, but over time began designing his own wardrobe, expressing a personal style that sometimes included thigh-high boots, sparkling tights, jeweled capes, miniskirts, and a peacock tail—as well as wigs and makeup. His fearlessly flamboyant look became known as a symbol of his strength of character and individuality.
Müren transcended music by beginning an acting career in the 1950s with a role in the film or Beklenen Sarki “Awaited Song” (1953). He would go on to appear in 18 films, often composing the scores as well, and played the lead in Robert Anderson’s stage drama Tea and Sympathy (1960).
In 1991, Müren was named an official State Artist of Tukey. Today, Müren’s legacy lives on through the Zeki Müren Fine Arts Anatolian High School in Bursa, which opened in 2002. His house in Bodrum became the Zeki Müren Art Museum and his Zeki Müren Scholarship Fund has supported thousands of students over the past 20 years.
Doğum günün kutlu olsun, Zeki Müren!
Previous concepts of the Doodle below
Concept by Jennifer Hom
Concept by Willie Real
Concept by Matt Cruickshank