Hande Unsal, one of our new generation singers. Coming from a family full of musicians. Even, she is exactly representing her 7th generation musician of her family. We had an intense talk with her about her family, childhood, getting dragged into music, her new song, dreams, disappointments, and so. We had such a deep talk that we run out of time to cook. Anyway, still we took entertaining photos by pushing Hande into the kitchen as if we cooked really hard.
If you mention about Hande to someone who does not know anything about Hande, what would you say? Where would you begin?
I would begin from my childhood. Hande is a young musician girl born on February 25th, 1992. Her family is in this business since 7 generation. I am exactly the 7th. generation. When my mother moved from Izmir to Istanbul and then became famous, I grew up with my grandmother in Izmir. My grandmother is the first female virtuoso of Turkey. In the same time she is a woman who is an artist and choir master within the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Turkish music professor in several universities.
Is your first teacher your grandmother?
Yes. Actually, we never had any training process. I had a photo, video in a concert in CRR when I was 4. Because my grandmother attended to choirs and universities constantly, and didn’t leave me at home, I visited everywhere with her. Because of constant visits of her students, and playing instruments at the home, and constant music, after some time nolens volens I began to mention about getting on the stage. I was competing to get on the youth choir when I was in the children choir. After coming to Istanbul, my musical education went on.
When did you come to Istanbul, and how was your music life shaped?
Age of 6 was the first time I had ever came. I started to constantly stay in Istanbul after the age of 12. I was engaged in sport, besides music. I ice skated until took license. I gave up on sport because of my desire to begin conservatory. I passed the exam and gained opportunity to begin Turkish Music Public Conservatory’s high school of Istanbul Technical University. We were going to choose an instrument, of course my mother accompanied to me. Because most of the teachers were the students of my mother she said: “I entrusted her to you.” They wanted me to play violin but I had no interest in it. I played violen until the 1 year of the university By force. Since I gave up on playing violin, it has been 6-7 years. I cannot play anymore. I wanted to be vocalist in high school. In a vocal mind, there is an idea forming a harmony. But not all musicians are much capable of harmony matter. I started to hear harmony in my early ages. I could sing a song with 3-5 vocal voice. So, I had started to practice with 3-5 vocal voice. While practicing at home, my mother said: “You can become a vocalist.”
Does your mother appreciate very seldom?
Very. She is a woman who appreciates very seldom? Also, my mother does. My mother is exactly the same as my grandmother prototypically. But my dialog with my grandmother is not similar to their dialog. I was the sore point of my grandmother. When I came here after being pampered by grandmother, I felt a little bit abandoned. School, education are all by themselves, are a different processes, different experiences. And then there was a time where I really strayed away.
I couldn’t think how much you strayed away?
When I was at the second grade of high school, my mother contracted cancer. I heard this and I started to say “I will leave the school.”, “I won’t do this job.” And my mother asked me “How will you be then after leaving the school?” as a punishment. And I replied “I will be make-up artist.” She enrolled me to a girls high school. I went on school for my last 2 years. It was a torture for me. I was the one who was carrying out all the social activities of the school. I wrote a march for school, made it arranged, and got into the studio and read it.
Did you learn how to make up?
Never. Then, I really regretted leaving the school and stepped into vocalist world. Because of my lack about Western Music in the first grade of the high school, I started to take lesson from Ozan Bayyasa. One day, brother Ozan said “Are you aware how much beautiful your voice is, Hande? Composers visit here and I record demos. Let’s talk with your mother and make a deal. You sing demo songs to me, and I won’t take any tuition.” to me. And I began recording demo. Also, there were works to be done in the studio after I left the conservatory, and I couldn’t break away. Besides, when I was 14-15, I was invited to Beyaz Show to make surprise for my mother. Brother Uluğ works there, as a maestro. Brıtger Uluğ said “Call me sometime, Hande.” to me. I started to work with him. And then, before you know it, I began working in a real terms.
What does your mother think about this?
She never gets involved. After I really started to work, my mother said “Let’s work as my vocalist, then.” After 1-2 years, then my uncle said me work with him, then I started working with him. Then, I told them that I didn’t want to work with them, instead, I wanted to work with the other people. At that time, they want me to work with Berkay and Ozcan Deniz. And my mother said “No, honey. You can’t.” And after the death of my grandmother, I moved into my own house. And my mother said “Okay, seeing that you are moving into your own house, then, stand on your own two feet, let’s see how you will manage.” and never got involved. Of course, I couldn’t manage. When you are 18, living on your own isn’t such easy. I lived by working as a vocalist for 1 year merely. I was back 1 year later. For example, first congratulation of my mother was for my returning to conservatory and becoming the top student.
Who was the first name you worked for as a vocalist?
The first name for whom I worked and earned money as a vocalist is Tan Tasci. Following this event, I set up my own life style. I worked with Cengiz Kurtoglu and Isin Karaca between the ages 19-21. I got married at that time.
Everything bowled along for you, then.
Yes, it did. I was in a struggle for existing. One of the first offers was from Berkay, but he was the last name for whom I worked. I have had very special bonds with every name I worked for. We didn’t end up badly with any of them. They made me produce single by force. I didn’t want to leave working as vocalist. Sister Isin (Karaca) said that I should be in the front part of the stage but I didn’t want, I always said that I should become experienced for this.
May be you were worried about doing it but not being successful…
May be. May be I was scared to be resembled with. I am very similar to my mother physically. One time, someone confused me with my mother and wanted to be taken photo.
How much you are younger than your mother?
15.5. I was born in 92, mother was born in 76. You look like sisters rather and mother and daughter. It is really hard to make me listen themselves, I am very stubborn. Once we got cross with her, and then made peace. I really drained each other. They were the discussions happened between every mother and daughter, but the magazine twisted it and reported as news.
What did happen after your single?
Not like I expected. Because I had thought that I was within the sector, but actually I wasn’t. If I talked about myself from an outsider looking, I could say that it was the most problematic year of Hande. A period that I was not myself anymore. Because I didn’t know anything. I experienced a huge depression. My first work wasn’t how I really wanted it to be. It fell behind my dreams. But I really enjoy now that I experienced a period like that. Fortunately, I experienced. Fortunately, I made the song “Derdim Cok (I have many troubles) and got the opportunity to meet up with Ozan Dogulu. It was Ufuk Engin the menager of Ozan Dogulu who had me got out of the depression. While I was thinking what I would do, Ufuk asked me “Do you have any available song?” Then, I made the song “Oyna Oyna (Enjoy Enjoy)”. I thought that it is like mathematics, and approximately I listed all the songs of Sezen Aksu and Gülsen I listened all the composers. Then searched for the song released, I though that our society wants some kind of a solo folk dance music. And met with my friend Melda and made the “Oyna Oyna”.
Does your mother support you now?
I never receive support from my mother. I always say “Never support me”.
Do you admire your mother?
I deeply admire my mother. But my first admiration was toward my grandmother. Compared with the musicianship of my grandmother, our musicianship was nothing.
Your mother is musician, your uncle is musician, your grandmother is musician. Do you gather and sing in the family meetings?
Just like the Jackson family abroad, Turkey’s the most crowded family consisting of that many musician personalities is our family. Musician egos of all are way too much. Sometimes, I think of what would have happened if this family could have gathered and made some music. But each of them had very heavy egos that they couldn’t get together and made music. Even in the home. When I was very little, they had made, but I can’t remember.
Do you have your mother listen your songs before releasing them?
For the first time I had her listened my last song. You know, we had got crossed before it. I never talked with her for 6 years.
Did you get married at that period?
Yes, I got married at that period.
Just to spite for your mother?
No. I were together for a long time, already.
Was your husband engaged in music when you got married?
Of course. He has been an arranger for years. Very successful name within his sector. And a person with whom working is really delighting.
Does working together kill the love?
I think marriage kills the love. After some time has passed, you just turned into friends.
Is that marriage or working together?
Rather, both of them. We are at the good points in our careers, we are really working hard and I don’t find any time to be together. In the last 1,5 year, we are like this. I can’t see him, he can’t see me. Beforetime, we were seeing each other much more frequently.
Do you want child?
I don’t have such an idea. Everyone gets mad at this but I want to make use of this time which I would spend for a child. I may say “Wow, what a stupid person I was that I said that!” 10 years later. But my idea for now is this.
If you compared İzmir and İstanbul, what would you tell about these two cities?
İstanbul, cosmopolitan, depressive, joyous for life, tired and historical. For İzmir, I just can say that “love”, not anything else.
What about eating?
Eat to live? Live to eat? I would eat really much if I wasn’t doing this job. But, unfortunately there is a base they want to see in TV, and for not being out of it, I have to limit my eating and I really hate this.
Do you cook at home?
Yes. I am really good at cooking meals in cooking pot. I cant eat fish, meat, chicken. So I can’t cook. I am not vegetarian but I can’t eat.
Is there anything you want to say us about 2019?
2019 is my year. My map says this. I am sending positive messages to the universe. I love it, I hope it loves me back.
Lastly, what do you want to say about your last song?
It has been 1 week since our new album was released. Its lyrics belongs to Sinan Akcil, its composition belongs to Zulfi Badalov and arrangement belogns to Serkan Balkan. We work with a really good team. Our video was shoot by Onur Sarsici. But the idea was mine. Very interesting video, and it really satisfy us.
Will a new song come?
We have new songs but which one will be is undetermined now. I won’t give a long break, after 6 months over, we will meet by a new song.