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Ahead of her highly anticipated concert at Grand Junction as part of Elixir Festival, we had the pleasure of catching up with Olcay Bayir to gain insight into her musical journey, influences, and the inspiration behind her compositions during a short interview. Join us as we delve into the world of this extraordinary artist, exploring the depths of her soulful melodies and the cultural tapestry that shapes her music.

Your music has been described as a blend of traditional Anatolian sounds with contemporary London influences. How do you navigate the blend of tradition and modernity in your compositions, and what does this fusion represent for you personally and artistically?

My music is deeply connected to my roots and draws inspiration from the musical traditions and folk songs of my Anatolian Kurdish Alevi musical heritage. However, being a Londoner, I’ve also embraced a more international approach to my music. Both worlds are integral to my personal identity, and I navigate between them intuitively to create a sound that reflects my cultural background and contemporary influences.

Performing in languages such as Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, and Greek must provide a unique challenge and opportunity for connection. How do you approach language in your music, and what do you hope listeners take away from your multilingual performances?

On stage, I primarily sing in Kurdish, Turkish, and sometimes Armenian-languages that are deeply intertwined with my personal identity and cultural upbringing. Singing in these languages comes naturally to me, as they are an inherent part of who I am.

The Guardian has titled you as one of the finest and most intriguing singers on the British world music scene. How does it feel to receive such recognition, and how has it impacted your career?

I am honoured with such recognition.

Collaborations seem to be a significant part of your musical journey. Can you tell us more?

I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with numerous musicians from around the world, each bringing their unique perspective and talent to the table. These collaborations have been invaluable learning experiences, enriching my music and broadening my musical horizons.
-Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of your music? Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

My new album will be released on May 24th by Arc Music. I am very much looking forward to it.


Thank you, Olcay, for sharing your talent and your story with us. Your voice is truly a gift to the world, and we look forward to witnessing its magic firsthand. Until then, let’s continue to celebrate the beauty of diversity and the universal language of music.

Interview by Tasalla Tabasom