INTERVIEW: AyseDeniz Gokcin 



PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino  

AyseDeniz Gokcin 


THE terrific AyseDeniz Gokcin


 PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

has been talking with me about her path into Classical music and how that passion developed. She tells me about her track, Watches, and what we can expect from the upcoming E.P. of the same name. I ask Gokcin what her earliest musical memories are and why she started composing her own music.

The composer/songwriter recommends some rising artists to watch and reveals whether she is touring soon; what she hopes to achieve before the end of the year and whether she gets time to chill away from music – she ends the interview by selecting a cool Beatles song!


Hi, AyseDeniz. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi. Thanks so much for having me! It’s been crazy-busy. I had a concert in Istanbul last week and this week I’ll be performing in London. Then, I fly to Italy to play for the Turkish Consulate in Milan and then on to Cyprus!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Sure! I am a musician – and I turn my experiences into notes on a piano to make people feel alive. I was raised in a non-musical but music-loving family, so we listened to all styles (especially Rock ‘n’ Roll, golden oldie; musicals, Classical and Rock music). It was part of my everyday life at home. However, I went to a strictly Classical school and I had finished my Bachelor’s (and almost my Master’s degree) before I began to mix genres I love to represent my own personality. I have arranged Rock songs for piano, worked with a D.J.; composed for a contemporary dance company and it’s been a unique journey so far with all its rollercoaster ups and downs!

I have two Beethoven albums coming out and an album of original compositions as well as covers. I am now happier and more satisfied on stage and I can connect to people much more easily as I know that what they’re listening to comes straight from my heart and soul to their ears and then, hopefully, to their souls as well. 

Watches is your latest song. Can you reveal how it came together and whether there is a story behind it?

Absolutely! For many years, I went to school and studied the genius scores of Bach, Mozart; Beethoven, Chopin; Debussy…they were so great that I wouldn’t dare to make anyone else listen to my compositions, let alone take myself seriously - even though I had been composing since middle-school for fun. It was never my plan to become a composer, as the education system also divided performers from composers. However, after arranging so many Rock songs and performing so much Classical music I thought, finally, that I am there. While the urge in me to release my own music grew bigger, I also wanted to stop playing other people’s music. This was also thanks to my followers, who kept asking for original music.


 PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

From my home, I shared with them video excerpts of my new musical ideas, asking for their opinions; possible titles and what it made them feel - and the reactions I got were absolutely amazing. I remember the first time I told them about Watches. I had just composed it and while my friends were waiting for me to join them for dinner I told them “I’ll be right there” and recorded a small video of me playing it on my upright piano in a pink sweatshirt. It got 40K views in a day, which was quite a surprise to me and gave me the courage to compose more. 

This was a time when I went to concerts and discovered many different contemporary and minimalist styles that inspired me. Somehow, when I went to concerts, all the pieces I listened to that were minimalist were also very easy to perform - and I wanted to create something simple yet virtuosic to play. Watches is, indeed, very difficult - from raging arpeggios to crossed hands playing softly; it requires a very careful balance of power and a caring touch. You caress the keys, creating the right pressure in the fast moving notes. It should look easy… 

Now; the score is on and I am very excited that it is going to be in my upcoming album of original compositions!



Watches is taken from the E.P. of the same name. Are there particular personal stories and ideas that go into the songs?

Yes, indeed. Each piece has a meaning that came from my heart:

Plastic Prelude is an elegy I composed after seeing the plastic waste swimming in the Caribbean ocean for miles and I wanted to create my own way of calling for awareness and action to save our planet. We are messing up our natural environment and need to change the general attitude our societies have towards waste, over-consumption; meat and dairy factories and climate change. Thank goodness for social media – so many of us now see what is happening behind closed doors.

I would love to ask the listeners to write their own comments about what my music represents to them, so I will leave the rest up to them!  They can share their thoughts with me on Instagram or Facebook – I love hearing those!



Do you recall your earliest musical memory? Which artist or song first struck your mind?

This will sound so weird but, somehow, I was so scared of the Triumphal March from Aida! I remember having nightmares hearing that (smiles). No idea why but it still gives me a dark feeling! Other than that, my first two C.D.s were Michael Jackson’s Dangerous and The Simpsons soundtrack. I loved those! 

Was there a reason you decided to play and compose music? Is it a passion you had in you as a child?!

I would spend so many hours on the piano as a baby that it happened naturally. With my mother, I would go many times to piano teachers to see if my hands were big enough to start lessons.  I would play it when I woke up, right away without going to the toilet or brushing my teeth or having any breakfast. I would forget to do anything else. I still forget to eat when I begin working. Time flies.



Composing was always for fun for me and I would do it to escape the stress of the academia (in which you play the same pieces hundreds of times and your creativity wants to go beyond all that). Becoming a composer was not part of my career ambition as music schools have completely separate degrees for that. Without having any boundaries, I would compose Pop songs, fugues and oriental pieces to just have fun and a break from all the repetition and discipline.

Finally, after some years out of academia, in an experiment playing around with the chord progression of a Rock song, I composed Watches and asked my fans online what they thought. The reactions I got were so incredible that I decided to record an album of all originals - which is coming out on 23rd November!

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

I would like to establish my name as a composer and I want my fans to get to know me as a composer and not only a pianist. 

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Yes. The moment I learned how to read music notes like words when I was six. It was an incredible feeling - like when you start a new language and, after many efforts, you can finally start reading a book. Even if you don’t understand all the words, you know what it’s trying to say. 



Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Nirvana Project: It was very difficult to mix Electronics with an acoustic piano sound and it worked brilliantly. I am so happy with it as it conveys so many emotions based on Kurt Cobain’s life. It is almost like a musical documentary: you listen and understand the story without needing images or words.

A Chopin Affair: This album was very important as it shows my abilities as a Classical pianist.

Pink Floyd Classical Concept: It is obviously very important as well – because it was the starting point of my career and provided me with a hopeful path full of new and ever-loyal fans!

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I would love to work with Ólafur Arnalds and/or Joep Beving to perform and compose together. I love their music. I would also love to perform with some of the artists whose music I have arranged for piano such as Roger Waters or Coldplay. It’s crazy as those examples have nothing to do with each other but that’s who I am – I just love so many genres!



What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

You should focus on what makes you artistically different from others and should emphasise that. Once you are disciplined with achieving your dreams through your best qualities, success will follow.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

October 19th- London (U.K.); November 7th - Nicosia (Cyprus); December 14th - Vigo (Spain).

How important is it being on the stage and playing your music to the people?

For me, it is the most meaningful time I spend in life. It is more about a dialogue within me that is represented to other people. You share with the world who you are and what you feel through music. Somehow, this transfers to other people and becomes their own unique experience. Mind-blowing! 


 IN THIS PHOTO: Poppy Ackroyd

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yes. I like Poppy Ackroyd and Lambert! Also; there is a ton of young talents around.  I love Benjamin Grosvenor – who is already an established genius.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Benjamin Grosvener

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I actually spend too much time on my phone for work: I need to update everyone all the time and this gets too much. I also had some physical pain due to practicing piano for many years without any proper physical training, so I ended up with three slipped disks. I have recently started Pilates and am hoping to turn my lifestyle into one that is more balanced with sports and nature. I want to go on hikes and swim more often - and go to places with more clean air and sunlight!

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Roll Over Beethoven (smiles) by The Beatles!


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