Ayshen Official Blog

No stranger to the stage, singer-songwriter Ayshen Kemal began performing from the early age of 17. Born in Hackney, East London, and raised in Gants Hill, Essex, Ayshen honed her craft singing with the likes of UK soul collective D’Influence and, as a member of former girl group Intrigue, performing as a support act for American R&B singer Tyrese.

The singer-songwriter hails from a large tight-knit Turkish family of musicians and entertainers. Her father was a professional singer and guitarist, touring locally with her uncles in East Londonin the late 1960s and early 1970s. “Music was played non-stop growing up. Bob Marley, John Holt, Billy Ocean, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Gypsy Kings, UB40, Barry White and, of course, Turkish music filled our household everyday. Most of my family members sing, dance, produce or work in the entertainment industry in some way or another. It’s just something very normal in my family so it was only natural that I fell in love with music too.”

It was in her cousin’s recording studio where Ayshen discovered a real love of writing songs and recording. “My first experience in the studio was with my cousin. I used to go to his studio and just sit and write with him. We wrote a few songs and started recording. It’s from there I realised how much I loved music and decided to take it more seriously.”

From that point on, music became her sole passion. Ayshen recalls the early days of her career: “Trying to pursue a music career and trying to hold down a full-time job at the same time were very demanding.” However, she remained undeterred and continued to perform. Other work followed in TV commercials (HSBC, BT, McDonald’s and TfL), music videos (Liberty X) and TV shows (The Bill & Eastenders), and by 2002 she found herself turning down what could have been a big TV break – a presenting role for MTV – for personal reasons.

Ayshen’s real break came, however, when she found success with R&B girl group Fe-nix in 2008. The group quickly began performing at events, clubs and festivals across the UK and garnered a strong fan base. The all-female R&B quartet released three singles: ‘Lady Baby’, ‘Swagga’ and ‘Redlight’. The latter two singles earned national and specialist radio airplay on Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

Fe-nix supported British band N-Dubz, together with other supporting acts Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk, on the their national tour. They enjoyed a string of media coverage from the likes of the Sun newspaper, the News of the world, Flavour Magazine and D101 Magazine to name a few. They were also invited to make guest performances on Big Brother’s Big Mouth in 2010, and on Sky1′s Pineapple Dance Studios show.

The four piece band worked with an A-list roster of producers for their debut album, including Jack Knight (Bad Boy), Harmony (Kelly Rowland), Skillz (Big Brovaz), T2 (Heartbroken), Mike City (Brandy, Chris Brown, Rihanna) and Jack Shack (Tinchy Stryder), to name but a few. 

The group’s success didn’t stop at music. They were announced as the new face of fashion brand Apple Bottoms (owned by hip hop artist Nelly) 2009 European campaign.

In 2011 and after four years with the group, Ayshen decided to pursue a solo career. Of her decision to leave the band, Ayshen says: “I have now decided to take all the experiences that I have learned over the years and go solo. I feel like I still have a lot to show and give to the industry. There are so many life experiences I have been through that I would like to share with everyone through my music.”

With an ambition you can almost touch, she adds: “I feel that I’m ready and have an even greater determination to make my music dreams a reality.”

Steeped in soul, rock, reggae and traditional Turkish melodies, Ayshen’s music cannot be relegated to any one genre. She is currently in the studio working on her solo material, which she describes as “a cross between dance, pop, commercial R&B with a hint of my Turkish influence, so it’s a new sound ready to hit the scene.”

As well as working on her solo career, the singer-songwriter is set to launch her own fashion brand Amosh in 2013, revealing that it’s always been a dream of hers to have a clothing venture. Amosh is a fresh and modern clothing collection for women and men characterised by the brand’s distinctive emblem: the Turkish Eye.

The inspiration behind the collection comes from Ayshen’s native Cypriot and Turkish origin. She says: “I’ve grown up around the Turkish Eye. It’s something I very much believe in. It’s something my family have had everywhere around the house growing up. There was always an eye hanging above doorways, in the car and dangling from key rings.” The Turkish Eye (or Evil Eye Bead) is an eye shaped amulet set on a blue backdrop. The distinctive feature is believed to ward off jealousy and evil spirits.

Amosh elegantly merges the traditional with the modern. The end result is an eclectic mix of bold and colourful premium apparel which is sure to be a talking point.

Despite exciting solo material in the works and a fashion collection lined-up for a summer debut, Ayshen is determined to keep her feet on the ground. “Confidence, self-belief, drive and humility all play an important role in success,” she shares. “Nothing comes to you on a plate, you have to work for what you want and hard work always pays off. It’s important to stay focused and go for your dreams no matter how big or small you may think they are.”

 

 


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