The first ever Turkish winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Sertab Erener was born in Istanbul on December 4, 1964, and worked alongside singer Sezen Aksu before launching her own career in the late '80s. She made her first appearance in the Turkish national Eurovision Song Contest qualifying competition in 1989, and again in 1990, before releasing her debut album in 1992, Sakin Ol (Calm Down). Further long-players followed -- Lâ'l (Ruby Wine) in 1994, Sertab Gibi (Like Sertab) in 1996, Sertab Erener in 1999, Sertab in 2000, and Turuncu (Orange) in 2001 -- together with the hit singles "Difficult Woman" in 1999, "Utanma" (Don't Be Shy) and "Bu Yaz" (This Summer) in 2000, and "Yeni" (New) in 2001. By the time Erener was selected to represent Turkey at the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, she was firmly established among the country's most popular performers.
Aided by a truly memorable visual performance, Erener's "Every Way That I Can" won the competition and went on to top the charts across Europe. "Every Way That I Can" was also voted the ninth greatest Eurovision song of all time at the 2006 Congratulations Eurovision broadcast, marking the festival's 50th anniversary. Erener's first English-language album, No Boundaries, followed in 2004, accompanied by the hit "I Believe (That I See Love in You)," while her haunting version of Bob Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee" was featured in the soundtrack to the movie Masked and Anonymous. In 2005 the album Aþk Ölmez, Biz Ölürüz (Love Doesn't Die, We Do) was released, and further hits arrived with the title track, "Satýlýk Kalpler Þehri" (City of Hearts for Sale), and a cover of Madonna's "Music" (included in the soundtrack to director Fatih Akýn's acclaimed movie Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul). The greatest-hits collection The Best of Sertab Erener was issued in 2007. ~ Dave Thompson