She’s developed into a singer with a cosmopolitan, literate approach to jazz.
Born and raised in Berlin, singer and composer Defne Şahin is rapidly
developing an international reputation as a versatile and creative
performer, who draws influences from time spent immersed in different
countries and cultures. At a young age Defne has extended stays in
Turkey, Spain, Brazil and New York under her belt, and is equally at
home singing jazz, bossa nova, pop and Mediterranean traditional music.
Her debut album Yaşamak – to Live with the Words of Nâzım Hikmet, that features evocative settings of Hikmet’s poetry, was released by Germany’s highly esteemed Jazz periodical, Jazz Thing Next Generation on Double Moon Records. The album was subsequently released in Turkey
on the Kalan Müzik label, and has been lauded by the media as “the
beginning of a successful career.” Jazzthetik
Argentinian pianist and composer Guillermo Klein produced Defne Şahin’s second album Unravel (Fresh Sound Records), which she recorded with Fabian Almazan, Petros Klampanis and Henry Cole in New York.
Defne has performed at numerous clubs and festivals throughout
Europe, Brazil, the United States and South Africa. Her performances
include concerts at Carnegie Hall New York, JazzFest Berlin and the
Istanbul Jazz Festival. Defne has shared the stage with musicians from
all around the world including Shai Maestro, Jay Clayton, Elias
Stemeseder and Joe Sanders.
She has received numerous awards as a singer, bandleader and
composer, including the Studio Award of the Berlin Senate 2010 and the
Elsa Neumann Scholarship. In 2011, she was invited to take part in
Popcamp by the German Music Foundation. She is currently an Artist in
Residence at the Tarabya Culture Academy of the German Foreign Office in
Defne’s previous mentors and teachers include David Friedman, Judy
Niemack, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Hollenbeck, Julia Hülsmann and Carme
Canela, with whom she studied at the Universität der Künste, Berlin as
well as the Escola Superior de Música, Barcelona. In 2014, she received
her Master of Music degree in Vocal Jazz Performance at the prestigious
Manhattan School of Music, where she was studying with Theo Bleckmann,
Gretchen Parlato, Phil Markowitz and Dave Liebman. She was awarded a
substantial scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, from
the Heinrich Böll Foundation and from Manhattan School of Music.