He’s one of the breakout stars of Eurovision 2016, who has developed a cult following in Eurovision circles and, more broadly, in countries like Germany. She’s a singing icon known for global hits including “It’s Raining Men”, performed as part of The Weather Girls.
And now Turkish star Serhat and American diva Martha Wash have come together to give his Eurovision track “I Didn’t Know” extra life with a new version arranged by Swedish musician Johan Bejerholm. (Bejerholm, you’ll remember, went platinum with Hasse Andersson’s “Guld & gröna skogar” in 2015).
Serhat tells us that he’s admired Martha for years and was over-the-moon when she reached out to his team.
“She is a real icon in the music industry and one of the most beautiful voices in the world,” he says. “All her songs from her entire career are my favorites in my playlists. It made me very very happy that she wanted to collaborate with me.”
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“I knew from the beginning that Martha will give with her magical voice a special touch to the song. We both felt very good singing together and sharing the same stage. The chemistry between us is definitely proof that we’ll continue to surprise our fans in the near future with other songs.”
Always candid, Martha makes it clear that she was a bit confused when her manager started heaping praise on a song that came out of San Marino.
“When James, my manager, told me that checking on the Internet he found a very nice song and a special singer representing San Marino at Eurovision Song Contest, I was a bit skeptical,” she says. “Where is San Marino? What exactly is the Eurovision Song Contest?”
Thankfully Serhat’s natural sex appeal and smoky voice won her over instantly.
“All my doubts disappeared when I watched a very charming and talented performer with an unforgettable deep voice performing a very catchy song, so disco style and so well performed on stage.”
“I immediately asked James to contact him to propose a duet. I was so surprised knowing that the song did not get to the final of the contest! It was such a big experience to fly to Istanbul to meet Serhat and I am so happy about the final result of the song. I felt it was perfect singing in duet and our voices match perfectly together.”
The song retains its distinct disco sound, but new rhythms and flourishes give the song lift as we move into 2018, and the video reflects that.
It sees Serhat slip into his signature plum-coloured suit with matching bow tie and wide-brimmed hat. It clings to each of his contours, suggesting he has a very tight diaphragm to support that gravelly and inviting voice.
As ever he works a variety of facial expressions as he flirts with the camera and performs subtle but effective dance moves. Snapping his fingers and shaking those shoulders, it’s no wonder that Martha couldn’t resist a collaboration.
For her part, Martha dazzles in a black, floor-sweeping gown and adds extra intrigue with her bedazzled necklace that resembles a high-fashion spider web.
Shots of the pair dancing solo are interspersed with more contemporary shots of young dancers in avant-garde clothing popping, locking and forming a variety of shapes. The contrast between classic and modern help give the video extra flavour and intrigue.
It’s the result of a truly international effort, as the clip was shot in Milan and London, includes Serhat’s dance troupe from Paris, and underwent post-production in Istanbul.
Since Eurovision Serhat has had particular success in the German market, where he has performed on high-profile programs including ZDF-Fernsehgarten and Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel.
And there’s much more in the pipeline. The former host of Turkish Jeopardy is currently working on a forthcoming CD, set for release in April 2018 by CAP-Sounds/Germany. And he’s also planning a stage show and tour with Martha Wash for next year.
You can download the latest version of Serhat’s “I Didn’t Know” featuring Martha Wash — and a series of other remixes — starting Friday, November 3. Digital links to purchase and stream go live Friday and will be found here.