After forging a successful career behind the scenes in entertainment, including hosting the hit TV show “Jeopardy”, Serhat re-emerged as a two-time representative of San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest. His 2019 result with the song “Say Na Na Na” is the nation’s best result since their debut in 2008.
But Serhat is a lot more than he seems. For example, his career started in dentistry. Many fans outside of the Eurovision community are unaware that he is actually a Turkish national residing in Istanbul. And that’s an easy omission to make. He’s conversational in Spanish, fluent in German, and known for the French language hit “Je M’adore”.
Serhat in Istanbul
Unmistakably though, he’s a showman through and through. This was evidenced during his two-hour concert at the Dada Salon in Istanbul. The Dada Salon is an upscale cabaret lounge in the city that caters Istanbul’s cultural elite. Decked in crystal chandeliers, the brass balcony stage provides a subtle elevation that allows intimate interaction. The interior art is a feast for the eyes, the food is delicious and the wine keeps flowing. When Serhat took to the stage, so did the music.
Oh yes, that’s right! Our favourite deep-voiced Turkish crooner cranked out a 23-song live setlist that included Turkish standards, disco classics, his catalogue staples and his Eurovision offerings. There was a vaudeville touch to his performance. In between songs, he engaged with the audience by telling them the stories behind the songs and how he connected with some of the covers he performed on the night.
Holiday tales of Mykonos were peppered with his love for Eurovision. His cover of Turkiye’s very first Eurovision entry “Seninle Sir Dakika” was a touching tribute to his love for the world’s most-loved song contest. Much of this communication was done in Turkish, German and English — Serhat was fully aware of his audience’s diversity, therefore he interacted with them in multiple tongues.
And he’s not afraid to share the stage. He introduced the living legend Nükhet Duru — a heavily-awarded Turkish classical artist who has forged a successful career in music and film since the early 70’s. Together they performed, and then she continued with a solo rendition of her hits. The crowd went wild!
And so did I!
All too often, we don’t get to enjoy our favourite Eurovision stars in the same way that we access mainstream pop stars. All too often, the stable of Eurovision alums are known for just one hit. In Serhat’s case, we know him for two. However, if the recent fan engagement at Liverpool’s Lush Lounge is anything to go by, his fans are hoping for a third Eurovision appearance.