Making a splash back home in Turkey

As Bartu Suer’s final semester in the University of Guelph’s marketing management program loomed, his singing voice boomed over airwaves in his home country of Turkey.

Suer is the lead singer of çatıkatı, a high-energy, Turkish language alternative rock band. The group started in Istanbul and continued to evolve in Guelph, where rehearsals and songwriting binges happened in a small, off campus apartment. The songs ignited a music career back home.

Guitarist-vocalist Can Ozyurt, also an international student at U of G, and keyboard player Ural Turan, a student in England, are the other members of çatıkatı. The band leapt onto the Turkish music scene a few years ago after winning a major talent contest.

One of the prizes was a professionally produced video of a song called merhaba that took off after it was released late last year. The band signed a recording contract with Turkish record label Lucky Ones, a company that has a distribution contract with Sony Music Turkey.

Merhaba is about being real with each other, not two-faced, Suer said. The video for the song, whose title means “hello” in English, grabbed thousands of views on YouTube and tens of thousands of streams on Spotify in the first days of its release. The next step for the band is to cut an album.

Suer said everything he has learned in his marketing management program has helped in his music career – whether insights gained into contract negotiations or the strong communication skills he was taught.

Suer was unaware of the existence of Guelph until he began searching for a top international university to attend.

“I was impressed with U of G’s rankings.”