EurovisionThe Scoop

Şebnem Paker to teach in Milas, Muğla

Şebnem Paker made headlines across Turkey after it was announced she would be the new music teacher in Milas, Muğla. News outlets have begun re-living her 3rd place finish in 1997.

The ‘Dinle’ singer all but disappeared after scoring Turkeys best result in Eurovision at the time. Overnight her name is everywhere in Turkey. Paker has been hired at the Kırcağız Secondary School in Milas, Muğla to teach music, something she has been doing since 2004.

Speaking to CNN Turk, explained her feelings after rehearsing ‘Dinle’ in Dublin. ““The song was highly appreciated by the audience in its rehearsals in Europe,” Paker said. “I was extremely surprised that a song with local motifs was appreciated so much.”

In 1996, 19 year old Şebnem Paker placed 7th in the qualifying round, then 12th in the final with the song ‘Beşinci Mevsim’. Hoping to compete a third time, in 1998 she competed in the Turkish national final, but didn’t make it through to Eurovision.

“I sang two completely different songs for the finals and I was better at the second song, but listen, I made it to the finals,” she says referencing 1996. “But when we went to Dublin, I felt this feeling. Fanatics from all over Europe filled the hall and you rehearse as if you’re in the competition.”

Şebnem never quit singing though. Since 2018 she has been a voice instructor at the Aydın Doğan Fine Arts High School. Before that she was taught in Istanbul at the Avni Akyol Fine Arts High School.

She told of her feelings after performing at the final in Dublin, “When I got off the stage, I said to myself, ‘Something weird is going on.’ Because they started picking up the tempo the first time they heard it,” she says, speaking of the audience.

“We were like stars walking down the street that week. The fans knew. At that time, I thought, ‘Listen, you’re going to do something,” she said. Paker currently has the third best result for Turkey in Eurovision, which won’t be changing unless the country returns to the contest.

“I feel very lucky at this point. The music industry is a very vicious, orderly, turbulent industry dominated by money and stamps, directed by relations,” Paker said, closing her interviews with the Turkish media. “Listening should not be forgotten after all these years, with the listeners following on their own, without any support, only with their own desires. It makes me very, very happy. Such is the magic power of music.”

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