Duriye Nasuhoglu of Munger Place learned to play conga and bongo drums when she was 29 and still living in her native Istanbul. About 14 months ago, she took time off from school to record an album, “Dreamscapes”. Now 41, she’s taking more time to promote her album and tour. That is, when she’s not working as a bookkeeper, web designer and music teacher. You can catch her sitting in with the Arthur Riddles Jazz Band at the Balcony Club most Sundays.
You were almost 30 when you learned the drums. Did you play an instrument before that?
My passion is music, and I always played instruments when I was younger, but as I got older, I don’t know what happened. I stopped playing music for years.
And then what happened?
I started learning Afro-Cuban music in Istanbul. I liked it so much that I wanted it to be a bigger part of my life. So five or six years ago, I had a mid-life crisis if you will. And I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And I know music was a part of it. I had studied information systems in Istanbul because I thought it would help me find a job, but I started thinking, ‘Maybe that’s a mistake.’ So I wound up studying sound design at UTD.
How did the idea for your album come about?
I was fascinated with sounds, so I started collecting sounds everywhere I would go. I’m a dream interpreter, so I started analyzing the sounds in my dreams. As a final project for one of my classes, I used sounds to describe my dreams. After that class was over, I kept working on the project for two years. And I released my album in August.
You released this album in seven months. How did you do it?
Not being in school gave me time to do it. I learned a lot about music and songwriting and publishing and financing. I just made it happen from scratch. I was highly motivated and passionate about it. Now the challenge is, how do I reach people?
Do you have a plan for that?
Well, I took it to Turkey, and I was on national TV there. The newspapers did stories about me, and I had a lot of very successful gigs. I tried doing the same thing here, but it’s a different story. I hired a radio marketing company, and now [my music] is playing at over 200 stations around the country. It’s a very slow process, and it’s time consuming. You’re introducing yourself to new markets and new people.
How did you figure that out?
I read a book called “Indie Bible”. It gives you step-by-step instructions, almost, what musicians can do to promote their music. I found this radio promotion company in New York City. And my hands were shaking when I decided to go ahead with it because I wasn’t totally sure about this company, and it’s very expensive. But I went with my gut, and it’s turned out good.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on licensing now, trying to get my music into commercials, TV shows and movies. Other projects are in my mind, but I can’t move on to that because this on isn’t finished yet. I have to see through the whole process before I can move on to the next thing. Next year, possibly I’ll have a different insight about that.
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