An African In Istanbul

We all know him with his “7 Seconds” piece. We met in Istanbul where Tutkish Airlines’ new promotion face Youssou N’dour had come for filming.

Although years have passed since the “7 Seconds” you made with Neneh Cherry, people still remember you with this song. How does this feel?

It is a magical, wonderful song. You can see how with one song everything can change and all doors are opened to your music. I am very proud of this song. Think about it; with just one song people from all over the world know you. It had a wonderful impact on my career.

Well, doesn’t this put pressure on you to something even more successful?
When “7 Seconds” first appeared on the market I always told people around me this: I am not a writer of hit songs! We made a special recording and I really wasn’t expecting this much. After that people expected a hit song from me in every album. Sometimes I really miss Neneh very much. I know that she misses me too. Think of this song as something special, something very special that opened doors for me.

You are well-known for your duets. How is your view of duets now?
Duets have been a part of my life since I started making music in the 80’s. I see duets as something with advantages and disadvantages for someone. You know that Americans have grasped the power of this and they have a duet in almost every album. I like it too.

When you look at the world, where do you think your work is appreciated the most?
I think it is in Europe. First of all Africa, of course, but definitely Europe follows me closer. Africa is close to France and France is one of the biggest parts of Europe.

Do think that the ears of Europeans are more open to world music?
Definitely. Europeans are more open-minded. Today when you say “World Music,” people define it as music made by musicians of developing countries. I say no to this. “World Music” is music developed by everyone’s making a contribution.

Is this your first visit to Istanbul?
No, this is my second visit. I came for a mini-concert 10 years ago at the time of “7 Seconds.” Today is very different. And I think that I will come for a concert towards the end of this year.

Have you traveled with THY before?
No, but I heard about it a lot. Now I have come for advertisement filming and I have been very impressed. The quality, service and almost all the planes being brand new is magical. It is definitely now one of my favorite airlines.

Do you travel a lot?
Half of my life is spent traveling.  Europe, Africa, the USA and Asia… I am constantly traveling.

Do you travel for vacation?
I prefer to spend my vacations at home. I really like staying in Senegal. If I have a little spare time, I spend it with my family and friends or travel to different places in Africa.