Musician, songwriter and rebel.
AT Home in Istanbul and Freiburg. On tour around the world.
“Giving up is for Losers”
As a kid, AL Page knew the path to becoming a musician and performing his own songs would be filled with obstacles – and even then he was determined to do what it took to reach that dream.
Heart of a lion, courage of a lion, voice of a lion
AL Page, a Turk born November 17, 1975 in Istanbul, has two cities – Freiburg (Germany) and Istanbul – and two names: his English stage name and his Turkish birth name, Alpaslan, which means “courageous lion.“ And he lives up to that name: In the studio, he is literally a one-man band, playing the five instruments he taught himself on his albums and doing his own recording and mixing as well. Even the album artwork is made by his hand.
On stage, his bandmates Felix Rehmann (guitar) and Moritz Ulrich (drums) help him set the room on fire. They serve up a forceful menu of rock, with electrifying guitars and a singable melody being the main ingredients, plus a pinch of punk, metal or pop poured over a foundation of energetic drums, playful basslines and AL’s trademark gravelly voice.
But an AL Page concert is also about telling stories – for in the end, these common stories are what connect audience and musician, and makes us all human. This is how AL forges a bond with his audience and inspires them to reach back into the pleasure of their own memories. Even in his acoustic performances – just him and his guitar, before large or intimate audiences – it’s his storytelling that touches the hearts of his listeners.
Not because he needed to, but because he wanted to
That’s how he came to do everything himself, from tuning his instruments to bringing the record to market. When he started out, there were also pragmatic reasons:
In the nineties, studio time and professionals for graphic design and marketing were too expensive, so he built his own mobile recording studio, taught himself graphic software and just about everything else, too. After a while, he realized how much you can do yourself – and how much fun it is making your own dream come true. So he just kept on – no longer because he needed to, but because he wanted to.
Versatile, multifaceted and new
His first album, Welcome to Life in 1997, was admittedly not smash hit, but it was the first time AL brought forth something that felt grand: An entire album that began only as an idea in his head – and now everyone could enjoy it.
Five years passed before his next album Little Rebel came out. It was worth the wait – the sound was better, the lyrics raw yet intimate – an album free of the conceits of the newcomer. When it dropped in 2002, the big labels noticed. This passionate collection of songs includes Mainecoon, which climbed to #2 in the listener charts on Fritz Radio, and Straight to you, which entered the Top Ten at independent radio stations.
AL Page sometimes jokes that he named his next album Sui Generis because it is dedicated to himself, but in truth it’s dedicated to everyone all over the world: The title means Of its Own Kind, and AL performed the original lyrics entirely in Latin because he has a secret love for this supposedly dead language and wanted to prove that no language is ever really dead as long as people use it – just as people are never truly gone if we continue to think of them.
With BLUE, AL Page created an album to connect worlds. He took the concept of “worldmusic” literally, then he threw all his principles overboard: No restrictive arrangements, no electric guitars, no frenzied drums, and the lyrics weren’t just English this time: BLUE is a collaboration with 30 musicians from 14 countries – a collection of 11 songs in 6 languages and the sound of summer, sun and sea.
Always looking for the new
AL Page is always one step ahead of the times. He self-published books when print-on-demand was in its infancy. He experimented with the mp3 format when record companies and other artists brushed it off as a fad. “Never giving up“ also means always looking ahead.
AL Page can’t stop himself from writing and performing in Latin, English, German and other languages, but in his songs he always tells personal stories that everyone can understand. Doing that, he builds bridges to his audience and strives always toward his singular goal of touching their souls through song, poetry and emotion.
by Eric T. Hansen