Building a Music Career from Turkey to Texas by Way of California

Before landing in Texas, Tolga Güner worked in the hotbed music city, Los Angeles. Prior to that, he studied music and performed in a far different place: Turkey/Istanbul.

Born in Istanbul, he started singing at age 7 and soon, age 12 learned guitar. After years of training that included couple of courses and private Latino lessons, he started writing his own music and lyrics. Güner also took private singing lessons and studied flamenco guitar in Pera Fine Arts Academy in 2001-2002.

He gradually began making a name for himself as a multi-faceted musician. His credits between 2006-2008 include Show name “Gözlerimi Kaparım Vazifemi Yaparım” music director, composer, singer and actor at Beykoz Municipality Feridun Karakaya Theatre.

He continued his career and he composed 3 tracks for the show name “Gece O Kadar Kirliydi ki İkisi de Kayboldular” of Istanbul City Center Theater. Also, He recorded soundtrack as a singer and composer, the song name “Korku” for Istanbul Short Film Festival in 2010.

During this time, Güner was already determined to cross the world in an attempt to take his name beyond Turkey. “I wanted an actual music career” he says.

When Güner first landed in L.A. in 2008, he began working with Bob Barboza, founder of Kids Talk Radio. Kids Talk Radio provides workshops, after school, and distance programs dedicated to helping students in third through 12th grade participate in motivational learning projects in science, technology, engineering the arts, mathematics, computer languages, and foreign languages. Barboza also looks for creative ways for musicians from around the world to collaborate. “We worked together and he loved my voice and songs” Güner remembers.

Güner released an album Tolga Güner Love Songs while in California. It’s a collection of 10 stunning Turkish tunes.

Today, he works and lives in Austin where he’s hoping to build his music career. “I moved to small town because there is more opportunity than in LA.” he says. “If you want to start from the beginning, you should start with a small town where people can realize what you are doing. “I am pretty famous in Texas, especially in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land between 2011-2018. When I was performed there everybody knows me.”

Güner performs songs both in Turkish and English, and he says that the local Turkish community also creates a lot of events. One of his songs is featured in the Turkish Airlines grand opening in 2013, something he feels was a perfect opportunity, connecting his homeland of Istanbul with that of his new home, Texas.

“There are lots of opportunities for me he says. “I can see more prospects here. If you work hard, you can make it. You need to just keep going. It takes a long time. You need to be patient.”