Photo by Bill T. Miller

Biography

A Portrait

Ajda the Turkish Queen is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and voice teacher living, teaching, and making music in the Boston area, though she is originally from Houston, Texas. A founder of original music bands such as Turkish Queen, Black Fortress of Opium and the Ronnie James Dio tribute AjDIO, her current focus is primarily in solo endeavors. She has also contributed to soundtracks for various independent films.
 

Whether performing solo or as part of a band or ensemble, Ajda has appeared on bills with acts such as The Dresden Dolls, Franz Ferdinand, 4AD bands His Name is Alive & Serena Maneesh, The Fiery Furnaces, Andrew Bird, Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart), Bill Laswell, John Zorn, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and many more.


She has been a collaborator in numerous groups of various styles such as alternative rock, indie/experimental, goth, metal, jazz/blues/gospel, cabaret, and psychedelic pop. She has performed extensively in a live setting from clubs to churches and beyond, as well as on record. Ajda has recorded with artists and composers of diverse styles, from electronic music and pop to modern classical.   

      

Ajda began her lifelong love affair with music in elementary school when she joined the choir and performed as Judy Garland singing a love song to Clark Gable. In middle school, she joined the school band playing flute, which she continued in high school as a part of marching and concert band all the way through college at Berklee and beyond to the current day. Sometime during high school Ajda began to experiment with playing guitar and banjo, which led to her nascent attempts at songwriting.  She later additionally gravitated towards the mandolin and keyboards. 


A curious nature and unconventional approach to writing and playing music initially led Ajda to experimental improvisation and a desire to collect an arsenal of numerous instruments that would afford her inspiration with each new sound, tone, texture, and timbre. Many of her instruments were gifts, or somehow randomly appeared in her life. 


Ajda's serious foray into vocal performance began in 2002 through her involvement with the independent film Neovoxer by director Michael Pope, for which she provided vocals during a live accompaniment of the film's screening. This momentous event helped her to realize a true calling. For her, vocalizing serves as a very direct method of expression - straight from the soul. She has been inspired by the vocals of such artists as Little Jimmy Scott, Natacha Atlas, Elizabeth Fraser, PJ Harvey, Ronnie James Dio, Nico, Ute Lemper, Siouxsie Sioux, Ella Fitzgerald, Kristin Hersh, and more, as well as the lonesome voices of Turkish muezzins.