Tendertwin is the musical moniker of Bilge Nur Yilmaz. A self-described, “musical nomad”, Bilge was born and raised in Istanbul, “soaking up Turkey’s rich musical heritage from the lapping tides of the Black Sea and Mediterranean”. After spending time in Philadelphia and London, Bilge is now studying for a Masters degree in Music Performance at Oxford, alongside her burgeoning music career. After marking 2021 with a series of well-received singles, Tendertwin recently return with her latest offering, Plastik.
Discussing the inspiration behind Plastik, Bilge describes it as, “fighting a battle between organic and feigned, and I’m always changing sides: whether played out in a relationship between two humans, or between modern humans and the Earth“. The track seeks to mirror the push and pull between the organic and robotic, the luxurious acoustic folk put through an almost industrial production, the layered vocals acting as what she describes as, “a congregation of artificial voices in your head – maybe a reminder of how mass-produced your emotions are“. Musically, it’s a real masterclass in genre-blurring, combining some of the swooping atmospherics of Florence And The Machine with the more subtly bruising qualities of Bat For Lashes or Cross Record. Bilge has spoken of Tendertwin as, “a compilation of my stories made in transit”, a collection of thoughts on people, places and her ever-wandering soul, which put in front of a microphone seems to come alive in a blur of amazingly vivid sound.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Tendertwin?
I’m Bilge, and Tendertwin is a musical manifestation of stories that spill out of me on this weird plane of space and time I find myself in. The idea blossomed during my time in London two years ago, squeezed between home (Turkey) and school (USA). Tendertwin remains an expansive songwriting practice that speaks from my material and abstract displacement — I’m enamored by versatile St. Vincent or Regina Spektor in exploring, and I essentially find my roots in alternative folk.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
I remember multiple busking incidents from my early travels where I would test out a few originals under medieval arcades of small European towns — but for a first legitimate show, I remember being surrounded by the flow of warm bodies in the living room of a communal house I later ended up living in. We would put on these acoustic tasters for the larger community at my university in suburban Philly, and I was performing to a group of students who would sing along as a choir of mumbled harmonies towards the end of the set. It was pure magic.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Singing is almost a religious practice for me. I cannot think of any other embodied action that takes a hold of me the way sound does. Maybe dancing, actually — but I find the immediacy of musical performance quite unique. When I sing, I feel an undescribable liberation — so when I get to tell a story doing that, it’s insanely ecstatic and cathartic! A much-needed flood of everything that bottles up in me — it’s the way I best understand things about myself and my surroundings that otherwise seem painfully obscure.
FTR: What can people expect from the Tendertwin live show?
An intimate exchange of optimistic sorrow, some vocal ad libs, mellow rituals: me on the acoustic guitar, and maybe a friend on strings or guitar.
FTR: What’s next for Tendertwin?
I’m focusing on completing my Master’s at Oxford for the next few months, while also having some one-off performances locally and around the UK. Recording proper some ideas that have been with me for some time for an EP is the next thing.
They Listen To…
Philip John Taylor – Rear Window
Andrew Bird – Underlands
Aldous Harding – Warm Chris
Modern Nature – Spell
Joan As A Policewoman – Start of My Heart
Plastik is out now. For more information on Tendertwin visit https://tendertwin.bandcamp.com/.