Simavi was born in Istanbul, Turkey on August 22nd. He lived there until the age of five, when he moved with his family to London. He then moved again to New York City at the age of twelve. Growing up, his parents were lovers of music. His father loved Johnny Mathis, and his mother played pop music in the house. Listening to albums with his parents developed an early love and ear for music.
Simavi’s first musical ambitions were encouraged by his family. As a boy, his mother bought him a piano, which he taught himself how to play. But he knew he always wanted to use his voice. He recalls hearing Nat King Cole at a very young age, and afterwards knowing that he was born to sing. Simavi spent his college years in California, playing in a jazz trio as a pianist and then as a singer. He frequently took trips to Las Vegas to see his favorite performers on stage, including one of his most formative influences, Frank Sinatra. After college, Simavi moved back to New York City and began performing as a solo artist.
Back in New York, Simavi debuted his solo act at the United Nations, and was subsequently dubbed the “New Frank Sinatra” by The New York Observer. He continued to sing at many clubs and venues including, Eddie Condon’s, Jilly’s, and at the annual Toys for Tots charity show. He produced and starred in his own local television show, which ran for two years. He appeared on several TV and radio shows, including, the Joe Franklin show, Jim Lowe show, Dorothy Dunne show and David Kenney show.
Simavi has performed in front of New York City mayors, Academy Award winning actors, and television personalities, in his one of a kind live show. Recently Simavi performed in New York with his 30-piece orchestra at Lincoln Center, the Florence Gould Hall, and The Lighthouse. Simavi was also chosen to be the United States’ representative at The Golden Butterfly International Music Festival in Europe.
Nat King Cole made him want to sing, Frank Sinatra made him want to be a singer. Simavi brings together old and new, classic and contemporary. His debut album, Memories Of You is a 23 track tour-de-force of timeless pop standards, with outstanding arrangements from the likes of Quincy Jones, Johnny Mandel, Nelson Riddle and Billy May. Combined with Simavi’s musical direction, the result is nothing short of moving. Many singers are backed with orchestral arrangements. None can claim to have a 50-piece band behind them–except Simavi.
Recorded over a span of several years at the prestigious Edison Studios in New York City, Simavi accomplished the rare feat of engaging a 50-piece orchestra to record Memories Of You. Produced by Simavi himself, the album gives equal footing to standards like, “Fly Me To The Moon”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “The Girl From Ipanema”, “I Get A Kick Out Of You”, “I Wish You Love”, and lesser known tunes like, “To The Ends Of The Earth“, “Love Looks So Well On You”, “Tell Her You Love Her”, “Again” and “Let Me Be The One”. By doing so, Simavi breathes freshness into the lounge genre, and presents his own singular direction. No other singer today can claim what Simavi has done. Each recording, wrapped in lush orchestral arrangement, pulls in listeners at every moment. And as a bonus, Memories Of You is an enhanced CD, and features a video of a live performance from Simavi at Lincoln Center in New York City, viewable on any DVD or CDRom player.
Simavi has brought back a long lost art form into the ears of standard tune fans and newcomers alike. But, if you think this is simply a recording of renditions you are sadly mistaken. Simavi takes all 23 songs and adds his own unique flavor to them. “I didn't want to copy”, notes Simavi. “I wanted to add a different touch. Keep the beauty and integrity of the originals yet make them my own”. In selecting the tracks for the album, he was very careful not to only choose signature songs. Over half of the songs on Memories Of You, from, “Tell Her You Love Her” to the title track “Memories Of You”, are songs that Simavi believes got lost in between the well known hits of the artists.