Istanbul, Turkey

City Of Black & White by Mat Kearney

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This whole city's black and white
Tell me what is your color
could it be the same as mine? Read full Lyrics
As a songwriter, Mat Kearney is intense. As a singer, he's as soulful as it gets. So when he takes his time (three-plus years in some cases) to write, record, produce, and release an album, the studio executives, as well as his fans, patiently wait for his genius to emerge. The 2009 song and album of the same title, The City of Black and White, is a reference to and was inspired by his trip to Istanbul, Turkey. He wrote the song there, though the lyrics aren't directly about the city.

Topkapi Palace<br>Photo: <a href="">Avniyazici</a>, <a href="">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>, via Wikimedia CommonsTopkapi Palace
Photo: Avniyazici, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
"'City of Black and White' was another song that I wrote with a friend. And actually wrote it in this apartment overlooking the Bosphorus River in Istanbul, which separates Europe and Asia, which is very odd, but the city is on both sides, literally divides the continents in half. And then there was this new door opening up to a new project and a new idea. 'City of Black and White' came out of that. And it was one of the first songs that I wrote." (Marie Claire Interview, 2009)

Istanbul is one of the oldest, largest, and most significant cities in the world with a rich history stretching back thousands of years. Originally known as Byzantium when the Greeks founded the city, Constantine re-founded it in the 4th Century as Constantinople. No sooner did the Ottoman's took over in 1453 then the name was changed to what it's known as presently.

Strategically located along the "silk road" (the medieval trade route between Europe and the Orient), Istanbul straddles the ultra-busy Bosporus Strait and is one of the few transcontinental cities on the globe. Additionally, the city's split into geographic thirds so that two of parts lie on the European side, while the last remains firmly planted in Asia. Interestingly enough, it became the capital for not one (Roman), but four (Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman) separate empires before Mustafa Kemal Ataturk relocated the capital city of Turkey to Ankara in 1923.

Haydarpasa Terminal from the Sea of Marmara<br>Photo: <a href="">Christian Koehn (fragwürdig)</a>, <a href="">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>, via Wikimedia CommonsHaydarpasa Terminal from the Sea of Marmara
Photo: Christian Koehn (fragwürdig), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
There are hundreds of cultural sights (and sites) to visit in Istanbul. For both the locals and tourists, the city is a place of beauty, strength, and wonder. For example, the Hagia Sophia (or Ayasofia in Turkish), began as a Greek Orthodox Christian Church before it was converted first into a mosque and then a museum. Thousands pass through the structure's main arch every day. Another instance is Topkapi Palace – the home of the Sultans for hundreds of years – as well as their entire families. The palace grounds even contain an expansive harem where dozens of "wives" and "daughters" resided.

As far as Kearney goes, he resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his beautiful wife, actress and model Annie Sims. Following the success of City of Black and White, he released his latest album Young Love in 2011, which peaked at #4 on the U.S. charts and sold over 100,000 copies.

Justin Novelli
October 4, 2016
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