Dancehall / Feature

Sidem Öztürk Talks ‘Yam Head’ Criticism and Being Vybz Kartel Muse: Interview

It’s been a little over a month since the Gaza Boss Vybz Kartel revealed that he is now engaged to Turkish beauty Sidem Öztürk.

The pair confirmed their engagement to Urban Islandz in August. According to Sidem, they first met in 2015 as just a fan of his music, but over the years, their relationship became more. Vybz Kartel has been incarcerated since 2012, but that has not stopped the artist from finding love, as he sings about in his latest EP True Religion where he addresses matters of the heart and even dedicates music to his future wife.

The news about the engagement has been met with shock, dismay, and disappointment by some, and others have even questioned whether the relationship is a public relations (PR) relationship to aid Kartel’s career.

In an exclusive interview with Urban Islandz, Sidem Öztürk, however, discusses how she manages the reactions of Kartel’s fans, what she loves about the ‘Worl’Boss’, and their plans for the future.

Since your interview about Vybz Kartel and your engagement, people are criticizing you for quitting her job in England and moving to Jamaica. Some even say you are a “Yam head.” How do you respond?

“People will always find something to criticise, so I always follow my own heart and mind and anyone that knows me knows that about me. I quit my job and left my life in London because I truly believe in what Addi and I have. People are under the impression that I am new in Addi’s life or that we haven’t built a solid foundation. To some people, I am a ‘Yam Head’ and to others, I am a strong-minded person who went after what she believes.”

“Like I said, no matter what I do people will always have something to say. I cannot let other people’s perceptions and opinions affect me or my life choices. I don’t follow the crowd I follow what I believe in and I believe in what Addi and I have. If that makes me a ‘Yam Head’ then so be it. I’m sure we all been a Yam Head at some point of our lives – whether a Yamabella or a Yamabello.”

Many of Vybz Kartel’s fans were shocked to hear he is engaged for obvious reasons, and some are curious about who Sidem is. Tell us a little about yourself.

“Sidem Ozturk is a 32-year-old (33 in November) who always follows her heart. I was born on the 13th of November so that makes me a cut and dry Scorpio. I studied Psychology at university and I have dabbled a bit in Sociology and Philosophy. I see myself as an introvert as I prefer to be alone or in quiet spaces. I am of Kurdish descent but was born in Turkey. I migrated to the UK from a very young age and I have been living in London for 29+ years.”

Sidem Ozturk

How do you feel about Kartel making music for/about you?

Sidem: “Honestly, I have been a huge fan of Vybz Kartel’s music from a very very young age. I literally used to only play his music in my car or at home. Not only was I in love with his music but I was physically very attracted to him too. I used to tell people I am going to marry Vybz Kartel but who would actually think such a dream would come true? It’s not something that happens often. Before I even met Addi I had a dream I visited him in prison and we connected. To be where we are today is a miracle; it’s like I manifested it. I always believed I would be perfect for him as I knew he was perfect for me.”

“To have my favorite #1 artist dedicate not only a song but a whole album for me is another miracle. I still cannot believe it. I am over the moon about it. How many people can say their #1 artist has dedicated an album to them? I am blessed enough to be able to say that!”

Do you inspire his creative process for his new music and if yes, how?

Sidem: “Addi’s inspiration comes from the foundations of our relationship. I have always kept it real with Addi and that’s what he pulls from. We are not only interested in each other romantically but we also have a friendship. He is my bestfriend and I am his. “lovers and friends” is a magical combination and an amazing concept to pull from, so I became his muse.”

How do you connect with the love of your life, do you write love letters to each other to communicate and maintain the relationship?

Sidem: “I left the UK and moved to Jamaica to better maintain our relationship. This way we are able to keep in contact and see other more often. The prison visits and authorised telephone calls enable us to connect better. Me moving to Jamaica was long overdue – what people are seeing now is what we have built over the years.”

There are accusations you are in a PR relationship to keep Vybz in the news. How do you respond to this or handle these accusations?

Sidem: “People are actually saying that? Are these people for real??!! Listen, If there is one thing I have learned from this experience its that haters will say what they want and doubters will believe in what they will. I think the PR accusations are quite hilarious and downright silly, to be honest.”

“I’ve been with Addi for years and this is real life, our real life. Not a publicity stunt or a “for your entertainment” scenario. Addi is in the spotlight so naturally developments in his life are going to be highlighted in the media but what people are clearly forgetting is he has a life of his own, we have a life of our own and not everything is done for media coverage.”

Are you involved in managing the business side of Vybz Kartel’s music like his label?

Sidem: “Addi and I work well as a team both outside and inside of business. I was the one who managed his Vybzkartel Instagram since before it was called vybzkartel, made public and verified! Plus I do a lot of monetary transactions on his behalf as well. He trusts me with his heart as well as his emotional and financial well-being. In effect, he’s my CEO and I’m his COO.”

Sidem Ozturk

What’s your favorite Vybz Kartel song and why?

Sidem: “It is impossible to pick a favorite song from Vybz Kartel because he is my favorite artiste and to my mind, the greatest artiste! He has a huge catalog of high-quality music which makes that question impossible to answer. Addi’s music is captivating. You learn from him and you have fun with him while listening to them so I cannot reduce Vybz Kartel to 1 favourite song. I wonder if any true fan would be able to pick just 1 song from his immense catalog? I doubt it.”

For years now, some of VK’s female fans have been harsh and some hateful towards you, how do you navigate this and does it bother you?

Sidem: “Can you blame them? Lol. I would carry some sort of jealous feelings if I watched Addi start a relationship with another female. I am blessed enough that it is me and not anyone else. So why concentrate on the negative when I have something so positive?”

“To be honest, I am aware people are not familiar with me (even though our relationship is in its seventh and most wonderful year this far) and that in itself breeds contempt. I am able to accept things for what they are and I am able to not take everything personal.”

“To be with someone like Addi you have to be thick-skinned. I am thicker-skinned than I look and that helps me to navigate myself and my emotions. I do not let the negative words from the virtual world leak into my reality.”

Sidem Öztürk announced last month that she and the Worl’Boss were now engaged. The artist is presently awaiting the outcome of his criminal conviction for murder at Jamaica’s highest court of appeal, the Privy Council in England.

Kartel shares three children with ex-girlfriend Tanesha ‘Shorty’ Johnson. The artist is being held at the Tower Street prison and has expressed hope that he will be released on appeal.

Vybz Kartel has not spoken about the engagement, but he has left a note on his Instagram page following Ozturk’s interview last month, “Who vex? Drink water & mind yuh business!” he wrote on Instagram.

Kartel’s True Religion EP is out now.