Özlem Taner was born in Gaziantep and finished her schooling in her hometown. At the age of 8, she began to play bağlama. After high school, she became a student at the Conservatory of her hometown and graduated with the highest honor degree of the university. From 17 years of age, besides being an undergraduate student, she provided training for bağlama at Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli Association for Culture and Gaziantep Provincial Culture Directorate.
During her university years, she did a “field study” about the Barak region of Gaziantep and made some music collections. The record “Seher İnende”, taking part in the album, performs this kind of a collection. After graduation, she moved to Istanbul, where she planned to make her musical dreams come true; starting with applying to Kalan Music, which she was in hot pursuit of the studies related to Anatolian music.
In her album called Türkmen Kızı, she worked with master arrangers such as Kemal Sahir Gürel, Erol Mutlu, Serdar Ateşer, Ender Akay, Sunay Özgür, Aytekin Aktaş and Soner Akalın. Because the pieces are arranged differently, the album demonstrated the richness and freedom of Anatolian Turkmen music in expressing itself in any kind of musical field. In this sense, she protects the values of traditional music while protesting against traditionalism itself. During her album work, she also took part in some projects. Initially, she was at the Harbiye Open Air Theatre with some Kalan Music artists. Then she joined in the three separate concerts at the palaces of Dolmabahçe, Beylerbeyi and Çırağan; together with Anjelika Akbar, Mısırlı Ahmet and Erkan Oğur. Besides, she made some film and series soundtracks such as Aşka Sürgün, Yersiz Yurtsuz, Asi, Ezo Gelin, Kuzey Rüzgarı, Kapılar Açmak, 2 Eylül (short film) and Beynelmilel.
Her album, Türkmen Kızı, was ranked in the top 10 list in the United Kingdom. An interview was published in the famous world music magazine Folk Roots and her record, “Başına Döndüğüm”, was selected for the compilation CD of world music produced by the Folk Roots. “Türkmen Kızı” was also included in the listeners’ top 5 albums of the BBC radio.
She has participated in various festivals at home and abroad and worked together with many native and foreign musicians.
On the purpose of introducing the authentic music of the Anatolian people to the world, she performed in 15 countries including the Black Sea and the Balkans, under the project, called “3 Women”, consisting of “Evliya Çelebi’nin İzinden” (In the Footsteps of Evliya Çelebi) for the first phase and “Jules Verne’nin İzinden” (In the Footsteps of Jules Verne) for the second.
In the year 2011, she was selected from among 1000 applicants from around the world to the international WOMEX ethnic music expo, which intended to introduce authentic musics of the various nations, and vocalized the samples/examples of Anatolian music.
Still in 2011, together with Feryal Öney and Zelal Gökçe, she vocalised folk songs produced by women (“kadın ağzı türküler”) with different themes under the television broadcast named “Kadınların Dilinden” in IMC TV.
Further, she was in the project presented in Beijing and Shanghai, together with the dancers, music groups and precious musicians reuniting classical Western music, ethnic music and sufi music, prepared by the State Opera and Ballet Modern Dance as part of the “2013 Turkish Culture Year in China”.
In 2013, she was the anchor of the program called “Kadın Âşıklar”, in which a female minstrel and a female Turkish folk music performer are invited as guests, broadcasted in TRT Music Channel.
In March, 2013, her second album “Âşıklar Meclisi” met the audience, again labeled as Kalan Music. Besides the masters like Arif Sağ and Erdal Erzincan, the arrangement of Volkan Kaplan took a part in this album. Here, Özlem Taner included the Nefes’ that she heard from her mother and from the women gatherings she had participated with her mother in her childhood. In this album, it is aimed to feature the purity and profundity of verbal content of “nefes”, with the arrangements and performance being considerably simple and faithful/literal.