Kayahan was born in Izmir, Turkey, on March 29, 1949. He spent his childhood and young adulthood years in Ankara before moving to Istanbul.
Kayahan, whose full name was Kayahan Acar, released his first album in 1975 and went on to release nearly two dozen more. Best known for his love songs, he built his musical legacy on his use of idiomatic Turkish to describe emotions. Many of his songs are considered pop classics.
He first won global recognition at the 1986 International Mediterranean Music Contest in Antalya, a Turkish Mediterranean town, and in 1990 he represented Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest with his composition "Gozlerinin Hapsindeyim" (“I Am Entrapped by Your Eyes”). The song did not win, but it became a hit in Turkey.
Açar was married three times. He made his first marriage to Nur in 1973. From this marriage, which lasted 24 years long, he became father of a daughter Beste (Turkish for music composition), born in 1975. Beste was runner-up for Miss Turkey in 1995. Kayahan remarried to Lale Yılmaz in 1990. The couple divorced in 1996. In 1999, at age fifty, he remarried to his third wife,1976-born İpek Tüter. In August 2000, İpek gave birth to their daughter Aslı Gönül.