Gavin Turek: “I’m really a live artist. I feel like I don’t live on the internet.” (8/11 at MilkBoy)

“I hope fans just really enjoy being present with me, because I demand it… and dancing,” says disco/soul/funk/R&B singer/songwriter Gavin Turek, only partially joking.  “I’m a serious performer.  I...

“I hope fans just really enjoy being present with me, because I demand it… and dancing,” says disco/soul/funk/R&B singer/songwriter Gavin Turek, only partially joking.  “I’m a serious performer.  I demand a presence and a mutual respect for each other.  The audience is performing for me, just as I’m performing for them,” she explains of her live shows.  Although Turek has had new music in the works for quite some time now, she hasn’t officially released anything since her 2021 debut, Madame Gold.  However, she’s been spending the summer playing live and has an upcoming headlining date at MilkBoy on Friday, August 11th.  “It’s been really nice to perform in some cities I haven’t been to in a while and reconnect.  I don’t know about other indie artists, but it took me a while to get back into the swing of performing,” the Los Angeles musician tells me during our recent phone chat.

Gavin Turek grew up in a musical family, but originally planned to dedicate her life to dance (which she did for several years, training and traveling abroad to India and Ghana) before deciding on music as her primary artistic and creative outlet.  She’s a longtime friend of DJ and producer TOKiMONSTA, for whom she’s contributed vocals and even released 2015 collaborative EP, You’re Invited.  She’s also befriended neo-soul icon Mayer Hawthorne, for whom she’s opened and participated as a member of his retro funk act Tuxedo, but 2021’s Madame Gold, released on her own Madame Gold Records, was the first time she was front and center as the true star.  And while she’s still quite proud of that album, she admits that she’s in quite a different place than when she wrote those songs, and her new (unreleased) music certainly reflects that.

“It’s really different from Madame Gold in that Madame Gold was just a darker time in my experience…  The major difference is I’m more leaning into the awkwardness and the fun of where I am right now… I talk a lot about dating because that’s what I’m doing right now, and I’m in my 30s and it’s awkward [laughs]…  It’s like, things are weird, but I’m happy!”

She also says that she feels as though she’s far from the only person in this boat: “A lot of people are sick of being sad, which I think is why Renaissance is doing well and house music is doing well.  People are ready to dance and ready to enter a new era.”  When I ask about her latest sounds, Turek tells me, “It has to be uplifting, it has to be fun…  All the new music is very dance-centric.  It feels like we’re all on a dance floor together at these shows!”  Although while she tells me that audiences at her upcoming shows can expect to hear around five of these new songs, they can also expect to hear some of her, “older dance-centric material.”  And when I ask if there has been any recent music that’s been contributing to these sentiments, she tells me that the new albums from Róisín Murphy (Hit Parade), Jessie Ware (That! Feels Good!), and Little Dragon (Slugs of Love) have all been in heavy rotation.

When I ask Gavin when we might be able to expect to hear official drops of this new material, she laughs and says, “I have no idea.  There are a lot of ways and tools indie artists use to promote themselves and get themselves out there, but when it’s self-funded, it can take a little bit more time,” but does tell me she will likely start to roll out singles sometime in the near future.  And she says that these live dates have actually been a great opportunity to road test some of these new songs: “I’m going to see what resonates and how they react to the new music to help me go forward with the album release and what singles I might drop.”

However, Turek tells me that these dates are far more than just an excuse to hear what audiences think of the new material, that she’s more excited just to catch up with fans in general: “The big reason why I’m doing this particular tour is to reconnect.  I haven’t been able to come back and do a show there since the pandemic.”  But she also admits, like many artists, the concert setting really is the way that her music needs to be experienced: “I’m really a live artist.  I feel like I don’t live on the internet.  I feel like I live in your face [laughs].”  And, in terms of what you can expect, she tells me, “I’m giving them a really good time.  They’re going to dance the entire show, I promise!”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.