Gavin Turek Returns to America’s Finest City at the University of California, San Diego
Story & Images by Cheryl Andaya
Edited by Aimee von G
La Jolla, CA–For the students who needed a much-deserved break from studying, Los Angeles native Gavin Turek provided the music to dance and let loose on Monday night at UCSD’s performance lounge, The Loft. The electro-pop goddess went the distance with her signature neo-disco sound and vivacious dance moves, inspiring Tritons and San Diego fans alike to get up on their feet and boogie-woogie on with her.
“This is my first time at UC San Diego…you guys have such a nice campus…like really nice…like why didn’t I go here (laughter)? I went to Scripps not the same Scripps (you have here in San Diego)…an all girls school Scripps College in Claremont. I just want to let you know that I went to college too. Yes I did. I did go to college and I’m not using my degree (laughter). It’s ok. It was a good experience. (Introducing her DJ) this is Val Fleury by the way (Val yells out ‘Chico State!’). So I am excited to be here. I think this is my first college show. (The crowd cheers on being he first) Give it up for yourselves! Thank you for coming. I really appreciate it. So I’m from LA, born and raised. I just released my new EP. Are there any artist in the house? I hear you! Good for you going to college, I did the same thing. It worked out just fine for me. Don’t worry about that decision. I just want to get to know you (the audience) a little bit. I’ll talk more later. Thank you for coming. We’re gonna play some new songs off the EP so if you know it, you better dance and sing along (the crowd cheers!)” – Gavin Turek
Soda Bar on El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego was poppin’ with tonight’s performance by L.A.-based recording artist Gavin Turek. Slares opened the night, with their energetic spectacle.
If you thought disco was dead, Gavin and Slares might just change your mind. Their modern interpretation on the genre caters to both a nostalgic audience and a youth constantly on the hunt for something dually current and retro.
Gavin made her entrance in a sequined cloak, as the electro-pop goddess floated on stage, with DJ Val Fleury spinning “Hemisphere,” in the back–the track is one of the many collaborations Gavin has done with fellow L.A. native, record producer TOKiMONSTA. On stage, Gavin leaves it all on the line, putting her heart and soul into a performance that keeps her audience so enchanted, you can’t help but surrender to the music.
tourhivemag.com sat down with Gavin after the show to get the low-down on her pre-show rituals, inspirations, and everything else in between.
TourHive: Our first time seeing you was when you were here with Tuxedo at the North Park Observatory. And we were totally blown away! Thank you so much for coming back to San Diego. What are some of your pre-show rituals?
Gavin: I typically like to be as Zen as possible. So I usually have some tea. I do my make-up in either silence, like alone. Or maybe just by myself with a little bit of music on. Quiet, I just want it to be chill. I stretch and dance a lot. After I kind of Zen out, then I have to amp myself up. So I do a lot of dance movement, like yoga stretches, just trying to get my body as warm as possible. I warm my voice. And then I usually pray, then I hit [the stage].
TH: You mentioned earlier that you do a lot of collaborations, obviously Tuxedo and TOKiMONSTA. Who are some other people you have collaborated with in the past?
G: Last year I’d done a lot of collaborations with electric artists that I really love. So Gigamesh was a recent one. I played a song from our collaboration tonight [“I’d Do It Again”]. Viceroy [“Fade Out”], another just amazing electronic artist.
TH: Is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
G: Yes, oh my goodness! I think at the top of my list right now is Mark Ronson. He’s obviously an incredible producer. I feel like he would understand what I’m trying to do–making the 70’s funk and soul influences so relevant today. That’s my goal, always. I’m inspired by that, but I want it to be accessible. I want people to feel like it’s their music today, as well. So I just think he’s amazing at translating that era to now. And Nile Rogers, as well. I would love to work with him.
TH: Speaking of your influences, Prince, Chaka Khan, and Diana Ross are a few who have been mentioned. Who or what else inspires your work?
G: I’m really inspired by the people I meet at shows, honestly. Because being an artist is really difficult. And I’ve been doing it for a really long time. You know, some days I don’t feel like writing a song or I don’t feel like I’m good enough. Or I feel like all this stuff is just, like “What am I doing?” I’m having an existential crisis often, and when I have moments like tonight in San Diego or when I had an amazing show last night in LA., where I feel the love. I feel like that energy, that acceptance, everybody wants to be accepted. And when I’m feeling that, I’m fueled to create art. It’s very reciprocal for me.
If I didn’t perform often, I think I would be stifled a little bit. I’m very inspired by people that I meet, and just by interactions at shows. As far as other people, I look to so many different artists. One of my favorite vocalists is Feist, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson. I grew up watching them ALL the time, all the time. I love Janet, she is just so fierce. Any fierce females, oh my god, like that’s why I love Diana Ross so much. She is just so effortlessly fierce all the time. I love her!
TH: Speaking from a fan’s perspective, we feel the love for sure coming off of your performances. You could really tell that it’s coming from the heart, and that makes all the difference.
TH: What is your dance influenced by? We saw little bit of Janet.
G: I try, haha! They’re inspired by obviously what I grew up on and what I’ve seen other people do, [like] Michael. But I really love West African dance, that’s my favorite type of dance. I studied and lived in Ghana for a long time, so I try to incorporate that influence and style to the shows as much as possible [because] it makes me happy. It makes me more physically exhausted (laughter) but it’s so much FUN! It’s like hype music. It’s hype dancing to me. People twerk; I do West African.
TH: We almost want to do it with you!
G: Windmilling and all that, yeah it’s fun. I love it!
TH: And you make your own costumes, too. Is that right?
G: Yeah (plays with the fringe on her dress). So I do not sew them, disclaimer. I design and then create the looks with different sewers and costume makers.
TH: We notice it’s two different colors, like a gradient.
G: Yeah, two-toned. I love fringe obviously, but I’m evolving. I just designed a new outfit that’s a body suit, and we’re gonna have some fun this year. I will always be loyal to my fringe looks because they’re so much fun to dance in. But I do want to take some more risks with my stage outfits.
TH: We saw something different from your L.A. show. It looked almost like armor, something futuristic.
G: Yeah, that was a body suit. Very soldier like. I love that outfit!
TH: Did you design that one also?
G: No, I actually bought that one. I found it and I was like “This is perfect!” It fits great.
TH: One last question: What are some artists or musical genres that you listen to that your fans might find surprising?
G: Oooohhh, I love jazz music. Maybe that’s not surprising at all actually. I love Coltrane, Miles Davis, everyone loves them. I listen to a lot of Bill Evans–super cool jazz pianist. And I love gospel music. I’m really into gospel. My hype music in the morning is definitely in-your-face gospel. “Everybody get up!” like yeah!
A: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us at tourhivemag. We’re really big fans. Thank you so much for coming back. It was wonderful to see you!
G: Of course! Thank you for your support. I freakin’ love you, San Diego!
Gavin, we freakin’ love you, too!
Keep an eye out for Gavin’s upcoming tour with Tuxedo. Tour dates to be announced in Asia, Europe, and North America.