Gavin Gets Down
“The true intention behind '2AM' is celebrating my skin—being in my skin and being in a safe place with other people that are loving themselves. It’s really promoting a freedom of expression and a freedom that comes with being in a safe space,” said Turek during her exclusive office interview.
Stay tuned; Turek and Hartz plan to release the rest of their joint album in early 2020. Read the rest of our chat with Turek below.
(left) Dress by GUCCI
(right) Jacket and bodysuit by GUCCI
Describe your sound.
It’s very funk-inspired pop music. It’s soulful pop. To me, it’s really cool that you don’t have to fit into a genre box.
How did you find your sound?
I was willing to mess around a lot. I’ve done everything underneath the sun with sound experimentation. I dabbled a lot with electronic music, and I grew up listening to jazz. At one point in time, indie-rock was kind of my thing. My sound has really been all over the place. I’ve allowed myself to go there. Sometimes you really click with another creator, and that helped me connect with my recent sound. My co-pilot Chris Hart and I have a really special relationship. Right now, we’re just having fun—no limits.
When did you first discover your love for music?
Some of my earliest childhood memories were of me engaging with music in some way. My mom is a singer, and I remember being either three or four—so very young—and listening to her sing and practice in our house. I would imitate her, and I eventually began grabbing the microphone and doing it on my own. My dad played the piano. I remember him every morning playing the piano and waking us up. It grew from there. It’s always been a really big part of my life, and it came very naturally with my family.
What is your spirit as an artist?
Being honest and free in my expression. When I perform and create, I try to be as honest as possible. My intention when I perform is to be free in my body. When I see other people expressing themselves freely, I emulate that. If I’m reflecting that, others will continue that reflection.
You’re considered a singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress—which do you identify with most?
For the last five or six years, I have mostly been focused on singing and developing that side of my expression, making sure that my focus was solely on music, musical expression, writing, performing, building up my stamina—all of those really practical things that go into being a solid performer and artist. Now, I’ve crossed the threshold and finished recording my first album, which is something I have wanted to do for forever. Even though it hasn’t been released yet, I feel like I can finally focus on the other creative outlets that I have. I write too.
I’m working on scripted television writing right now. I’m just into so many other things that are beyond music. It took me a little while to realize that you can really do everything that you’re made to do, everything that you’re meant to do. I feel like I’m meant to do more than just music. I want to inspire other women in a similar way and make it known that you don’t have to be singular in your expression. You should own every aspect of how you feel you relate to the world and to other people. That’s the zone I’m in now, and it’s really exciting. It’s very freeing. There are no limits. I don’t want to put any limits on what I can do in music, film and television. In that way, I feel like it’s truly the beginning because I haven’t even scratched the surface. I feel good about where I am right now; I feel really free today. That’s so important. A lot of times, artists tend to stay on one path. Yeah! I don’t have to just be this one person—I can surprise people.
Is there a passion that you want to tap into, but haven’t quite explored yet?
I want to help other women of color tell their story, specifically with visual artists. I’m very passionate about visual art. I studied art history in college. I could just go on and on about how much I loved dissecting and analyzing different artists, their work and the intention. It creates the question in my mind: What is the work doing? I really am passionate about other black women artists. I want to get their stories out. I want to bring other women’s artistic stories to a broader audience. The intention comes from me personally being able to share my experiences and my story, and I want other women to be able to do that as well.
Dress by LOU DALLAS
You mentioned the question, “What is their work doing?” So, what is your work doing?
The new album and my new song “2AM” could sound like party songs. But the true intention behind “2AM” is celebrating my skin—being in my skin and being in a safe place with other people that are loving themselves. It’s really promoting a freedom of expression and a freedom that comes with being in a safe space. I hope that intention will transpire into other people to create those spaces for themselves and for other people, especially in the marginalized community. It’s also hopefully just a fun song people can dance to. The intention behind that song specifically and a lot of the new stuff is being honest with yourself first.
Referring back to your intent with the themes of identity, skin, and creating safe spaces—does this message carry throughout your album?
Absolutely. Every song is my own personal experience and struggle with finding beauty in pain. That’s the most poignant way to put it. There can be a lot of struggle and pain within the journey of being comfortable with yourself. To be okay with who you are, how God made you, and how your life is turning out—it’s all an ongoing struggle. Those are what I’m grappling with personally, so you hear that struggle that you have within yourself when you’re growing. That’s why I like to find beauty in painful places. There is so much goodness that can come out from the uncomfortable. That’s found throughout the whole album.
Can you speak on some of the painful experiences that you draw strength and inspiration from?
That’s hard to answer without being too direct. Similarly to most people, my path has been different than how I anticipated it to be. It’s not a bad thing, and I am so blessed and grateful for all the things that have transpired in my career. At the same time, there is still mourning with not being where you expected to be at a certain time of your life; with relationships and family that you thought would be in your life forever—it’s various forms of heartbreak. My mom put it the best way. She said to me, “Gavin, your heart will continue to break in various ways for the rest of your life—missed opportunities and failure with relationships, that will continue to happen in every area of your life. You do find ways to handle it better.”
Tell us a little bit about the process behind creating the “2AM” music video.
For that video, I worked with an amazing choreographer. We worked together a lot. I usually do my own freestyle choreography for my shows. When I work on a production with multiple bodies on that scale, I absolutely work with choreographers. For this particular video, I was super proud of it, because I wrote it and acted as the creative director. I planned blocking and casted it. I was hands-on with every aspect of it. It was really my baby. The director graciously allowed me to be very involved. I saw it in my mind. I knew what story I wanted to tell; who I wanted to be in it; and what I wanted people to look like.
I saw your ‘Eargasm’ playlist you created on Spotify a little while back, I’m curious, What’s your current ‘Eargasm?’
Right now, my ‘eargasm’ of choice is the song “So Ready” by Raphael Saadiq. I am obsessed with it. You have to check it out. My other ‘eargasm’ is “Patience” by Tame Impala. Those two songs are so beautiful—an extreme Los Angeles summer vibe.
Check out "2AM" below.