By the third song of Gavin Turek’s “Good Look For You” EP, you’ll want to find the nearest roller rink. By the end of the upbeat, positive five-song collection, you’ll want to hug whomever happens to be around. But it’ll only be seconds into its first song, “On the Line,” that you’ll want to dance.
Turek has experimented all over the music spectrum, dabbling in Los Angeles’ beat scene (including a mini-album collaboration with Tokimonsta) and working with the indietronica group Miami Horror and dance music producer Com Truise. But it’s here, on her first solo EP, that the singer-songwriter seems to have found her lane, updating the disco-soul of the late‘70s and becoming a worthy successor to Donna Summer.
amNewYork caught up with the Angelino in advance of her EP release show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn to talk about long waits and her manic dancing style onstage.
This is your first solo EP, but you’ve been performing in Los Angeles for the last few years. What kept you going as you tried to figure out your sound?
I’m really glad that I’m a performer and that I love performing live. I think that’s one of the things that kept me moving forward, because even if the music wasn’t coming together that quickly, I kept getting requests to play live shows. I was taking those opportunities to get used to that element. Nowadays, recordings seem to come first, and they go viral, and then people do their first show ever and it’s sold out. I’m happy I got the opportunity to develop that [live performance] side first.
The energy derived from your dancing seems like such an important part of your live show. Where did those moves come from?
I went to the north of Ghana, in a city called Tamale, and studied their traditional dances every day for two months straight. They had the most incredible dance culture you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s beautiful, and fast, and challenging and not chill at all. And I was like, “that’s perfect for me!“ I did that for two months every day — we’d practice with an instructor for four hours and then we’d practice with the actual dance group from that city. Six hours a day, just dancing their dances. It was very impactful on how I move now, and how I perceive dance and what I perceive dance as being used for. It’s so ingrained in their culture, at every point in life. People dance at funerals, at birthday parties, at weddings. And so that’s how I look at dance too.
Your music is generally so bright and positive. How tough is that to be right now?
My solo work in particular is really about giving people an escape. I’m just not an emo artist. I’m honest, but as far as staying in a tough place, I don’t sit there in my own life and get stuck in those dark places. I like to dig myself out. So I just take that chance with my music to give people an escape, give them the chance to get lost in this disco-inspired dreamland for four minutes, or for a 45-minute show. That’s my function.
If you go: Gavin Turek performs on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. at Baby’s All Right, 146 Broadway, Williamsburg, 718-599-5800, $12.