Gavin Turek, an impressive singer/songwriter, actress and dancer, has announced that she will be releasing her debut full-length album Madame Gold, out on July 23. The album will be released via her own record label, also fittingly titled Madame Gold. Turek’s upcoming work explores themes of perseverance, self-trust, and hope amidst chaos— and she is excited to share it with the world in just a short month.
To chat about the creation of her new album, Turek sat down with American Songwriter for a Q&A.
American Songwriter: Tell me about this album.
Gavin Turek: It’s my first one, which is really insane. And thinking about this the other day, I wanted to release an album since I was a little girl, and I’m not a little girl anymore. It’s just crazy that it’s happening in a way that I never thought it would, and that it would take longer than I thought. And yeah, everything just happened in a way that I didn’t anticipate. But I’m looking forward to seeing the results and the reception and then having the value of hindsight.
AS: Why is it called Madame Gold?
GT: I started writing this album when I was in various transitional moments of life. I had a lot of expectations for where my career was going. I just had so much excitement and anticipation for making an album and how that was gonna go. And when I started the process, it didn’t take that long to realize that we couldn’t really just go back and do a carbon copy, or an updated version of what we had just put out in the past. And that wasn’t going to work. And it was really because I wasn’t in the same mental space. I just wasn’t the same. And so we went on this wild ride, and I get to what has turned into the album. I guess it took longer to make because it’s telling a very long story short. Last year, in the fall, it was after we had been in lockdown for a while and after George Floyd’s death, I was feeling very stuck in a victim mentality. I just felt like everything was happening to me on a personal level, and in the world. To be honest, I thought that first, maybe the album was going to come out at the end in 2019. And then when that all happened, and said, we will regroup. That was in 2019. And then 2020 comes around, and then everything really changes on the macro level. I got to a point in 2020 where I was so caught in the seeing myself as a victim, that I was just sinking in that hole of that perception of myself.
AS: How did you get out of that mentality?
GT: I kind of had an “aha” moment and I just was able to see myself for what I was. It was a result of this beautiful conversation between two visual artists on zoom (during quarantine; it was a lunch conversation. This artist, Renee Cox, was speaking to a fellow artist. She’s a Black American artist and she does a lot of self portraits. I remember being struck by the self portraits that she took in the 90s of herself as a superhero. And I always thought that they were just cool. I love these photos, and then we flash forward to 2020 and I’m sitting in my apartment having a crisis with the world. She was talking about those portraits that I was familiar with and she referred to that decision to portray herself as a superhero as a life saving act, because it’s an act of defiance. She wanted to portray herself as a superhero, who was unapologetic, and who was bold and who was black and who fought white supremacy and racism and capitalism. People were up in arms. Critics did not get it. They did not feel comfortable. And she just didn’t give up. All the sudden I was like, “Oh my God, if I choose to stay in this victim mentality, and have a portrayal of someone who is sitting in their sadness, that’s the end of the story.” It clicked for me. And it’s so what I needed to get up off the floor and kind of breathe life back into the hope of the album for me, so I went back to the drawing board and wrote some more songs. I decided to visually portray myself in a totally different way than I had planned, and I wanted to embrace this image of myself as a superhero, because that’s inspiring to me. And she’s going to be Madame Gold!
AS: What a wonderful way to intermingle the visual arts with the musical arts!
GT: And I loved it, cause I was thinking about, how do I want to capture this? How do I want to capture this feeling of thinking of myself as bold and powerful and unapologetic, and persevering and resilient… like I don’t know… but I just surrendered to Madame Gold. It just felt right. And it was inspiring. I kind of sat up straighter and I was like, “Well, what would Madame Gold do in this situation?”
AS: Do you have a favorite track or two from this new album that you want to mention a story behind?
GT: There’s a song called “Pressure.” And I think it’s just such a universal feeling that we all experienced to some extent. And I think a lot of women have this pressure to have a family and be married by the time we are like 25, depending on where you are. And if you don’t have your relationship, your career, your kids whatever figured out by like 30, you feel like you’re failing at life. And a lot of that is culturally programmed, and a lot of the pressure for me was all self-imposed. And so that song is just my way of kind of dealing with that in real time and expressing those feelings, and I think it’s so relatable.
AS: What do you want fans to know going in to listening to your new album?
GT: I guess I want them to know that making this album was a fight, mentally. And it was a fight to get to this point of releasing it. And there’s so many moments in the process where I wanted to give up and walk away from myself, not even just from my art, but from myself. And I finished it. And I just want them to know that. It wasn’t easy to keep going. And if I can persevere and complete something like this, that was really difficult to do, that they can do whatever they think is impossible.
Mark your calendar’s for Turek’s album release of Madame Gold, coming out July 23.
Madame Gold Track Listing:
Crashing Landing Overture
3. So What
5. Circulate The Goods
6. SLIDE (feat. bLAck pARty)
9. Thank You
10. Sad Ice Cream
12. Simple Reasons
13. All Of The Noise