Posted On 31 May 2018
Meet Gulce (Gul-che) Turek! She is currently the marketing specialist at Fantasy Records which is a division of Concord Records. Turek is from Istanbul, Turkey where she graduated with honors from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University with a degree in Musicology. This is basically the Berklee School of Music in Turkey and she also received a music business certification from UCLA.
Learn more about the accomplished Gulce Turek in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
It’s end of the business day, a little after 7 so I’m in the office wrapping some things up before the long weekend.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
2018 has been pretty encouraging in the sense of getting to a point where the learning curve is less steep and just being able to filter things from a business-oriented perspective. I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the industry, almost daily, and am very excited to see where things will go. My goal was to see more shows and scout where I can, and to spare some time to actually research and discover new music on digital streaming platforms instead of “saving” things that I randomly find. So far so good.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
It definitely was – both my parents are music lovers, and we had this pretty nice console with a record & CD player with a surround sound system. It was one of the nicest things in our house and they both would play a ton of records. My mom was working at Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality as a legal advisor, so she would get all these free concert tickets to one of the coolest outdoor venues in Istanbul. Especially in the summers, we would go to a bunch of shows together and I just loved that environment from early on in my life.
I always like to know how a person’s upbringing and where they were raised has influence the kind of work that someone does. So how do you think you were impacted by being born and raised in Istanbul?
Istanbul is a city of almost 20 million, and it’s spread out between two continents, Asia and Europe. Culturally the city has a long history with all these different civilizations, so it’s very rich in its DNA. There’s very much a ‘European’ side of our culture where people consume western music and go to shows and enjoy the live scene. It’s also a city where people from around the world but especially from around the country migrate to, so it consists of hundreds of different cultures in one place. People are being exposed to traditional, neo-traditional, and western music all at once. I usually never have a hard time sitting down with a colleague to talk about American music, past and present, so I guess I feel lucky to be exposed to both – the mainstream/widespread music and the local, Mediterranean and Turkish music.
Can you talk about first deciding to work in the music industry? How do you think your previous jobs have gotten you to this point in your career?
Funny enough, I never had a job outside of the entertainment industry. I was really fortunate to get free education both in high school and college, and I hadn’t had my first job until freshman year in college. I wanted to work in this business my whole life, I can’t really remember a time where I wanted to do something else.
Have you ever gotten to use your degree in Musicology at all? How about in the job that you have now? What schooling do you think was the most useful to what you do currently?
I definitely did. I studied music’s social aspects and its cultural impact on people, along with a heavy technical education. It absolutely gave me a new perspective on the music audience and also, studying the “science of music” is absolutely giving me a head start on my work with A&R. I think anything within the lines of music studies, communication, entertainment studies, or even marketing would be useful in this job.
Who are some of the acts that Fantasy Records currently works with now? Who are you really excited about coming up now?
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real, Ry Cooder, Prophets of Rage, Van William, Andrew McMahon, Marcus King Band, Seether – these are our most active projects right now.
As far as the new ones, we have an album coming up with a legendary artist who hasn’t been around in a long while, so I’m super excited about that. Also, we have a few baby bands that I’m looking forward to working with and hopefully build a successful career for them.
In your opinion, how do you think the presence of women in the music industry has grown over the years and since you have been part of it? Where is it heading?
My experience with women in the music industry has been always positive. Almost every team or organization I worked with in Istanbul was led by a woman. And here in the United States, our team is equally divided with my boss also being a woman. Obviously, that’s not always the case and there are pressing issues like the pay-gap and vertical mobility. Though I absolutely think that the female presence has grown in the music industry and I’m hopeful that it’ll get better and more balanced as we move forward. I’m witnessing the unification of female executives in our company and that’s absolutely encouraging.
So when it comes to artists, who are you loving these days? What has been a favorite concert that you have attended recently?
I still can’t get over the elbow show at The Wiltern here in LA last November. It was absolutely mesmerizing. I’ve been listening to Lo Moon, Devandra Banhart, and Julie Byrne pretty heavily. Also King Krule, Tamino, Cigarettes After Sex and Bedouine. Looking forward to hearing Mazzy Star’s upcoming EP.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you think that new music being created now is reflecting this climate?
I think today’s music that’s being adopted by masses is both very indifferent and heavily involved with politics. Political bands / songs like Prophets of Rage or Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” (both unique in their own ways) give the fans a place to share or express their feelings and I think that’s great. At the same time, top streamed songs are often non-related to the subject, but still give people comfort and a distraction. So I guess the answer is, music being created now is a reflection of people reacting to political events and not caring at all, but regardless, it’s freeing.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would take an acoustic drum kit. I would use all that free time to practice on my rudiments and it would be a great tool to reflect my frustration for being stuck on an island.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from the music that you represent at Fantasy Records?
“We believe we are a home for innovative, authentic and independently minded artists with heart that use music to impact the world.” This is sort of our statement to remember why we do this. Hopefully fans share this sentiment as well.
Where can our readers connect with you?
I use Twitter more than other social media platforms, though I’m more of a reader @gulceturek..I like posting cloud pictures on my Instagram too!