Born Goapele Mohlabane on Jul. 11, 1977, Goapele ( pronounced ‘gwa-puh-lay, which means ‘move forward in South African dialect Setswana) is far from being a new comer. Thirteen years ago, she would self-release her debut-album ‘Closer’ on the heels of her time at the prestigious Berkley College Of Music where she focused on writing and recording songs. Makin’ herself a name from popular live performance in the Bay Area (SF), she would redo the latter, adding 5 new songs and eventually changing its title to ‘Even Closer’ which would be her first nationally distributed set. Meanwhile its lead single – ‘Closer’ – would feature on the 2003 released ‘Honey’ OST, with the album then rereleased in 2004 on Columbia/SME with another bunch of extra songs ranging from Neo-Soul to Trip-Hop and Jazz. But also get remixed by DJ Spinna with a release on both on both Loveslap! Recordings in America and BBE in the UK that same year…
History looks set to repeat itself this year with Goapele seating on the strong and phonky ‘Hey Boy’, written by Estelle Swaray along with Lauren Evans, Lance Tolbert, David ‘DQ’ Quinones and Keith Harris and delivered with a remix obviously destined to make waves, featuring Snoop Dogg. A cut opening to her new album – ‘Strong As Glass’ – showcasing, as usual, her versatility, from the vibrant ‘Last Days’ to the heartfelt ‘Perfect’ and the groovy ‘My Love’ featuring Eric Benét on a smooth tip.
“Every album I push myself to a new level, and this time, I wanted each song to feel strong and even the production sounds bigger, while lyrically it’s still intimate”, she explained. “I worked with producers and songwriters who pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, and really sing out, as if I were doing a live show. I want this album to reach into people’s hearts, make them feel something, make them dance, and inspire them to take risks…”
“As an album, I feel like it’s strong, it’s vulnerable; it’s the mind, heart and soul of a woman from different perspectives. From feeling empowered, from questioning love, being excited about love, just the whole emotional rainbow”, Goapele told Singersroom. “I feel like each song is solid and has its own story to it… Some of it is my story and some of it are reflections of other people also.”
Goapele is also to kick off a North American tour in support of the album in early November;
‘Strong As Glass’ is out now on Primary Wave Music/BMG Rights Management