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lime Music Interview: Goapele

Lime interview - Music


words by

Semper - Azeez -Harris

Reporter: Semper - Azeez -Harris

Goapele bringing something inspirational and pragmatic.


Goapele has been at the fore of neo soul for some ten years since her first album Closer (2001) which spawned Romantic the jazzy, hip-hop driven track that is about as sensual as it gets. While Closer was the album that first made people stand up and take notice of the Bay area resident, the follow-up album, Even Closer (2002) cemented her status as an artist to watch. Work with names like the fantastic Erykah Badu, the mercurial Mos Def or indeed brilliant Dwele followed and are the tip of a proverbial Titanic sized iceberg. 

Despite the success (which surprisingly still has not seen her win awards) she remains a person able to keep her private life private and let her music take all the focus. That is not to say that we do not get an understanding of the more private thoughts and feelings of Goapele on the contrary through her eleven years  in music we have learnt that Goapele is more than a striking beauty. 

“I wanted to make a statement against the war with Closer-as a RnB soul singer you can be expected to just focus on love and relationships and I just wanted to make it clear that I can go into different subjects”, she adds, “when I entered this industry I was cautious of not being exploited. The music I have done has always been completely sensual but there were also other things I wanted to say and I wanted to make sure in my career that I said those things first.” Closer was an album that managed to be a foray into deep neo soul vibes with a generous portion of hip-hop driven beats whilst still being able to bring some social commentary-Salvation represents another sample of that quintessential mix of Goapele sensuality with a message.

“I just really wanted to make sure my music was taken seriously-and in truth my mind was in a different place particularly with my first album, with Break of Dawn, it is more about feelings, emotions. On the sensual side it is about love and loss. I think that I was a little more vulnerable, emotional- I wanted to capture that.”

Break of Dawn evidently does all that Goapele wanted to achieve and more. It is a totally brilliant fourth album and a whole six years since her last album, Change it All (2005). Milk and Honey a gorgeous track from the album, was initially slated as the title track but Break of Dawn as a body of work was about capturing her emotional growth and new perspective on life. “Milk and Honey was a working title but before I even finished the last track on the album I really wanted to think of a title that would really encapsulate my feelings and a title that would really show rays of hopefulness hence Break of Dawn”

In that six years Goapele has experienced the highs and lows of life in all its dimensions and details that in the title track which is an atmospheric synth driven number with lines like ‘the sun will rise/and the day will begin’. 

As the interview comes to an apt end, a question regarding what Break of Dawn is trying to convey is answered poignantly?

“I lost my dad, my grandmother and a dear friend of mine in a short period of time but I am also a mother now and it was an exciting thing that I was looking to do to expand my life-so there have been some big changes- Break of Dawn was a visual reference of what I have been through and now coming out of that time in a way.”


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