Goapele: Dream Street

People might have a hard time pronouncing Goapele’s name but after listening to the album they will learn what great music is. Her debut CD Even Closer gives your 14 tracks of soulful, sensual, music that good for the soul. The title track alone will force you press the repeat button and listen to it […]

People might have a hard time pronouncing Goapele’s name but after listening to

the album they will learn what great music is. Her debut CD Even Closer

gives your 14 tracks of soulful, sensual, music that good for the soul. The

title track alone will force you press the repeat button and listen to it all day long.

Everyone has been singing the praises of Goaplele. She has become one of the

sought after talents. Her collaboration resume reads

like a who’s who in the Neo-Soul and hip-hop arena. Doing joints with Raphael

Saddiq, Soulive, E-40, the Hieroglyphics, and the list continues to grow and


Goapele was just recently awarded SF Weekly Award for “Best Soul and R&B

Artist.” And her song “Closer” will be featured be featured on the upcoming

Jessica Alba movie soundtrack, “Honey.” Allhiphop.com recently spoke with

Goapele and here’s what transpired.

Allhiphop.com Alternatives:

Do people mess up your name a lot? What are some of the worst translations

you’ve heard?


All the time all my life. A lot of times I’ve introduced my self as Cuapalay

which the “g” sounds more like an “h” and people may get confused and think I’m

trying to say popular or gospel or something that is just a regular word in

English that had nothing to do with my name. They look at me like “oh my

god I know someone didn’t name her that.” That’s not her nickname. There’s

different crazy variations of anything that could sound like Cuapalay since

it’s so unfamiliar. Anything that can rhyme with a word. It’s a South African

name it means “go forward.” It’s my grandmother’s maiden name.


What was the process for you to write the title track, “Closer?”


Closer was a song that was really was kind of a train of thought and a much

more spontaneous kind of song than anything I’ve written. Amp Live and Mike

Tiger who are both producers from the Bay Area produced the track and just

brought it to me and just said it’s a vibe track and I immediately really

liked it. And I was finishing the EP that I was doing and was finally gonna

get my music out there and was gonna finally let it go and let people hear

it and was really excited. The words for “Closer” just started coming to me

over the music and then just really informally went into the studio and

started recording it just as a rough idea because I wanted the feeling to

come across and we ended up just sticking with that first raw version. It

was more the feeling and a stream of self consciousness.

AHHA: What was it like meeting Prince?


I have been wanting to meet Prince for a long time. I have been a fan for a

long time and he came to the show at the Knitting Factory in L.A. and I

guess about maybe 2 months ago. It was definitely a surprise. I wasn’t

expecting him to come. I was expecting some other people to come and it was

a great turnout and a lot of energy and a lot of folks there and Raphael

Saddiq came and he’s come to a couple shows and that was just his offer. That

was really nice. That was kind of the icing on the cake at the end of the

show my brother came and said “Prince came, Prince is here lets go up there

and meet him.” I had heard that Magic Johnson was gonna come and Dre and

Raphael Saddiq and these other people so I was already just like so

flattered and excited and I had already been anticipating that. Magic

Johnson didn’t end up coming but he came to the next show. I just wouldn’t

have expected that and just to be such a big fan and have a surprise like

that is really touching and amazing. I went up there and talked to Prince a

little bit. I was nervous but I think sometimes when I’m nervous I seem

really calm so it was kind of a quiet conversation. I didn’t go crazy or

anything but in my mind I was just like Wow I’m sitting next to Prince right

now talking.

AHHA: Do you feel like you’ve moved closer to your dream?


I feel like I’m getting closer to my dream all the time if there’s really any

measuring point or in the goal or anything like that. Constantly I’m trying

to move forward and I can feel it a lot of the time. I feel like there’s been

a lot of blessings along the way and little benchmarks that just makes me

feel like this is happening and I’m moving more towards really what I’m

supposed to be doing.

AHHA:Who was your favorite person to work with?


As far as people that I have done shows with that I would like to work more

with is like Raphael Saddiq, and Talib Kweli. We did a show with The Roots

and that band is so phenomenal. Jazzy Jeff I really like . Dead prez, Mystic

and Eryka Badu and there’s a lot of people that I’ve met now as fans and its

been really good to get support and see that from a lot of them and I would

love to collaborate at some time. Especially when its mutual just artist

that I’m feeling and artists that are really feeling where I’m coming from.

I think it’s just a matter of time for me to do something with them.

AHHA: You’ve worked with E-40 tell me something about that?

I just met E-40 a little while ago. I really like him. He is on a remix of

“Got It” from my album and we did a song together on his album. I really

liked the song and I enjoyed the experience just getting to meet him and

getting to do something with him. I’ve been hearing his music for a long

time especially out here in the Bay and its tight to see him getting more

recognized for a lot of stuff that he’s done nationally and just how many

people say his words basically. I think he’s getting more recognized for his

contributions and the language and all that. It’s tight for me to work with


AHHA:What kind of music has influenced your music?


I think when I, first of all I have a brother who became Dj Nemani, so I was

listening to hip-hop when I was a little kid probably before I started

really enjoying it by myself. I would say when I really started getting more

into it myself was probably the early 90s. EPMD and Redman and Tribe Called

Quest, and De La Soul. I would say the early 90s and mid 90s was my

favorite time in hip-hop and now theres a lot Mos Def , Pharoah Monch ,

Organized Confusion, Talib , Common , Outkast still have some of that

essence from the 90s. I think what I really liked about the music when I

started getting into was a lot of the old samples. Jazz and soul and I was

feeling that. Although it got a lot of people in trouble I loved that music

so its nice. Although now everybody knows about samples and a lot of people

are trying not to lose too much money and now I feel like there’s a lot of

good music in hip-hop that is going on right now just because live music is

getting big again. I love stuff that knocks and it’s nice when I can slow

down and listen to what they are saying and still appreciate it. It’s a lot

of hip-hop that I like but I don’t want to listen to sometimes because I

don’t want to hear what they are saying. I think that it’s easy to become

decent and I feel like its so male driven. It’s cool when what people are

saying and the music is beautiful and I think a good example for me would be

“Breathe In Breathe Out.” It’s interesting for me because when I first started

performing. First it was acapella. Singing sweet honey in a rock I don’t

know if you heard of that group. Then since my brother was a DJ started.

First thing I started going ouit to hip-hop events and started seeing over

the tighest hip-hop instrumental with my own words. Then later on started

writing more songs and working with a band which now I work with a band but

it was kind of a step by step process. Even closer I feel like it’s a pretty

large mix of live music and tracks and some of it its definitely hip-hop

influence some of it is more straight hip-hop and some it is more R&B and



What do you enjoy most about the live performance aspect?


I enjoy just actually getting to sing the songs live off the album sometimes

in different versions or just switching up something here and there. It’s

the funnest when people are getting in the music and I can even expand to

more than what they have already heard. I just love the exchange when

people are right there. There can be a lot of energy at a live show and I

love singing at concerts . I think it’s really dynamic. It’s certain parts

that are mellow and certain parts that are higher and its just nicer to be

able to interpret the music live Its different than just listening to the

album. Its just different to be right there and be able to build on the

energy and make it more personal.


Where do you see yourself in the next five years?


Well I mean right now I’m just really trying to get the Even Closer album out

there . Its out there nationally but just performing more outside of the

West coast. That’s what we been more focusing on. I just look forward to

doing more stuff in the East and South and other spots and also get the

music out there internationally which is something that were working on.