Neo Soul / R&B
Soul and R&B singer-songwriter GOAPELE MOHLABANE’s music mixes neo-soul, trip-hop, lieder and jazz. In addition to her solo work, she has collaborated with rap/hip hop icons E-40, Clyde Carson and Mos Def. “Goapele” means to move forward in Setswana, a Southern African language.
Goapele attended the Berkeley Arts Magnet School, where she led a preteen peer support group and was involved with groups that combated racism and sexism.
She sang in the Oakland Youth Choir and became part of a music group called Vocal Motion. After high school she studied songwriting while briefly attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
After attending Berklee, Goapele returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and released her debut album, Closer, which eventually reached #63 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
In 2002 she and her family formed Skyblaze Recordings, an independent music label. She released her first nationally distributed album, Even Closer with Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings and her music was part of the soundtrack to the movie Honey.
In 2004, Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment Records acquired Skyblaze Recordings and re-released her first album. Even Closer reached #24 on the Billboard Charts for Top Independent Albums.
Her second album, Change It All, was released December 2005. On September 14, 2006, the Ella Baker Center honored Goapele with the Human Rights Cultural Hero Award during the Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, titled “Tribute to a Dream.”
Goapele’s latest release, Break of Dawn, is taking the singer to a higher and more powerful place. Being her first release in six years, she’s revealing a more confident, open, and sensual side on her fourth studio album. “With this third album I’ve pushed myself to sing more outside my comfort zone,” Goapele reflects. “I’m not afraid to belt or be more sensual and intimate vocally.” At Prince’s suggestion she even started recording alone to capture her most honest emotions and inflections, unfettered by self-censorship. The album was produced by some of the best in the business, Kanye West, Drumma Boy, Bobby Ozuna, Bedrock, and more.