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Goapele Biography


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Birth Name: Goapele
Born: 1977/07/11
Birth Place: Oakland, California, United States
Years Active: 2001-present
Genres: Contemporary R&B, Neo Soul, Trip-hop


Goapele (born Goapele Mohlabane July 11, 1977), is an American soul and R&B singer-songwriter. Her name means to move forward in Setswana, a Southern African language.

Goapele returned to Oakland, California after her stint at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she concentrated on writing and recording songs. In 2001, she self-released her debut album, “Closer.” At the same time, she was building a devoted audience through her popular live performances in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Closer” peaked at #63 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

In 2002 she reworked “Closer,” adding five new songs. With the help of her family, she formed her own independent label, Skyblaze Recordings, to oversee her musical career. She released her first nationally distributed album, “Even Closer,” featuring the single “Closer,” through Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings. “Closer” was also featured on the soundtrack of the 2003 film “Honey.” In 2004, Columbia/SME Records picked up Skyblaze Recordings for worldwide distribution and rereleased the album with additional tracks. Goapele co-wrote and co-produced the entire album, which is a mixture of neo-soul, trip-hop, lieder, and jazz. In 2004, “Even Closer” peaked at #24 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart.

Her second album, “Change it All,” featuring the single “First Love” and the song “Love Me Right,” was released December 2005. The album featured production work from Jeff Bhasker, Mike Tiger, Amp Live, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, and Linda Perry. In 2006 the album peaked at #32 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Album chart and #2 on the Top Heatseekers chart. The single, “First Love,” reached #18 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart. Goapele appeared on “Soul Train” to promote the album in May 2006, in what turned out to be the show's final new episode.

Goapele’s third album, “Break of Dawn,” was released in 2011 by Skyblaze/Decon Records. It featured the lead singles, “Milk & Honey” and “Play.”