AfriPOPmag: Youâ€™re wrapping up your third album, “Milk and Honey.” Whatâ€™s it all about?
Goapele: I would say this album is more soulful. Thereâ€™s gonna be some R&B, thereâ€™s even a song that I was working on last night that I was like, â€˜I can dance to this.â€™ And then thereâ€™s some ballads where the music resonates with something thatâ€™s more classic and old school where Iâ€™m lyrically and vocally vulnerable. Then thereâ€™s some fun and whimsical songs, mainly all love songs.
Youâ€™re working with a lot of different producers on this album…
Iâ€™ve worked with a lot more producers this time then I have in the past, which is really cool. Iâ€™m not on a major label anymore so itâ€™s been really inspiring to get to work with producers who do it because theyâ€™re interested in my music and not because some executive may have hooked us up. That includes Bobby Ozuna who works with Raphael Saadiq. I started a track with Kanye [West] and one with track with Malay, who works with John Legend, and Bedrock who I worked with on the last album. The list goes on but itâ€™s been nice because Iâ€™ve been taking more time with this album and in the past year Iâ€™ve just been recording a lot of songs and then I choose which are the best. Iâ€™m pretty excited.
You said youâ€™re feeling a little sexier for this time around. Does it have anything to with motherhood?
I think motherhood has made me more open and more into myself. I feel that coming into this industry there was a part of me that felt as a woman I needed to be on guard and not let myself be exploited. I think Iâ€™m just shedding some of that as I grow and feel like I should be able to do whatever I want. I think as women itâ€™s important for us to express our sensuality just as itâ€™s okay to express our strength and intellect.
Your last album had a political tinge to it. Will you be doing that this time?
Itâ€™s not gonna be a political album though there is one song that reflects how I feel politically now but it wonâ€™t be the overtone of the album because itâ€™s not where Iâ€™ve been lately, though this is an interesting time. I feel like last year started off as one of the most interesting times in my life because I saw my reflection in government, but at the same time I feel like there is so much that wonâ€™t change though Iâ€™m thankful for some changes. Economically I think we can all feel whatâ€™s happening in this country and itâ€™s hard for anyone that doesnâ€™t consider themselves rich to feel like they could collapse at any moment. Thereâ€™s this inspiration but also this desperation that I see in people right now. I hope it brings us together but thereâ€™s so much work we have to do.
You havenâ€™t had an album since 2007. What did you do during your time off?
I stayed home a lot more, cooked a lot more, started going to the park a lot more. I was traveling maybe once a month but my daughter was traveling with me.
When did you realize your song â€˜Closerâ€™ from your first album was a monster hit in South Africa?
I didnâ€™t realize that until I performed there about a year ago and before that I made trips but I had never performed. People at the radio were really friendly and they would tell me they play my song all the time but I wasnâ€™t really sure how honest that was. It wasnâ€™t until I went to perform a show at the South African Standard Bank Arena (MTV Africa Awards) and I was singing my songs and when I sang Closer people were singing along and thatâ€™s when it hit me that â€˜oh, they really do know my song.â€™
Will you be collaborating with any African artists?
Last time I was in SA, I had just met HHP for the first time and heâ€™s actually from Mafikeng, which is the rural areas of where my grandmotherâ€™s from. We got in the studio and worked on a song but we havenâ€™t put it out yet but I would like to work with him some more. I also met another group, Jozi, and we did some work together but we havenâ€™t finished, but definitely as I go back to SA I would like to do some more music. It makes me proud to see so many up and coming artists in South Africa.
Youâ€™re rocking some Miriam Makeba-ish plaits lately. What was the inspiration?
Thereâ€™s a woman in my part of the world who has done my hair since I was a little girl and she just comes up with all these styles that are African influenced. I cut off my locks after 10 years and was doing mohawks and twists and I wasnâ€™t ready to straighten my hair just yet so I called her up.
Read more about Goapele and her latest album, here.