Rolling Out

Goapele discusses new album, the art of the live show and Bay Area hip-hop

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Goapele made a name for herself in the early 2000s with the inspirational hit, “Closer.” The Bay Area native carved a niche in an era where neo-soul artists such as Erykah Badu, India Arie, and Maxwell were defining a new subgenre of R&B music.


Goapele returns to music with her fifth studio album, Strong as Glass. During a recent interview with rolling out, Goapele discussed her new album, the future of soul and the Bay Area music scene.


You’re currently on tour. What can audiences expect from your live show?

At my shows, I always want to have a good time and give a dynamic show. There are more intimate parts of it and then I break into covers and remixes of my songs. I really want to give the audience something they can feel. I wanted this new album to really be dynamic and translate very well live.


Each album shows your personal and professional growth. How does Strong as Glass show where you are in life at this moment?

I think every album has been kind of a partnership and a balance to see where is that place where I can still put out the music that I want to and be connected with people who are really going to support that vision. On “Strong and Blessed,” I feel like another big part of it is not wanting to be taken for granted within relationships and just walking through life.

You also have a family now. How do you balance tour life with family time?

It’s a constant struggle. I have a family so when I am out traveling I am away from them. The balance is something I’m always striving for. I love music and I love my family so I just have to kind of figure it out, deciding sometimes when I’m home it is off time. Taking time out to relax and be private and not be on. Also, I am a business owner and self-employed in a way. So there is part of that which goes with you’re always kind of working and just have to find that balance everyday.

The Bay Area has a strong music tradition. Who are your favorite rappers from the Bay Area?

The Hieroglyphics, I built with them early on. I feel like they are legends of the underground and I feel like they have influenced so many other rappers and producers for years. They are kind of unsung sometimes. Zion I and of course, I’ve worked with Amp Live over the years and Amp Live co-produced “Closer.”  I’ve gotten to work with a lot of people that I love. Clyde Carson. E-40, Too Short are all great to me.

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