AfriPOPmag: You’re wrapping up your third album, ‘Milk and Honey.’ What’s it all about?
Goapele: I would say this album is more soulful. There’s gonna be some R&B, there’s even a song that I was working on last night that I was like, ‘I can dance to this.’ And then there’s some ballads where the music resonates with something that’s more classic and old school where I’m lyrically and vocally vulnerable. Then there’s some fun and whimsical songs, mainly all love songs.
AfriPOPmag: You’re working with a lot of different producers on this album.
Goapele: I’ve worked with a lot more producers this time then I have in the past, which is really cool. I’m not on a major label anymore so it’s been really inspiring to get to work with producers who do it because they’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 it’s been nice because I’ve been taking more time with this album and in the past year I’ve just been recording a lot of songs and then I choose which are the best. I’m pretty excited.
AfriPOPmag: You said you’re feeling a little sexier for this time around. Does it have anything to with motherhood?
Goapele: 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 I’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 it’s important for us to express our sensuality just as it’s okay to express our strength and intellect.
AfriPOPmag: Your last album had a political tinge to it. Will you be doing that this time?
Goapele: It’s not gonna be a political album though there is one song that reflects how I feel politically now but it won’t be the overtone of the album because it’s not where I’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 won’t change though I’m thankful for some changes. Economically I think we can all feel what’s happening in this country and it’s hard for anyone that doesn’t consider themselves rich to feel like they could collapse at any moment. There’s this inspiration but also this desperation that I see in people right now. I hope it brings us together but there’s so much work we have to do.
AfriPOPmag: You haven’t had an album since 2007. What did you do during your time off?
Goapele: 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.
AfriPOPmag: When did you realize your song ‘Closer’ from your first album was a monster hit in South Africa?
Goapele: I didn’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 wasn’t really sure how honest that was. It wasn’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 that’s when it hit me that ‘oh, they really do know my song.’
AfriPOPmag: Will you be collaborating with any African artists?
Goapele: Last time I was in SA, I had just met HHP for the first time and he’s actually from Mafikeng, which is the rural areas of where my grandmother’s from. We got in the studio and worked on a song but we haven’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 haven’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.
AfriPOPmag: You’re rocking some Miriam Makeba-ish plaits lately. What was the inspiration?
Goapele: There’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 wasn’t ready to straighten my hair just yet so I called her up.
Read more about Goapele and her latest album, here.