Summer Concert Series


Goapele Concert


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MDR Summer Concert (Goapele)

She is a singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, actor, and activist who has solidified her position amongst the most prolific R&B and soulful visionaries and creators of our time. And now, Goapele is back with her sixth and most introspective album yet, COLOURS. The seven-track gem, slated for release this summer on the indie artist’s label Skyblaze Recordings, is as sensual as it is unforgettable. There is no denying that her songwriting prowess is heavily on display on this latest album, as well as her uncanny ability to create an atmospheric, mesmerizing world within her music.

Creating soulful art has always been Goapele’s gift, ever since she stepped onto the scene in 2001 with her iconic megahit “Closer,” which changed her life and garnered her lifelong fans. While the industry was saturated with “neo-soul” and “progressive soul” artists at that time, Goapele’s creativity and dynamic artistry made her stand out from the rest. That’s because she makes music that touches the heart and stirs the soul. For Goapele, songwriting and creating music is therapeutic, making her entire catalog authentic and rich.

Goapele wrote and recorded several of the tracks on COLOURS amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The songs from COLOURS are intimate, honest, and create a whole vibe. I feel like this album is different from my previous albums because of the experiences and ideas that have marinated in me. That’s why it feels deeply personal,” she says. “It’s about self-acceptance and me continuing to evolve as a woman. I’m learning to trust the process, my intuition, and inner voice.” To make COLOURS, Goapele brought in some of her favorite musicians, producers, and fellow songwriters, including Bedrock, Chris Dave, Keyon Harold, Mike Aaberg, Marcus Phillips, Chris Johnson, Nate Mercereau and Errol Cooney who she’s collaborated with since the beginning.

With each track on COLOURS, Goapele takes the listener on an exquisite journey, whether it’s through the hypnotic melodies or her sweet, captivating voice. The album’s first single, “Time Heals,” is a mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful track in which Goapele croons, “Time heals all things/It’s worth waiting for/ Just as the sun will rise each morning, just as the day returns to nights without our say/ I‘m finally trusting in the knowing, that time heals all things.” While “Color My Heart” is a pretty love song that feels like a dreamy caress and “I Need You” is an alluring track guaranteed to get played on repeat, especially by anyone longing for another, the track “Enough” is an honest and deep song about feeling like you’re not good enough.

Then there’s “Purple” (co-written by Lauren Evans and features Nate Murcereau on guitar), a super sexy, luminous track that helps set the tone for the entire album. “It was one of the only songs on the album that started with the music in its entirety before any vocal ideas came. I was drawn to the sound, because it felt like a whole atmosphere that Bedrock had created and all I could see was shades of purple when I heard it. It gave me Prince energy, so the lyrics and melody had to reflect that,” she says. The video for “Purple” was directed by Damien Sandoval and features Goapele’s dear friend, and charismatic actor Omari Hardwick, who she met when they both were in the movie Sparkle and has collaborated on various projects since.

Goapele has been making profoundly moving music since her debut album Closer in 2001. After the success of that album, she released Even Closer (Skyblaze/Columbia) in 2002,  followed by Change It All (Skyblaze/Columbia/SBMG) in 2005, Break of Dawn (Skyblaze/Decon) in 2011, Strong as Glass (Skyblaze/Primary Wave/BMG) in 2014, and DreamSeeker (Skyblaze/Empire) in 2017. And while Goapele’s poured her soul and spirit into each album, COLOURS holds a special place in the songstress’ heart. One of the themes on this album is the concept of time, referenced in “Forever in Ojai,” with the notion of time standing still in moments of ecstasy, and in “Time Heals,” it’s power to heal and as it unfolds, a path appears with every step you take. “Moments of uncertainty can feel scary, but I try my best and push forward, and trust that things will eventually land where they’re supposed to,” she says.

Goapele’s timeless music has been featured in several film and television soundtracks, including Honey, Power, Black Lightning, 90210, Baggage Claim, Zulu Wedding, and the documentary Homeroom. She also wrote the timely song “Borders” for the indie film America’s Family on immigrant family separation. In addition to making a guest appearance in the movie Sparkle, she also appeared in Ava DuVernay’s fashion short film, The Door, for Miu Miu, and served as an executive producer and appeared in the art-noir, experimental short film #WhereIsBeauty. She hopes to continue being behind and in front of the big screen in the future.

Not only is Goapele a beloved singer, but she is also an innovative entrepreneur. As an artist with synesthesia (the ability to experience one of your senses through another), Goapele has delved into creating curated candles and apparel through her lifestyle brand Dreamseeker, which will give people an immersive experience by merging her music with aesthetic merchandise. She’s already released the Tone Series 01 “Color my heart,” where two of her love songs are paired with a signature scent and correlating merchandise. She plans to broaden the Dreamseeker brand and release more scents and merch in connection with COLOURS.

Outside of her music career, the Oakland native has been a passionate activist and philanthropist for years — always finding time to give back to her community. She has worked with multiple prison reform efforts, including Common’s Imagine Justice Organization, Represent Justice, and A New Way of Life Foundation. She has also been a longtime advocate for health and wellness and been the face of several public health campaigns including the California Tobacco Control Program and the AIDS HealthCare Foundation’s ‘Rise Above’ campaign (U.S. and South Africa). She’s also become involved in the Movement for Black Lives, The Agape Spiritual Center, and the Democratic Party celebrating and supporting some of our most promising leaders. As a devoted mom of a growing daughter, and stemming from her youth, she is a big supporter of women and girl’s empowerment and has been part of various organizations over the years.

With her new album and burgeoning business, the future is bright and beautiful for Goapele. She plans to take a deeper dive into the world of pleasing the senses and working in collaboration to bring music, fragrance, art, and fashion together. “I’ve always wanted to positively impact the world, be a part of positive change. I strive to create things that leave a lasting feeling in people,” she says. “Anytime my music and creative expression ignites or inspires someone else, it’s a dream come true for me.”

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