Goapele Shines at the Shrine with a Taste of Milk & Honey

After an outstanding performance-soul songstress-Goapele offered a glimpse of what she's all about and why she has continued to stand the test of time in an exclusive backstage interview.

Q. Tell me about your new project-Milk & Honey.

A.  This will be my third major project coming out this summer-named Milk & Honey.  It's going to be soulful.  In this album I've got to work with a lot of different producers including Malay, Crucial, Bedrock and Electric Thunderbolt-to name a few.

Q. How did you come up with the name for this album?

A. Milk & Honey was the name for the first song I completed and I just liked the way it sounded-it felt right.  It's something that goes together like peaches and cream.

Q. How did you get started in music?

A. I was going to school in Boston at the Berklee College of Music.  I had been singing locally before that in choirs and I wanted to start writing music and performing with bands.  I started studying so I could learn about the music business and not be taken advantage of as an artist. 

The first songs I wrote in school were called "Butterfly Kisses" and "Salvation".  They were journal entries that I used as class assignments, working with Jeff Bass on both of those (he's also done work with Kanye West).  After this I decided to put out my own album on my terms. So I moved back to the Bay area where I'm from-to put it out locally. 

Once there-I got together with a hip hop group called Hieroglyphics who wanted to help me get a local distribution deal.  And once this was in place-we sold about 65,000 copies on our own-then the song "Closer" started getting support from national radio.  After that I was able to sign a deal with Sony and put out "Even Closer".  So, it was officially one album but it had some steps to it.

Q.  Who are some of our musical influences?

A.  Obviously, Chaka Khan but also Sade, Nina Simon, Miriam Mekaba, Whitney Houston, Prince and Stevie Wonder.  I have love for hip hop too, groups like EPMD and Redman-all those artists who use old soul samples.  When doing my own music I want to have that kind of edge production wise.

Q.  How would you define the type of music you produce?

A.  I would define it as Soul/R&B.  I like using live instruments and I like the feel to be organic.  At the end of the day I'm a singer/songwriter and thankful I've been able to maintain my own vision in this industry.

Q.  What do you want people to get from your music?

A.  I just want people to feel something.  I want them to feel moved...inspired by what they hear in my music.

Judging from the audience response Goapele garnered during her show at the Shrine-she had them feeling moved, inspired and ready for more. 

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