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The R&B singer and songwriter known as Goapele was born Goapele Mohlabane in 1977 and grew up in a California South African exile community. Goapele’s parents have fought against apartheid in South Africa and encouraged young Goapele to express herself; the medium that Goapele chose eventually became music.
After graduating from Berklee’s College of Music, Goapele returned to Oakland, California and began writing her own music. Her self-released debut, Closer, arrived in 2001 and Goapele continued to perform around the San Francisco Bay Area, developing a strong and growing following. Eventually, Goapele formed her own independent label, and as Closer rose higher into the Billboard charts, she released Even Closer, featuring the single “Closer.” After the song was chosen for the soundtrack to the film Honey (2003), Goapele garnered the interest of Columbia, SME Records and signed her first major record deal.
Since that time, Goapele has released the additional albums Change It All (2005) and Break of Dawn (2011.) The albums spawned the additional hits: “Got It,” “First Love,” “Love Me Right,” “Soweto,” “Chocolate,” “Milk & Honey,” “Victory,” “Undertow,” and “Hey Boy.” In addition, Goapele has guest appeared on a number of songs by other artists, including: “Make Your Move” (with Hieroglyphics); “Show & Prove” (with E-40); “How U Talkin?” (with Triple Threat); “Dedication” (with Tajai); “They Don’t Know” (with Amir Sulaiman); and “Life’s Work” (with Zion I.)
Goapele is a star on the rise and definitely one to watch. As much as she is well-known for her music, she is also recognized for her extensive work in the area of global human rights, performing at various political and social events around the globe. She was recently recognized with the Human Rights Cultural Hero Award by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Goapele continues to contribute her celebrity to causes that benefit the international struggle for equality and rights.
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