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Her name means "to go forward" in Setswana, her father was an exiled political activist who fought against the Apartheid System and her mother was a New York Jewish woman who'd been attending protests since she was 12. Community involvement has been a huge part of Goapele's life and continues to inspire her music.

In 2001, she self-released her debut album, Closer, and built a strong audience through multiple live performances in the Bay Area. Closer peaked at #63 on Billboard's Top 100 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

In 2002 she reworked Closer, adding five new songs. Her family formed their own independent label, Skyblaze Recordings, to oversee her musical career. She released her first nationally distributed album, Even Closer, featuring the single "Closer," through Hieroglyphics Imperial Recordings.

In 2003, “Closer” was also featured on the soundtrack of the movie Honey.

In 2004, Columbia/SME Records picked up Skyblaze Recordings for worldwide distribution and rereleased the album with additional tracks. She co-wrote and co-produced the entire album, which is a mixture of neo-soul, lieder, trip-hop, and jazz. She also toured North America with the band Spearhead. In 2004 Even Closer peaked at #24 on the Billboard Charts for Top Independent Albums.

In December 2005, her second album, Change It All, featuring the single "First Love" and the song "Love Me Right," was released. The album featured production work from Jeff Bhasker, Mike Tiger, Amp Live, Sa-Ra Creative Partners and Linda Perry.

In 2006 the album peaked at #32 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Album Charts and #2 on the Top Heatseekers while the single "First Love" reached #18 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay.

In May 2006, Goapele appeared on Soul Train to promote the album in what turned out to be the show's final new episode. She also appeared on The Orlando Jones Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and FOX Good Day Atlanta. Her first three releases have garnered praise from the likes of magazines such as Rolling Stone, Nylon, Interview, Marie Claire, Billboard, Essence, and Vibe. She has appeared on the covers of local Bay Area publications San Francisco Magazine, SF Bay Guardian, Mugshot, and City Flight.

She was named the number-5 artist to watch in the July 2003 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, made the countdown on MTV’s Top 10 Artists to Watch, and collaborated with ALDO Shoes’ ad campaign in its fight against HIV/AIDS.

On July 10, 2009 Skyblaze Recordings leaked the first single "Milk & Honey" (produced by Bedrock) from her third studio album of the same title which is set for release in early 2010.

Goapele is planning to release a live DVD, taped at the Great American Music Hall- a French restaurant, a legendary jazz club after World War II, and a contemporary nightspot for Bay Area elite that has showcased luminaries such as Duke Ellington, the Grateful Dead, and Robin Williams. The DVD will spotlight Goapele alongside her live band the Heat, in a 10-song performance including original tracks and her rendition of classics.She performs frequently in the local Bay Area to sold out crowds.

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Music, R&b, Soul, Neo Soul, Bay Area Music

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review by . January 26, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Goapele is one of those artists that tend to stick with you. Do you ever hear a song and it just absolutely says everything that you wish you could say in that kind of angelic voice that you yourself are far from possessing? That's exactly how I feel about the first time I heard Goapele's Closer:                                   Goapele means …
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