Goapele traveled thousands of miles to work on her current single “Victory”. A California–by way of South Africa– resident, going to the Motherland was nothing short of a family reunion for the singer. Having traveled there several times growing up, her last trip was a lot different being in the midst of the monumental 2008 US election. Barack Obama’s presidency coupled with the excitement of the World Cup (once the project was wrapping up) inspired her song with South African rapper, Hip Hop Pantsula.
Now, she’s shifting focus to her anticipated album Milk & Honey, that has been in the works for two years. She chatted with us about South Africa, her new album and balancing everything with a daughter and family.
Madame Noire: How have you been?
Goapele: Good, good. How are you?
MN: Good, what have you been up to?
Goapele: I’ve mainly just been in the studio working on my third album, Milk & Honey. Doing shows, starting to perform new music like “Victory”, which is more of a project around South Africa and Africa as a whole. The title track is something that I did with the Hip Hop Pantsula a bilingual artist out of South Africa. The “Victory” project is a side project that I’m doing as a collaboration with African artists. You know, I have South African family and grew up listening to artists that my parents were listening to from the ’70s. And so the last trip that I took was the first time that I met a lot of the new artists that are doing their thing now. It came out of a time when Obama had just been elected and it felt like we were witnessing change in this country and even in South Africa people were feeling that. And then we were getting the music out around World Cup and just the excitement from the world looking at South Africa.
MN: Were you raised there?
Goapele: No, I was raised in the Bay area (California). I’d say about half of my family still lives there on my father’s side. I started visiting in high school when the laws started changing and Mandela was about to come into presidency.
MN: How have things changed?
Goapele: Africa doesn’t look like it’s changed that much to me since I first went in ‘94. There is still a major economic divide, but the rights of Africans have changed and progressed. I would say there’s more black South Africans in [government] and have power right now. But there’s still a huge economic divide.
MN: What have you been up to between the last album and Milk & Honey?
Goapele: I’d been doing shows, but I slowed down because I had a daughter and got to spend some time having more of a family life. Built a new studio in Oakland, called the “Zoo” and have really just been taking my time with this Milk & Honey project. I’ve been working on it for the past two years and recording a lot of songs. And now I’m just finishing the album up and picking the strongest songs.
MN: What about the album are you most excited about?
I feel excited about it. I’ve gotten to work with a lot of people on it. Hooked up with different musical friends, because musically we were interested. And that was really exciting. I did a track with Khao, out of Atlanta who’s worked with T.I.. Did a track with Maylay, who did a lot with John Legend’s album. I got in the studio with Kanye West
Check out full the interview here MadameNoire.com