She’s All Grown Up

Monday, February 13, 2012 10:31

An Interview with Goapele

by: Casey Pukl 

It’s hard not to love Goapele— especially now that she’s back with her first new studio record in 6 years. Her latest release, Break of Dawn, finds the same Goapele that we all know and love all grown up. Read on to find out what she’s been up to, what inspired her latest record, and what she’s most looking forward to about coming home to Anthology!

CP: “Break of Dawn” is your latest record! Let’s talk about it!

G: Yes! I’ll definitely be doing some new material from the record with my band at Anthology! 

CP: Awesome! What inspired the record? I know it’s been a while!

G: I slowed down for a little while and started a family. I let the recording process be a little more organic. So it was about 5 years since the last album, and I just really wanted to put something that I really felt out there for listeners to hear. Some of it talks about some of my feelings and thoughts over the past couple years, and some of it drifts off into fantasy world and borrows other people’s stories. I wanted that to come across in the music. Music wise, I just wanted it to feel good and feel right.

CP: It certainly feels good, but it definitely feels like a more mature version of you.

G: Mmmhmmm! I’m growing up (laughs)! I’ve been in it for a minute, and it was kind of liberating for me to feel like now I’m putting out my third album, and I feel like a grown woman.

CP: For sure. I think it’s awesome that you’re able to share that with everyone.

G: I feel lucky that as an artist I’ve always felt like I’ve been able to share my true voice and have creative freedom. When I first put out ‘Closer’, I was just getting into the music industry and really wanted to lay a foundation as a young woman with something to say. I didn’t want to me limited lyrically to touch on different issues, and just have people feel that there was integrity. I didn’t want to be exploited. I wanted things to be on my terms. I feel lucky that I was able to put out the songs that I wanted to. Now I’m lucky to be able to let down my guard a little more and show other sides of myself, and I was able to have fun with it too!

CP: What’s your songwriting process like?

G: For me it’s more of a mood that I’m in than anything else. I’m drawing on an emotion. Sometimes there’s a basic track that’s already there. “Tears on My Pillow” is a good example. The track was there and already had this bluesy foundation, and I just had to wait until the right day came when I was in a bluesy kind of zone so I could tap into my inner Etta James. I had to tap into what kind of story I could tell that could authentically come from a heart-broken place. I just had to open myself up a little bit, and “Tears on My Pillow” is what came out. There were a couple of lines that were written before I got into the studio, and then part of the session was just me recording myself and being really free with what came out. I didn’t want to over-think it. I just let it come from my heart and then organize it as a song.

I’ve been experimenting with different ways of songwriting and how to make the song the strongest so that I’m not only expressing what I feel, but that other people can relate to it.

There are some songs that are just more organic. “Play” was one of those songs. I just had a basic track and I was just going on a vibe and singing whatever came to me. Then I went back and finished it up. Then there are sometimes where I’m writing melodies and lyrics without any music, and then the music comes later when I pair up with a musician or a producer.

CP: Do you do a lot of co-writing?

G: Up until now, I was writing all of my lyrics myself. But on this album, I got to collaborate with some other really talented writers. It was neat to see if we could switch up a chorus here and there or just be creative with some different lines. “Hush” was kind of a collaboration like that. It was nice for me to be able to bounce ideas back and forth with someone else to see what they were thinking. It’s cool to make something the strongest it can be in the end without worrying about who thinks of it.

CP: Absolutely, and especially if you’re looking to make something that’s really personal relatable, I think you need that outside perspective sometimes.

G: Yeah, let a little pressure off. Every once in a while I’ll get stuck on a line or two and want something to grow. It’s nice to be able to have some different energy in the studio on some of these songs.

CP: What are you most looking forward to about coming back to Anthology?

G: I really like that it’s a regular stop for me now. From the first time I came to Anthology, it’s great. The club is beautiful, but also intimate, but can still pack a good amount of people in there. I feel at home there. I’ll be sharing more new songs, because the last time I was there, my album wasn’t out yet. I had a few new songs last time, but this time it’ll predominantly be new material. Of course I’ll mix in a few of the songs from the last few albums.

CP: We’re all really stoked to have you come back. 

G: Yeah! It’s an awesome attentive crowd, but they still get really lively!

CP: It certainly is a music lovers’ room. 

Special thanks to Goapele for her time! Be sure to come down and hear her new material from Break of Dawn this Friday!

Goapele on Spotify

WHAT: Goapele
WHEN: Friday, February 17, 2012, 7:30 & 9:30pm
TICKETS: $11-$49 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile