Oakland songstress Goapele has made some of Neo Soul’s more memorable songs since the early 2000s, and now the woman born Goapele Mohlabane is ready to take the next step in her career.

She’s gearing up for the release of her 5th album later this year — and on a brand new label (Primary Wave). She’s currently riding the success of her latest single “Oh Boy,” which is a departure from her sound and more playful. Not surprising, considering it was co written by Estelle.

“I think we’ve been fans of each other for a long time,” Goapele told theGrio.com’s Kyle Harvey. “She has the type of sound you can’t really box in.”

Goapele performs R&B, but her heart lives in hip hop. She’s worked with Cali legends E-40 and Aceyalone and will have Snoop Dogg on her new album. Her 2002 single, “Closer,” is still a favorite amongst rappers and singers alike, with its most famous remix done by Drake.


“My first time hearing  Drake was actually in Oakland back in 2009,” Goapele recalled. “I was already a fan, but when his version of “Closer” came out, people kept asking if I worked with him. I didn’t, but it was a huge honor.”

Checkout what else Goapele had to say in our Grio sitdown.

Follow theGrio.com’s Music Editor Kyle Harvey on Twitter @HarveyWins.