As a prized musical genre, soul is spirited, brave, cognizant and freeing. Oakland’s songwriting soulstress Goapele has not only mastered these elements, but epitomized them all in one soul-stirring track, “Stay.”
Assisted by fellow soul soother BJ the Chicago Kid, Goapele sinks the depth of her vocals into a twinkling instrumental with a steady, soft-rhythmed bass line. She intuitively reassures the strength of her passion, serenading her lover back into her arms and away from the door.
“'Stay’ is a relationship song on how to love hard,” she shares with BET.com. “I wanted to record something sexy and classic that you can play at a first dance, at a wedding or vibe to at a strip club. I felt BJ was the perfect fit for this 808 ballad."
Goapele's name, which means “move forward” in the South African language Setswana, is apparent for the singer as the track arrives as one of the first from her upcoming EP, Dreamseeker, and a more silky sound since her 2001 “Closer” debut. As a songwriter, producer, actress, activist, visionary and mother, Goapele prides herself on balance and diversity. Inspiration drawn from outside of the studio may stem directly from her ability to take on so many roles, considering that she also partnered with AIDS Healthcare Foundation this year, launched her Dreamseeker lifestyle product line and has even shown face in a short film, Where Is Beauty. She uses her voice and creative direction in music as a demonstration of humanistic versatility — it’s all about breaking out of society’s boundaries.
“I’m a woman, but I’m also a whole person who won’t be confined to any one box,” she reveals. “Nobody is just one thing. Within any race, within any genre and within any neighborhood, there’s so much diversity. As artists and especially as women of color, we have to be proud of that. I’m coming from an honest place and expressing the different parts of myself that make me whole.”
The singer has adopted the same open-minded approach in her collaborations, with a wide range of industry stars, including Snoop Dogg, Eric Benet and E-40. Other releases like “Power” and “Stand” embody her knack for speaking out for political and social change as well as the fruits of motherhood. Fans will be graced with the full Dreamseeker EP on Friday (May 19).
In the meantime, open up your soul to “Stay” below.
(Photo: James Theodore)