After drifting away from the game for a while, neo-soul artist Goapele is back, sporting a new radiant hairdo and a new attitude toward life.

Even without her usual locs and denim style, the songstress proved she could still rock a crowd at D.C.’s The Park at Fourteenth nightclub for the Unplugged Series, organized by Beny Blaq Entertainment.

The songbird best known for her hit single, “Closer,” isn’t afraid to tell people about her infatuation with the nation’s capital.

“I love how the people in D.C. look,” she said. “The audience is so warm. There are so many different kinds of brown faces. It’s just a wonderful place to come.”

A break from the industry only has made her stronger, she said. A new collection, “Milk & Honey,” is set to release in September and may be the most mature EP of her career.

“I feel like I used to come from a place where I always try to balance things out,” Goapele told the AFRO. “My kind of love song is coming from both sides of conflicted feelings…this time with the new music, I wanted to dive into one side at a time and just let myself go all the way there.”

To feel Goapele through her music, you have to get to know her creative process, which she said comes from a natural and wholesome place. One song, “Tears on My Pillow,” has allowed her to be more “open” on this upcoming album, she said.

“I always try to express myself. I’m a singer, songwriter and draw from my experiences and draw from what I feel,” she said.

Hailing from Oakland, Calif., the R&B artist’s sound is heavily influenced by Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and more.

Erica Butler

AFRO Staff Writer