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Goapele inspired us to reach for our dreams in 2002 with the enduring hit “Closer.” Now, she is encouraging us to live in the presence of Colours.

The dreamy track “Purple” reveals to a lover that she’d be willing to break rank with her boundaries for the privilege of being lost in their energy. It’s a genuine love song with a hazy vibe that listeners can get easily lost in while planning a Valentine’s Date with bae. 

The singer-songwriter explained the process of writing “Purple” to HelloBeautiful

The beat created by producer Bedrock, whose real name is Joseph Epperson, snatched her attention instantly. “It just had such a vibe,” she said. “It just felt like this whole sensual atmosphere.” Goapele claimed to have experienced a moment of synesthesia the second she saw where she wanted the track to go. “I see sound, and it just felt like purple,” she explained. 

A musical icon flashed in her mind as she started seeing the hue. “We wrote the lyrics accordingly and just like felt like it should be a nod to Prince,” she explained. Just as when she created “Closer,” she entered the studio without intentions. “I was really excited to get to do a video for it with the director Damien Sandoval and work with my friend Omari Hardwick.” 

Other tracks, like “Time Heals,” serve as vulnerable diary entries. They all have the light, airy feeling of long nights bundled up on the couch with the candles burning. 

Surprise Staying Power 

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Event

Source: Brian Stukes / Getty

Closer” has been featured on the soundtracks for Hitch and Honey. It has also appeared on episodes of NCIS and 90210. It has been integrated into many social media posts announcing achievements by people like The Thirty-One founder Candice Marie Benbow. Goapele had no idea that was coming when she created it. 

She hopes her new work, created with the same fluidity, will have as much of a surprising impact. 

“I never really thought like, oh my god, I might be, you know, still singing specific songs – that I would be performing ‘Closer’ live 20 years later,” she continued. “When I was doing the first album, I couldn’t picture putting out the sixth or seventh album, so I think that is what amazes me.” 

She and her collaborators let it flow when developing Colours like with “Closer.” “It’s always somewhat organic in the beginning, and I let it take shape as we go,” she said. 

Ahead Of The Class 

She found time to find a new shape by resting. Her persona is smaller than her music. When you hear the chords of “Closer,” you know them, but she might not be slaying at the launch of every fast fashion drop.

She’s not constantly clout-chasing. Balance is vital to her creative process.

“It’s the only way I know how to work,” she said. “I really care about what I put out there, and I feel like when I’m in the studio, it’s just one part of the puzzle, and then there’s like another journey that begins when you release the music. So I want to make sure that everything I put out. I’m going to be comfortable performing over and over.”

Strong collaborators enabled her to believe in herself. “Partly, that just has to do with having a good, trustworthy team and good folks around me,” she said. “We believed in something.”

Cohesion was important to her as well. “I knew that it had been a while since I put out a new project, and I really wanted to take my time, and I really wanted it to feel like one body of work,” she said.

She took long walks and drives, relying on the car test to break her studio ears and ensure the art she was taking her time on resulted in the feeling she wanted the listener to have. 

Solo Sacrifices 

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Event

Source: Brian Stukes / Getty

Goapele can take that time to recenter and disappear as an independent artist. She does not have to hold herself to a schedule imposed by a label’s slate. Being in her soft girl era makes her a better artist. “I’m not drilling myself or trying to force a creative flow,” she said. “When I’m not focusing as hard, things start coming to me easier.” 

Her aversion to handing over the creative reins was rare when “Closer” was climbing charts. Today, more performers are seeing the benefit of doing things their way. Rolling Stone reported that singer Raye and other music makers opt to go at it alone rather than stay within the label system. Jeezy shared his motivation for parting ways with DefJam after a mutually beneficial run in an interview with Selena Hill at this year’s Black Enterprise 40 Under 40 Event. “This is art, this is what we do, and I want to still love it, so I want to do it at my own tempo,” Jeezy told Hill. 

Goapele agreed with that sentiment. “Ownership is empowering, period,” she declared.

That empowerment can come at a cost, but the worth is demonstrated when you can hop on a feature or flake on a commitment without apologizing to your appointed representative of a corporate overlord. 

“It can be a little more humbling to do certain things on your own, you know? But I think being independent has been really empowering for me, and it’s made me a little more agile and flexible,” she continued. 

Feel the love formed by that flexibility by streaming Colours. The album is currently available across platforms. 

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Goapele Dropped A Cuffing Season Anthem Perfect For Valentine’s Day  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com