Queen Latifah makes her Hollywood Bowl debut next week along with soul music artist Goapele. Well-known as “Mama” in the Broadway musical Chicago, Queen Latifah delivers jazz standards, a little blues, pop, R&B, and plenty of sass Wednesday, July 11 at 8pm.
In an industry that advocates monotony, Goapele, perhaps because of her cultural heritage, is a non-conformist. Her exiled South African political activist father met her New York-born Jewish mother and married while in Nairobi, Kenya. For a woman whose name means ‘to go forward’ in Setswana, the South African language of her grandmother, Goapele lives her name.
The Bay Area native’s debut effort, Even Closer was a 14-track masterpiece that she co-wrote and co-produced independently which went on to sell an unprecedented 150,000 units. She continued to garner fans with her highly anticipated and groundbreaking sophomore album Change it All released on Skyblaze/Columbia Records.
The dread-headed beauty was influenced equally by music from Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Nina Simone, Billy Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Prince and Portishead as she was by Miriam Makeba, Zulu Spears and Hugh Masekela.
Goapele brings a well-needed enigmatic presence to a mundane industry that is devoid of innovative magic and fascination, but thick with semblance. Her signature of throaty moans and nostalgic lyrical poetry evoke all things old yet somehow manages to be refreshingly new. The Source Magazine heralds Goapele as “The Bay Area’s Best Kept Secret.”
Meshell N’Degeocello, Rosario Dawson, Rodney Jerkins, Magic Johnson, Mos Def, Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Shaquille O’Neill and Method Man refer to Goapele as “The next big artist to watch”