Goapele (born Goapele Mohlabane on 11th July 1977 in Oakland, California) is a U.S. soul and R&B singer-songwriter. Her name means "to go forward" in the South African language Sesotho. She was born to a Jewish mother, Noa, and an African father, Douglas Mohlabane, who was a South African political exile. They married in Nairobi, Kenya. Goapele attended the Berkeley Arts Magnet School in Berkeley, California. During these years, she joined several groups that fought racism and sexism. She also sang in the Oakland Youth Choir and joined a group called Vocal Motion. After graduating from high school, Goapele attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she studied music theory. In 2001, she signed with Skyblaze Recordings/Columbia Records, and in 2002, she released her first album Even Closer, featuring the single "Closer". She co-wrote and co-produced the entire album, which is a mixture of neo soul and jazz. She also toured North America with band Spearhead. Apart from her solo work, she has collaborated with rappers Aceyalone, E-40, Hieroglyphics, and Triple Threat, and written for jazz trio Soulive. Her second album Change It All, featuring the single "First Love", was released in December 2005.