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Posts Tagged ‘Jordan House Records’

GFM: Spotlight Interview: Goapele Talks About Her New Album Strong As Glass, Acting and Expanding As An Artist

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Goapele album cover

Grown Folks Music caught up with the lovely and talented Goapele. She talked with us about her recently released album, Strong As Glass, how she feels she’s evolved as an artist, and her feelings about Whitney Houston– despite never getting the chance to meet her while working on the film Sparkle. Hope you enjoy.

GFM: You’re now a part of Eric Benet’s Jordan House Label. How did that come about?

Goapele: Yes, this Strong As Glass album is coming out on Primary Wave and Eric Benet and I got together in the studio and worked on a few songs. It was great to work with him. His melodies… his voice is just amazing and (working with) him as songwriter is such a comfort zone. It was great to be able to bounce off ideas with him and just vibe. We wrote a ballad together called “Some Call It Love” and the duet is “My Love”. It was just really fun. We’d wanted to work together for a long time, so I was really happy we got in the studio.

GFM: From the collaboration (with Eric Benet) in the studio… is that how you made it over to Primary Wave? Or, had you already made that move?

Goapele: I was looking for the right partner to put out this next album and he made that introduction.

GFM: Are you first lady to come over to his team… to the label? Are you the first female artist?

Goapele: I think so yes, because Primary Wave is brand new.

GFM: You’ve mentioned the collaboration with Eric on this album, (but) tell us (more) about the new album Strong As Glass.

Goapele: Strong As Glass… it just speaks to… I think that title track speaks to who I am and who a lot of us are as women. You know feeling empowered, independent and strong, and at the same time we have that vulnerable, breakable side. (We’re) more complex and (we) don’t wanna be taken for granted. So I felt like that song spoke to that. Then there’s a lot of the songs that are just different perspectives on love. From the beginning, flirty, chemistry on songs like “Hey Boy”–that’s more of a fun, uptempo jam– to songs that are more emotional. When you’re deeper in the relationship. Then to reigniting the passion on songs like “Powerful”. I feel like I got to go deeper into my R&B/soul roots on this album. You know with getting to do some ballads and thinking of some of my early influences, and getting to do different interpretations on soul music.

GFM: I find the vibe of it to be very laid back. I kinda enjoyed the ambience of it. You don’t over sing. It’s really nice. My opinion of it is that it pairs nicely with good dinner, good friends and good wine. It creates an atmosphere.

Goapele: I like that.

GFM: You mentioned the fun songs like “Hey Boy”. How did you come to get Snoop Dogg on the track?

Goapele: I have been a fan for a long time. Just listening to him since high school. Then I ended up going on his cable show GGN, where he hosts different artists. It’s a super laid back interview. We vibed and had some mutual friends. We both wanted to work together, and honestly a couple months later I was working on “Hey Boy” and it just felt like it would be the right fit. I was like, “Let me just see if I can get him on this song.” He was totally down. I just love what he did with it. It has a retro feel to it with the live music and that’s kind of a comfort zone for him too, so it just happened naturally.

GFM: Could you talk about what you feel your evolution has been musically, from your debut until now?

Goapele: I feel like I’ve gotten to grow through each album. Now I’m four albums deep. I feel like I started out as a young woman who was a little more timid. I had ambition about how I wanted to change and impact the world. I was singing songs out of my journal, as far as love songs, and I would say it was a little more underground soul. I’ve gotten to grow into myself more and more and (I) try to keep expanding. Now I feel like a grown woman putting out music, and (I’m) getting to collaborate with more and more people and find different creative processes. (I’m) just trying to keep a getting a little bolder and expand more with my music.

GFM: You speak of growing and getting bolder. Does that suggest that you may even venture out into another genre… that you may cross genres? Rock or something like that. Is that something that you might be looking at as you expand?

Goapele: I think there’s so many influences in my music. At live shows I’ll sometimes sing “Love Me Right”, which is… I don’t what category that song would be in. I think by default I’m just in the soul/R&B category. But, I think there’s so many musical influences– from Hip-Hop to jazz to soul and blues–so many things that each song can be kind of a combination. I try not to worry too much (about) what the genre is and just kind of do what I feel and have it be as dynamic as possible. So yeah, there’s probably some rock influences in there too. Especially at the live shows sometimes with the guitar and all of that, but I don’t know if I’d totally go into that category.

GFM: You were a part of the Sparkle remake a couple of years ago. Is acting a career path that you’re also pursuing?

Goapele: Yes, acting is also something that I’m exploring. I wanna do more of it. It was great to be involved with Sparkle. It’s such a musical movie that it was a nice way to get introduced to film. I also got to work with Ava DuVernay, who worked on Middle of Nowhere. She asked me to be a part of The Door, which was a short film for Miu Miu. Gabrielle Union was in it and also Alfre Woodard. That was really amazing. I would like to get more into film and I love it when it’s combined with music. This was also combined with fashion so it was kind of the best of all the worlds for me.

GFM: I was watching Power, the show on cable, and I heard your song playing in background.

Goapele: Yes, they featured “Play” on one of the openings. I love that show. Omari Hardwick is just great and he actually was involved in some of the writing on this album.

GFM: Is there anybody else that we would know that who was involved with the writing?

Goapele: Yes. Estelle was also one of the writers on the album and a couple of other folks– along with Eric Benet.

GFM: Just touching back on Sparkle. What are your memories of working on the film with Ms. Whitney Houston and what were you able to glean from her?

Goapele: Well when I got on set, she had just left a couple days before and (she had) finished her part. I was asking everyone on set, “What was she like?” Everyone just felt like it was a special time. Everyone who was in that movie was there because they wanted to be there. It just felt like family. They were like, “Oh my goodness. If you saw her do her part– I was in tears.” They were of course there live when she was doing “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”. I think that it showed Whitney Houston in such a light that we’d hadn’t gotten to see in a while. Whitney Houston was one of my first concert tickets that wasn’t with my parents. It was the music that I listened to. It was the first album that I had and I remember going with my cousin when I was like ten years old. Watching her perform and just (hearing) that amazing voice and thinking, “I wanna be up there one day.” It was tough to see her going through all those other things in her life and even her voice be affected. But to see her in this movie– I just felt like it was beautiful to get to hear her. And though we weren’t on set at the same time, to still feel a part of that synergy and connection was kind of full circle for me. Everyone that was on set was just amazing. Derek Luke and Jordin (Sparks)… it just felt really good.

Goapele is embarking on her Strong As Glass Tour this month. Check her out in a city near you!

2014 Strong As Glass Tour Dates:

Nov. 7 Highline Ballroom New York, NY
Nov. 8 World Café Philadelphia, PA
Nov. 9 The Birchmere Alexandria, VA
Nov. 18 El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 20 Yoshi’s Oakland Oakland, CA
Nov. 21 Yoshi’s Oakland Oakland, CA
Nov. 22 Yoshi’s Oakland Oakland, CA
Nov. 23 Yoshi’s Oakland Oakland, CA
Dec. 3 The Triple Door Seattle, WA
Dec. 4 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR
Dec. 5 Harlows Sacramento, CA
Dec. 6 The Catalyst Club Santa Cruz, CA
Dec. 9 The Hoxton Toronto, ON
Dec. 10 Concord Music Hall Chicago, IL
Dec. 12 Motorco Music Hall Durham, NC
Dec. 13 The Chop Shop Charlotte, NC
Dec. 14 The Loft Atlanta, GA

Tickets for all 14 cities are also ON SALE NOW! For more information or to purchase your tickets please visit Goapele’s official website,


Get Strong As Glass on iTunes


Kimberly Kennedy Charles (DJKKC) is trying to navigate life (in a minivan, no less) as a wife, mother, caregiver to Grandmother and writer in the 'burbs of Atlanta.

New Music: Goapele: “Hey Boy”

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Check out Goapele givin’ us those MJ vibes on “Hey Boy” from her new album Strong As Glass— available now.


Kimberly Kennedy Charles (DJKKC) is trying to navigate life (in a minivan, no less) as a wife, mother, caregiver to Grandmother and writer in the 'burbs of Atlanta.

GFM Spotlight Interview: Calvin Richardson Talks New Album, Joining Forces with Eric Benet, “There Goes My Baby” and the Title: “The Prince of Soul”

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

calvin richardson

Grown Folks Music caught up with “The Prince of Soul”, Calvin Richardson. Calvin talked about his forthcoming album (the title hasn’t been revealed yet, but it drops in September 2014), joining forces with Eric Benet, the song “There Goes My Baby” and what advice he’d give his younger self as an artist. Hope you enjoy.

GFM: The first single is “We Gon Love Tonight”. I gotta say you did that! We really dig it. We also think it’s a good look joining forces with Eric Benet. How did you come to sign with with his label, and why do you feel that Jordan House is a good fit for you?

CR:“The way that I got signed was kinda random. Eric tracked me down. I just got a phone call out of the blue one day from Eric. We had never met before. We had never spoken before. He introduced himself over the phone. He told me that he was starting Jordan House Records and I was one of the people he was definitely interested in signing. (He asked) what was my position as far as being signed and being available. I was available and I’ve always respected Eric as far as talent and just as a person. Like I said, not knowing him… but you know… we had a good vibe. We made it happen. As far as me being on Jordan House Records it’s a good fit because Eric has been an artist and he’s still an artist. I think it’s a good fit because he knows who Calvin Richardson is. When we were making the album he definitely allowed me to be ME, but with him overseeing it and having a lot of input on the writing and the production and just molding this record into something that can make some noise out here. I think we did a really good job.”

GFM: As one of the first artists signed to the label, your project will obviously set a standard for the label. What can we expect from your album style wise and when can we expect to get our hands on it.

CR: “Well the album is slated for September 16. Like I said, Eric allowed me to continue being me and what I do is that grown and sexy music. But we tweaked it up a little bit, made it a little bit more commercial. So we’ve got some really good stuff on there. We have Gipp from the Goodie Mob. He’s on one of the songs. We made it a little more uptempo… some feel good music you know?”

GFM: There are still some people who do not realize that you are not a new artist… that you’ve been in the game for a while. In fact as a youth you were friends with K-Ci and JoJo Hailey and sang gospel with them. Tell us about your connection to the Hailey brothers.

CR: “K-Ci and JoJo and myself grew up in North Carolina together. We went to school together actually. That’s where we met, in high school, and then we started singing together. K-Ci and JoJo was in a gospel group, well K had his own gospel group, so I started singing with them and then we were doing talent shows together and stuff like that. We traveled all over. We got really close. They are like my little brothers.”

GFM: Talk about your beginning in the business. Wasn’t your first album on Uptown? How did you get to Uptown? Was that through your connection to K-Ci and JoJo and Jodeci?

CR: “Uptown was my first solo album. I had signed to Tommy Boy a couple years prior to that. I was in a group called Undacova. The only thing we ever put out was this song called “Love Slave”. It was on the New Jersey Drive Soundtrack. I think that was ’96 when that came out. Biggie, Total, Outkast… a lot of us was on there. Heavy D was in the studio a lot when we were working on that album with the group called Undacova. Heav used to pop into our sessions. Then he called me out one day and he asked me was I interested in doing a solo deal, because he had just gotten that position up at Uptown Records after Andre Harrell. I wasn’t ready to do that at that particular time because I was working with the group. But about six months later I decided to leave the group and I ran into Heav again in the studio. He told me he was sliding on into that position because they were talking about it early on and he signed me up at Uptown Records. That’s where I started at. I did my first album there and then Uptown got swallowed up by Universal and it came out on Universal Records.”

GFM: As an artist you create music, you put so much into it and you put it out, but you can never really be sure of what it will do… if it’ll be successful or not. Tell us the story about “There Goes My Baby” and how it came back to bless you.

CR: “There goes my baby… I was signed to Tommy Boy at that particular time and Babyface was the executive producer of the album. That was gonna be my second album that was gonna come off of Tommy Boy. That was one of the songs that Babyface and I wrote. I ended up leaving Hollywood Records. They kinda slowed down on the project because Babyface was going through his divorce and it was really stretching out the recording process. They’d spent a lot of money and we hadn’t finished the album and they were dragging along and dragging along so they just kinda shelved the album. I think about a year or so after that Greg, which was one of Babyface’s producers, I think he played it for Charlie (Wilson). Charlie heard it and said he loved it. He knew right away that it was a hit record, which we all knew it, and you know what it did. Everybody knows what it did after that. When Charlie came out with the record, by me being a writer on the song (I had demo’d it, recorded it for my record and he basically did it just like I did it), he gave me a lot of credit when he was doing his interviews and talking about the record. It kinda of woke people up to my ability to write. So I got a lot of opportunities– a lot of shows just based on the fact that I was a writer on that particular song. And I got a lot of money too (laughs).”

GFM: Not to mention a little ASCAP award as well…

CR: “That’s right, that’s right… ASCAP Writer of the Year award. That’s right.”

GFM: Hearing you talk about your beginnings in the business, the theme or the main thing that I hear is that you had a lot of starts and stops with some of your projects due to what the labels were going though… being folded and things like that. Sitting here in 2014, what advice would you give the younger Calvin Richardson about being in this business?

CR: “Well it’s a long road. The race is not always given to the swift as they say. It’s given to the one that endures to the end. Success doesn’t always come overnight so you’ve gotta be willing to put the work in. If it comes quick okay, that’s a blessing. But you know I wouldn’t go in it looking for it to happen that way. Obviously everybody wants to get in the business and just blow up and best case scenario that’s just what happens. But, it’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of ups. It’s a lot of downs. And you’ve gotta be in it to win it… really. That’s no cliche. That’s real talk. You’ve gotta be in it from the start to the finish. When doors close in your face, you’ve got to find another one to knock on. If that one doesn’t open you’ve gotta start figuring out how to get on the other side of it. And I guess preparation… you’ve gotta understand growing and forever evolving into making yourself better and eventually becoming the Calvin Richardson you’re really gonna be. Or whoever you are. Whoever you are as an artist you’re gonna start at some point and you’re going to end up being who you are. It’s like an evolution because the music business kind of changes you and it molds you. When first get in it you really don’t know who you are and how you’re gonna end up. But, you’ve just gotta stay true to yourself and hopefully things will work out to your favor.”

GFM: I don’t know if you ever look at your music on YouTube and read the comments from people who click on your music and listen to your music, but a word that comes up is “underrated”. How you feel about that word being associated with you. Do you find that’s something positive… something that fuels you? Or is that something negative? How do you feel about being termed “underrated”?

CR: “I don’t go back and read that stuff. Anything that I pretty much do I never really go back and watch it or go back look and see what people have to say about it. But, underrated… being underrated… that’s just… to me… people saying I should be recognized on a grander level and I hear that all the time. People come up and say that. I don’t know how I feel about that to be honest about it. I guess it’s true. I guess it depends on the scale you rate a person on. It’s like success. People have to define, ‘what do you call successful?’ I mean I’ve been in the game a long time and I think people just want the best for me and they just feel like I haven’t gotten that recognition that I deserve. So you know it’s cool… but then it’s not cool to be so slept on… so passed over.”

GFM: I think what the fans are trying to express is that perhaps you’re not underrated, but you’re “unsung”. You haven’t gotten the shine your talent deserves.

GFM: At the beginning of the interview, I asked why Jordan House was a good fit for you. You said you felt like Eric Benet knew who Calvin Richardson is. Who is Calvin Richardson?

CR: “I’m today’s keeper of yesterday’s soul music. I’m just a soulful guy. I understand what music is supposed to do for people. It’s supposed to make you feel something. It’s supposed to take you places that you don’t physically have to go just by hearing it . They call me the “Prince of Soul”. Somebody gave me that title a long time ago but I kinda held onto it. I came to find out later that another person they called the “Prince of Soul”. (Do) you know who that was? Marvin Gaye. That’s a beautiful thing. I’ve been compared to so many of those great, legendary artists back in the day. I embrace that. That’s who I am. That’s who I think music should be. I’m happy about that.”

Look for Calvin Richardson’s new project in September. Connect with Calvin:

On Twitter
On Facebook
On his website at


Kimberly Kennedy Charles (DJKKC) is trying to navigate life (in a minivan, no less) as a wife, mother, caregiver to Grandmother and writer in the 'burbs of Atlanta.

New Music/Grammy Nominated: Eric Benet

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

From the press release:

New Music and Label

R&B Crooner, songwriter and actor Eric Benét has successfully released five albums and is currently gearing up for the release of his sixth album entitled The One, which is slated for a Spring 2012 release. Very appropriately named, Benét’s new album The One marks a moment of positive transition in his life and lyrically speaks to the many new beginnings developing in his career and family. The One will also be the first album released on Benét’s newly formed record label Jordan House Records, which he created in partnership with EMI.

“Real Love” (available on iTunes) is the first single off Benét’s new forthcoming album The One and was the #1 added song to Urban AC when shipped to radio in October 2011 and is currently #14 on the Urban AC chart and climbing quickly. This new single is a taste of what to expect on Benét’s new album, which he describes as a “very contemporary approach to old-school songwriting integrity”. The One will also feature his signature mid-70s soul groove, a variety of instruments from strings to horns to featured artists and even a duet with his first daughter India.

Grammy Nomination

Eric Benét was also recently nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” for his single “Sometimes I Cry”, up against artists Cee Lo Green (“Fool For You” feat Melanie Fiona), R. Kelly (“Radio Message”), Raphael Saadiq (“Good Man”), Betty Wright & The Roots (“Surrender”). The Grammy Awards will air on Sunday February 12th, 2012.

Eric Benet is currently on tour

Connect with Eric Benet

On Twitter

On Facebook

On YouTube


Kimberly Kennedy Charles (DJKKC) is trying to navigate life (in a minivan, no less) as a wife, mother, caregiver to Grandmother and writer in the 'burbs of Atlanta.