Goapele headlines on Imperial Avenue

The Imperial Avenue Street Festival is coming Aug. 29. It returns after last year’s inaugural arts and music event drew more than 4,000 people to Logan Heights, between 28th and 30th streets.

Hosted by nonprofit BAME Renaissance Community Development Corp., the all-ages/free event is expected to more than double in size this year.

Performances will run from noon until 8 p.m., including Bart Mendoza (Manual Scan, The Shambles), Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact, and musician/community activist Chunky Sanchez.

Headlining the festival is R&B/soul chanteuse Goapele. The stunning vocalist released her fifth album, “Strong As Glass,” last year, a project that featured guest appearances from Snoop Dogg and Eric Benet. She also got an unexpected boost when Victoria’s Secret recently used her 2011 song, “Play,” in its Dream Angels TV commercial.

DiscoverSD recently spoke with the affable singer about live performances, life as an independent artist, and her future.

Q: Congratulations on the Victoria’s Secret thing.

A: Thanks! I’m a Victoria’s Secret customer, so I already loved their brand. And it’s funny, because I initially felt a bit vulnerable performing “Play” publicly - just because it’s so sexual. But I love that song. It’s so vibey. And it came together so organically. But most importantly, it really resonated with a lot of people without getting any air play. So I was really happy to be a part of the campaign.

Q: You’ve produced your own music through SkyBlaze Records for some time now. How important is it to have that control?

A: Well, it allows me to be myself. There’s not a big separation between who I am in my normal life and who I am on stage. And I think that freedom comes with being an independent artist. You can evolve. You can change your sound. And it’s empowering to be a part of the business side as well. That is, without getting too consumed in it.

But there are challenges to it all.

Q: “Strong As Glass” came out last October. Do you work on new material while you’re promoting it?

A: I’m one of those people that have been in the studio since the last album. But I’m still not sure when I’ll be sharing the music publicly. The sound changes and evolves while you’re doing it. And I’m inspired at different points. I wrote “What in the World” two years before “Strong As Glass” came out. But “Perfect” was the last song to go on the album, and I finished it two weeks before we put the album out. At the end of the day, I work with what I’m most attached to in hopes that it resonates with other people. It’s a never-ending process.

Q: What’s next?

A: Well, I love the visual arts as much as performing arts. And I’ve been immersing myself in that world lately, trying to be more open creatively. So I’m hoping people will be seeing more than just music from me soon. But performing live, and the energy there is powerful. For me, that’s really what it’s all about.

Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to

Source: DiscoverSD