‘Break of Dawn’ is the fourth studio album from Goapele, the Bay Area songstress whose tender voice melted hearts at the Southport Weekender after the DJ Spinna remix of ‘Closer’ earned repeat spins in The Powerhouse.

Immediately noticeable in this new project, arriving in late October 2011, is ‘Play’, the album’s sexually charged opening track. “One of my goals for the newest project was to be more uninhibited,” Goapele explains. “I came into this business as a young woman who wanted to be taken seriously for my music, but now I’m more willing to share my sexiness as well. I realize that it’s possible to be both complex and provocative.”

Posted online during the summer, the enticing video for ‘Play’ is stylistically reminiscent of ‘Black Sweat’; the influence of Prince appears again in the funk-rock strut of ‘Money’. It’s impressive to see Goapele explore these influences with such finesse; even the album’s closing, commercially-driven tracks are imbued with her imitable sophistication. Fans of her previous material will no doubt be drawn to ‘Tears On My Pillow’, a longing soul workout produced by the same Bobby Ozuna who offered his touch to Badu’s ‘Love Of My Life’ and Spen’s remix of Angie Stone’s ‘Brotha’.

After a five year studio hiatus, ‘Break of Dawn’ is a welcome return for an artist empowered by her shedding of music industry fears: “Now if I want to dress sexy, I can, and if I want to be more blunt, I can. I just want to do what feels good.”