“Move Forward” with Goapele at Nextdoor.

Concerts / A decade removed from capturing the hearts of soul music faithfuls with her debut album Closer, Bay Area singer-songwriter Goapele proves she’s a one of a kind and inspired artist. After a brief hiatus, Goapele, whose name means “to move forward” in Setswana, continues to blossom with the release of her third studio album Break of Dawn, an emotionally charged, sonically rich project–her most honest work to date.

“I shared a different side of myself on this new album. I’ve always shared a lot of myself lyrically, but this time around, I let the raw emotions and melodies guide me. I want people to feel the music most of all,” says the songstress.

During her time away from music, she endured a mixture of hardships–the passing of her father, grandmother and a close friend. She also cut off her signature braids and became a mother for the first time.

“Motherhood has been incredibly empowering and humbling for me. It’s helped me grow,” she says. “In life I am more present. In music, I’m not as timid as I used to be.”

Fueled by life changes and personal growth, her latest nine-track music offering, originally titled Milk and Honey is organic and soulfully based. It’s the perfect opportunity to reveal more intimate and fun aspects of herself.

“I never wanted to do in your face sexy songs, although like most women, I do have a sensual side. So I waited to share that side of myself until now. I wanted it to be on my terms and authentic for me not me surrendering to sexual exploitation in entertainment just cause it might sell.”

As we bid adieu to 2011, other than sharing new music with her fans, highlights of the year for her include meeting President Obama and her first acting role–a cameo appearance in the remake of the 1976 musical Sparkle (starring Jordin Sparks) scheduled for release next year. Continuing to broaden her fan base, more acting and possibly delving into the fashion world are part of her 2012 to do list.

It’s apparent that her family, fans and music will always be her number one.

“I want to do the music that I love and I hope to touch as many people in this world that I can.”

Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St., Sat., 12/10, 9pm, $15–$20, []