The act of exhalation just got a wistful pop twist: Gabrielle Aplin's latest makes freed breath something beautiful.

The Brit folk-pop act, who first amassed a YouTube fan base in 2012 after posting lovely acoustic sets, has since released two full-length albums and an EP, racking up a handful of Top 10 hits and three worldwide No 1s in the process. Her new "Waking Up Slow" has taken her gentle sound in a decidedly more pop direction, though, and she tells PopCrush it's all thanks to an epiphany of sorts.

"'Waking Up Slow' is more of a realization of who I am, feeling comfortable, and saying 'ah yes, this is what I'm supposed to be doing and this is where I'm supposed to be,'" she said. "It's more like letting out a big breath and deciding to just be."

The song starts in a state of suspension, skimming tidepools of ambience before a decisive beat gives it a pop-pulse. And by the time Aplin spells out her intentions, "Waking Up Slow" is an invitation to dance.

"You know I've never been so lonely on my own / And it shows, 'cause I don't see you like I used to / Now I'm going back on the things that I know," she croons.

And if the sound draws you in, get ready for more — she says it's a signal of things to come.

"I think it's very easy to see a progression basing it on my releases like a timeline. For me, it does feel more gradual," she said. "I've written so many more songs than I have release so for me the development for me as an artist and writer has been much slower. What's always stayed the same is how I write my songs, they always come from the same organic place, I haven't changed how I play or write lyrics but I love to produce songs in the way that I think suits them best. I don't want to reign in a song to make it sound like everything I've done previously, I don't feel that pressure."

Now, as she gears up for a North American tour, Aplin said she can't help but address the state of politics, though it's not necessarily her aim.

"I think it's important that artists write about what's going on around them too, if they feel like it," she said. "I feel like the world is in such a state and songs can really help people get through hard times if they hear something they relate to. I feel like we're a little bit scared sometimes to rock the boat or be seen as controversial but I think it's important to write about whats affecting you, whats making you think or feel and not suppress it."

Check out Aplin's full tour schedule, follow her on Twitter and Instagram and tell us what you think of "Waking Up Slow" below.

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