THERE is a moment in April, the current single by Edinburgh songwriter Siobhan Wilson, when you realise you’ve been taken in. Set to delicately picked guitar and some melancholic cello lines, its gentle presentation belies a message of autonomy and defiance as powerful as Sia’s Titanium or Beyonce’s Run The World (Girls).

“Wear the hell what you want/whenever the hell you want/be a mountain if you want/be a mountain flower if you want,” Wilson sings, her vocals as gossamer-soft as those in There Are No Saints, her critically acclaimed 2017 album.

Looking straight to camera in April’s video is Scots singer-songwriter Jerry Burns, a mentor of Wilson and a regular collaborator of film composer Craig Armstrong. Directed by Ellen De Faux, the video features movement artists Katie James and Maria Giacchetto dancing with Burns while Wilson sings “you make your own rules/don’t ever suffer fools”.

“Jerry is a massive inspiration on me and it was important for me to have someone who understood the message of the song,” says Wilson, noting Burns’s 1993 hit Pale Red.

An eloquent and switched-on young artist, Wilson returned to Scotland in 2014 after spending five years in Paris straight from school. There, the classically trained Elgin-born musician immersed herself in the music of French chanson and had a love affair, the fallout from which was scattered across the yearning, exceptional There Are No Saints, shortlisted for 2018’s Scottish Album Of The Year.

When she speaks with The National, Wilson pinpoints exactly why April might leave listeners feeling hoodwinked or pleasantly surprised by its subtle call for female empowerment.

“There’s a stereotypical sound in music for making statements which is quite punk, brash or aggressive,” she says. “It sounds so airy and acoustic and light, you might listen and think: ‘Oh, that’s a nice song.’”

Wilson has previously described April, written for her teenage self, as a “way of trying to send a direct message out to do whatever the hell you want with you body, your time, and make your own decisions about your life”.

“I’m so glad everyone is talking about this concept of femininity, that it’s so up for question,” Wilson continues. “You can present empowerment in different ways. With the last record, that was exploring vulnerability as a strength. It takes a lot of courage and you have to be brave to expose your vulnerabilities. With this new one, it’s presenting that idea in many forms.”

Themes of empowerment, autonomy and self-determination are central to Wilson’s new album The Departure, released on her own Suffering Fools label following the sad demise of excellent Edinburgh imprint Song, By Toad.

Produced, like its predecessor, with Chris McCrory of Catholic Action, it expands her range from exquisitely fragile folk to the smudgy grunge of Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins and PJ Harvey’s Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea.

Lead single Marry Me, released earlier in the year, showed Wilson’s new direction into a bolder, more guitar-driven sound, as does Unconquerable, one of The Departure’s two female-sung duets. Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale quickly accepted Wilson’s invitation to sing on the track, its defiance and urgency marking it as a stand-out in this confident, subtly subversive new body of work.

Tweeddale was one of a number of collaborators involved in the making of The Departure, recorded with Wilson as principal multi-instrumentalist. Borders-based harpist Esther Swift joined her in composing the starkly beautiful Stars Are Nonzero, while Reflections, a co-write with mandolin-playing balladeer Rachel Sermanni, and Jo Mango collaboration Little Hawk have a midnight-black, almost Gothic quality to them.

That latter tone recalls Barbara aka Monique Andree Serf, a late French singer covered in recent years by the likes of Martha Wainwright, Regina Spektor and Ana Silvera.

Barbara’s touching Dis, Quand Reviendras is one of two covers to feature on the album, the other a playful pop at Serge Gainsbourg in Wilson’s take on Ne Dis Rien, a duet the Frenchman recorded with actress Anna Karina for 1967 comedy musical Anna.

“I almost wanted there to be a disclaimer on that song,” Wilson says of the Gainsbourg track. “While his legendary musical career I respect very much, I find his attitude to women very problematic. Barbara, my favourite French singer, is the opposite of Serge.

“She wrote her own songs and was in charge of her particular look, this almost horror French Gothic look. I think she was a genuinely authentic performer.”

DIS, Quand Reviendras features the key line “Je ne suis pas de celles qui meurent de chagrin/Je n’ai pas la vertu des femmes de marins,” explains Wilson, a fluent French speaker.

“She’s saying she’s not a whimpering woman who dies from a broken heart and that she doesn’t ‘have the virtue of the wives of sailors’,” she says of Barbara. “With that line, in the 1960s, she is saying: ‘I am a modern woman who doesn’t suffer fools.’”

Wilson continues: “When I was younger, it was always: ‘Oh, your voice is so sexy.’ I never did that on purpose. That is my voice. It wasn’t liberating or a free space to play with, this sexuality which was already imposed on me from others. I am a bit of a rebel and don’t like being in the cage defined by the male gaze. It’s not a healthy place to be.”

May 12, VoxBox Music, Edinburgh, instore, time TBC.

August 7, Summerhall, Edinburgh, tickets TBC.

The Departure is out on Suffering Fools Records on May 10.