Petite Noir has left the studio to make his way to rehearsals. He’s preparing for a five-show run across southern Africa that will see him play in Cape Town, Joburg, Durban, Swaziland and Reunion Island over the next few weeks.
“This is a whole new Petite Noir,” he says. “This is sort of the next level for me because I’ve been gone for a while. Coming back now, I’m really looking forward to sharing my progression and the growth.”
Noir has been on a hiatus of sorts following a split with his manager and his previous label. He’s found himself buried in the studio trying to reinvent himself. He calls this journey of rediscovery “the 2nd-phase”.
Today’s recordings will form part of his second album, which he says will be coming out soon.
“The music has obviously changed. The live show has also changed now with the new band I have playing with me for the first time,” he said. “It’s bigger and it’s better and faster.”
Noir comes across as shy and guarded. He doesn’t talk much and often speaks in short, direct sentences.
His music, however, speaks volumes. His live performances are lively and he draws the attention of his audience through the dynamism of his onstage movements and the striking uniqueness of his brand of alternative R&B and indie rock.
Last year Noir composed a song with similarly left of centre American rapper Danny Brown. The song came about after Noir contacted Brown online while he was in New York preparing to play at the AfroPunk Festival.
Noir said: “He was also playing but on a different day. We were trying to organise a show with him, but that didn’t work out.”
Eventually, Noir got a hold of him and they recorded the song, called Rolling Stone, which Brown used on his album.
This moment adds to the triumph of having Solange feature him on her Saint Heron compilation in 2013. With the artwork for his debut album, La Vie Est Belle/Life Is Beautiful, set to be included in the Harvard archives, Noir is due for yet another notable feather in his cap. He has a few other short-term goals in mind, too.
“I definitely want to tour Africa a lot more. West, North and Central Africa in particular. Going to places that not a lot of people go to. I want to record and release more music.
“I also want to do more work around Africa. Like teaching, doing courses in music.”
After headlining Sunday Edition with Bongeziwe Mabandla this weekend, Noir will head off to Swaziland for the MTN Bushfire festival on May 26. This trip will mark his first time performing in that country.
He said: “I think it’s going to be a great festival. I might have some new music that I’m gonna play. It’s just definitely a new and better show with my band. We’ve got some good visuals that we have worked on, and the rest will be a surprise.”