WPGM Commentary: Noir On The Making Of His New EP ‘Up At 5’

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My name is Noir and I’m a progressive R&B artist based in Lagos. Up At 5 is a 5-track project that I made to represent some of the thoughts I’ve had at that time of the morning I normally wake up.

Some of the songs were inspired from personal experiences whilst the others were conspired out of curiosity of making songs about those situations. I wanted to be as vulnerable as I could and honest about these experiences in the music.

I worked with Oddio (a production duo), Tamaraebi, Ossi Grace and Kurtis Williams on this project and we were literally in the studio going over ideas and putting them down day after day. I listened to a lot of The Dream and Majid Jordan primarily for inspiration behind it and I wanted to make an EP that would be considered a progressive R&B sound that hinges on nostalgia and character.

I wanted a lot of ambience and space in my sound. And I wanted this theme to not only show in the sonics but also in the creative direction of the project. Vulnerability was also an important element in this body of work and just really being able to express myself as honest and simple as I could be.

Putting out the project in the middle of the quarantine was a whole trip I did not expect. I had some ideas and plans around the rollout that changed because of the circumstances. I had some anxiety with putting it out at this period probably because of the social climate in general and whether people would be in the mood and right frame of mind to receive this kind of sound during such a gloomy period.

Nevertheless, I was still very much excited and pumped to share the project with everyone. My team and I had to come up with other ideas on how to roll out the project. It was an interesting experience and one I’ll never forget. Who would have thought I would witness a pandemic in my lifetime? Videos had to be shot during the time allowed before the curfew.

However, making music during this period has been great. I’ve been more inspired generally and just had time to dig deeper and and reflect as an artist. I have had time to just listen to music on my own and watch films which gives me inspiration as well.

I’ve also been surrounded by really talented people who I live really close to and make music with. But I think most importantly, is my headspace being a good place and maintaining that for my well-being as a person and as a creative.

The EP’s opening track “5am” is an electronic influenced R&B track with pop undertones about heartbreak and the struggle to move on. It’s definitely from a personal experience. This track was inspired by Majid Jordan and The Dream, and the outro represents me being up at 5am and being lost in my thoughts about what transpired between us at the time.

Comfortable” is another song about being an option in someone’s sex/love life and having a bittersweet feeling about it. I had no personal experience from this but it was a concept I was curious enough to explore. This is a pop song with R&B undertones and I wanted it to feel almost like a conversation.

The next track “Down For It” is an alternative R&B track with pop undertones that expresses intense desire and sexual tension for a person. I really wanted to make a minimalist type of production with simple melodies that translated to a conversation about me flirting and asking for consent to go further – “are you down for it?

With “Over Here“, I wanted to make a song about being an option in someone’s love/sex life so I decided to explore that in this song as well. This was inspired by early 2000s R&B music and the song has elements of that in the production as well.

There’s a love triangle involved and I’m the substitute lover who wants and warns that no feelings should be allowed – “and now I want you to be careful / feeling ain’t allowed after we done here”.

The final track on the project is titled “Side To Side” and it is an R&B pop-oriented track with African influences about chasing a desired one with your heart on your sleeve.

Listen to my Up At 5 EP below!

Words by NOIR // Follow him on Twitter + Instagram

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