“It’s the small gestures that make progress.” The singer Patrice, concerned about the environment, toured in an electric car to present his new album in France, a country which has adopted it for 25 years. “We have always toured with buses. But it’s doable in an electric car and, me and my musicians, we are more together,” rejoices the German artist of Sierra Leonean origin. Limiting your carbon footprint is not just about this “electric road trip” for the author of the hit Soulstorm (2005). “The important thing is how people come to the concert: we mobilize them to share cars through associations,” said this singer influenced by Bob Marley and Bob Dylan.
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For his French tour, the forty-year-old with the eternal hat didn't put up any posters either. In any case, the musician does not need it to fill the rooms in France. “I released my first mini-album Lions (1998) without advertising or press promotion and someone in France imported it, then word of mouth led to the first concerts and everything else came from there,” he remembers. Lauryn Hill and the Black Eyed Peas will enlist him in particular for their respective opening acts.
It was therefore on the French roads that he presented his new album 9 this fall, which was released on Friday October 3, the day of his concert in the Parisian Bataclan hall, to celebrate. In English, the language in which he sings, this number is called “nine”. But in French, a language he masters, he knows that “neuf” also means “new”. That’s good, that’s the theme of the record.
Patrice offers a new version of his “sweggae”, that is to say this reggae which marches forward (“swagga”, a popular term in American rap) towards other musical trends. In 9, we hear a modern pop coloring (Sentinel) or an afro-beat tint (No want). “It’s a new beginning: with my previous disc, Super Album (2022), best-of of my songs re-recorded for the occasion, I closed a chapter,” he confirms. And to detail all the symbols that he attaches to 9: “the time in the womb of our mothers before birth, i.e. 270 days, that is to say 2 7 0 = 9, and I was born on July 9 ". This is his 9th studio album and there are, obviously, 9 tracks. “Rebirth is an important theme for me: I was born the day my grandfather died.” He inherits a nickname in Yoruba, “Babatunde”, a reference to the return of a missing person. His first real album, Ancien Spirit (2000), was inspired by it. The places where 9 was made are far from his comfort zone. The Super Album was developed in his mother's house in Kerpen, south of Cologne, Germany. This time, there is Jamaica on the map, with the studio that Patrice started to build “in the mountains”, on the heights of Kingston. Or the land of his idol, Bob Marley. The singer was also able to meet former collaborators of the star. And the musician also went through Dakar, Senegal, to rework certain pieces and give “9” a beautiful light, which emerges with the song Sun is out.