It was 20 years ago that Hidden Beach Recordings introduced itself and Jill Scott to the masses by way of the singer-songwriter’s double-platinum debut album Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Now the R&B/soul, jazz and alternative label is announcing its formal relaunch with the premiere and release of a new single and video from singer-songwriter Gene Noble, the label’s first signing in several years.
The heartfelt and powerful “Too Many Lost” brings Noble to the forefront as a solo artist. His vocals have backed a who’s who on tour such as Scott, Sting, Usher, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown and Lauryn Hill. Noble, who’s written songs for Brown, Jason Derulo, Faith Evans and Diddy, also penned the R&B-centric “Too Many Lost.” Produced by multi-instrumentalist Gorden Campbell, the song is the first track off Noble’s HiddenBeach debut EP due later this year through Universal Music Group. The single is available now at all DSPs.
“I signed Gene because he fits the exact artist ideal that I’ve historically been attracted to,” Hidden Beach founder and CEO Steve McKeever tells Billboard. “I’ve always loved remarkable songwriters — period — and Gene’s songwriting often speaks to beautiful life lessons. He’s also one of the best vocalists I’ve ever heard. Gene speaks truth to power, which epitomizes our mission: artists with something to say.”
Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Too Many Lost” video raises awareness of and salutes not only healthcare workers on the frontline but all essential workers who constantly risk their lives for others. With visuals shot on the empty streets of Atlanta, the video and song also call out the nation’s injustices through lyrics such as “But you got guns and they’re pointed at my sons” and “the powers that be all want us to divide when we should be standing side-by-side.”
Prior to officially relaunching Hidden Beach — whose roster included Kindred, saxophonist Mike Phillips and Naturally 7 — McKeever reprised the label’s popular UnWrapped hip-hop series last year. That move was sparked by 2017’s violent racial protests involving neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia. McKeever says the central goal of revisiting UnWrapped was to bring people together.
“And from there I knew it was time to relaunch Hidden Beach,” he adds. “I was floored the first time I heard ‘Too Many Lost’ from the driving bassline to the passion of Gene’s delivery and eloquence of his lyrics, which capture and speak for the feelings of many frustrated with the hierarchy of the establishment on so many levels.”
A New York native now based in Los Angeles, Noble says of kick-starting his solo career, “I’ve been a fan of Hidden Beach for a long time so it’s pretty exciting to have their support. I’ve put a lot of love into this new project and I absolutely cannot wait to share my new music with the public. I’m particularly thankful to be able to utilize my platform to offer a powerful song and video that’s much bigger than me.”