Hidden Beach Recordings is back and better than ever before with their new artist signing, Gene Noble.
Growing up in Long Island, the singer-songwriter has spent the last two years of his life writing and touring with a bunch of artists in the industry. Now, he debuts the first single off his new EP titled “Too Many Lost,” with the most powerful, educational visual to match.
“Too Many Lost” is inspired by this pandemic we’re facing around the globe thanks to COVID-19. The New York native also pays tribute to his late mentor, Bishop David Gates, who was with Gene in announcing his first debut as a signed artist.
The politically-charged video is intended to raise awareness, simultaneously giving thanks to all the essential workers constantly risking their lives.
Gene’s own father was killed in a line of duty while serving his country, which fuels the message behind the metaphors in his lyrics. Shot entirely on Gene’s iPhone, the visual was shot in the empty streets of Atlanta on a Sunday afternoon.
AllHipHop caught up with Noble to discuss his new single “Too Many Lost,” his love for touring, relationship with Jill Scott, and more!
AllHipHop: Being from New York, what was the household like growing up?
Gene Noble: New York was great, it’s a great place to grow up. There’s every single culture, all on top of each other. You’re always exposed to it. Sometimes people who don’t grow up that way may have culture shock because you’re around everything all the time. Especially musically, you’re exposed to every kind of music.
AllHipHop: How long have you been in LA now? How’s quarantine treating you?
Gene Noble: I’ve been in LA 10 years. This is the first time I’ve gone out! I’m all excited I’m actually going somewhere. I got a studio set up so I’m able to record. I released music from the crib. I’ve been doing a lot of phone calls, Zoom’s, still getting my stuff done. A lot of streaming. If this wasn’t going on, I’d be touring. I tour so much. To me, it’s a break. I’m always on the road. This quarantine stopped the tour I was on, which was the Jill Scott tour. I was going to go straight from that tour to doing my promo tour, to Sting’s tour. I’ve worked with Sting for the last 3 years.
AllHipHop: How did that happen?
Gene Noble: I did backgrounds on one song he did with Shaggy. They did an album together, I did backgrounds on the entire album. They asked me to go on tour with them. I stayed with Sting after he finished that tour, been with him the next 2 years afterwards.
AllHipHop: Talk about your relationship with Jill Scott.
Gene Noble: Jill is amazing, first of all. I’m one of the pipes, what she calls her background singers. Jill’s such an incredible artist, somebody I’ve looked up to for years. Getting to tour with her and see her do her thing every night was priceless. Especially because that album had such great significance to me, to do it with her was crazy.
AllHipHop: Did you fan out when you met her?
Gene Noble: I did! I definitely did. [chuckles] I was nervous my first couple rehearsals because I knew I had some pretty big shoes to fill. I was definitely sitting there so happy. She’s super cool, it was awesome. It’s been a great experience touring with her.
AllHipHop: How did you land at Hidden Beach Records? What does it mean to be on the same label as Jill Scott?
Gene Noble: What’s funny is the 2 things have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The Hidden Beach thing happened while I was on tour with Sting. I was in Germany and I got a call from Bernard. Bernard had played my stuff for Sting, he’s like “I’ve never signed someone who I haven’t met in person but I feel really strongly about the material I heard. I want to work with you.” That’s how it started. I had a gap from touring with Sting, somebody called me and Jill’s tour fit exactly in that gap. I said “yeah sure, I’ll take that gig.”
AllHipHop: Did you learn anything from touring with Jill Scott?
Gene Noble: I learned a lot. First, I did choreography. It was Temptations type stuff, that wasn’t my thing normally. [chuckles] I learned how important it is to put your album together in the right way, sequence it in the right way. Make sure you take care of the thoughts about every single track, because she toured with her first solo album with track one to the end. She played the entire album and didn’t lose the crowd for one second. Not many people can do that with one album. Even big stars we know, they couldn’t rock one of their whole albums front to back. It really taught me a lesson about being meticulous about how I put everything together.
AllHipHop: Let’s talk about “Too Many Lost,” that’s a super powerful visual.
Gene Noble: We’re fighting right now! They’re trying to shut us down on Google and other streaming platforms. I guess because of the content, maybe it’s too political. They’re trying to shut us down and we’re fighting against it. It’s a message that needs to be out there. It’s important, so I’m going to keep fighting.
AllHipHop: What were you going through when you recorded it?
Gene Noble: I recorded it with Gorden Campbell, who’s an amazing producer, writer, friend of mine. We actually initially recorded this song regarding one of the police killings. During a conversation, we’re all talking about the similarities in the things going on and how pertinent the song was to that. I personally was affected by Covid. My best friend’s sister passed. My area got really ran through pretty crazy, I’m from Long Island. They still had churches on Sunday everywhere, they didn’t know they shouldn’t be doing that. No one made a clear announcement. A lot of church people contracted this Covid.
AllHipHop: How many?
Gene Noble: I don’t know how many total but it got to a point on my Facebook page — obviously I grew up in church, that’s where my voice comes from — I’d see all these people that I knew, that I’d grown up with or seen over the years in church.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to pay tribute to your mentor Bishop David Gates?
Gene Noble: It was really cool to be able to do that because the choir part, the harmony, that comes from him. I’m very influenced by that time in my life. It’s cool I had a song where I actually used what I had learned from him and tribute him with it.
AllHipHop: What are your favorite parts of the video? There’s so many details.
Gene Noble: What made it really crazy was the ticking up, how it goes from all the other countries having more cases to us shooting right in front of every single other country in the world. That part really made it really plain. Obviously him calling it a hoax in February, those 2 moments are craziest for me. Honestly the fact that I was in Atlanta on Sunday morning at 11am and I could get a shot with no one as far as the eye could see, in front of one of the busiest churches and Martin Luther King’s memorial. To even be able to stand in the middle of that street and no one’s there.
AllHipHop: Were you just in Atlanta at the time?
Gene Noble: Yeah actually, been here since touring. I have my people here. I’m well taken care of in Atlanta, it’s a good place to be. NY and LA seemed a bit crazy with everything going on, so might as well stay here.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourself?
Gene Noble: To get my music in more ears, that’s the real goal. As soon as we’re able to get back out on the road, do shows. My favorite place is on stage. I love performing live, that’s my thing. I really want to get in front of people again.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your live performances?
Gene Noble: You can expect a lot of energy. You can expect it to be one of one, I never do the same thing twice. I give it my all. I play keys a little bit, I use my looper a little bit. I have an amazing band called Flight Deck that I play with, we record a lot of our songs together. A lot of energy, a lot of fun. I use my whole voice, I use the whole stage. I use everything I got.
AllHipHop: Who’s in your Top 5?
Gene Noble: Lately, I really love Lucky Daye. Really into his stuff, what he’s doing. I love that Victoria Monet record. Alex Isley, that “Gone” record is crazy! There’s so many songs. Pink Sweat$ “17” is a great record. I’ve been playlisting it a lot, been hearing a lot of cool stuff. I listen to Chilled R&B on Spotify.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your forthcoming EP?
Gene Noble: Joints to live with. It’s a lot of real s##t, storytelling, honest emotion and singing. The cool thing is I wasn’t afraid to touch on different topics and be more vulnerable. Just go there vocally, lyrically, all the way. It’s untitled as of yet, we have 3 things we’re going back and forth with.