Hidden Beach Recordings

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Hidden Beach Recordings
Founded 1998
Founder Steven McKeever
Status Active
Distributor(s) Epic Records (2000-2006)
Universal Music Distribution (2007-present)
Genre Soul, R&B
Country of origin United States
Location Beverly Hills, California
Official website http://www.hiddenbeach.com

Hidden Beach is an American independent record label specializing in urban alternative, R&B, soul, inspirational and contemporary jazz genres. Hidden Beach was formed in 1998, as the vision of its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Steven McKeever, and currently holds a distribution deal with Universal Music Group Distribution.


Steven McKeever has spent over 20 years in the music industry. McKeever was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States. After graduating from St. Ignatius High School, McKeever graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From there, he attended Harvard Law School and earned his J.D degree.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, McKeever was hired by the law firm of Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles as an entertainment lawyer. While there, he discovered comedian Robin Harris, and helped him land a role in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. In 1990, McKeever produced Harris' posthumous comedy album BeBe's Kids. In 1991, McKeever joined Motown Records as senior vice president of artists and repertoire, where he expanded the label's line-up with people like Queen Latifah. He has also worked with Lionel Richie, Diana Ross and Zhane'. The following year, he launched MoJazz Records- a subsidiary of Motown- where he launched a number of new artists, including Norman Brown and NBA great & guitarist Wayman Tisdale. In 1993, McKeever played an instrumental role in the sale of Motown to PolyGram Records. McKeever left Motown in 1995 to work on his own projects. In 1998, he founded Hidden Beach Recordings (HBR).[1]

With a staff of two, McKeever solicited Charles Whitfield to join him to handle production and artist relations. A graduate of North Carolina Central University, Whitfield was hired as a paid intern, although he had no record label experience, but a passion for music. It was Whitfield who introduced McKeever to NBA Superstar Michael Jordan, who became one of the lead investors in Hidden Beach.

Previously, Hidden Beach had four label imprints, focusing on different genres of music. Still Waters, a Hidden Beach Experience is the label imprint dedicated to inspirational music releases spanning the gamut from gospel music to motivational music to inspirational speeches. The debut release on Still Waters was nominated for a Grammy, a Dove Award and a Stellar Award. Hidden Beach Celebration Series focuses on specialty themed albums such as Christmas and Mother's Day releases. HBR's first Celebration Series released was Bebe Winans' My Christmas Prayer which topped five different Billboard Charts, was named as one of Oprah Winfrey's Favorite Things and became Starbuck's biggest selling holiday album in 2004.

In 2014, Hidden Beach Recordings changed its umbrella imprint to Hidden Beach Experiences, still keeping Hidden Beach Recordings for the signed artists. In addition, it established a new division called, "Guardians of Soul" to house estate deals. The company continues to be a place for quality artists including: a Capella sensation Naturally 7, with a sound they trademarked as "Vox Maximus"; the ongoing Unwrapped series - now up to Volume 8; Jill Scott & Kindred catalog; new music from saxophone virtuoso Mike Phillips and newcomer Angie Fisher, whose single "I.R.S." earned a 2014 Grammy nomination and held the #1 most-requested slot on Stevie Wonder's radio station KJLH-FM, Los Angeles.

McKeever and his executive teamwork with estates of noted celebrities to help monetize the assets in the entertainment space on multiple platforms. The first is "The Power of Love: Luther Vandross Experience," a tribute to the late Luther Vandross, in conjunction with the estate, which was announced in 2015.

Early success[edit]

Hidden Beach's first artist to sign to the label was Jill Scott, who, to date, is their best selling artist. The inaugural release, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, has sold 2.4 million units according to Nielsen, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards. Scott has gone on to release four studio, two live albums and starred in the HBO series the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, as well as co-starring roles in the Tyler Perry franchise, "Why Did I Get Married" and "Why Did I Get Married II" as well as the recent James Brown biopic, "Get On Up.".[2]

Unwrapped Music Series[edit]

The label has a following with their Unwrapped series - instrumental versions of rap/hip-hop hits by contemporary jazz artists. The summer of 2008 saw the latest installment in this series, Unwrapped Vol. 5: the Collipark Cafe Sessions. Since its debut three years ago, Unwrapped, Vol. 1 has sold 166,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Vol. 2 counts 91,000 units. Unwrapped, Vol. 3, which features 50 Cent's "In Da Club" and Eminem's "Lose Yourself" as interpreted by keyboardists Jeff Lorber and former Earth, Wind & Fire member Larry Dunn, Hidden Beach saxophonist Mike Phillips and others, was released July 13. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and No. 4 on the overall jazz chart. To date, it has sold 32,000 units. Released on June 24, 2006, the fourth instalment in the series, Unwrapped: Vol 4 peaked at number 3 on the Top Contemporary Jazz charts. Unwrapped, Vol. 5: The Collipark Cafe Sessions offers jazz instrumental covers of Southern hip-hop hits and was released June 24, 2008.[3][4] A box set of volumes 1 through 4 reached moderate success, followed by volumes 5, 6 and 7.

Obama campaign[edit]

Hidden Beach was tapped as the label to release the Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement compilation CD, with proceeds to benefit the Barack Obama campaign. Artists on the project included Kanye West, Stevie Wonder and Sheryl Crow. It was released on September 18, 2008.[5]

Following the election of President Obama, Hidden Beach produced the official inauguration collection commemorative CD-DVD set. Change Is Now: Renewing America's Promise includes 17 tracks by various artists and eight of President Obama's speeches. Artists include Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, will.i.am, Robin Thicke, Maroon 5, India.arie and more.

McKeever remains active in the political and philanthropic arenas, having co-produced the concert on the Washington Mall for the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial unveiling.

Current Artist Roster[edit]

Music Compilations[edit]

  • Cornel West & BMWMB
  • Hidden Hits
  • The Unwrapped Series - volumes 1 - 7
  • Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement (for 2008 - Obama/Biden Campaign)
  • Change Is Now: Renewing America's Promise (2012 President Obama campaign)

Catalog Artist Titles[edit]

  • Darius Rucker
  • Jill Scott
  • Kindred the Family Soul
  • The Tony Rich Project
  • Lina
  • Al B Sure
  • BeBe Winans
  • Bent Fabric (licensed only)
  • Brenda Russell
  • Dr. Cornel West & BMWMB
  • Jeff Bradshaw
  • John Densmore - Tribaljazz
  • Keite Young
  • Kindred the Family Soul
  • Lina
  • Mike Phillips
  • Onitsha
  • Peter Black
  • Ramsey Lewis (licensed only)
  • Sunny Hawkins
  • Tony Rich

Hidden Beach on the charts[edit]

  1. 1 R&B Album- Jill Scott: Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2
  2. 1 R&B/Hip Hop Female Artist of the Year Billboard Year End Review 2001- Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1
  3. 1 Heatseeker's Album Chart - Darius Rucker, Back to Then
  4. 1 Contemporary Jazz Album- Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Volume 1
  5. 1 Top Catalog Album - BeBe Winans, My Christmas Prayer
  6. 1 Top Contemporary Christian Catalog Album- Bebe Winans, My Christmas Prayer
  7. 2 Top R&B/Hip Hop Album- Jill Scott: The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3
  8. 3 Contemporary Jazz Album- Hidden Beach presents: Unwrapped Volume 5 The Collipark Cafe Sessions
  9. 3 Billboard Top 200 Album- Jill Scott: Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2
  10. 3 Contemporary Jazz Album- Hidden Beach presents: Unwrapped: Volume 2
  11. 3 Contemporary Jazz Album- Hidden Beach presents: Unwrapped: Volume 4
  12. 4 Contemporary Jazz Album- Mike Phillips, You Have Reached Mike Phillips
  13. 5 Contemporary Jazz Album- Hidden Beach Presents: Unwrapped Volume 3
  14. 7 R&B Album- Jill Scott: Experience: Jill Scott 826+
  15. 7 R&B/Hip Hop Album- Kindred the Family Soul: The Arrival
  16. 8 Contemporary Jazz Album- Jeff Bradshaw, Bone Deep


  • Jill Scott - Who Is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds - Vol. 1 (2000)
  • Brenda Russell: Paris Rain (2000)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 1 (2001)
  • Jill Scott: Experience Jill Scott 826+ (2001)
  • Darius Rucker: Back to Then (2002)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 2 (2002)
  • BeBe Winans: My Christmas Prayer (2003)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 3 (December 2004)
  • Jill Scott: Beautifully Human, Words and Sounds - Vol. 2 (2004)
  • BeBe Winans: Dream (2005)
  • Lina: The Inner Beauty Movement (2005)
  • Mike Phillips: Uncommon Denominator (2005)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 4 (2005)
  • Bent Fabric: Jukebox (2006)
  • Kindred the Family Soul: In This Life Together (2006)
  • Tribaljazz (feat. John Densmore) (2006)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: You Have Reached Mike Phillips (2006)
  • Kindred the Family Soul: Surrender to Love (2006)
  • Jill Scott: Collaborations (2007)
  • Onitsha: Church Girl (2007)
  • Sunny Hawkins: More Of You (2007)
  • Cornel West & BMWMB (2007)
  • Keite Young: The Rise and Fall of Keite Young (2007)
  • Jill Scott: The Real Thing, Words and Sounds Vol. 3 (2007)
  • Jill Scott: Live in Paris+ (2008)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 5.0 (2008)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped - The Ultimate Box Set - Vols. 1-4 (2009)
  • Hidden Beach Presents: Hidden Hits Vol. 1 (2009)
  • Jeff Bradshaw: Bone Appetit Vol. 1 (2012)
  • The Tony Rich Project: Exist (2008)
  • Kindred the Family Soul: the Arrival (2008)
  • Change Is Now: Renewing America's Promise (Obama 2012 campaign) (2009)
  • Al B Sure: Honey I'm Home (2009)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 6 "Give the Drummer Some" featuring Tony Royster (2009)
  • Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol. 7 "Back to Basics" (2010)
  • Mike Phillips: M.P.3 (2010)
  • Hidden Beach Valentines Vol. 1: Love, Passion & Other Emotions (2011)
  • Naturally 7: Christmas, A Love Story (2011)
  • Naturally 7: VocalPlay (2010)
  • Jill Scott: The Original Jill Scott from the Vault, Vol. 1 (2011)
  • Ramsey Lewis and His Electric Band: Taking Another Look (2011)
  • Jeff Bradshaw: Bone Appetit (2012)
  • Jill Scott: Crates Remix Fundamentals Vol. 1 (2012)
  • Peter Black: Neverwhere, Peter Black's Book Vol. 1 (2012)
  • Naturally 7: Hidden In Plain Sight (2014)
  • Angie Fisher (single): "I.R.S." (2014)
  • Jill Scott: Golden Moments (greatest hits) (2015)
  • Kindred the Family Soul: Family Treasures (2015)
  • Angie Fisher (single): "Hide & Seek" (2015)
  • Angie Fisher (single): "Summertime" (2015)


  1. ^ [1] Archived March 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Gail, "Rhythm and Blues: Hidden Beach Shoring up Talent", Billboard.com, December 10, 2005, Section: Music, Rhythm and Blues
  3. ^ Mitchell, Gail, "Rap, Jazz Mingling More Than Ever", Billboard.com, October 2, 2004
  4. ^ "Hidden Beach, Collipark Package New 'Unwrapped'". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  5. ^ "NME News Barack Obama releases album with Kanye West". Nme.com. 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 

Universal Music Group; Sony Music Entertainment

External links[edit]