To christen his new album, the genre-defying NoMBe transforms sadness into ‘something positive’ with a stunning video for a track that, he tells HL, owes a bit to Sir Elton.
At the start of “Water Into Wine,” we find NoMBe flying along the surface of some pristine ocean waves. With a guitar in hand and a serene look in his eye, he lets go – and plunges into “the darkness” of sadness. “Baby won’t you turn my water into wine,” he begs on the track before the chorus kicks in. The song is as fluid with styles as the water in the video (a prog-rock synth solo crashed down like a tidal wave towards the end but never feels overwhelming). “Water Into Wine” – with its inventive songcraft and clever lyricism – demonstrates why NoMBe is one of your favorite musician’s favorite musicians.
How did this majestic visual come to be? “We shot the video in Hawaii and knew it would be an underwater piece,” NoMBe tells HollywoodLife. “It’s become one of my favorite visuals I’ve ever released, and I CAN’T wait for people to see it! Much love to the team that made it happen.”
“‘Water Into Wine’ is a special one that I actually had the melody idea as I was falling asleep one night,” he shares. “So, I pulled out my phone, and I started thinking like, what does this mean? What could these lyrics be? And I must have written now like 100 lyrics that sounded like ‘baby, can you turn my water into wine,’ and when I landed on those lyrics, that concept was so interesting to me. This idea that you can cry so much that it basically becomes an ocean that you drown into, and could you take this water and make it a celebration?”
“It’s obviously a very religious reference,” he continues, “and saying, ‘hey can you take my tears and turn them into something positive?’ The rest of the song is more a visual description of what it’s like to drown, and it is fear of losing someone. It is definitely about sadness and not wanting to lose someone in a breakup. It is very, very metaphorical. I think you kind of have to know the context in which I’m coming from.”
If there are parts of “Water Into Wine” that strike a Elton John-esque chord (particularly, the “la-la-las”) that’s not by accident. NoMBe doesn’t hide his love for Sir Elton – or the music icon’s influence on his music (Elton featured NoMBe’s “Weirdo” on his Rocket Hour radio show/podcast in 2020, and said NoMBe’s “Drama” song – from his first album – was “fantastic.”)
“With the production, it just sounded so weird,” says NoMBe. “I actually pitched down a whole song, and then saying it three steps lower and then pitch the whole song up. That’s where the intro vocal comes from, why it’s so slightly sped up sounding, reminiscent of Blonde by Frank Ocean, and some of those records that use a lot of pitch vocals. And then, of course, on the production, it’s very inspired by Elton John and everything from ‘Yellow Brick Road’ to ‘Rocket Man’ and those big, big, big ballads. There is a bit more of an electronic influence, it gets a little crazy towards the end even, almost like a Flume record, and it’s a completely non-genre-specific song. It’s just all over the place, and I like the lyrics and how it feels very moody.”
This music video arrives on the same day as CHROMATOPIA, NoMBe’s 14-track, self-produced album (via TH3RD Brain Records). “It is so cathartic to release something you’ve been working on for a long time. It’s simply meant to be heard, and I’ve been dying to put it out,” he tells HollywoodLife. “With last year’s protests, it just didn’t feel right to put out, so I am just so happy people will finally have it.”
“I want people to feel good and hopefully escape into another world on CHROMATOPIA,” he adds. “It is a very personal album; but considering that, I think people will relate to it quite a bit. It’s a statement on love, on freedom, and on acceptance, whether you’re seeking openness from a partner, freedom of sexual expression, self-discovery, or self-improvement. It’s an easy listen with a lotta depth underneath, and that’s all I wanted.”
NoMBe – born Noah McBeth – has been building a buzz– he counts Pharrell Williams as a fan – since his first music arrived in the mid-2010s. Born to a creative, multicultural family (Chaka Khan is his godmother), NoMBe discovered his musical talents early on and honed his skills while living in New York and performing across the world. He’s appeared at Lollapalooza, SXSW, and Electric Forrest, just to name a few, amassing critical acclaim and hundreds of millions of streams. With CHROMATOPIA, he begins the next chapter of a vibrant career. For those who have been with him from the start, they will continue to surf along in his wake. For those who are just finding out about him, CHROMATOPIA marks a perfect time to dive right in.