Tranvocalizers — Nomi Ruiz

| Mar 9, 2009
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The word “fickle” could have been created with the music business in mind. The industry as a whole is notorious for changing everything from formats to genres to hairstyles. Fans can be worse…even brutal at times.

Whatever is today’s musical genré du jour will be considered (within about a month…) “classic tracks.” So, anyone who takes a serious stab a disco would probably be considered either a “revivalist” or a total wack job.

Nomi Ruiz, lead singer for the eight piece dance band Hercules and Love Affair, is neither. The Brooklyn native is one of those performers who manages to be more than a lead singer…she’s an artist who can survive the aforementioned fickleness by being proficient in different styles. And we’ll discuss those styles in a bit.

Hercules and Love Affair has just ended a year long world tour which was used to promote their self-titled debut album, released earlier last year. Hercules and Love Affair proved that disco isn’t as dead as many people thought (or hoped), and that all the fans of house music could learn something about where their favorite groove originated.

Deep Red - Morgan Wiley, Nomi Ruiz, Andrew Raposo, photo by Justin Stanley

Deep Red - Morgan Wiley, Nomi Ruiz, Andrew Raposo, photo by Justin Stanley

Getting the chance to even do a world tour is something that Nomi probably never imagined just even a few years back. She was raised by a single mother in a small apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and like a lot of lonely kids, found her solace in music.

Hip hop and the influence of the street provided her first creative sparks. One of her earliest tunes, You’ll Never Know, found its way unto a project called The Enlightened Family Compilation. From there, she came to the attention of producers who were accustomed to working with hip hop, rather than R&B/dance styled vocalists. Because of her writing ability and her somewhat deeper, low register vocals, she was given the chance to record her first EP, called Hustler.

Eventually, by 2005 that is, Nomi was performing enough in New York City’s underground music scene to warrant the release of a full length solo album entitled Lost In Lust.

Following the album’s release, Nomi toured Europe and the U.S. with CocoRosie as the opening act. She also performed at stylist Patricia Field’s residence for Fashion Week in New York. All of this exposure lead to a European tour with Antony and The Johnsons, where she was featured as one of the 13 NYC Beauties in the Turning Tour. Nomi also appears in the video of You Are My Sister for Antony and The Johnsons.

Next came her involvement with Hercules and Love Affair. What’s interesting about this project besides the aforementioned disco vibe, is that it’s the result of the collaborative efforts of some extremely creative people. Produced by DJ Andrew Butler, besides Nomi it also features the vocals of Kim Ann Foxxman and Antony (of Antony and The Johnsons, of course.)

With the tour winding down, Nomi hasn’t stayed idle. Her ability to keep busy and make her own breaks is highly evident in the fact she has started a new project.

Along with Morgan Wiley (keyboards) and Andrew Raposo (bass), both from the Hercules conglomerate, Nomi has formed a new project called Deep Red. Their debut single, Fun Girl, is set for a spring release, with no firm date yet for the rest of the album project’s release.

Perhaps some would call Nomi’s ability to constantly change focus to be chameleon-like, as in not being true to herself. On the contrary, though, it should be considered the mark of a true survivor to always manage to keep going.

From a previous interview with Life And Soul magazine, Nomi said, “I’m not in this to be a ‘star’. I just want to be able to make a living doing what I love to do and that’s music…creating, being an artist.”

For more information about Nomi, check out as well as Facebook and MySpace. has some of the music mentioned here. Also, check out Deep Red and Hercules and Love Affair.

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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