David Bowie might have started the whole spaceman rockstar oddity, but Klaus Nomi actually believed and sounded like he was from another universe.
Nomi was a classically trained opera singer, who managed to artfully partner new wave music with his wide vocal range to create synth-driven interpretations of classical music and covers of 60s pop standards. It was a completely unique sound, like no other before it, or after …
The German immigrant’s strange stage persona coupled with his trademark costumes and hairstyle made for utterly magical live performances.
In the late 1970s while performing at Club 57, The Mudd Club, The Pyramid Club, and other venues, Nomi assembled a group of up-and-coming models, singers, artists, and musicians to perform live with him, which at times included Joey Arias, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, John Sex and Kenny Scharf, and became a fixture in the downtown arts scene. From there his bizarre star continued to rise, with live performances on TV stations around the world, record deals, and even singing back up for David Bowie on SNL.
Nomi passed away in August 6, 1983. He was one of the first celebrities to die of complications from AIDS. His life was all too short, but its impact is still felt today. In 2004 Andrew Horn made a feature documentary about Nomi’s life, The Nomi Song. See it!