Nomy Lamm

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Olympia, WA resident Nomy Lamm is many things: a political activist, a freelancer writer, a performance artist, a poet, and an outspoken Riot Grrl. She is also an adventurous, experimental, challenging…
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Artist Biography by

Olympia, WA resident Nomy Lamm is many things: a political activist, a freelancer writer, a performance artist, a poet, and an outspoken Riot Grrl. She is also an adventurous, experimental, challenging singer/songwriter whose avant-garde rock has been influenced by a wide variety of music, including punk, electronica, and soul. Musically, Lamm's songs tend to be quirky, abstract, and eccentric -- and lyrically, her work has often reflected her social and political views. Lamm's songs have addressed feminist and lesbian concerns, but not in a hostile or confrontational way; she knows how to be provocative without becoming excessively preachy. Lamm also has a healthy sense of humor.

To understand why Lamm's material is as sociopolitical as it is, one should know some things about her background. The singer/songwriter was born Naomi Elizabeth Lamm on September 1, 1975 in a commune in Tennessee, but was only two when her parents (whom she has described as "hippies") moved to Olympia, WA. Growing up in that part of the Pacific Northwest, Lamm felt different from her schoolmates for a number of reasons: she was a lesbian, she was an amputee, she was considered overweight, and she was Jewish in an area where Jews were a minority. Lamm's disability stemmed from the fact that she was born with a condition known as "proximal femoral focal deficiency," which meant that one of her legs was shorter than the other. The growth rate of her left leg (the shorter leg) was half that of her right leg; so when Lamm was three, her left foot was amputated in order for her to wear a prosthesis. Feeling like an outsider, Lamm became very politicized as a teenager, and in 1992, she became interested in the Riot Grrrl movement (which addressed lesbian and feminist concerns and did a lot to encourage her activism). At 17, Lamm began to do freelance political writing, and instead of running away from the fact that she was different in some respects, she embraced it. When Lamm describes herself as a "queer anarchist punk, religious Jew, new age-y conspiracy theorist, tree-hugging hippie, fat pervert mutant freak, small-town white girl," it isn't meant to be self-deprecating humor -- it is really a statement of pride. She is saying that it's OK to be different, and that mindless knee-jerk conformity is bad for society. Lamm, who has often given political lectures as a guest on college campuses, was named one of Ms. magazine's "Women of the Year" in 1997.

As a recording artist, Lamm's career began in the late ‘90s. Her debut album, Anthem, was released by the independent Talent Scout label in 1999. Anthem was followed by her sophomore album, Effigy, which was recorded in 2002 and released by Yo-Yo Records (a small, Olympia-based label) in 2003.