My name is Klaus Nomi.
I came from Germany, but many view me as otherworldly, as if hailing from outer space. I was born Klaus Sperber in 1944, but I have been reborn as Klaus Nomi, an alien. I moved to New York City in 1972 from Berlin and became involved in the East Village art scene. I sang back in Germany and continued to take singing lessons here in New York, while also working as a pastry chef. I like to use certain good ingredients to create a new dessert, my own style. I used different elements such as opera, new wave, disco, and rock and combine them.
My approach to style, I think I have a signature style, is more avant-garde. People view me as bizarre, with costume-like makeup, the white powder and black eyeliner, my hair, and the oversized, structured Weimar tuxedo. But this is the confident me, my presence. I was inspired by David Bowie’s performance costume when I sang with him on Saturday Night Live back in 1979, and from then on, I adopted my own version, which I have turned into my brand, my signature, my logo.
I have always been experimenting with new types of music, often practicing opera in the courtyard of my apartment complex. Living in New York City back then, in East Village, was relaxed, slow paced. I remember practicing and one day, a man who listened everyday waved me up to his apartment and we met and became friends. Everyone was friends with everyone down in East Village. At that time, I was singing in small clubs around Manhattan. And sometime in 1979, I remember performing and dancing at Fiorucci. My shadow against the striped N became known as my logo. I produced two albums, Klaus Nomi (1981) and Simple Man (1982).
I was surprised and flattered to find out I had a following, the Nomis. I spent time all around New York City, with so many different people, performing at clubs and discotheques. I loved performing at Club 57, a hotspot for all us artists in our own world, misunderstood by society, with all my friends. I would’ve liked to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, but unfortunately I didn’t get the chance, due to an unfortunate illness.
Towards the end of my life, I became more alone. This was due to an illness, AIDS. No one knew what it was at the time, how contagious it was, and how it could’ve been contracted. I had friends who were afraid to get near me, but I understood, no one knew what it was at the time. I died alone in 1983 at the Sloan Kettering Hospital Center in New York City, as one of the first celebrities to die of complications from AIDS. My ashes were scattered over New York City. I was 39.
People today remember me for my wide vocal range and an unusual, otherworldly stage persona, for my bizarrely visionary theatrical live performances, heavy makeup, unusual costumes, and a highly stylized signature hairdo I was very much involved in the New Wave scene. And although many people thought I was the future of New Wave because I was so futuristic, so avant-garde, I would like to call it the Now Wave. The future is now, I think we start right now at this moment, the future has begun.
BYGays. “After the Fall: Remembering Klaus Nomi 30 Years Later.” BrightestYoungThings DC . August 6, 2013. Accessed January 29, 2018. https://brightestyoungthings.com/articles/after-the-fall-remembering-klaus-nomi-30-years-later.
Hutten, Verene De. “Klaus Nomi, rock’s opera singer.” Digital image. Cercle Magazine. May 18, 2016. Accessed January 29, 2018. http://www.cerclemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/1219.jpg.
Iandoli, Kathy. “The Curious Career of Klaus Nomi.” Pitchfork. December 10, 2015. Accessed January 29, 2018. https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/970-the-curious-career-of-klaus-nomi/.
Klaus Nomi. NYC 10 O’Clock News. 1981.
“Klaus Nomi, logo.” Digital image. Pinterest. Accessed January 29, 2018. https://i.pinimg.com/236x/41/b3/70/41b370efa31a44eb52bfe6d83e2da4db–find-logo-nomi.jpg.
“Klaus Nomi.” Wikipedia. January 27, 2018. Accessed January 29, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Nomi.
“Klaus show at Fiorucci, 1979.” Digital image. Pintrest. Accessed January 29, 2018. https://i.pinimg.com/736x/cb/6e/b2/cb6eb20dc4fe11a3dc0a7855a653a2e4–nomi.jpg.
Nomi, Klaus, writer. Nomi Song. 1981.