Nomi Ruiz

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Nomi Ruiz
Ruiz (middle) performing with Jessica 6 in April 2012
Ruiz (middle) performing with Jessica 6 in April 2012
Background information
BornBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • essayist
  • producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2005–present

Nomi Ruiz is an American singer, songwriter, actress, essayist, DJ and producer, who is also known for her work as Jessica 6.

Early life[edit]

Nomi Ruiz was born in 1986 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Her parents are of Puerto Rican descent.


Lost in Lust[edit]

In 2005, Ruiz released her debut album Lost in Lust on her own independent label Park Side Records. The album is a song-oriented downbeat electronic album steeped in the grittier ends of early-1990s hip-hop and R&B production.[1][2] After its release, she toured with CocoRosie, Debbie Harry and Antony & The Johnsons as part of their "Turning" project and Turning.[3]

Hercules and Love Affair[edit]

Ruiz performing with Hercules and Love Affair at Studio B in May 2008

In 2008, Ruiz appeared on the nu-disco band Hercules and Love Affair's self-titled debut album released on James Murphy's label DFA Records. She was featured on the single "You Belong" and appeared in the music video. Slant Magazine placed "You Belong" at number nine on its "Top 25 Singles of 2008" list and the song was used in the pilot episode of the TV show How to Make It in America.

Ruiz also featured on and co-wrote "Hercules Theme", which Pitchfork placed at number 21 on its list of "The 100 Best Tracks of 2008".[4]

The band made its live debut on May 17, 2008, at the Studio B venue in Brooklyn, New York, before going on a European and North American tour, where Ruiz sang her contributions as well as those of Anohni,[5] making her the first latinx transgender woman to perform on prestigious stages and festivals such as Switzerland's Montreax Jazz Festival, England's Glastonbury, Lovebox, O2 Arena, New York's Hammerstein Ballroom and many more.

The Guardian described Ruiz as "boasting the spookily effortless air of a future pop icon."[6] In 2009 Ruiz quit the band and formed the group Jessica 6.

Jessica 6[edit]

In 2009 Ruiz formed the group Jessica 6 with Andrew Raposo (of Automato) and Morgan Wiley. The band met in late 2007 after they helped put together the Hercules and Love Affair live show.[7] Jessica 6 released their debut single "Fun Girl" on May 21, 2009, on the label Midnight Sun Sound.[8] In 2011 they released See The Light an album that combined dance with her natural R&B/soul stylings released by Peacefrog Records.

On January 7, 2011 Jessica 6 released its second single White Horse[9][10] The song's music video directed by Marco Ovando premiered on February 28, 2011, on Perez Hilton's website. The video received over two million views on YouTube and received positive reviews from music critics. In a review for The Guardian, Michael Cragg felt that the song creates a "fresh take on 70s disco and filtered house with a dash of funk. But while Hercules & Love Affair sound like they now lack a distinctive vocalist, Jessica 6 are elevated by Ruiz's smoky, melancholic voice." Likewise, Robin Murray of Clash noticed a "definite pop touch, but that doesn't discredit some fantastic production." The album's critical acclaim further solidified her status as a history making global artist, at the Greek MAD Video Music Awards on June 14, 2011, Berlin's Tempodrom, London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall, Tate Modern and making an appearance at Chile's Vina del Mar Festival where she appeared with Chilean actress Daniela Vega.

The song "White Horse" was also used in Thierry Mugler's spring 2012 menswear campaign film titled "Brother's of Arcadia". Ruiz was also featured in the film seen in provocative S&M posturings.[9]

Their third single "Prisoner of Love" featured Anohni who also appeared in the song's video also directed by Marco Ovando and styled by Nicola Formichetti.

In 2012, after a two-month North American tour with American synth-pop band Holy Ghost!, the trio disbanded and Ruiz continued her work in electropop and dance under the same name. She released a second Jessica 6 album titled The Capricorn, which was called “seductive, dark, smart, and as catchy as Miss Jackson's greatest hits”[11] by i-D Magazine.

In 2018, she released The Eliot Sessions which received rave reviews[12] in Billboard and landed Ruiz an artist profile[13] in Harper's Bazaar.

Borough Gypsy[edit]

In 2013 Ruiz completed a two month residency at the Clocktower Gallery in downtown New York City where she completed a mixtape project titled "Borough Gypsy" which the gallery described as "a lo-fi cassette tape trip down memory lane using the grit of 90's Hip Hop combined with Soul and acoustic folk elements."[14] The mixtape debuted at the Clocktower Galleries' studio space which was "transformed into a world where visitors step into the mind of the borough gypsy and get to see and sift through the urban tale as they listen to the album unfold. Visitors are granted full access to diaries, sketchbooks, photo albums and song writing journals which document the album's progress as well as the emotional progression which inspired its content. Also on display are hand-made items used for stage shows, items from Nomi's childhood, and some of her first ever recorded demos which are only available in reel-to-reel and cassette tape format."[14]

She released the mixtape to the public via Soundcloud and followed it up in 2016 with "Borough Gypsy" vol. 2 "NOMI vs DILLA" where she wrote and sang over instrumentals produced by J Dilla. It premiered in The Source accompanied by visuals directed by long time collaborator Gabriel Magdaleno.


As an essayist, Ruiz has been outspoken about discrimination in the music industry and has published intimate essays and poems on feminism, sex, romance and gender identity in books by Emely Nue of Pussy Riot, Jezebel, The Fader and more.

On March 9, 2017, Jezebel published Ruiz's essay titled "The Lingering Trauma of Searching for Love as a Trans Youth"[15] where she addresses how shame can lead to abusive relationships stating "What a fragile device, to be frail in the eyes of the preying."[15]

On June 12, 2018, INTO Magazine published Ruiz's essay titled "The Storm Inside: Loving Trans Women in a Toxic World"[16] Here Ruiz touches on how masculine ideology affects men who are transamorous and how that leads to complications when finding love, "shame is the most common form of child abuse, and the most common tool used to shape and mold young boys on their journey to becoming men."[16]

On September 7, 2018, Talkhouse asked Ruiz to contribute a piece for their Gig Economy column. They published her essay on "Identity, Equality and Fighting for a Livable Wage".[17] Here Ruiz touched on her struggles in the music industry as well as her time with Hercules & Love Affair, "I think back over all the obstacles I've overcome and still face, count all my blessings and successes, and realize that nothing will ever amount to my biggest win yet: living my truth."[17]

Acting and television[edit]

In 2018, Nomi made her acting debut on Kurt Sutter's Sons of Anarchy spin-off series Mayans M.C. on FX and stars in the Muay Thai boxing feature film drama Haymaker. She also appeared on Viceland's Slutever TV series where she discussed the stigma trans women face when embracing and openly discussing sex and sexuality.

Musical collaborations[edit]

Song Album Artist Year
"You'll Never Know" The Enlightened Family: A Collection Of Lost Songs The Enlightened Family 2005
"You Belong" Hercules & Love Affair Hercules & Love Affair 2008
"Hercules Theme"
"I'm Telling You" You Belong Hercules & Love Affair 2008
"I'm Deranged" We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie Jessica 6 2010
"Desire" Desire EP Eli Escobar 2011
"Sway" House Of Beni Beni 2011
"Let's Celebrate" Blast From The Past The Ones 2012
"Broken Toy" Enemy EP NR& (Keinemusik) 2013
"Money Talks" Money Talks Thodoris Triantafillou & CJ Jeff 2013
"A Different Corner" A Different Corner EP Mansta 2015
"The Man Inside You" Trilogy (Chapter 1) Thodoris Triantafillou 2015
"Fist" Love Is Gone/Fist EP Olga Kouklaki 2015
"Love Is Gone"
"Can't Stop Dancing" Happiness Eli Escobar 2016
"In The Dark"
"4 Luv"
"Taste Like" Spoken For EP NR& (Keinemusik) 2016
"Spoken For"
"Chemical Love" Animal Feelings Animal Feelings 2016
"Bumper" You Are Safe Keinemusik 2017
"Into You" Into You Nomi & Animal Feelings 2018
"Divine Love" Soft Touches EP Animal Feelings 2018
"Like a Ghost"[18] Sam Sparro 2021
"Ya Te Vi" Lo que me haces sentir Zemmoa 2021


Title Year Label
Lost in Lust 2005 Park Side Records
Hercules and Love Affair 2008 DFA Records
See The Light 2011 Peacefrog Records
Borough Gypsy vol. 1 2013 Park Side Records
The Capricorn 2015 Park Side Records
Borough Gypsy vol. 2 Nomi vs Dilla 2016 Park Side Records
Lonely Love Affair 2018 Park Side Records
Still Your Girl
The ELIOT Sessions 2018 Park Side Records

Music Videos[edit]

Year Album Video Director(s) Link
2008 Hercules & Love Affair "You Belong" Kris Moyes Video on Vimeo
2009 See the Light "Fun Girl" Bijoux Altamirano[19] Video on YouTube
2011 "White Horse" Marco Ovando[19] Video on YouTube
"Prisoner of Love" Marco Ovando[20] Video on YouTube
2014 Borough Gypsy "Life Or C.R.E.A.M." Gabriel Magdaleno Video on YouTube
2015 The Capricorn "Down Low" Gabriel Magdaleno Video on YouTube
2015 The Capricorn "Can't Tear Us Apart" Gabriel Magdaleno Video on YouTube
2016 Animal Feelings "Chemical Love" Adam France Video on YouTube
2016 Borough Gypsy 2 "Bullet Proof" Gabriel Magdaleno Video on YouTube
"The Scent" Video on YouTube
"The Light" Video on YouTube
"Funky 4 Ya" Video on YouTube
"Wilderness" Video on YouTube
"Something More" Video on YouTube
2018 The ELIOT Sessions "The Storm Inside" Juampi Mejias Video on YouTube


  1. ^ Kellman, Andy. ((( Nomi > Overview ))) Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  2. ^ Jessica 6 – Bios Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  3. ^ Nomi – Bio Archived March 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  4. ^ (2008-12-15). The 100 Best Tracks of 2008 Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  5. ^ Zazovsky, Maria (2009). Features – Nomi Ruiz (Hercules and Love Affair) Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Ponytail Magazine. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  6. ^ Robinson, Peter (February 23, 2008). Groove is in the art The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  7. ^ Adams, Robyn (March 11, 2010). Jessica 6 Interview: SXSW 2010 Archived March 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Spinner. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  8. ^ Jessica 6 – Fun Girl Discogs. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  9. ^ a b Brillson, Leila (June 23, 2011). "Nicola Formichetti's Transgendered Muse Talks X-Rated 'Brothers of Arcadia' Mugler Video". MTV Style. Archived from the original on June 26, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  10. ^ Cowles, Charlotte (June 23, 2011). "Exclusive First Look: Nicola Formichetti's New Muse, Nomi Ruiz, in V". New York. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  11. ^ Catarinella, Alex (July 30, 2015). "brooklyn dance-pop goddess nomi ruiz revives jessica 6". i-D. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Jessica 6 Debuts 'The Eliot Sessions' Album: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Hern, Jasmin; ez (January 17, 2019). "Nomi Ruiz on Making Art That Means Something". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Clocktower - Residencies". Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Ruiz, Nomi (March 9, 2017). "The Lingering Trauma of Searching for Love as a Trans Youth". Jezebel. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Lyons, Joel (June 12, 2018). "The Storm Inside: Loving Trans Women In A Toxic World". A Plus. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Gig Economy: Nomi Ruiz". Talkhouse. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "Like a Ghost single". Apple Music. January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Blodgett, Sam (April 8, 2011). "BrightestYoungThings: Jessica 6's Nomi". Brightest Young Things. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  20. ^ Neyland, Nick (October 27, 2011). "Jessica 6: 'Prisoner of Love' f. Antony (Video)". Prefix. Retrieved November 12, 2011.

External links[edit]