Nora Rothman is setting what should be a precedent for every musician.
The singer-songwriter has long been blending her musical output with activist work, and she practices the feminist ethos that she preaches. Today, she released a new single called "strange"—an ethereal, buoyant new track that meshes her honeyed vocals and bittersweet lyrics with expert production from Kate Ellwanger (aka Dot).
The track is the first taste of her upcoming EP, Nothing New, out on July 12 on female-led label Unspeakable Records. It explores common themes of the human experience such as longing, nostalgia, and the gap between the past and the future.
It's the product of a musician who's spent much of her life blending the arts with social justice work. Rothman was born in Los Angeles, and after migrating to the East Coast to study creative writing at Brown, she returned to LA to pursue music and acting. She took a hiatus from the arts to serve as a field organizer for the Clinton campaign in 2016, and upon Donald Trump's election, she vowed to dedicate herself to uplifting "womxn's" voices through her work ("womxn" being an umbrella term for femmes, gender-nonconforming, and trans people that Rothman uses to describe the demographic her work is intended for).
She released her first EP in 2017. It was followed by a Remix EP that was created with a lineup of all-female-identifying producers such as Birch and Libra Rising, and 50% of the proceeds went to Planned Parenthood. During its release, Rothman vowed to work with exclusively female and gender-nonconforming artists, and since then, she has teamed up with artists such as Pakistani illustrator Areeba Siddique, who created the visuals for Rothman's song "Truth or Dare," and many more. Rothman has also used her artistic platform to support other feminist organizations like EMILY's List, selling out a direct-to-vinyl fundraiser for the foundation, which supports female politicians.
Truth or Dare - Official Lyric Video www.youtube.com
In 2018, Rothman launched Earhart, a platform dedicated to "celebrating femme, trans and gnc artists." Named after the legendary pilot, it's intended to foster support and community among that demographic, and features resources such as running lists of womxn in electronic music and in composition. It also curates regular playlists and features profiles of up-and-coming artists.
Rothman's music itself has drawn comparisons to the work of Joni Mitchell, Nora Jones, and other great songwriters who blend soft guitar-driven melodies with introspective lyrics. It's hard to say whether the best part of her work is that it was created by exclusively womxn or that, with its blend of dream-pop gauziness and 70's folk motifs, it's a pure delight to listen to—or maybe each these things uplifts the other, ultimately creating something truly great and profoundly relevant for our times.
Listen to "strange" here, and stay tuned for Nothing New, out on July 12.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
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