Feminist and queer musician Terra Naomi is premiering a new track today in equal parts remembrance and celebration. “Machine Age,” Naomi tells INTO, is “direct result of the disillusionment, exhaustion, outrage, fear, and anxiety that became part of my everyday life.”
It started, she says, on election night last year.
“It’s the result of watching the rights of my community stripped away, families in my neighborhood torn apartthe racial violence, the overt antisemitism,” Naomi says. “Down the street from me, a mother and father were taken from their home by ICE agents, and their 14-year-old daughter was left in the house, alone.”
Then, she rushed her wedding to her partner, Scott Turner Schofield.
“My husband and I ran off to Vegas and got married a year and a half earlier than planned, when word got out about proposed civil rights roll backs for gay and transgender people,” she says. “My husband is trans, and we didn’t know what was going to happen to us as American citizens. We still don’t.”
Yet her partner’s family were opposed to seeing them marry, refusing to support their queer union.
“It never occurred to me for a minute that these people who were so lovely that I was somehow willing to sing ‘Silent Night,’ sitting around a Christmas tree, who claimed not only to love and support my husband, but to understand who he isaccording to him, they never once misgendered him since he came out to them as trans in 2005I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” she says.
“This is a direct result of the current administration,” she continues, “People no longer feel the need to hide their ugliness. It’s suddenly okay to be a racist, or a bigot, or a Nazi.”
Naomi says she was angry when she penned “Machine Age,” but that the process was ultimately cathartic.
“The song seemed to take me through my own journeythe frustration, the feelings of injustice, the ragebut it didn’t stop there,” she says. “It went beyond those feelings, and evolved into unity, into choosing love over hate.”
The last line of “Machine Age” has Naomi singing “I believe in love more than I want to hate,” which she says betrayed her own feelings at the time.
“Those words came out of me, but I did not feel loving when I wrote it,” she says. “I was miserable. It was only after singing it, repeatedly, that I started to understand the message of the song. I hope people can connect with that.”
Terra Naomi is donating part of her proceeds from the single to GLAAD, as well as other organizations. You can find “Machine Age” at TerraNaomi.com.