The following was originally published on Ongoing History of Protest Songs.
Billy Nomates is the nickname of Tor Maries, a singer-songwriter in the UK who released her self-titled debut album in August.
Although the album was recorded before the pandemic, it is still politically relevant because of its themes of class struggle and social inequality.
“I never really had any money, but I was the poorest guy I was a few years ago after doing a lot of minimum wage jobs,” Maries told NME. “I was miserable and poor and unfulfilled: I couldn’t write about liking someone or something nice. I thought, ‘If I want to write again, I have no choice but to write about’ ah, it’s all crap ‘.
This is illustrated by one of the outstanding tracks on the album “FNP”, which stands for “Forgotten Normal People”. The song highlights the reality that if you are not part of the elite, the powers that be will not care about you.
In the United States, this reality has become even clearer given the government’s response to COVID-19 and the failure to pass an adequate stimulus package. Both sides of the political gang use “forgotten ordinary people” as peasants to take power.
The texts also contain a message of empowerment:
In a corner of society that they hope will disappear
It has more soul than its tiny thoughts can handle
Forgotten normal people are a force to be remembered
And what they didn’t take into account
That’s how we hold everything together
Nomates believes that forgotten ordinary people can force those in power to remember them by banding together and making their voices heard.
Listen to “FNP” by Billy Nomates: