The story behind the name Normandie Records

Published August 17th, 2021 | Erick Sanchez

A lot of people ask about the story behind the name Normandie Records. Their questions always vary slightly depending on where they’re from or where they grew up. Are you French? Do you live on Normandie? These are questions I’ve been asked before. I’m writing this to give context on why I chose the name Normandie Records.

Over the years I’ve noticed that for a lot of people, picking a company name can be very daunting. I get it. You’re going to register this name, put it on shirts, on merchandise, on legal documents. You want to get it right or at the very least you want it to sound cool. The truth is I’ve always wanted to name something after Normandie Ave.

Wikipedia describes Normandie Ave as one of Los Angeles County’s longest north-south streets, with a stretch of about 22.5 miles. It lies between Western Avenue to the west and Vermont Avenue to the east. When my music journey began in the 2000s, I was 12 years old and the thing I remember the most is my friends and I spending countless hours trying to figure out this new thing called the internet. Before the social media we know today, as independent artists we had to figure out things like GeoCities, MP3.com and Yahoo Groups; It all felt so foreign. Writing music was hard enough, but now we had to find a way to exist in this vast never ending world? On top of that, growing up where we did, this wasn’t what most kids our age were doing. It was a new and fast changing world where we weren’t sure we could keep up or even fit in.

I always had a desire to learn more, so naturally I took on the business side of things for the band. I vividly remember playing shows or erroneously signing shady pay to play agreements, and never feeling like any of that was meant to help artists. We did it because we simply didn’t know any better. We were just sort of crashing the party. It didn’t take much to notice we were different. We were a bunch of kids from South Central Los Angeles with no business trying to make a career out of music. We had no point of reference to success in music, our gear was super cheap, and to be honest, at the time all we really wanted was a fighting chance to figure this all out. It was clear we were absolutely vulnerable in an environment we didn’t understand.

When the shows would end and the noise would calm down, the one constant was the neighborhood and community we knew best. It was home base. It was where our favorite places were. It was where we felt the most safe and the most challenged at the same time. It was an environment that molded you whether you asked for it or not. And it just so happened that Normandie Ave was at the center of it all.

As a label owner, I always strive to do what’s best for artists while teaching them how to grow. The music industry can be very complex and often times seem like a fucked up world that’ll make the most talented person insecure. What’s the point of having a record label if you’re not looking to ease that process? When picking a name I wanted something that represented the core ethos of the company, and given that one of my main goals was to create an environment where artists felt supported and never excluded, it was an easy call. That’s what Normandie has always meant to me and what I hope it can mean to others. So yes, ultimately Normandie Records is in fact named after an avenue that runs north and south through Los Angeles, but there has always been more to it, and now you know a little more.

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