Norman Lenden was half of the successful DJ group “Mark Norman”. For nearly a decade, he played some of the world’s largest festivals – Tomorrowland, Trance Energy, and he toured the globe professionally.
Now that he’s a father, he’s transitioned into his new role as marketing manager for RAI Amsterdam, one of the largest events centers in the Netherlands. We talk about following your passion(s), career transitions, and coming out on top.
Ep. 29 – Norman Lenden
3:02 – “As a 14 year old kid, I was really interested in the whole process of making music. So I started out with cutting tapes, you know, the old school tapes. And I enjoyed it so much doing that.”
6:51 – “You will talk about glamour, and a lot of people think that the DJ life is the coolest life you can ever imagine. But when you’re not in the top league like an Armin and Tiesto, a lot of DJs who are below that, sometimes are struggling… to get the right bookings, to get the nice bookings. And I have been there.”
9:02 – “It was really it was a really hard decision to to leave the music scene. But when I look back, I think it’s… one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Because now I still make music, I still have my studio… but now it become more and an hobby. It all started as a hobby, and now it’s a hobby again.”
12:14 – “I started in a period, when I produced music, we had vinyl. My music, my first tracks were released on vinyl. The earnings from vinyl were much more than when we had to transition – when we went to digital. So it was a huge, huge difference.”
16:57 – “And when I look back, you know, music was always one of the most important things in my life. But in 2011, the most important thing happened in my life. And it was the moment when my son was born.”
20:33 – “My son was born and I felt, ‘OK, this is important’. I was struggling. …You can imagine when you come from a life where will where it was all glamour and glitter and living the bright side of life, then suddenly you are three days or four days a week in an office… totally different.”
26:20 – “So then I became a marketing manager at the Rai, which is a big events company in Amsterdam. But the moment I started my first working day there, it was brilliant because then I felt ‘OK, yeah, I’m in the right place again.'”
32:17 – “Sometimes when I when I look into my heart to think about the time when I was traveling the world as a DJ, sometimes you say, well, yeah, that was really awesome to do. Still my colleagues, when I tell my story, they always say ‘Why do you work here? Why are you not in the DJ life anymore!?’ But then I explain to them how it goes sometimes. But I’m really happy with my life at the moment.”
37:03 – “And that’s why I believe in the NFT, the Non-fungible Tokens. Because we can create a digital project and make it unique. And I see there’s maybe hope for the music industry, which I really embrace, because I think that’s maybe what it needs, to bring it back and to take it in a different direction.”
48:26 – “I don’t regret it. I really enjoyed it. And when I look back, I still have a smile on my face. Yeah, it was a great time. And I think I bring that experience back to my work. So it’s still there, you know? And I’ve still got my own network. I still speak with a lot of people from the time, they’ve become friends… it’s always a part of me.”
58:40 “Believe in yourself. Believe in what you do. And don’t feel ignored when people are saying they don’t like it. If you believe it, you will succeed.”