Some people find their way to vinyl, while others are literally born into it. That is the case with today’s feature on Noura Gordon, aka Lady Marauder, a mobile record store owner, DJ, former radio personality, radio show co-producer and most recently baker, with the launch of her cookie line “Lady Marauder’s Sho Nuff Good Cookies”. Noura is carrying on the legacy of the shop her parent’s started and the oldest in Augusta, Georgia Pyramid Music, which housed the largest selection of soul music for over 50 years. Her story and candid honesty is very refreshing and so important, we aim to listen and actually hear to help drive what needs to change.
When Noura who his also known as Lil Flash (her dad’s nickname was Flash), or Jephrey Jr. (her mom’s first name is Jephrey and Noura’s middle name) she enjoys spending time cooking and bakes outside of her brand. She’s also a self proclaimed beach bum “I absolutely love the ocean“, craft beer enthusiast and digging in record stores whenever she gets the chance to travel.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you to get into it?
I was literally born into it. My mother is the founder of the oldest black owned, female owned record store in the south, Pyramid Music (1971) I grew up in the record store. There are pictures of me and my sister in the playpen in the back of the shop, and another of me reaching for my fathers Technics in the shop where he hosted his popular radio show. It was my parents passion for providing our community with the music, movies and cultural items that mattered to black people that no one else carried, that inspires me to this day.
What is a day in the life like?
In this new world we’re living in, it’s quite different than what it was like prior to covid. I usually wake up around 4/5 a.m., no alarm clocks either (wild huh? lol), roll up, make breakfast, check the status of the Bitcoin exchange (yes, I’m a cryptosexual), check all the digital sales platforms I use for orders, check texts, DM’s or emails for DJ bookings, bulk orders, record fairs or private showings. Then to the entertainment, gossip blogs and twitter to see what’s trending. Might do some early music posting, might go back to bed and nap depending on how I’m feeling.
I make a weekly post office drop off for out of state / country orders usually Friday or Monday, some days I’m the personal shopper for music collectors and spend the day diggin’ for wishlist items, some days I’m baking batches of my sho nuff good cookies to ship out, and some days I’m on the road picking up collections. One thing about being an entrepreneur no day is ever alike and you can always expect the unexpected, good or bad.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
My latest project launching my cookies. No one expected it but anyone who knows me and has had my cooking knows that I really throw down in the kitchen. People in my field do mixtapes, host podcasts, do live streams, etc. to promote their brand but I really wanted to stand out from the crowd. I took a poll on my IG story to see what kinds of sweets my audience liked, did some taste testing with friends, and figured if the cookies didn’t move, I’d just give them away. Surprisingly my first batch sold out in less than 5 days of going public! A week after launching, I got a generous sponsorship to take my cookies to a music expo.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Black music being hard to find and insanely overpriced. The distributors don’t carry titles that people really want and if they do there isn’t a large enough quantity to reach every retailer. Items end up on back order with a large portion going to stores that want the black dollars but care less about the black culture.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Think outside the box and be creative. Connect with different people and places so your brand and your way of doing things doesn’t get stagnant. You make the rules and you can break the rules with a fresh idea.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I am a vinyl collector and I also collect cassettes, cd’s, 8-tracks, music t-shirts and other music memorabilia.
The vinyl industry desperately needs more black representation on all levels. I feel like the right records are still not being pressed – the classics that a lot of us black kids grew up on. I’ve been in record stores and a customer that looks like me will ask for a black artist, or black movie soundtrack that has sold millions of copies, but the clerk has no idea who the artist is, it’s extremely overpriced, or the LP is only available overseas / not even on vinyl format. This needs to change!
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about?
It worries me that on a couple of my digital selling platforms I have to keep my identity hidden to make sales. When I was out as a black woman selling vinyl on a few platforms I was ignored, talked down to, bullied into lowering my prices and more. Since I changed my identity sales immediately went up, I get more respect and less complaints. All I did was change my screen name and posted a picture of a man and business completely turned around overnight. It’s sad to say, but in 2021 there are still people in this world who will refuse to respect or support me simply because the color of my skin and gender. Music is a universal language yet and still the hate and bias finds a way to taint it, it has to change!
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Let the music inspire you, set you free, keep you young and keep you dancing during these crazy times. Trust black women in music. We have the knowledge and ability to make incredible strides in this industry but the playing field still isn’t leveled. Speak up when you don’t see black women getting promoted, booked or contracted to participate in their field when they’re qualified or masters at their craft. If you have the ability to hire or connect that black woman who can get the job done, do it.
You can find me on my IG, grab some of these records and posters. Not a music collector? I’ve got a “Sho Nuff Good Cookie” you can support, plus, you can always donate to my mobile record store. Need a DJ? Here I am. Does your record label need help deciding what classic black records to reissue? Let me assist!
Anything else you want to share?
Call your parents, choose love, live your wildest dream(s) even if it scares you!
Pyramid Music: @theworldfamouspyramidmusic