TK’s Web3 Music Journey: From Passion to Profession - Transcripts

January 24, 2023

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Mint Season 7 episode 6 welcomes TK, the web3-native singer, songwriter, and producer who is also the Founder of Campfire. 


Throughout the hour, we chat about his passion for music and how he turned it into a successful career writing for the likes of Will Smith, Rihanna, The Weeknd and more. We also hear about his career highlights, his sold-out music NFT project called ‘Eternal Garden,’ and his unique approach to incorporating crypto into his creative work.


I hope you enjoy our conversation.


Timestamps


  • 00:00 - Intro
  • 02:21 - How’d You Get Into Music and How Old Were You?
  • 18:35 - Proudest Moment in TK’s Music Career
  • 20:57 - Career Highlights and Getting Fist Bumped by Will Smith
  • 24:05 - How Crypto Fits Into TK’s Career
  • 37:02 - Explanation of "Eternal Garden"
  • 41:38 - Navigating Technical Aspects of Crypto
  • 44:45 - Future Plans for Fans and Collectors
  • 48:09 - Outro


Additional Resources

  • TK’s Twitter
  • Campfire
  • Episode Transcript


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Transcript

Welcome to Mint, the podcast exploring the Web3 creator economy. I'm your host, Adam Levy, and every Tuesday and Thursday, I'll be showing you what's happening at the corner where crypto meets creators by interviewing Web3's top creative entrepreneurs, collectors and founders. This episode is brought to you by the composable and decentralized social graph Lens Protocol, who's ready for you to build on so that you can focus on creating a great experience, not scaling your users. Guys, I've talked about this on the podcast before. We as creators need to break through a new paradigm of social networking apps that we control rather than them controlling us. Lens Protocol isn't a social media app. It's designed to let Web3 social apps bloom. Own your content, own your social graph, own your data. Lens Protocol is the last social media handle you'll ever have to create. This episode welcomes TK, the Web3 native singer, songwriter, producer who is also the founder of Campfire. Throughout the hour, we chat about his passion for music and how he turned it into successful career writing for the likes of Will Smith, Rihanna, The Weekend and more. We also hear about his career highlights, his sold out music NFT project called Eternal Garden, and his unique approach to incorporating crypto into his creative work.

So without further ado, I hope you guys enjoy our conversation. TK, welcome to Mint, my man. Thank you for being on. How are you feeling?

Yo, yo, thank you for having me. I'm feeling great. It's sunny in California right now. It's been raining for the last like three weeks. So I enjoyed the rain, though. But, you know, it's nice to have some sun finally.

Well, you're killing it. You're looking fresh on camera. So if you're listening to the audio, jump over to YouTube. That's sick necklace. Awesome vest. I love the braids. You fit the part. TK, I want to jump right in. If you're in the music NFT scene, then you probably know of TK. If you're not, get into Web3 music and then you'll get to know TK. Or for TK, for those who don't know you, what does the world need to know about you? Who are you, man?

Let's start with a quick intro. Yeah, my name is TK. I'm a singer, songwriter, and producer based in Los Angeles, California. I write music about love, war, and everything in between. I try to spread the message of compassion, empathy, and unity in everything that I create, and I feel like that's my purpose on this Earth. So I'm blessed and happy to be a creative and to be creating the art that is given

to me. Love, love, unity, war, passion. Those are all very interesting keywords to focus on. Empathy, empathy, the most important one. Many people don't focus on that, I don't know. It's like a very unique message. Why? Why those keywords? Why do you align with those specifically?

empathy yeah, empathy like one, many people don't focus on that, I don't know. So, you know, growing up and I'm sure we'll get into like my area is in a bit, but I had a very diverse upbringing, and I've spent a lot of time with many different types of people from different walks of life. And so I feel like because of those experiences I've I'm able to build relationships or friendships with so many different types of people. And I feel like if more people were able to see things from others perspectives, so many of the world's problems or just humanities problems in general would be solved. And I feel like the world would be a better place. And so that's something that I've always been passionate about, it's just kind of my, you

my natural propensity to the human condition, but that's definitely my vibe for sure. Okay. All right. I'm here for it. How'd you get into the whole music scene? How old were you when you started doing music?

I mean, that is a loaded question. I would say, so I have to just take you back, I guess. Yeah, take me. I was first really introduced and influenced with music by my mom, singing in church. I grew up in the UK, so a lot of my early influences was early 2000s pop music, like S Club 7, Madonna, Cher, Ricky Martin, Robbie Williams. The list goes on from that capacity, right? But then also Disney movies, so a huge part of my musical upbringing. Sister Act 2 was my favorite movie of all time. I wanted to be everybody in that movie for sure. So those were like kind of my super early days, like five, six, seven years old, introduction to music. Then obviously, I started to get into Michael Jackson, more R&B stuff like Brandy, Craig David, more like alternative stuff like Coldplay. So the palette was very diverse in the early age.

And then around 10 years old, I moved to the US to live with my grandparents and that's when I got introduced to more hip hop, so Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, kind of the classic stuff, like more kind of heavier alternative rock music. So Green Day, Lincoln Park was my favorite band, my chemical romance, those kind of things. And that really shaped kind of my early understanding of like, or early love, I guess, for different genres of music. And then as I started going through school, I mean, I sang classical music for 12 years. I was in concert band, marching band, jazz band, concert choir, gospel choir, honors choir, literally any type of musical endeavor that you could do throughout school I was a part of and I really like owned in on my fine arts and performing arts kind of side of things. So that was important. Then I was also in like, performing arts troops where we would dance and sing and travel the country, like playing instruments, playing every era of music from like the 1920s up until today. So that was early, early music for me. And when people say, when did you start making music? I kind of go back to that because that's kind of what sparked everything for me, I think. And I think even a lot of the musical decisions that I make today still come from all of that early learning.

One thing I regret, TK, is that not doing music in school for me earlier, I'm a drummer, and the only real time I got into music at school was like sophomore year or junior year in high school, playing the jazz band. And when I got to the jazz band, after going through a year, I was like, wow, I've improved so much, I wish I would have done this since middle school. And I remember kids were doing the marching band, I was like, oh, this doesn't look legit, like I'm like performing with different stuff, whatever, I feel like it's not for me, but and I appreciate that you did that stuff in school and also outside of school, and how much you've like doubled down on that as a little kid. But did that come from you directly? Or did you go around a family that sort of instilled music in you

as well? Definitely came from me directly, like I come from, you know, I'm Nigerian by descent, so I grew up in an African household. And anyone that kind of has immigrant parents for the most part knows that they're all about academics and studies and those kind of career paths, not necessarily like creative career paths. And so I really had to muster up the motivation and will to make music kind of on my own. And it's not that they weren't supportive of it necessarily, but I didn't get any additional push to pursue those things. And so doing it in school really was the only way that I felt, you know, the only outlet I had to actually like express my artistry in that way. So yeah, I see the I see all the drums behind you. I didn't know that you were a drummer. That's like really, really dope. But yeah, man, that was definitely a huge, huge part of my development was just kind of all, you know, going through school and extracurricular activities musically. When I got to high school, that's when I started writing more songs and producing started producing when I was like, 14. You know, I've raked leaves around my neighborhood, right before Black Friday.

And I was shoveling snow too. And there was an old lady that lived in my neighborhood and I guess she was loaded because she would pay me way too much to like, shovel her snow. So I saved up all the money I could get from her and then ended up buying my first MIDI keyboard and USB microphone from Best Buy on Black Friday. And then I cracked Fruity Loops. And I thankfully already had a computer. So that was kind of my first. All right, I'm really sitting down and like making songs now, right? I was like, we were just sitting

sitting on the floor in my bedroom was like making songs and you know, we would drop shovel

her snow. I would drop like my songs on social media and then go to school like the next day and like, mad people at school would be like, Yo, I heard your song, I guess, fires. That was like my first introduction to market testing. I guess, like putting a song out there and like actually getting getting a response. So I started to kind of build up my reputation and notoriety around school as like the musical kid, you know, or someone that was like, you know, just making songs. And then that kind of started to pick up with like a lot of other artists and people at school. So we had a really dope little incubator of talented people, I think, at my high school where we grew up. So I ended up starting a band when I was 15 called Cloud9. And we started it just to win a talent show, but the whole school went crazy. Like everybody, it was like the perfect mix of worlds because we had like an amazing drummer, an amazing keyboard player, you know, I'm a pretty good singer. And I had a girl singing with me at the time too. So we won the talent show.

And then basically we went on to play every school event. We were playing nursing homes. We were playing churches. And I ended up being in that band for eight years. And we went from playing those kind of smaller shows to playing cafes to then theaters, to then live nation ticketed concerts. We toured nationally. We played, even played a stadium show of 30,000 people at one point. So it really went from- Wild.

Yeah. It went from like, we're literally babies to like, you know, big dogs. It really went from- Wild. It seems as if you're no stranger to hard work from snowing, shoveling snow and raking people's leaves, you know, just to get a few bucks to buy music equipment. And then later marketing yourself across like throughout the school and just like testing your music around people around you and your community. It's like very entrepreneurial in that respect. It's very entrepreneurial.

Yeah. I never really looked at it that way, I guess, cause like I didn't know what I was doing at the time. I was just like, this is something that I want to do. Like I know. And I felt very kind of privileged to feel like I knew what my purpose was at a very early age. And so I think probably just in my, like hard work is kind of just in my DNA, I guess, from being African or something. So like, I was like, all right, well, I got to figure out a way to do this cause nobody else is going to make it happen for me. And yeah, I have like kind of an obsessive personality. So like once I set my mind to something, like I have to have to do it, right? I have to like at least try. And so now I can look back and say, yeah, that was pretty entrepreneurial, even like, you know, building a fan base, like even just like high school, right? Or something like that.

But at the time it was just vibes. I was like, yeah, I just want people to know that I make music and hopefully they think it's good. Right. Right.

Yeah, I worked out though. Right. Right. Yeah, I worked out. So you win a talent show. You're in this band for eight years. You tour stadiums filled with 30,000 people, like, like elderly homes, schools across, across your community. And then what, what happens next?

Right. How do we, right? How do we, so how do we get there? Right? So like in between that whole kind of band, you know, I guess time period, um, I graduated high school, went into Ford college, had no idea what I was going to do. I was like homeless because I was like kind of in and out of living with different friends and things like that. Um, I don't come from a lot of money. Let's put that out there. So, um, I ended up working at a recording studio in my hometown. Like one of my friends from school had like done some engineering sessions there and I was like, okay, let me just go over there and see what I can like do. So I met, uh, the owner of the studio, his name was Carlos Garcia. And I started like singing hooks for people and just making beats for people in the studio.

He was like, yo, you're dope. Like, you know, if you want to just come to the studio and just like work up here, you can. And at the time, you know, I had nowhere to live. So then I guess he found that out. And he's like, I mean, if you want to stay here too, like you can. So I was literally living in the, in the studio. Um, writing songs, producing songs. And then this is before I learned how to engineer, you know, someone came in and And they were like, y'all pay you $50 an hour to teach me how to engineer. And I had no idea how to engineer, just how to make beats. But I was like, I'm 18, I'm not turning down $50 an hour. So I was literally teaching myself how to engineer as I was teaching this person. So I basically kept going with that.

And over time, I was working with hundreds of artists in the DMV area, writing, producing, engineering, helping them with their marketing, their graphic design, their prints, their music videos, their entire rollout. I was doing this in service of so many other artists. And so obviously, I'm taking all that information and figuring out how I could apply it to myself. At the same time, Carlos, we called him Los, he started managing my band too. So that was where the progression of us just being a local high school band started to become doing music videos and releasing records and playing more and more shows. And he was our first investor, he put money into us. We got obviously free studio time, we got band gear, we got everything. All we had to do was show up and be our best selves as much as we could because we were some just young kids just doing bad things all the time. But that was our first manager investor, it wasn't a label by any means, by any means, but it was definitely kind of in that direction. And yeah, those kind of four or five years was my incubator of just literally living in a recording studio, making as much music as I could for myself and for hundreds of other artists, but then also being in a band and performing live three to four times a week. So my life was completely musically oriented and related. And it's not like I was making money at this time, right?

So it was still a matter of survival. We'd be up in the studio to like two or three AM, we'd walk to McDonald's, order like six things off the dollar menu, come back, go to sleep, wake up in the morning, had a session with an artist and rinse and repeat. So over time, we started to build up like our notoriety in the DMV area, obviously the same thing happened for me as an individual artist. And yeah, just like things kept growing. I eventually got, I guess, fast forward to 2014.

Yeah, I'm curious, where did they grow to?

Like where was the pinnacle for you? Like where was the pinnacle for you? Well, with the band, like, you know, kind of one of our peak things was like we started to do, we started to perform at like the Fillmore, like pretty often, right? And like the 930 Club, these are like, you know, 2000 cap venues in our area, but like our following was still very local, but like we were doing these shows very consistently. And so in 2014, I entered a songwriting competition through Guitar Center. And out of 30,000 applicants, I made it to the top 10. So they flew me out to LA. Wait, what year was this? This was 2014.

I think I remember that competition. Do you? I swear, bro. Me and Guitar Center are like peanut butter and jelly. Number one. I grew up going to Guitar Center on Ventura in Los Angeles. Okay. Ventura in Sherman Oaks, bro, religiously, religiously, dude. And I would be in, I would be fucking, I'd be in all the crevices of GC, GC Studios going to the DW workshops, and I remember that competition. Wow.

I remember that. Okay. Keep going. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That was only the third one. That was only the third one. So it was early for sure. And yeah, they flew me out to LA, like they gave me all this free gear, a lot of stuff I still use today. Wow. I did like, it was my first time in LA too.

We did it. We all performed. It's 10 of us that performed at Hotel Cafe. I didn't win the competition, but I got like the, I got the consolation prize. You know what I'm saying? I got the consolation prize. So I was like, listen, being number two out of like 30,000 people to apply, like I wasn't supposed to be here. Like I'm with it, you know? But after that, I kind of manifested being in LA and I was like, I got to be out here. I got to, you know, get out here and grind. And so the following year I basically got recruited by Will Smith's team to write and produce for Will, for Jaden, for Willow. And basically, yeah, January 2015, I moved out to LA with a hundred bucks.

I was sleeping on my friend's floors while going, you know, to their house to work on music with them every day, literally driving. You didn't care.

You just didn't care. 30,000 people. You didn't care. You just didn't care.

You're like, whatever it takes. Yeah, because like, you know, a lot of people never leave their hometowns first and foremost. Thankfully, I already had like the experience of traveling, you know, at an early age. So I knew that there was more out there for me. But then there were a lot of people that are like, oh, LA is expensive and da-da-da-da. I grew up in a town called Laurel, Maryland. I was like, listen, if I can be broken Laurel, like I can be broken LA. At least I know that there's way more opportunity for me to make money out there than here. There's nothing happening over here, you know? So that was the grind and yeah, I was literally driving from Orange County to Calabasas every day. Finally moved to Hollywood with my homies, was going from there to Calabasas every day. Eventually got linked up with Diane Warren.

So I was writing and producing with her, which led to like sessions with like huge artists like Rihanna, The Weeknd, Big Sean, LL Cool J, like so many different incredible artists that she was working with. And that was like my introduction to the music industry in general. And that I think, you know, I've really owned my craft and kind of those earlier years, but those first years of being in LA was where it was all put to the test. And it was like, okay, this is no longer about like, all right, you're dope, make music. And hopefully people like it. It was like, no, like you're on the clock. Like you have to make something that people like, like this is really a test of your ability and all the work that you've put in. And I would say that I fared like fairly well throughout that entire process, but it definitely accelerated my creativity and my seriousness just about mastering my craft as well. So in that process, I also started to see what the real music industry was like in terms of artists like getting paid from these things too.

So I like to backtrack because there's a few milestones that you just shared from getting picked up by the Smiths to being in working with the Rihanna's and these big music artists in the world. There's a lot to unpack from all those in such a small amount of time during this interview. I want to know from that process and being in those rooms, understanding what the music

industry is like, what was your proudest moment of all throughout the entire time? Yeah, honestly, my proudest moment was just being there. I think the very first day I was in the studio, I was at Will's house and I'm just like working on music and then the door opens. I'm not thinking anyone's like here. I'm not asking any questions. And Will Smith walks in and first thing he just walks in and just goes like this, goes to give me a pound. I swear I saw everything in slow motion because even outside of music, just one of my favorite humans in general. When that happened, I was like, okay, this is real. This isn't just some trip. This isn't a little moment in time. I was like, oh, this is a real thing. And then you listen to the music, he was like, yo, this is fire.

In that moment, I was like, okay, yeah, this is definitely where I need to be. This is what I need to be doing. And so, I mean, yeah, I'm sure there have been so many very special moments in like grinding achievements that I would say, but from where I came from and for how much work that I had to put in and for the fact that I had to wake up every day and motivate myself to continue to be great and continue grinding and not just give up or do some bullshit, I guess. Just being there, still to this day, just in my everyday life, I'm just like, yo, where I'm at right now, I could imagine to be so much further along in so many different capacities, but completely beat the odds even in where I'm at on a day-to-day basis. And so, having those experiences, just point blank period is what I hold dearly more than any actual achievement.

So yeah. Getting fist-bumped by Will Smith was that moment for you.

What surpassed that moment for you next?

With him or just in general? In general, in your career and being an artist, right? Being a producer.

Yeah. So okay. So yeah. So okay. So stories kind of overlap. So during this time, like I'm in LA, but I'm still in the band at this time. So we're still kind of, now I'm like, yo, come out to LA, it's dope, it's lit out here, come work, yada yada. They came out for a while, we were doing some shows in LA, and then we ended up getting hired by Beachbody. Beachbody is, if you know Beachbody, they do like P90X, they've got the whole huge workout empire going on, and they hired us to perform for their Coaches Summit, which was in Nashville, Tennessee, at Nissan Stadium, a crowd of 30,000 people. And it wasn't like over being hired as like a cover band or something like that. It was like, no, you guys are the band for the entire event. You're basically going to give us two hours of original music with a couple covers.

You know what I mean? And sending in our writers for that and them being like, yo, we're going to give you literally everything that you ask for on this writer. And then us getting to Nashville, flown out, hotels, everything taken care of, getting to the venue, getting put on golf carts to get out there, seeing all the instruments that I just... Literally my dream setup that I just put on a piece of paper, like, please, this is what I would love to use. Going to the rehearsals, having a damn jumbotron, everything. Even before we actually did the performance, I was like, yo, I'm just thinking back to our first show in our high school cafeteria, right?

And how...

Yeah. What does that feel like? It's insane. I mean, it's... In the moment, you're focused, right? Because you're trying to execute. You still have a job to do, right? You still have to perform and show people what you're made of. But I think just the fact that, you know, I was able to just kind of see the entire process of like, yeah, if you really work hard and like put your mind to something, you can get to the places that you want to get to. Like obviously, you know, this isn't like a sold out TK concert necessarily, right? But like, there are 30,000 people in this stadium that are gonna hear my original creations blasted at unreasonably high decibels. Like, I'm completely here for this, you know?

So that was like, probably, you know, the next one for me, just in terms of like my artistic career. And obviously, at this point, I had performed at hundreds of shows, like festivals, you know, theaters like the Fillmore and like, you know, bigger venues like that. Like that was very normal and natural to me by that point, but I had never done something like that before. So that was definitely huge and yeah, I mean, there were so many other like incredible moments in between like that as well, but that was definitely the next big milestone.

It's really cool. What's up, guys? Sorry for the quick pause, but I wanted to tell you about Bello, a new blockchain analytics tool I built that helps Web3 native creators and communities learn more about their collectors and their on-chain behavior. Through a simple search, Bello's intelligence can help you figure out a price for your NFT drop, show you what other communities your collectors are a part of and empower you with insights to make confident decisions on how to grow your community. I built Bello with you in mind. So as a creator myself, Bello's helped me make money by finding sponsors for the podcast and allowed me to curate better content for you guys. And now it's ready to help other creators too. If you're a Web3 native creator, NFT project founder or community manager, join the waitlist to try Bello's beta product today by signing up at bello.lol forward slash join. That's B E L L O dot L O L forward slash join. All right, back to the episode. Now I'm trying to understand where crypto comes into the picture because it sounds like you're killing it in music, right? In the traditional music industry as well, right?

And when I think of Web3 music, it's very counterculture to traditional music.

And from what it seems like, everything was smooth sailing for you or was it? No, I mean, it sounds good, right? Like all those things sound great when you're doing them. But like, I mean, I was overachieving, like I'm consistently overachieving, right? In that probably a lot of the people that have had the experiences that I've had or they're in the rooms that I'm in, you know, have achieved probably a certain level of success or have a certain background that kind of qualifies them to be in those positions. Whereas for me, I was always just, you know, just some kid like trying to figure it out. Right? So even in all these sessions that I was having with like, you know, these bigger artists and stuff, I wasn't getting paid for a lot of that stuff. A lot of it was, you know, coming into the studio, we're making a whole bunch of songs. If they like them, great. If they don't, then thanks for trying, you know? And I was able to make some income, like I was able to like get a really nice place in LA and stuff like that.

But it definitely wasn't anything sustainable and it wasn't anything that I felt like was worth sacrificing my own individual artistry for working on music for other people. So I actually really like stopped doing industry production and songwriting because I just didn't feel like I was getting enough out of it at the time. From a performance aspect, even though we did like we were doing these big shows, it was still like there's still the struggle of breaking through on the internet because like, you know, streaming services are out now and then like social media platforms are kind of dominating. And so there was still so many different sides of the equation that I hadn't fully figured out yet. And then throughout all of this, like we're still we're going through band things, right? So the band ended up kind of breaking up and dissolving short, funny enough, shortly after that big show that we did. So it was almost like everything I did just kind of led up to like that big climactic moment and then it was like, all right, we're kind of all going our separate ways at this point. So I started focusing on producing and writing for independent artists and just working on my own music. And the independent artists grind is it's tough because you know, you are the CEO of your own company, of your own business, it doesn't pay you anything streaming doesn't pay you anything and you've got to figure out a way to break through. And so, you know, me and like my best friends, we lived in another studio in LA for a year and a half working on another album, working on music and just like conceptualizing everything that we wanted to do. Yeah, I worked on music over the years, released music, I did pretty well, I would say I peaked at like, I don't know, 150,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, just grinding, trying to make it happen.

And then basically, I guess when we get to crypto.

And now I want to understand like, why is crypto the solution for you then? Yeah, no, we're getting there right now. So now you've got like the full kind of background of everything, right? But consider that in all of that work and everything that I've done, right? And that's even just the abridged version of the story. I can't say that I've ever made a comfortable living, right? Or that I ever felt like, okay, yeah, I've done enough work that will last me for the next five to 10 years or anything like that. I was still always in a way living like check to check, just trying to figure it out. So I was on tour in Australia in 2020. And then the pandemic happened, it cut the tour short. I was actually planning on going on tour with the free nationals later on that year as well. And yeah, COVID happened, we're all stuck in the house.

Me and my homie started investing in crypto. We bought Dogecoin at like half a penny. Let's go. Yeah, like a lot of people were like, okay, I'm going to work on more music. I was like, this is all I've been doing. I'm going to-

Let's go.

Yeah, like a lot of people- I'm going to- I want to be a DJ for a minute. Yeah, I'm going to chill. You know what I mean? I love that. I love that. I want to be a DJ for a minute. Yeah. I'm going to chill.

You know what I mean? I love that.

Your curiosity, it's just, it's always on the run. Absolutely. For sure. I got one life to live. You know what I mean? And I have a lot of passions, but yeah, you got to do what you can because I feel like music is a great gateway to unlocking the full potential of my mind. And I feel like there are a lot of different areas and subjects that I could be successful in. So, you know, we bought Dogecoin early and, you know, Doge started going up and at that point I'm like, wow, this is really sick. So I started kind of meeting people in the crypto community. I went out to a flea market, met this guy named Gabriel, who I now know is the founder of a DOW called Mochi. We had a conversation. He like basically onboarded me to Web3.

He was like, yeah, do you have a MetaMask? I'm like, no, had no clue about like wallets or anything like anything like that. I was just buying positions on Robinhood. And so, yeah, he introduced me to like platforms like Zora and things of that nature. I basically was a part of the DOW. I didn't realize I was a part of the DOW until like much later on, I didn't really understand the concept of DOWs. But through that group, I ended up meeting people within the music NFT space. Originally, I hated NFTs because I was just seeing crypto punks and board apes.

But eventually- Why did you hate NFTs actually?

Why is that? Well, because I was like, people are spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on like these squares, right? And I don't understand what the value of these images are, right? And I don't even like the art that much, no shade to those projects. But I just didn't understand everything else that kind of came with the blockchain, that came with NFTs, that came with the culture, that came with community.

And so I was like, yeah, there's so much- So really quick, TK, why do you think then? Because this is an interesting point. And forgive me for cutting you off. Why do you think music NFTs are different? It's just an audio file that you're collecting, right? Or it's just an image that you're collecting.

Can't you apply the same logic to it? So that's a tough question, because at the end of the day, beauty is in the eye or the ear of the beholder. And I can look at a picture of a monkey and be like, I don't think that's really that cool. But obviously, there were people that were like, no, this art is incredible, and I want to associate with this, right? So from that perspective, actually, there isn't a difference, because it is just about the appreciation of the art itself. And one man's trash is another man's treasure, the list of quotes goes on and on. But as I was seeing these things, I was like, I guess being a creative, I know how much work goes into a lot of different things. And I'm like, yo, I'm sure there's so many incredible artists that are making dope one-of-ones or making music NFTs. Well, I didn't actually know about music NFTs at the time, but I was like, I feel like there could be more meaningful art. And then I started to meet people that were actually releasing music NFTs and releasing one-of-one art pieces. And I was like, oh, wow, there's like a whole other side of the NFT community that is more so focused on the art and less so on the hyper like financialization of just like trading assets, if that makes sense. And so, yeah, a friend of mine that was in the Dow with me, he ended up selling for NFTs on catalog for $235,000 for music NFTs from his EP.

And I was like, okay, yeah, my mind is in the right place, like this is definitely what I want to do. Because when I decided I wanted to do music NFTs, I didn't know that people were already really making it happen that way. And so pretty much from that moment on, I locked in, I just got immersed in the community. I started to see what it was doing for artists creatively and financially and offering like freedom for them in that way, comparing it to my entire career of music and how much I made from streaming services and how much I made slaving for labels and producing songs for these artists and everything. And I was like, this world isn't all the way there yet, but I see the potential for it and I want to cultivate it and I want to utilize it in the way that's the most healthy and beneficial for my own growth as an artist. And yeah, I think the best thing that happened for me was I was added to the Sound XYZ Telegram chat where I really got to build relationships with more artists and founders and I released

my first music NFT March 1st of 2022 and the rest is history.

Wow, coming up on a year anniversary. For sure. I left that apart though. Before I did that, I was very vocal about NFTs and blockchain and I'm always kind of the person that sees the future and then I kind of share it with other people that I feel like may not be aware or have access to that information. And so I was very vocal on my social platforms about NFTs and the blockchain and the metaverse too. And so I ended up starting a platform called Afro Zero that highlights black and indigenous people of color in the web three space. And so that's still a developing project, but that was also where I built a lot of community just meeting people really just by educating and onboarding before I ever dropped anything. And so I think all of that work that I did building community in that way, not even knowing that that was really the blueprint for success is kind of what led to me having more success

on the long run when I actually started releasing my own music NFTs. You know what that does though? It reinforces your education and what you thought you knew about the space and you're constantly challenged by other people who don't know much about it and you're always back at the drawing board trying to come up with new education, new ways to onboard and new ways to communicate the gospel of crypto, right? And it's very similar to my story, TK, because when I got started in crypto in 2017, I read the Bitcoin white paper right before Winterbrick came in at my college and spent the four weeks just reading it, just literally reading it locked in my room, reading the white paper and then going on Facebook groups on my university and asking people like, if you want to learn about Bitcoin on a Saturday at 3 PM, meet me in this room, I'm doing a lecture with a white born, I'll be teaching you about Bitcoin, and then I just did that weekend over weekend over weekend, the first session, three people came and the next session, a few other people came and it grew to this community and then I joined my friend and then we grew this community called Trojan Blockchain Society and that sort of like set the road for me because what that did is like I came with my own sort of things that I thought and how they existed and people would always come back to me with questions, I'd go back to the drawing board and I'd just like edit and repeat, edit and repeat, edit, repeat, communicate, teach. Okay, this is what I discovered. These are smart contracts works. All right, this is this protocol. This is the difference between an L1 and an L2. And I'd go through this like rabbit hole that once I was in, there was no way of getting out. And it seems as if you went through a very similar experience

getting your start to where you are today. Yeah. You know, one thing that's been consistent for me and one thing that I believe in is that the best way to learn is to teach. Going back to when I first learned how to engineer using Pro Tools, there was someone that came to me and said, hey, I'll pay you 50 bucks an hour to teach me how to engineer. And I taught myself as I was teaching him, right? So the same principle applies for everything that you just said. And even for me, like, it's crazy how at the time, I only knew probably a fraction of what I know now. But just that those small bits of information were so huge, like they were so groundbreaking, I guess, for me and for also other people that I was telling that I felt like I knew everything, right? And then like you said, as they're asking questions, I'm like, well, I actually don't know the answer to that. Let me like do a deeper dive. And right. And the cycle just kind of keeps repeating itself.

So yeah.

You know, we're at a perfect inflection point in the interview because the sun is hitting your face in a majestic way. The jewelry is lighting up and it's the perfect transition to talk about eternal garden. Like the whole, the whole ethos and the whole visual imagery of eternal garden was very majestic to say the least. Right. I want you to talk about eternal garden now, because I remember when eternal garden came out, it was one of those projects that stood out because it was incredibly ambitious. It was how many? It was a few hundred. What was it? 700 NFTs, right? At 0.07 ETH, right? With different tiers of access and allow listing. And you knocked it out of the park.

You legit knocked it out of the park. And I remember at the time seeing that on cross crypto Twitter, seeing people in these random telegram groups, that's talking about it. And Henry Chatfield, he's like, you got to look at this. Like you have to look at this. And I was like, wow, like you actually killed it. And I'm, and I'm looking back at your, your journey, TK from being homeless. Will Smith's Will Smith's in the room, pounding you being with the Rihanna's and working with those people in the world. And I see your ambition level coming into crypto and it just makes sense. Like this energy that you have, I feel like it's very contagious into everything that you do. It's your level of curiosity. And then comes Eternal Garden, right? And it's this monumental project that you came up with really unique designs, really unique music.

Tell me about it. Why, why was it called Eternal Garden? What was the project about? I'd love to learn more.

I'd love to learn more. Yeah, so kind of overall description. First, Eternal Garden is Eternal Garden is a multimedia experience that spans the worlds of Web 2 and Web 3. On the Web 2 side, it's a consistent release of singles to streaming platforms and social media platforms. But on the Web 3 side, it was a music NFT collection of 700 NFTs. There were seven songs, seven visuals, seven forbidden fruits, which on sound are Golden Eggs, special edition NFTs. And it was definitely, it is definitely a world that I'm continuing to build over time. And it's a universe and a story that I'm bringing my fans, my collectors, and my supporters into. So, you know, it was called Eternal Garden because my first ever music NFT, Heaven on Earth, which I dropped on sound, we ended up taking the album cover, which was created by my friend, Carrie, and we were creating like metaverse worlds out of it. We were creating more art out of it, and I needed to give it a name. If you look at it, it's me kind of like standing in the middle of this water. And there's like a garden with like mushrooms and all these different just kind of surreal artifacts like happening throughout the whole thing.

And I was like, I had to come up with a name. And the first thing that came on my mind was Eternal Garden. So even though it was called Heaven on Earth, where I was, was the Eternal Garden. And then Password was my second music NFT. And the cover of Password is like me kind of floating, holding this giant key and behind me is this castle. And so the reason we even came up with Eternal Garden as a whole was because I had had, you know, success releasing music NFTs. And I wanted to focus more on ensuring that my Web 2 releases were successful as well. But Web 2 and Web 3 have kind of two different cadences to releases. And so we were like, okay, how do we capture both of these things at the same time? I have all this music that I need to release. Some of it has been released before, some of it is new. And so we decided, okay, well, let's release music in Web 2 on a consistent basis, but then we can package all this music together as one NFT collection.

And so that was kind of the formula for why we went about releasing it that way, but we still needed a concept. And so I was like, what if I framed all this music as the prequel to Heaven on Earth and the prequel to Password? What if I took Heaven on Earth, I took Password, kind of combine the stories that I have in my head about them and create this larger world and Eternal Garden is telling the story that leads up to those songs, which are like present day. And that was where it was birthed from. I ended up writing literally a full story where if you can collect the music NFT, you can read the whole story and you can see all the visuals. And yes, definitely a manifestation of my creativity and my passion

for world building. So yeah. What was the process like of putting that project together more so on the technical front? And I ask you this question because you're creative, yet you are also diving into the technical trenches of crypto. And if you were lucky enough to be in that moment in time where you saw Eternal Garden go live and you went on the site, you'll see that there was randomness to it. There were tiers and stages of minting. There were all these different mechanics that now you're seeing more and more artists do because people like you are setting the example for it. What's it like being in the technical trench of crypto?

How do you navigate that? Man, it's tough. It's tough because there's things at stake, like there's real money at stake with everything that you're doing, even when you're experimenting. And so it took like, bro, I have dozens of notion pages and outlines and decks and graphs and Excel sheets of every specific detail of the minting process, the quantity, the number, the smart contract, the protocol, the type of NFTs. Even going back to which songs were going to actually be on the project, what platforms, the dates, the minting phases, having a presale and a public sale, and how was I going to get people to commit to buying Eternal Garden NFTs before it came out and everything like that. It was maybe four months of serious, really everyday locking in on fleshing out the concept of the project. But I think that maybe the first month or so was where a lot of the blueprinting really happened. And I was like, okay, I feel solid about this. Now I'm spending the rest of the time really just ironing out the details. But thankfully, there are so many other incredible people that have created awesome projects and already set a lot of parameters in place that it was more so just fitting pieces of a puzzle together to make a successful project as opposed to just building everything from scratch. And so even from just a technical standpoint, Sound had released their Sound protocol maybe a month and a half before I was planning to actually drop Eternal Garden. So that was great because I was like, okay, I can do this on Sound now.

I can use a protocol in combination with Bonfire. And a lot of the work that I was doing to host it on my own smart contract and do token gating and all those things, it was really expedited by the work that they did. So it takes a lot of planning. You can't skip any steps or you'll fall flat on your face, but it's doable. It's definitely possible for sure.

The final question I have for you is what's next for your collectors? What should they be expecting next? Because I'm one of your collectors. So I want to know, not that I expect anything from you. The music is enough, right? But do you have anything in the works that we should be looking forward to?

This is tough because I don't know when this is going to be dropped. And my manager is like, she's always on me about, which by the way, shout out to Lottie. Shout out to Lottie. Shout out Aiden. Shout out Henry. They're all were super helpful in making Eternal Garden successful. And that was, you know, you know, Lottie and Aiden specifically my team throughout the inception process and execution process for sure. And then, you know, Henry on like the back end of things, but what's next? So I mean, yeah, the project sold out 700 NFTs in seven days. We raised 38.3 ETH over that time. You know, the project was number one on the seven day charts, number one on the 30 day charts. I was number three all time in primary sales on sound for a good while.

Now I'm number five. And because of that, like I attribute all that to my collectors, right? So I'm somebody that's been very big on making sure that their patronage is rewarded and that they feel like they're getting something they're getting worth out of being a part of my collector family as opposed to just like flipping NFTs. And so to answer the question, we're rolling this thing out for now. I was looking at like at least the next year, right? Like, honestly, Alpha, just for anybody that's listening to this, like we've got Eternal Garden merch on the way. I'm dropping some things for creatives. So there may or may not be some may or may not be a sample pack, you know, for Eternal Garden. I also like partnered with a bunch of different platforms to roll out live concert experiences, AR experiences, metaverse experiences, then also like content that can live in the web to world as well. A lot of the funding that came from the project is going to PR, digital marketing, content creation, which only drives up the value of the NFTs first and foremost. I'm experimenting with different protocols for NFT renting and NFT staking. So you can earn, you know, a token that I'll drop eventually.

I also am working with Lens to help my collectors get onboarded to Lens. I'm using Bello, you know, to check out my analytics and make sure that, you know, I can offer the best things to my collectors as I continue to make to have releases over time. And so there's so much to look out for. Like it's actually, it's getting crazy now where I'm just like, wow, like, you know, we're really building so much. And so I'm excited for everybody to experience like the worlds that we've been building and all the work that we've been putting in because it's super immersive, it's super experiential. And yeah, I think it's going

to change how we look at Web3 and artistry. So yeah, I'm excited for you TK. This has been great. Congrats on all your success. I'm watching from a distance. Before I let you go, where can we find

you? Where can we learn more? Where can people tune in? Yes, sir. So you can follow me on Twitter at TK the Legend. You can follow me on Instagram at TK the Legend. Pretty much anywhere you want to find me, it's at TK the Legend. I've got music on Spotify, Apple Music Title, anywhere that you can stream music for sure. If you want to check out the Eternal Garden project itself, the website is eternal-garden.xyz. It's hosted on Bonfire. You can also listen to my NFT releases on Sound. Just type in TK or catalog or any aggregator sites as well.

But yeah, outside of that,

you just catch me somewhere in the Metaverse. I'm saying so. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. I love it. Catch him in the Metaverse. TK, till next time. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. Appreciate you, man.

What's up, guys? Thank you for listening. If you've gotten this far, then you are a champ and I owe you a free listener pin. Go to adamlebby.io forward slash NFT. Fill in your info and I'll distribute the NFT towards the end of the season. By collecting your pin, you prove your contribution to the season and get exclusive access to content, allow lists and more. So be sure to collect yours. Also, please make sure to rate and subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening. This helps me out so much. And finally, hit me up on Twitter at LeviChain. I want to hear what you're building, the latest crowd fun you're trying to complete, or if you simply want to chat. I love talking about where crypto meets the creator economy, and it's no different if it's coming from you directly.

So thanks again for your support. It means the world. And I'll see you on the next episode.

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