One of the most promising sectors to have emerged from the proliferation of NFT and blockchain technology over the past few years is undoubtedly Web3 music. Considering the legacy music industry has continued to fail artists time and time again, music creatives of all types have been flocking to the blockchain to take a crack at independence and succeeding.
Thus far, few have achieved as significant staying power in the blockchain music sector as Latashá. A rapper, poet, performance artist, events coordinator, community manager, and much more, the Zoratopia founder has continued to define what excellence in Web3 music looks and sounds like. In doing so, she has emerged as a leading proponent of Web3 music and a prime example of music NFT prosperity.
This is precisely why, in 2023, the multi-hyphenate artist has yet again secured a spot on nft now’s NFT100 list of influential leaders in the space. We recently sat down with her to discuss her journey into Web3 music, the founding of Zoratopia, the next chapter in her career, and more.
From label ties to blockchain IP
Prior to Latashá finding herself anywhere near blockchain music, she had already set out to make a name for herself as a rapper. Having fallen into music, as she says, “accidentally” due to her interest and involvement in poetry slams, by the time she did onboard into Web3, she had already accrued over a decade’s worth of recording experience. She’d even secured gigs opening for acts like Kanye West, Q-Tip, Big Sean, and more along the way.
Yet, everything changed for Latashá when she became privy to the innovation happening in the music NFT space. “I really think that Web3 has completely shifted my existence,” she said in a previous interview with nft now. “I was a struggling artist trying to figure this thing out, and when I got [to Web3], I felt like something was healing within me.”
In early 2021, Latashá set out on her blockchain creative journey with the mint of an NFT for her song Ilikedat on Zora. By doing so, she became one of the first artists to sell music videos as an NFT. Since then, she has been almost single-handedly defining the music video NFT market, with her works exhibited and sold worldwide.
After witnessing the transformative power of NFTs firsthand, Latashá doubled down, minting poetry and performance art before inevitably bouncing back to minting music videos. During her experimental process, and over the course of a single summer, she was able to generate income equivalent to what she would’ve from a record deal, but without giving away rights to her masters (as is the case with most record deals.)
In addition to establishing herself as a major player in music NFTs through her artistic endeavors, she quickly became a steward of Web3 events after being hired as the head of community programming at Zora in June of the same year. This, in turn, led to the creation of the educational platform Zoratopia. Here, Latashá organizes events and conversations to give artists, collectors, and curious bystanders better access to information regarding how the metaverse and NFTs can benefit them.
When the NFT space ultimately dipped into a bear market in 2022, Latashá maintained her belief in the revolutionary nature of Web3, putting her own artistic ventures on hold at times to help bring the community together. By curating in-person Zoratopia activations at both NFT.NYC and Art Basel Miami, she helped solidify the importance of IRL Web3 events, fostering celebration and positivity along the way.
In 2023, though, Latashá says her focus has shifted back to spearheading Web3 music innovation through music visuals. “Be on the lookout for Latashá because this year is all about this music thing,” she said in an interview with nft now.
A new era of championing Web3 music
Through her artwork (which she affectionately refers to as her “heart-work”), Latashá is seeking to forge her theories and stories of Black femininity, self-empowerment, autonomy, love, and transcendence. While she has become known as a progenitor of initiatives to onboard marginalized artists to the forefront of Web3, recently, a new chapter has opened in her career, with importance being placed on her individual creative endeavors.
“I’m very excited for where we’re going in music NFTs, and especially for myself and what I’m creating. Last year, a lot of my work was dedicated to Zoratopia, community, building out really dope infrastructures, and connecting people,” said Latashá. “But this year, I’m deeply connected to my music again. I’m working on a brand new project that I’m really hyped about, I just did some huge releases, so I feel really good.”
To kick off this new era in a big way, Latashá agreed to be curated as part of both the NFT Korea Festival and Pussy Riot Co-Founder Nadya Tolokonnikova’s My Body My Business auction. The former garnered her a wider international audience, with her piece The Net closing on a whopping $21,000 bid. The latter, hosted through Sotheby’s, featured a variety of pieces created by prominent women artists in Web3 but took an odd turn when bidding commenced.
“The Net.” by @CallMeLatasha
Sold for $21,000 (~11.73 ETH)
Massive props and congrats to the legend herself!! pic.twitter.com/50C2Sm3wX8
— SuperchiefGalleryNFT (@SuperchiefNFT) March 23, 2023
In an event that once again created contention between Web3 and Sotheby’s, the auction reserve for Latashá’s piece Start Here was met, only for the bidder to withdraw shortly after, resulting in her being requested to lower her reserve price. She, of course, refused and, in doing so, seemingly prompted the New York-based Superchief Gallery to swoop in and issue its own winning bid of $5,000 out of respect for her integrity.
“I was pretty pissed about it, but we worked on the feelings of it all, and now, at least, I have Sotheby’s on my resume,” Latashá said about the situation. “As I know, there haven’t been any music visuals from independent artists going to Sotheby’s, so it was still a really incredible milestone, and it made me remember that music is a fine art; music visuals is a fine art.”
In summation of the event, Latashá said it’s important to remember that institutions are what they are and that Web3 can only hope that they might play a part in the betterment of artists. She also noted that while the Sotheby’s auction was supposed to be a significant event for the release of her new project, it still hasn’t slowed her current plans down in the slightest.
What’s next for Latashá?
With this new chapter in Latashá’s career focused primarily on her own creative ventures, the most major development currently taking place is the rollout of the campaign for her forthcoming album set to release sometime in late 2023. While few details have been made public, she says that fans and collectors will want to turn their attention to galleries and auction houses in the coming months.
“I can’t talk too deeply about it, but I’ve been releasing music visuals to different galleries and spaces. Just quietly as the campaign for my album,” said Latashá. “So that’s something that we’re quietly doing right now. I guess I’ve kind of made it loud by saying it to nft now [she laughs], but we’re doing this as the start of the campaign for a big album that’s coming from me by the end of this year.”
With more information to be released via Latashá’s Twitter, patrons of the Web3 music space will surely want to heed her suggestion and keep a keen eye out for what’s to come. Because considering her history of excellence, Latashá’s forthcoming additions to the music NFT market will undoubtedly serve to help further revolutionize the artist-fan dynamic and inspire those seeking to break away from traditional music career structures to follow in her footsteps.
Want more NFT100 honoree interviews? Get the full list of everyone we spoke with here.
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