Arts

A Pioneering Artist Charting a New Path Through NFTs

For sure, the mononymous LATASHÁ is without doubt one of the greatest impartial artists in music NFTs up to now. The hip-hop musician and efficiency artist is without doubt one of the trailblazers actually displaying what is feasible for artists who’re keen to benefit from the alternatives stemming from NFTs and Web3.

“I used to be a 50k artist just a few years in the past, and now I’m a six-figure artist, transferring into seven very quickly. That’s my journey.”

Although to be clear, Latashá’s journey of rediscovery via NFTs and Web3 extends far past simply monetary success. Quite the opposite, it represents a brand new sense of inventive and private freedom. Issues that, whereas actually aided by the revenue NFTs present the artist, are a lot deeper than simply cash.

“Via my neighborhood, I really feel very liberated and full; I really feel like I might be my fullest self now with Web3.”

Web3 artist LATASHA
The artist has had an extended journey to get the place she is right this moment. Credit score: Wealthy Aunty Ta$h by LATASHÁ; Pictures by Jahmel Reynolds

This interview was carried out by NFTevening’s Angela Giampolo on the NFT in America occasion in Los Angeles. Quotes are condensed and edited for readability.

How Latashá grew to become a hip hop artist “completely accidentally”

As shocking as it could be given her standing as a number one music NFT artist, Latashá didn’t plan on changing into a recording artist in any respect. A minimum of not earlier in her life.

Certainly, as an undergraduate at Wesleyan College, Latashá studied Black Research, poetry, and efficiency. As a matter of reality, she really had a unique efficiency medium in thoughts, though she noticed these plans change after graduating.

“I believed it was gonna go to Broadway proper out of faculty. However I ended up working at Chase Financial institution to pay the payments.”

However, she took half in nighttime ciphers and poetry slams as a strategy to proceed expressing herself. That’s when the seeds of her musical profession had been first planted, someday in 2011.

“Any person noticed one among my performances and was like, Hey, it is best to pull as much as a cipher and simply rap. And I by no means had that earlier than in my life. I simply determined, okay, let me do it however I used to be actually scared. After which I got here, and I crushed the cipher. And all people’s like, I feel you’re a rapper, you simply don’t realize it.”

BTS Photo of NFT Artist Latahsha posing in front of graffiti
“AFTER THE PARTY TA$H” from the MANY FACE TA$H NFT assortment.

Latashá’s early adverse experiences within the music trade

Definitely, Latashá confirmed great expertise as a rapper. A lot in order that shortly after she put out her first mixtapes and visuals, she began getting consideration from some enormous names within the trade.

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“I began getting calls from like, Q-Tip, Massive Sean’s group, and Kanye West’s group to do performances and open for them.”

That early publicity enabled Latashá to start performing throughout New York and even internationally. Nevertheless, she additionally obtained her first style of the downsides of the music trade.

“I used to be falling right into a deep despair on the identical time as a result of the trade was simply so taxing. They need to take lots from artists. And you realize, I simply couldn’t fathom how can I put all this vitality into my work on a regular basis, and somebody telling me that I’m solely going to get 25% or 10% of all of my earnings.”

Latashá’s rocky highway to changing into a full-time musician

The subsequent enormous milestone in Latashá’s artist journey got here in 2016. It was then {that a} lady had heard one among her songs, “Black Magic”, and liked it. A lot so, that she gave Latashá $10,000 to assist her focus totally on music. That’s precisely what she did, nevertheless it was only the start of a really troublesome journey.

Following her pivot to pursuing music full-time, Latashá struggled to make ends meet dwelling in New York, even enduring stretches of homelessness. But confronted with these challenges, she discovered the resolve to maintain chasing her ardour.

NFT Artist Latasha holding up a set of cards from behind a table
“CARD READER TA$H” from the MANY FACE TA$H NFT assortment.

How two inspiring books helped Latashá begin turning issues round

She made a concerted effort to reorient herself, discovering books that helped her via her scenario. She references Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God, and particularly Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Manner.

“I actually consider that The Artist’s Manner helped me get out of plenty of issues that I used to be coping with. I began to see with an abundance mindset and issues of that nature. And that’s after I obtained my residency at Nationwide Sawdust.”

Nationwide Sawdust is a famend establishment and reside music venue in Brooklyn devoted to the event and discovery of classical and new music. Considerably, Latashá was the primary hip-hop/non-classically skilled artist to enter the residency program there.

The residency gave her a welcome stage of stability. She then went on to hone her artistry at one other New York artwork establishment, The Shed. Via these applications, she was in a position to proceed studying, educating, performing, and rising her profession.

The grind of being an impartial artist led Latashá to hunt a change of surroundings

It’s at this level that Latashá notes that she switched the taxing work of surviving, for the equally however otherwise taxing work of thriving.

A part of the problem was a number of the stress coming from dwelling in New York. In consequence she grew to become desirous to discover a new setting. Her close-knit artist crew, Lighthouse – composed of her finest pals Angel and T, and her associate Jahmel – felt the identical.

Lastly, in 2019, the 4 artists determined to go throughout the nation to Los Angeles.

“I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have something [in Los Angeles]. I simply needed to maneuver right here as a result of I felt like I wanted to decelerate and I wanted a brand new house. So we discovered a home out right here.”

NFT Artist Latasha sitting on a briefcase in a field
Lots of Latashá’s pictures NFTs, like this one, characteristic BTS stills from her music movies. Picture: “MONEY IN THE BRIEFCASE TA$H”

How a publishing deal in the end led the artist to NFTs

Touchdown in LA with no work lined up, Latashá determined to signal a publishing deal to pay the payments. A scenario that she rapidly realized she hated.

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“I used to be just about handled like a slave. They had been like It’s essential to write a lot music for us, they usually solely gave me like $8,000 for it. They stunning a lot advised me that my sweat fairness didn’t equate to what they had been providing me. And it broke me aside.”

Latashá has spoken typically about how damaging her expertise with the publishing firm was. It affected her a lot that there have been entire months that she couldn’t write. Clearly, the scenario was untenable. And as soon as the corporate tried to get her crew to start out capturing music movies totally free, she knew sufficient was sufficient.

“Once they advised me that they weren’t going to pay my individuals, I just about stated I’m not writing any extra music for you guys. Like if you happen to obtained to sue me, sue me.”

NFTs would grow to be precisely the outlet that Latashá wanted as an artist. Picture: CROWN TA$H; Pictures: Jahmel Reynolds

Impartial and on the lookout for a brand new path, Latashá’s associate launched her to NFTs

Happily, maybe predictably, they didn’t sue. Even so, Latashá had a while to kill ready for her yearlong contract to finish. She was, as she says, “form of free”.

After all, the yr her contract ended was 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic altered all the pieces for everybody. For some time that yr she was dwelling off of unemployment. Round that point she was additionally spending time studying about metaphysics and manifestation, and alternative ways to care for herself.

She was additionally giving plenty of thought to the music trade then, and the right way to advance her profession with out the affect of middlemen and gatekeepers. It was then, in direction of the top of 2020, that her associate put her on to the emergent NFT house.

“Jahmel began stepping into NFTs. And I used to be identical to, No, completely not. I used to be so towards it. I used to be like, Persons are gonna steal your artwork, your copyright… How does this work?

Regardless of her early skepticism – and partially, due to NFTs understanding effectively for multimedia artist Jahmel – Latashá finally opened as much as the thought. What’s extra, as she began to wrap her head across the blockchain, she began to see its benefits over the trade that she was working to free herself from.

“He confirmed me the way it works. And I used to be like, okay, I like that there’s a blockchain. I might see each transaction and that transaction permits transparency, which may be very completely different from the music trade, proper? Within the music trade, you’re not seeing the place your cash goes or coming from.”

NFT artist Latasha in a bathing suit sitting on an an inflatable pool lounger
The “Seaside Day Tash” NFT comes from one among Latashá’s greatest NFT music movies, “GOGO WYNE”.

Latashá’s new neighborhood and success in NFTs gave her renewed power as an artist

Latashá minted her first NFT in February 2021 – about three months after Jahmel had first launched her to NFTs. She additionally names Connie Digital, one of many first hip-hop artists to get into NFTs, as one other inspiration.

Noting the visible nature of the NFT house, she selected to mint a music video, not only a music. Moreover being one of many first NFTs of its form, it additionally made Latashá the primary feminine rapper on the blockchain. Though, that’s to not say that the artist’s success with NFTs occurred in a single day after that.

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“No person cared about music NFTs on the time. No person understood. However I simply saved going. I believed within the blockchain, I believed in what we had been doing. I believed in the neighborhood that I used to be rising within the house.”

That perception is what allowed Latashá to offer herself to her artwork in a approach she was by no means in a position to previous to NFTs. And naturally, the success did come. And her aim of being compensated for her work in an actual approach lastly got here to fruition.

“In a single summer season, I made just about what a label would have provided me for a report deal. With out giving my copyright away, with out giving something away just about. And that was loopy.”

Latasha standing in a field wearing an orange dress
“QUEEN TA$H” from the MANY FACE TA$H NFT assortment.

Latashá’s mission to point out artists a brand new and higher world of Web3

For sure, Latashá by no means seemed again after her first successes as an NFT artist. Quite the opposite, she continued to drop a string of vastly profitable tasks. Quickly sufficient, she was able the place she might assist different artists to comply with the trail that she had carved out.

She grew to become the Head of Group Programming of the artist-first NFT platform, Zora. Via that position, Latashá has been in a position to onboard over 500 artists into Web3 and NFTs. She’s particularly dedicated to highlighting and onboarding creators from marginalized communities, who might not see a spot for themselves in Web3.

“I feel oftentimes when individuals see Web3, they see this like, crypto bro life. And there’s a lot extra to it. I’m prepared for individuals to see all the gorgeous artists – BIPOC artists, LGBTQI+ artists, all these different artists which might be coming into the house. And I’m huge on highlighting that world.”

Latashá is engaged on onboarding many extra artists into NFTs. Picture: HAPPY TA$H; Pictures: Jahmel Reynolds

Utilizing NFTs to create a world of artists who can lastly be themselves

All issues thought of, what Latashá needs is for extra artists to get to expertise the transformation she did, due to NFTs and Web3. Via these avenues, Latashá has been in a position to occupy a brand new world. One wherein artists can lastly pursue their passions.

“I feel on the root, most artists simply need security. We need to really feel safe in what we’re doing as a result of we love what we do. However when the world is consistently telling you that what you do just isn’t going to offer you what you want, you form of take it again and also you push your self away.”

General, Latashá’s story as an NFT artist is a superbly inspiring one. One wherein an artist’s shifting focus onto their spirituality and self-confidence coincided with a revolutionary new know-how. And the result’s an artist who finds herself on the forefront of a brand new paradigm, desirous to carry others alongside.

“I need to create a brand new world of artists which might be feeling effectively and feeling like themselves. Artists that may take their time.

That’s one other stunning factor in regards to the blockchain – as a result of artists are making an revenue, they don’t really feel this rush. And so they don’t really feel like they’ve to only reside off of vainness metrics on Instagram or Twitter or TikTok. They’ll simply be themselves.

That’s the world that I need to create.”

To be taught extra about LATASHÁ, and to search out hyperlinks to her music, Web3 tasks and social media channels, make sure to try her website.


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