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.
- 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
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TK, welcome to mint. My man, thank you for being on. How are you feeling?
TK: Oh, 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. I enjoy the rain though but, you know, it’s nice to have some sun finally.
Well, you’re killing it, you’re looking fresh on cameras. If you listen to the audio and jump over to YouTube, that sick Nicholas, awesome. I love it, you fit the part. TK, I want to jump right in. If you’re in the music NFT, then you probably know of TK. If you’re not, get into web three music and then you’ll get to know TK. Over to 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.
TK: 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 and 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, unity, war, passion. Those are all very interesting keywords to focus on. Maybe we should focus on that. I don’t know. It’s like a very unique message. Why those keywords? Why do you align with those specifically?
TK: So, you know, growing up and I’m sure we’ll get into like my early years and a bit, but you know, 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’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 other’s perspectives, so many of the world’s problems or just humanity’s problems, in general would be solved and I think 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 know, my natural, I guess, propensity to, you know, the human condition, but, you know, that’s definitely, definitely my vibe for sure.
How’d You Get Into Music and How Old Were You?
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?
TK: I mean, that is a loaded question. I would say. So, I have to just take you back, I guess.
Yeah, take me.
TK: You know, it was first really introduced in influence you know, 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 seven, Madonna Cher, Ricky Martin, Robbie Williams. You know, the list goes on from that capacity, right? But then also, Disney movies, huge part of my, you know, musical kind of upbringing. Sister Act Two 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 5, 6, 7 years old, you know, introduction to music and obviously I started to get into you know, Michael Jackson, more R&B stuff like brandy, Craig David. More like alternative stuff like Coldplay. So, the palette was very diverse at an early age, and then, you know, around 10 years old I moved to the US to live with my grandparents. And that’s when I got introduced to, you know, more hip hops. So, Jay Z, Eminem, Naz, it’s 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 kinds 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, you know, saying classical music for 12 years. You know, I was in concert band, marching band, jazz band, concert choir, gospel choir, honors choir, literally any type of, you know, 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 you know, performing arts trips where we would dance and sing and travel the country, like playing instruments, playing every era of music from like the 1920s up until, you know, today. so that was early, early music for me and like when people say when did you start making music, like I kind of go back to that because, you know, 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. You know that early learning.
One thing I think 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 jazz band. And I, 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, this isn’t look legit. Like, I’m like performing with different stuff, whatever. I feel like it’s not for me, but I appreciate that you did that stuff in school and also outside of school, and how much like double 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?
TK: 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. You know, they’re all about like, academics and studies and, you know, those kinds of career paths, not necessarily like creative career paths. And so, you know, I really had to muster up the motivation and will to make music, you know, kind of on my own, and it’s not that they weren’t supportive of it necessarily, but I didn’t get any like additional, like 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 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, so I’m 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 who lived in my neighborhood, and I guess she was loaded because she would pay me way too much to shovel that show. So, I saved up all the all the money I could get from her and then ended up buying my first mini 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 literally sitting on the floor of my bedrooms like making songs and you know, we would drop, I would drop like my songs on social media, and then go to school like the next day and like mad people at school will be like, yo, I heard your song I guess fires, I was like my first introduction to market testing, I guess like putting a song out there and like actually 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 in my high school where we grew up. So, I ended up starting a band when I was 15, called cloud nine. And we started to just to win a talent show. But the whole school went crazy. Like everybody was like the perfect mix of worlds because we had like an amazing drummer and 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 went on to like to play every school event. We were playing like nursing homes, we were playing churches. And I ended up being in that band for eight years and we went from playing, you know, those kinds of smaller shows to playing cafes to then theaters and then like Live Nation ticketed concerts, we toured nationally, you know. We played even played a stadium show 30,000 people at one point, so it really went from.
Tk: Yeah, it went from like, we’re literally babies to like, you know, big dogs.
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.
TK: Yeah. I never really looked at it that way, I guess because 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, well I gotta figure out a way to do this because nobody else is gonna 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 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 vibe. So, I was like, yeah, I just want people to know that I make music and hopefully they think it’s good. So
TK: Yeah. It worked out.
So, you went to talent show. You’re in this band for eight years. You tour stadiums filled with 30,000 people, like elderly homes, schools across your community. And then what? What happens next.
Yeah. I’m curious. Where did they grow to? Like where did go for you?
TK: Well, with the band like you know, kind of one of our peak things was like we started to do, we started performing like the Fillmore, like pretty often, right? And like the 930 Club, these are like, you know, 2000 Cat venues in our area. But like the 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?
TK: This was 2014.
I think I remember that competition.
TK: 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 and Los Angeles, in Sherman Oaks bro, religiously, religiously. And I would be fucking, I’ve been all the crevices of GC, GC studios, going to the DW workshops. And I remember that competition. Wow, I remember that. Okay, keep going.
Tk: 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.
TK: I did, like it was my first time in LA too. We did it. We all performed; it was 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, I’m saying, I got the consolation prize. 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 gotta 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 team to write and produce for Will, for Jaden, for Willow. And basically, yeah, January 2015, I moved out to LA with 100 bucks. I was sleeping on my friend’s floors while going to their house to work on music with them. Every day, literally drive.
You didn’t care. You just didn’t care. You’re like whatever it takes.
TK: 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 are a lot of people that like, oh, LA is expensive, and 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 moving from, was going from there to Calabasas every day, eventually got linked up with Diane Warren. So, I was writing producing with her, which led to like sessions with like huge artists like, you know, Rihanna, The weekend, 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 really owned my craft and kind of those earlier years. But those first years of being in LA was where I was all put to the test and it was like okay, this is no longer about like you’re dope, make music. And hopefully people like it, 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. You know, my creativity and my seriousness just about, you know, 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.
Proudest Moment in TK’s Music Career
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 us 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, being in those rooms, understanding what the music industry is like, what was your proudest moment throughout the entire time?
TK: Honestly, my proudest moment it was just being there. I think, the very first day I was in the studio. I was at, you know, at Will’s house, and I’m just like working on music. And then the door opens and I’m not thinking anyone’s like here, I’m not asking any questions. And Will Smith walks in and firstly, he just walks in and just goes like this, like goes give me a pound. I swear I saw everything in slow motion because like, even outside of music, just like one of my favorite humans in general. And when that happened, I was like, okay, this isn’t, like this is real. This isn’t just some, like trip, you know what I mean, this isn’t like a little moment in time. I was like, oh, this is like a real thing. You know. And then like, he listened to the music, he was like, yo, this was like fire. And like 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 and like special moments and like crowning 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 like, I had to wake up every day and motivate myself to continue to be great and continue like grinding and like not just like, give up or you know, do some bullshit I guess. Just being there, like still to this day, like just in my everyday life. I’m just like, just, you know, where I’m at right now. Like I’m sure that I could be, I could imagine to be like so much further along in so many different capacities. But like completely beat the odds even in where I’m out on a day-to-day basis. And so, having those experiences just point-blank period is what I hold like dearly, more than any like actual achievement. So yeah.
Career Highlights and Getting Fist Bumped by Will Smith
Getting fist bumped by Will Smith was that moment for you? What surpassed that moment for your next?
TK: With him or just in general?
In general, in your career and in being an artist, being a producer.
TK: 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, you know, we’re still kind of, now Mike yo, come out to LA, it’s dope, it’s lit out here, come work. You know, 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 like workout empire going on. And they hired us to perform for their coaches’s summit, which was in Nashville, Tennessee and Nissan stadium. A crowd of 30,000 people, and it wasn’t like, oh, we’re 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 riders for that and in them being like, yo, we’re gonna give you literally everything that you asked for on this rider. And then, like getting to Nashville, flown out, hotels, like everything taken care of, getting to the venue, getting put on golf carts to get out there, seeing all the instruments that I just. Like literally my dream setup that I just put on a piece of paper, like please like this is what I would love to use. Going to the rehearsals, like having a damn jumbotron, like everything, even before we actually did the performance. I was like, yo, I’m just thinking back to our first show. And like our high school cafeteria, right? And how.
Yeah, what does that feel like?
TK: It’s insane. I mean, it’s in the moment your focus, right? Because you’re trying to like to execute, you still have a job to do, right? You still have to perform and show people which are made up, 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 going to hear my original creations blasted at unreasonably high decibel. It’s 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 music career. And obviously at this point, I had performed it 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 was so many other like incredible moments in between like that as well. But that was definitely the next big milestone.
How Crypto Fits Into TK’s Career
It’s really cool. Now I’m trying to understand where crypto comes into the picture, because it sounds like you’re killing it in music, right? And in the traditional music industry as well, right? And what I think of web three music, it’s very counterculture to traditional music. And from what it seems like everything was smooth sailing for you, or was it?
TK: 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 like consistently overachieving right? And 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, all 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 liked 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 to 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’s 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, alright, 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 it’s tough because you know, you’re the CEO of your own company of your own business. That 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, worked on music over the years, released music. I did pretty well, I was happy to like, I don’t know, 150,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Just grind and trying to make it happen. And then basically, I guess when we get to crypto.
Now, I want to understand, like why is crypto the solution for you then?
TK: Yeah, no, we’re getting there right now. So now you’ve got like the full kind of.
TK: You’ve got the full, I had a background of everything right? But consider that in all of that work and everything that I’ve done right and that’s even the steel bridge 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, 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. And 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 homies started like investing in crypto, we bought Dogecoin.
TK: Yeah, like a lot of people were like, okay, I’m gonna work on, you know, more music. I was like, this is all I’ve been doing, I’m gonna.
I want to be a DJ for a minute.
TK: Yeah, I’m gonna go. You know what I mean? I work on some music but like I’m gonna try and get into some other things. And so.
I love that. Your curiosity is just, it’s always on the run.
TK: 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’s, I now know is the founder of a Dao called mochi. We had a conversation; he like basically onboard me to web three. He was like, yeah, do you have a meta mask? I’m like, no, I had no clue about like wallets or anything, like I was just buying positions on Robin Hood. And so yeah, he introduced me to like platforms like Zora and things of that nature. I basically was a part of the Dao. I didn’t realize I was a part of the Dao until like much later on. I didn’t really understand the concept of Dao. 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.
Why did you hate NFT’s actually, why?
TK: 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, no shade to those, you know, projects, but I just didn’t understand everything else that kind of came with the blockchain, that came with NFTs, that came with a culture, that came with community. And so, I was like.
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?
TK: So, that’s a tough question because it really, at the end of the day, like beauty is in the eye or the ear of the beholder. And I can look at a picture of, you know, a monkey and be like, I don’t think that’s really that cool. But there’s probably, I mean, obviously there were people that were like, no, this art is incredible, and I want to associate with this, right? So, from that perspective, like it actually there isn’t a difference because it is just about the appreciation of the art itself. And, you know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, you know, the list of course goes on and on. But as I was seeing these things, I was like, you know, I guess being a creative I know kind of how much work goes into a lot of like, different things. And I’m like, you know, I’m sure there’s so many like incredible artists that are making like, dope. One of ones are making, you know, 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. But 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 another 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 dye with me, he ended up selling for NFTs on catalogue for $235,000, for music NFTs from his EP. And I was like, okay, yeah, I was like my mind is in the right place. Like this is definitely what I want to do. 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 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, you know, 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 you know, founders and you know, I released my first music NFT March 1 of 2022. And the rest is history.
Wow. Coming up on a year anniversary.
TK: For sure. I left out a point, I left that apart. 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 in 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, like 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, 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 winter break came into 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 3pm, meet me in this room. I’m doing a lecture with a whiteboard, and I’ll be teaching you about Bitcoin. And then I just did that weekend over weekend over weekend. The first session like three people came. And the next session, like a few other people came in and it grew to this community. And then I joined my friend, and then we grew this community called Trojan blockchain society, you know. 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 just like edit and repeat and repeat, edit, repeat, communicate, teach. Okay, this is what I discovered, these are smart contracts. Alright, this is this protocol. This is a difference in an L one and L two. You need to 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.
TK: Yeah, you know, one thing that has 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 there was 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 the cycle just kind of keeps repeating itself.
Explanation of “Eternal Garden”
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 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? Seven hundred NFTs, right? At point 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 group chats 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 looking back at your journey TK, from being homeless. Will Smith in a room pounding you, being with the Rihanna 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 was it called Eternal Garden? What was the project about? I’d love to learn more.
TK: Yeah, so kind of overall description first, Eternal Garden is a multimedia experience that spans the worlds of web two and web three. On the web two side, it’s a consistent release of singles to streaming platforms and social media platforms. On the web three side it was 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 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 you know, success releasing music NFTs, and I wanted to focus more on ensuring that my web two releases were successful as well. But web two and web three have kind of two different cadences, two 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 two 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 the concept. And so, I was like, what if I framed all of this music as the prequel to heaven on earth and the prequel to password. What if I took heaven on earth, that’s a password kind of combined. The stories that I have in my head about them and create this like 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, you know, a manifestation of like, my creativity and my passion for world building. So yeah.
Navigating Technical Aspects of Crypto
What was the process like of putting that product together, more so on the technical front? Because I asked you this question because you’re creative. Yet, you are also diving into the technical trenches of crypto, right. And if you’re 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 were, those randomness to it, right? There were tears and stages of minting or all these different mechanics that now you’re seeing more and more artists do because people like you’re setting the example for it, right? What’s it like being in the technical trench of crypto? How do you navigate that?
TK: Man, it’s tough. It’s tough because there’s things at stake, like there’s real money at stake, right? 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, right? And decks and graphs and excel sheets of every specific detail of like the minting process, the quantity, the number, the smart contract, the protocol, the type of NFTs right. You know, even going back to like the wish songs were going to actually be on the project. You know, what platforms, the dates, the minting phases, having a presale and a public sale. And you know, how was I going to do, I don’t know, like, get people to commit to buying Eternal Garden NFTs before it came out and everything like that. I mean, you know, it was like maybe four months of like, serious really everyday locking in on fleshing out the concept of the project. But I think that maybe the first like 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 like 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 like, it was more so just like fitting pieces of a puzzle together, to make a successful project as opposed to just like building everything from scratch. And so, you know, even from just like a technical standpoint, sound had released their sound protocol. Like 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 could do this on sound now, right? I can use a protocol in in combination with bonfire. And you know, a lot of the work that I was doing to like hosted on my own smart contract and do token gating and all those things. It was really expedited by the work that they did you know. So, it takes a lot of planning, like you can’t skip any steps, or you will fall flat on your face, but it’s doable. It’s definitely possible for sure.
Future Plans for Fans and Collectors
The final question I have for you is, what’s next for your collectors? What should they be expecting next? Because I want to know your collectors, right? 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?
TK: You know, this was tough because I don’t know when this is going to be dropped. And my manager is like, she’s always on me about, you know, 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 that was, 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 several 100 NFTs in seven days. We raised 38.3 Eth over that time. You know, the project was number one, on the seven day charts is number one. On the 30 day charts, I was number three. All the 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 patient is, 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, 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 experience. Then also like content that can live in the web two 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 on boarded 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 putting it in. Because it’s super immersive, it’s super experiential. And yeah, I think it’s going to change how we look at web three in 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?
TK: Yes, sir. So, you can follow me on Twitter @TK the legend. You can follow me on Instagram @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. 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, catch me somewhere in the Metaverse I’m saying so.
Let’s go. I love it. Catch him in the Metaverse. TK, till next time. Thank you very much.
TK: Thank you for having me. Appreciate you, man.