Kaien is funding their musical career using a combination of Ethereum and Web3
BY SAMANTHA GRIERSON, IMAGE BY KAIEN CRUZ
I join Kaien Cruz, a queer South African R&B artist, on an early morning call from LA as their two cats fight for screen time. Kaien moved to LA in November 2019 “by mistake”, having had to make the difficult decision at the beginning of the global lockdown as to which country to choose. “I had one suitcase and pretty much couch surfed for 2020. I wanted to stay in LA to make my music”. With their music career taking off in the US, Kaien has only returned home once since.
After an unexpected opportunity arose, Kaien opened for Justin Bieber on his 2017 tour in South Africa, surrounded by 90,000 people. Their previous audience had been just 500: “It was such a rush and I got to do it twice. The energy of the massive live audience was incredible”.
Kaien identifies as non-binary and queer but doesn’t favour labels: “I like to live freely without confinement. It’s about seeing yourself as you want to see yourself. Live outside of the boxes and dream as big as you want. Luckily I live in an era where the internet allows people to make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise have. It makes you realise we all have so many things in common and basically we are all the same”. Kaien refers to themselves as a “small town kid from South Africa”, but there is nothing small about their ambition or talent.
Kaien is funding their musical career using a cryptocurrency called Ethereum and a Web3 approach which seeks to take control of their data rather than big corporations owning it. “The crypto space is basically an upgrade on the internet where we build communities and support one another”.
The latest release from Kaien is an EP entitled Buffering, which they describe as a “waiting room to let fans know the type of music I’m working on”. Kaien has a big visual project planned for next year in the Web3 internet space and didn’t want to keep fans waiting until then.
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