Brand new NFT music label, BlockPlay, has announced the addition of Australian pop group H3RIZON to its label roster to coincide with its debut.
Bernadette Marquez (Bernie), Taylah Albert (Taya), and Gabrielle Montalbo (Gabby) collectively form the pop sensation H3RIZON. “Serious” is a cheeky little pop number, with bouncy synths and enticing vocal hooks that will keep the listener stuck on repeat.
An Australian First
H3RIZON’s notoriety has been growing on TikTok since they first hit the scene in 2019, amassing 1.7 million followers and 28.8m likes on the app in that time. Coming up, the trio is set to release their new EP as an NFT on BlockPlay, along with a slew of digital crypto-fashion items. H3RIZON’s management, Phil Anquetil and Kelvon Avon, hailing the new partnership with BlockPlay, adds that the band will now be one of the first in Australia to be entirely powered by blockchain technology.
Innovative Australian record label, Blockplay, has officially launched with integrated blockchain distribution services. The label, which is powered by blockchain technology software provider Monegraph, enables musicians to release music and communicate with fans via the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). All NFT releases on the label will have a contract to ensure that artists maintain copyright and commercial rights to their music, with money being transferred to their personal crypto-wallet instantaneously.
BlockPlay is transforming how independent artists connect directly with their fans thru NFTs, as the digital label’s founder, Wilson Olegasegarem (artist name Wilsonn) outlines,
“After the success of my own music NFT, we received an enormous amount of outreach from the music industry to do the same. We now have the capital to back up to twenty-five or so independent artists to produce and release exciting new independent music and innovative NFT collections.”
Olegasegarem’s vision for the next evolution of the direct-to-fan music industry is for artists to retain control of their own masters and for the digital label to provide the capital and cutting-edge technology to help support their career paths.
We sat down with H3RIZON’s Taya to chat about “Serious” and what’s up next for the soulful trio.
I love your debut track, “Serious”. Tell me a bit about what the song means.
Well, we definitely wanted to deliver a message where we basically don’t want to take life too seriously.
That’s why in all of our characters, no matter what role or profession you’re in, we’re always trying to make sure we’re having fun, you know. Let loose of all the negativity no matter what sticky situation you’re in.
The clip is directed by Rowena Ramussen of Town Creative. Who came up with the concept?
Well we all had a little part in what we wanted to do but Roweena put it all together, she had a storyboard ready. We got together with her and she discussed everything before we went ahead and shot for the whole two days. Overall it was a really good experience, it was fun, really interactive and she made it really easy to shoot with her. So it was great having her. We wore coats from Bird of a Feather, we also wore Versace.
Was it a fun shoot?
Yeah, it was really time-consuming but it was really fun. We had a huge crew with us so it wasn’t just the three of us and a camera. It was a great time overall, we had a lot of laughs, we did the choreo as well so overall it was great.
How were you signed to BlockPlay?
We had a meeting with our producer, Phil Anquetil. He’s also our manager. We have Kelvon Avon as well. They approached us and they started talking to us about – we had a few singles we wanted to put out there but it’s kind of hard to explain. Basically, they approached us one night and we talked about it. We talked about what single we wanted to release and what’s coming up next. And they basically said, you know, it’s really advantageous, it’d be a great experience if we got in contact with Blockplay. And then we decided to do a collective sign with them. So it was great.
Do you write your own music and what is your creative process like?
At the moment, we haven’t had the chance to collaborate with too many artists, it’s definitely on our bucket list. But we’re just recording and writing together, just the three of us at the studio. We write out choruses together, we do our verses individually and we just pitch ideas, brainstorm in general, with just the three of us.
How did things start to take off for you guys on TikTok?
We actually decided to do it just for fun, as a joke about a year and a half or two years ago. And we decided to post a cover on there, it’s called “Hit Me Baby” by Britney Spears. Ever since we posted that, it got so many views. I think a couple of million views. We decided to slowly start taking things seriously, releasing more content on TikTok, not just singing, mainly skits as well. A bit of everything to show our personalities. A year and a half to two years ago we started to take everything seriously after the video blew up.
How do you feel that TikTok is changing the music industry?
I think it’s crazy, it’s a huge social media platform, especially with covid-19, not just for Australia but globally it’s a platform where everyone can engage, have a bit of laugh when they’re feeling low. Definitely go online, have a look, check it out. There’s a lot of things for everyone to do on there, you can create your own content where there are skits. Or you can show recipes for example if you’re interested in cooking. If you’re interested in music you can share your covers. It’s just a wide variety for people to connect on a huge platform.
Do you think that TikTok has been quite instrumental in your success?
Yeah. I think it’s really big for us. It’s a main platform that we’re focusing on at the moment just because of how broad our audience is as well, having so many followers. I think it’s very important that we stay in touch with that platform.
Who are your biggest sound influences?
I think we can all say this as a group, our biggest influence that we’re inspired by is Chloe x Halle. They’re very raw, they’re very authentic, we love their music. We’re really, really inspired by them. I think just over the years with their music and how it’s changed, they just have us in awe. So, like I said, their music is very authentic. It’s fresh for today’s listeners, we would like to follow in their footsteps.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
I think our music is very diverse. Mainly it’s described as R&B pop, but we have so many elements of music. So we have soul, jazz, alternative, classic, so it’s a bit of a mix of everything. There’s upbeat dance, there’s slow ballads. It’s a wide variety for everyone to enjoy I’d say.
What advice would you give to musicians who are looking to get their foot in the door?
The main thing you can do as an artist is stay true to yourself. I always give that advice, it’s the most important advice that I give. If you’re just genuine within yourself, your artistry, you can inspire so many people and it’s definitely something that most people look for in the music industry is being authentic. So, stay true to your traits. I think you can connect with people on many different platforms. TikTok is huge, Instagram is definitely another platform you can use as well. So just sharing your music in general, music or social media platforms are something people can listen to and start following. That’s where you can start, definitely.
So you have an EP coming out. Have you got a release date yet?
At the moment, we don’t have an exact date. We’re working towards that but there’s so much involved in our most recent singles so the fact that we only just released “Serious”, we’re trying to figure out how we want to release the rest of our EP when the best time is suitable. Especially considering the fact that covid is still around, we’re stuck indoors. When would be the best time where everyone would listen to it.
And I was reading that you’re releasing some digital crypto-fashion collectibles?
We do. It’s very exciting, it’s something that the girls and I have never really experienced before. It’s a whole new avenue for us. I think, based on what our managers were explaining to us, people would have the opportunity to look at our characters, change clothing. The NFTs [are] quite confusing. Look, it’s a new thing for all of us but once we dive deep into the avenue it will be a bit more easy to explain and understand.
What’s coming up next for H3RIZON?
I mean, the best that we can do is record from the comfort of our own homes. We can do Zoom meetings, record. We can put all of our ideas together, at the moment that’s the most creative we can be. And making content as well at home, we stay in touch with each other every single day, so that’s the main thing I suppose. Just being in touch and everyone understands their limits with covid. We all have our own spaces at home, we have our own equipment, our software. So we just try and record everything on there and we send it to one another so we all get the same idea of what we’re doing. Then Bernie mainly does all the mixing for all the vocals and then we put it out there on all our platforms.
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