Credit: Colt Grice

This 15-Year-Old Has a Record Deal, Justin Bieber as a Fan, and His Own NFTs

BY Rupendra Brahambhatt

March 11, 2022

Prentiss is a 15-year-old pop singer from Jackson, Mississippi who seems to be the next big internet sensation. Thanks to his mellifluous high pitched voice, he has brought in more than 2 million streams on Spotify and secured a signed record contract with Cinematic Music Group.

But that’s not all. On March 12, 2022, he’ll release a music video for his single ‘running back’ as an NFT.

Aidan Cullen, filmmaker, and director of The Heart Project, has teamed up with Prentiss to create the unique music video experience. It’s releasing on as a collection of 125 editions, each priced at .125 Ethereum.

Art that lasts

Prentiss started creating his own music when he was only 11. Within a span of four years, his songs “October” and “Why Should I Care” had managed to catch the attention of audiences as well as fellow musicians like Skrillex, Meghan Trainor, and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182. Justin Bieber even shared his music video “hazel eyes” on Instagram. It is an impressive list of achievements for anyone, but especially for a 15-year-old. 

Like music, Prentiss was also into NFTs from a young age. “Being a kid of the internet, I found out about NFTs pretty early on,” he told nft now. When NFTs began to intersect with the world of music, he revisited the technology, and recognized the opportunity they offered musicians.

“I feel like really NFTs are going to change the way any art is consumed.” he explained. “Streaming services have taken the artist away from their music and their fans, where web3 and NFTs are going to be incredible for an artist because each fan is a piece of you, and not just a random stream that made you .0004 cents.”

This was one of the main reasons he wanted to work with The Heart Project. “These music videos are pieces of art, not just some random video that’s viewed for five-to-six seconds on TikTok and forgotten. These pieces will last.”

The Heart Project

Founded by artists Stefen Meier and Cullen, The Heart Project is a community-run art studio that manages a collection of 10,000 unique heart-shaped non-fungible tokens. Each of these NFTs run on an Ethereum blockchain and serve as a pass to the Heart Project membership, which allows an artist to not only contribute to the studio’s creative endeavors but also share ownership and make money.

“The Heart Project breaks down a lot of barriers to entry for struggling artists and creatives,” Cullen told nft now. “It was born from a place of frustration with the current creative landscape, where artists are often at the mercy of larger corporations and don’t have ownership of their own work. We really wanted to disrupt that model.”

For their first music video, the team wanted to work with a young up-and coming-artist who would really dive into the collaborative spirit of the Heart Project. Prentiss was the perfect choice.

“Prentiss was awesome to work with,” Cullen told nft now. “I think as a young person he really gets the web3 ethos and he was super quick to get behind what we’re trying to accomplish. I think part of this project is about investing in artists who are also willing to invest in us.”

Cullen and Prentiss came up with the video treatment for “running back” in a Discord live streaming session. In the session, “Heart NFT holders could bounce ideas off each other and contribute to a ground-up creative project that wasn’t dictated by a label or traditional industry player,” explained Cullen. “For some, it’s a life-changing opportunity, or at least a very fun one to get exposure to the industries they’re interested in and get an inside look at the creative process.” The production itself was also totally reliant on the Hearts community for filming, editing, VFX, and creative direction.

Transforming the creative industry

While talking about the future plans, Cullen said in an interview with HYPEBEAST, “we’re releasing our first community-made made music video with Prentiss. Then, we’re doing our first community song with Benny Blanco and Lil Dicky where Heart holders will submit parts of a beat and be selected to make a song with them, giving them masters and publishing on the song via a smart contract.”

Currently, there are more than 5,900 Heart NFT holders on OpenSea, and the trade volume for the Heart Project has reached over $31 million. The rise of blockchain-powered art communities like the Heart Project is a good sign for the web3 landscape, as well as for talented indie artists like Prentiss, who now no longer depend on corporate music labels for reaching their audience.

Cullen believes that an NFT is much more than “a pixelated jpeg selling for millions” – these digital tokens are transforming the way creative industries function. 

“I think a big part of breaking down barriers is working with not only artists but also labels to change the previous dynamics of creating music videos. This process was a special one and I think this could really add a cool new dimension to music video production and many other creative endeavors.”

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