Dreaming of Flying: an introduction to Clear eyes
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August 10th, 2022

IT STARTED WITH PAIN

In April of 2020 my hands started hurting. It was terrifying. I had built a career making music - my band Marian Hill had grown from an up and comer on the Hype Machine charts to a platinum-selling major label act, all the while making my wildest dreams come true: I was making a living making music I loved. But to keep doing this, to keep living my dream…I needed my hands.

The following several months were the worst of my life. It was the early pandemic and I could only see doctors remotely, and they all advised the same thing - rest, wait, it should feel better. Resting meant I couldn’t make music…without it in my life, I fell into a deep depression. I would sit around bored and hurting, vowing that if I could ever get back to a place when I could make music again I would never take it for granted.

Eight months of physical therapy, doctor visits and endless patience later I was able to start making music again. It still often hurt to do so, but I have never appreciated more how much making things is my lifeblood. Without it I’m a shell, and with it I’m me. During the following months I made three albums. One with Marian Hill, one with Reo Cragun, and one of my own under the name Clear eyes. I was overflowing with ideas after being shut down for so long, and it felt so good to finally get so many of them out into the world.

ENTER WEB3

Way back in 2013, I put together a spreadsheet of 60 Hype Machine blogs and emailed them all the first Marian Hill song…in recent years I have missed that flow so much. Those independent curators gave me a career in music, but in the following years I watched their power fade away as streaming companies took over. When I started hearing about Music NFTs, I was filled with a hope that this could be the paradigm shift I’d been waiting for, a return to an ecosystem of many empowered curators.

I think the first Music NFT I really stopped and took note of was RAC’s $TAPE drop… after that I started asking questions and learning more, from early adopters like Verite and CoopahTroopah and Michail at Zora…I joined FWB and before I knew it, I was minting music NFTs.

I was one of the first artists to mint on Catalog and I will never forget the experience…Jeremy Stern reached out to me soon after I applied and after talking with him I was so excited about their vision. I chose a beat that I had made, that I loved…a beat that didn’t have a place in the streaming ecosystem as I saw it. Earning money for that beat was one thing, but having it be appreciated and heard by a unique collector was even more special. I continued to drop occasionally on Catalog over the following months, always choosing songs that felt like they didn’t fit anywhere else. I loved that there was now a place for them.

I was then lucky enough to run into David Greenstein in a Discord channel and started talking to him about the future…a few months later he called to tell me about Sound.xyz. Marian Hill premiered a new song as one of their first drops and the listening party in the twitter spaces was the first listening party I’d been a part of in years and years. All I ever want is to play my music for people who want to hear it and somehow that part of the industry had been buried…Sound resurrected it.

Since then I’ve also had thrilling experiences on other platforms like Arpeggi, Glass.xyz and Foundation. I’ve found more visual artists in a year than I did in years combing instagram. I loved this new future…but I had yet to make it my own.

BUILDING ON MY OWN

As I spent more and more time in the NFT space I started to think more and more about what my own project might look like…it was overwhelming at first to conceive of, with so many possibilities and variables to consider. The idea of “utility” stressed me out…I wanted the music itself to have value and not be dependent on other factors. So it occurred to me…what if music was the utility?

I make so much music. As we covered earlier, I need to, or I will quite literally lose my mind. But only 5 or 10% of this music is ever actually heard by anyone outside my immediate circle of friends. I longed for a way to share more of it with more people, without putting pressure on all of it to “succeed”. And finally I arrived on the idea of the Dreaming of Flying collection, and the utility of the CLOUDS series.

Every holder of every Clear eyes NFT has access to the CLOUDS series, a free monthly grab-bag of some of my favorite unreleased songs. CLOUD 1 is currently live on my website, and very soon I will be replacing it with CLOUD 2. I want anyone who wants to hear this music to have access, so I built a 200 piece collection of gorgeous images from my album’s visualizers on my own contract, all made in collaboration with artist Anna Chandler. All of these come with access to the CLOUDS series, and also certify you as a member of the Dreaming of Flying community.

I’m in no rush to sell these out. I’m searching for people who are here for the music, who want to be part of building this world with me, and I believe that these people will continue to find me over time. Maybe you are even one of them.

I’m proud of what I’ve built so far in this community, and I’m excited for the road ahead. I feel so very lucky to be in a position to make music and share it with you all. It means absolutely everything to me.

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