Designed like a boarding pass (on “Butterfly Airways,” natch), the NFT includes an opportunity to meet Carey and fly with her on a private jet to New York later this month, when the music legend is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The winner bidder (and a guest) will also get to sit with Carey at her table during the actual induction ceremony.
The actual NFT asset, meantime, is a spinning boarding pass in Carey’s signature “pink yet lavender” colorway and accented with glitter. The artist will also create a custom audio recording to go along with the NFT release.
Bidding for the Mariah Carey NFT launches June 3 via Geojam (a crypto-based economy platform that Carey is an investor in). The bidding will be done with Geojam’s crypto token $JAM, and minimum bids will start at $5k. The bidding ends on June 9, with the Songwriters Hall of Fame experience taking place on June 15 and 16. A portion of proceeds from the NFT sale will benefit The Fresh Air Fund, an organization that Carey has supported since the early days of her career.
Carey says the charitable component and the Songwriters Hall of Fame tie-in made this NFT project something she was eager to launch.
“During Covid, I became very interested in the digital art world and quietly explored the community of artists in that space,” she tells Rolling Stone. “Of course everyone was talking about NFTs and the new dynamic between art and commerce. That’s something that I’m still learning about and do not profess to be an expert in.” Still, the singer adds, “This particular NFT experience is based around the once-in-a-lifetime moment of being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and sharing my joy with one of my amazing fans while also raising money for two phenomenal charities that are very close to my heart.”
While Carey has long used the acronym “NTT” when messaging with fans (it stands for “Name That Tune”), this is her first NFT release. The singer says she wanted to make something that was similarly fun and accessible, while also demonstrating the impact that women can have in the NFT and crypto space. “Geojam, for which I am an executive advisor, is a tech company with an amazing young female CEO and it’s great to see more women represented in this space,” she shares.
“NFT’s have the power to go beyond the art and store exclusive access, and this experience is showing just that,” adds Geojam co-founder and CEO Sarah Figueroa. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to amplify this monumental celebration with Mariah, as she gets inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame and give the fan the opportunity of a lifetime for charity.”
Carey was officially named to the Songwriters Hall of Fame back in 2020, but the pandemic pushed the actual induction ceremony to this month. While she’s co-written 18 of her record-breaking 19 number one hits (making Carey the solo artist with the most chart-toppers of all time), the now-industry icon says it wasn’t always easy to get credit for her songwriting.
“As a young girl starting out in an industry dominated by men, I found it extremely difficult to be acknowledged for the actual work I do from the inception to the completion of my songs behind the scenes,” she says. “For some reason, it was easier for ‘the industry’ to accept me just as a singer as opposed to a singer who writes and produces her own material. To be recognized now by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is a huge honor and one of the biggest highlights of my career,” she admits. “It’s extremely validating.”
In her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the Long Island native spoke extensively about how writing was not only a form of escape for her as a child, but also a therapeutic release. The singer says she still has a poem she wrote in the first grade framed on a wall in her apartment. Raised in a musical household, Carey eventually started writing lyrics and melodies, telling Rolling Stone that “the first demo of an actual song I wrote was called ‘To Begin,’ which I wrote around the age of 14. It was never released but I still remember it and may revisit it at some point.”
“If we’re being super technical about it, the first song I ever wrote that was actually released, was a song called ‘Alone In Love,’ which I wrote on my mother’s piano while in high school,” Carey adds. “It was track number one on my infamous first demo but it only made it to track number seven on my debut album!” she jests.
It’s been a busy summer for Carey, who recently launched a MasterClass series online, and continues to be involved with her Black Irish liquor brand (the singer also re-released her iconic Rainbow merch for Pride, much to the delight of fans). And while she’s been mum about new music, save for a feature on Latto’s “Big Energy,” remix, Carey says she’s excited to be in the company of fellow artists and songwriters at the Hall of Fame ceremony. “I’m really honored to be in a room with so many legends and new talents, but per my friend, ‘The Divine Miss M’ (a.k.a. Bette Midler), I’m not allowed to mingle and must put my mask on immediately after my speech!” she jokes.
There is one other artist she’s taking cues from. Asked how she feels about finally being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Carey is quick with a quip: “As a songwriter, it’s about damn time!” she says. “Thanks Lizzo!”