Kaien Cruz is entering a new musical chapter on her aptly titled BUFFERING... EP — an independent, three-track release to tide listeners over until the queer South African artist later drops a full-length album. Having already opened for Justin Bieber on tour and launched an entirely new way to self-fund her career, Cruz's journey is one to watch.

"This project is a bridge to show fans the progression of where my music is going," 23-year-old Cruz says, fresh after dropping an NFT as part of a Web3 approach to financing her work. "As an artist my goal is to create an alternative way for aspiring artists to be discovered using all the new tools that are available to us now in the Web3 community."

BUFFERING... follows Cruz's debut project, Demos For Ransom, released earlier this year with "Blue Mercedes," and continues her experimental blend of R&B and Afropop. Single "Fa111en Angels" is a prime example of this fusion, as Cruz sings smoothly above sultry production that pops and grooves. "Kissing me slowly from the waist-down," she teases.

"For so long creatives have been slaves to these big companies that don’t really care about artist development," Cruz continues. "I want to encourage others to stop fighting for a seat at a table that was never built for them and instead create their own table specially curated to their needs, interests and passions."

A Day in the Life

I love being out in nature and connecting with the earth. Big Bear is a really cool spot that’s not too far away from LA, that has beautiful mountains and lakes. Sometimes I’ll take an occasional visit to the snow, but I’m not a huge fan of extreme cold so never for too long.

To celebrate BUFFERING..., Cruz brought PAPER inside a typical day in her life. From meditation to sports and connecting with nature, the up-and-comer manages to find time for herself amidst an involved creative process that happens right at home with her roommates and collaborators.

Photos courtesy of Matthew Nicholson

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