New York City-born, Blu DeTiger released her new EP How Did We Get Here on March 5th. The bassist and TikTok enthusiast challenges and takes control of her narrative as well as unravels her experience of gender stereotypes within the music industry and youth culture. Her catchy relatable lyricism, alt-disco funk drops and alluring bassline riffs make you want to stare out of the window and get lost in your daydreams.
Blu DeTiger’s music centres on the characters she meets in and around her hometown, New York, and her witty accounts of experiences on nights out. The energy of New York breeds a certain drive that undoubtedly shines through her musical career. Also, Blu’s multidisciplinary way of working sheds like on her strong relationship with her brother, Rex DeTiger, who has collaborated with her on visuals, productions and even helped name her! She is in the limelight for her bass skills, that she starting playing when she was seven and never looked back. Her virtuosity has steered her to over 35 million streams across Spotify, touring with Caroline Polachek and Fletcher. She has become somewhat of a spirited icon of Generation-Z, many picking up the bass inspired by her. With all De Tiger's authentic exuberance, I definitely understand why.
Before knowing much about you I instantly said to my roommate, her name sounds very Dutch. Which is where I currently am. Cooped up in my apartment in rainy Amsterdam. Where does the name Blu DeTiger come from and does it have any Dutch origins?
Yes, actually! My dad is Dutch so my last name “DeTiger” has Dutch origins. “Blu” was actually my brother’s idea. He’s a few years older and, before I was born, suggested to my parents that they name me “Blu.”
How would you describe your music to somebody who does not know Blu DeTiger?
Groovy, dreamy, bass-driven indie bops with some added spunk and spice.
What are the main characteristics or muses your music is defined by?
I feel music from a groove standpoint. The bass is my main source of expression; it’s the undercurrent of all my music! I’m heavily influenced by funk and disco, but I like to mishmash all genres. I also write a lot about New York: the characters I meet, the nights out. And the musical inspiration that I pull from is very New York. It’s either straight up New York legends like Blondie or LCD Soundsystem, or music that I hear in New York clubs.
You were born and raised in New York and started your musical endeavors at the age of 7, learning how to play the bass. But you also spent a lot of time DJing. How do you think you have changed, from DJing then versus making music now?
I’ve always been making music, been creative, and expressed myself through music. The way I make music now isn’t that much different really - I just have more experience and a better handle on what I want to express and how I want to express it. DJing is a different experience to writing and producing my own songs, but it informs and influences my writing and production for sure. Knowing what makes people get on (and off) the dance floor, and having that vast knowledge of music history (like knowing the hits from pretty much every decade), definitely helps when sitting down to make my own music. It’s also influenced how I think about song structure and given me a lot of reference points for creating the kind of music I want.
How do you deal with the competitive nature of the music industry?
I try to not compare myself too much to others and just stay in my flow and make music that makes me happy! I think part of the competitive nature also motivates me to be the best version of myself that I can be.
What were some of the weirdest places or events you have found yourself performing at?
There are some weird ones but I loved them all: Warehouses in Bushwick at 4am, Ski slopes in northern Japan, special private events in Croatia and Ireland, an outdoor amphitheater in Corpus Christi Texas.
As I mentioned previously you have been musical since a young age. You also call yourself a hustler when it comes to working. Where does your work ethic come from?
I think it’s partly just my personality, mixed with growing up in New York City. Growing up with the energy of the city breeds a certain drive. I’ve always had a good work ethic in school as well. The idea of always doing my best is something that definitely transfers over to everything I do.
You work a lot with your brother, Rex, who is a drummer and just like you he is very musically talented. How was it directing the music video for your track Figured Out with him in your home?
It was really fun! I’m always super involved in all my visuals but this was the first time it was just me and him handling a whole music and lyric video. It was fun to experiment with what we had and be inspired by our limitations. We filmed that when New York was the epicenter of the pandemic. Almost everyone was stuck inside. I wanted to represent finding freedom in your confined space - whether that was in your home physically at that moment, or your mind or elsewhere. So the video was me “figuring that out.”
Your presence and popularity on TikTok is rising by the day. You have inspired so many young individuals to start playing the bass, among other instruments. How do you see your growth on TikTok flow into your physical performances post-Covid?
Tik Tok has allowed me to grow my fan base at such a higher rate than I was anticipating! It’s been so amazing to witness. It’s also allowed me to connect with fans during this time. I can’t wait to perform and tour, and see these fans physically in a room together.
I have always wanted to play the guitar, but never fully committed. Seeing you rock out to iconic tunes really inspires me to try again. Do you have any recommendations for other female bassists to check out?
I’m so glad to have inspired you! One of the things that gives me the most joy this year has been all the people who have told me that they want to start playing bass or want to get back into it. It’s been really fun sharing the bass tabs to my songs, and I really want to do virtual bass lessons too. There is going to be an army of bassists soon and I can’t wait. I always say to just keep practicing and learning songs that you actually like. In terms of female bassists, I really like Meshell Ndegeocello and Tina Weymouth. I actually have a playlist on Spotify called Bass Got Gasoline with some of my favorite basslines.
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