From School of Rock kid, to amateur Manhattan DJ, to touring bass player for Caroline Polachek and Fletcher, to viral TikTok sensation and recording artist, bassist Blu DeTiger has done it all. Her recent venture into solo music is the culmination of an already striking career and blooming talent.
“It was a gradual thing,” DeTiger said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “Most artists have been just writing songs for a long time, or are like ‘I’ve always been an artist,’ and they’re just on that grind. I came through a different way, being a touring session person, and then DJing and then doing this and that. It was a different path, but it all led me to the same place.”
DeTiger’s musical resume is robust and impressive. The 24-year-old has performed with artists such as Bleachers, Dominic Fike, Chromeo and Jungle, and played some of the largest summer festivals this year, from Bonnaroo and Governors Ball to Okeechobee. During the pandemic, she began posting covers on TikTok and, 1.3 million followers later, has made a name for herself as the queen of bass. The breadth of musical genres she’s dipped her toes into has given listeners the opportunity to stumble across her work organically.
“It’s just always from different areas which I think is cool and also affirming,” DeTiger said. “It’s not just people who have seen me on Tik Tok or something. I like that it’s coming from these different avenues.”
Thanks to her widespread success supporting other artists, touring has long been a central part of DeTiger’s career, and has put her on the radar of aspiring bassists who hold her in high regard.
“People will bring their basses for me to sign, which is really cool. Seeing people in real life is the only way to make that personal understanding of your fan base, and who’s actually coming to shows and who’s listening to music,” DeTiger said. “It’s so important, I think, because online you can’t tell by numbers who actually is behind the screen.”
Kicking off her North American headline tour in November after a summer of selling out shows and playing outdoor festivals, DeTiger has already been well on her way to fame, but her recent creative independence only boosts her stature.
“Headlining obviously is a really different experience than opening for an artist or even just playing bass for other artists. Obviously, it’s a completely different feeling, your own music, when the people are there to see you,” DeTiger said. “The exchange of energy has been really cool. Meeting people in real life, and just hearing people’s stories, and making that personal connection is really, really exciting and has been really fulfilling for me.”
Being raised in New York City set DeTiger on a path to musicality at a very early age. She cites Manhattan’s penchant for independence and impulse as her primary inspirations, allowing her the ability to insert herself into a vibrant musical sphere.
“There’s so much inspiring art that’s come to the city, and you can kind of feel that energy in New York, and that hustle and independence,” DeTiger said. “That’s why I was always doing things. I was DJing four nights a week, and then going to music school, and then playing with this band on the weekend, and then flying out to a tour on Saturday and school on Monday.”
Between the city’s breathtaking force and her parents’ artistic encouragement, DeTiger feels grateful to have grown up with opportunities to experiment musically. Her brother Rex, who coined her as the enigmatic “Blu,” has also been one of her greatest inspirations ever since childhood.
“My brother was musical and he was playing at a young age,” DeTiger said. “I was like ‘Oh, I wanna play an instrument too,’ and now he does drums for me in my band and we write a lot of music together and produce a lot of music together.”
Dangling the promise of a full length album above audiences’ heads like a hypnotist’s locket, DeTiger’s flourishing solo career promises even more magnificence to come. Her newest song “Elevator” outlines an expansive, bass-built soundscape, unfolding the instrument’s potential into a unique up-down pattern that appropriately feels like ascending. Blessed with musical talent in many forms, it’s clear that, first and foremost, bass is DeTiger’s tour de force.
“Because it’s such a low frequency instrument, it hits you in the chest.” DeTiger said. “It’s very grounding, and I just love that feeling of feeling it in your whole body. You can’t really get that with any other instrument. I think that’s what I really like about it. It holds the song down, but there’s also so much that you can do with it that people don’t know yet. That’s kind of what I’m trying to show people, is that it can be more than just a background, and it can really be at the forefront of music.”
DeTiger’s palpable love for the instrument is proved by her unique musical sound; her recorded singles preserve the intensity of her creative passion in the golden amber of time forever.
“I think it’s always going to be a part of me,” DeTiger said. “It’s just my passion, my thing. I play a bunch of instruments now, and I sing, obviously, and I just do all these other things, but I think the bass is what makes me me, so it’ll probably always be here one way or the other.”