New York City’s Blu DeTiger talks new single, beginnings in music and finding success on TikTok

blu detiger
Photos by Cory Vanderploeg

Blu DeTiger always knew that music was something that she wanted to do.

Born and raised in New York City, DeTiger first picked up a bass guitar when she was 7 years old after seeing her brother pick up drums. 

“Naturally I thought, ‘Oh I want to play an instrument too!’ I was thinking to myself electric guitar was too mainstream — which is funny to think about because I was 7 years old and thinking like this —I wanted to be more unique,” said DeTiger. “I saw a lot of girls playing guitar but I didn’t see many girls playing bass. I went to guitar center and got one, it was taller than me. I took lessons, played with my brother a lot and fell in love with it.”

The now 21-year-old bassist played with the New York City-based School of Rock from the ages of 7 to 13, giving her early exposure to performing live. Throughout middle school and high school, DeTiger played in bands with her peers and started to get some of her writing chops.

“I wrote with bands in a group setting,  it wasn’t really my own stuff,” said DeTiger. “I was always playing with older kids, in middle school I played with high school kids and in high school I played with college students. In New York, there’s such a network here and you start to know everyone in music. That’s what was good about being born and raised here.”

By the time she was 17 years old DeTiger was touring with bands as a bass player for hire and started to kick off her own DJing career. Before she knew it, DeTiger was performing DJ sets at clubs and venues throughout the city.

However, it wasn’t until she started DJing that DeTiger felt the bug to write and perform her own original music.

“I would bring my bass with me to the sets and improvise over the pop songs,” said DeTiger. “When you’re a DJ, you’re controlling the room. It’s in your power to make people dance or make people feel this way, it’s an interesting art form. Since I was improvising bass over it, the DJ thing really helped me realize that I wanted to express myself in that way and play my own music — I would think, ‘how cool would it be if I just dropped my own song in this DJ set right now?'”

DeTiger started to write and release her own music in 2019 and landed a gig touring opening for The Knocks, an American electronic music duo. She had plans to tour in Europe this year with Fletcher, which was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, DeTiger released her single “Figure It Out,” a song that came to her naturally while she was playing music with a friend of hers. She later released the quarantine music video for the song, which was completely shot on an iPhone, following the success of the official music video.

“It’s one of those songs that happened really fast and sort of wrote itself,” said DeTiger. “In the song, I’m just saying it how it is, been thinking about it subconsciously. There may be people trying to take you down, but you have to accept that you’re going to move and those people aren’t right for you.”

Although DeTiger could not go on tour this year, she took to TikTok to help spread her music to the masses. “Figure It Out” went viral on TikTok, amassing 500k videos made with the song.

“It was crazy, I still can’t comprehend the numbers sometimes, especially when it’s all online,” said DeTiger. “Usually when this is happening, you’re playing shows and seeing physical bodies in the room and you’re interacting with people in real-time. It’s been very weird online because you only see numbers and comments.”

Either way, DeTiger is ecstatic that the song has been able to connect to so many people and inspire TikTok users to play an instrument during quaratine.

“A lot of young girls are playing bass and saying my videos inspired them,” said DeTiger. “There was a mini-trend of people learning the bassline to ‘Figure It Out’ and posting videos and tagging me — that all felt so amazing. It warms my heart so much to know that kids are inspired to pick up an instrument during this time.”

During these months of quarantine, DeTiger found herself falling into a routine of working through the night and sleeping until early afternoon. While she is normally a night owl, DeTiger was able to use this altered sleep schedule to her advantage and worked on music. Her latest single “Cotton Candy Lemonade” — which releases online on Sept. 23 — is a product of her songwriting during quarantine.

According to DeTiger, “Cotton Candy Lemonade” centers around themes of wanting to be somewhere else while being trapped in whatever your current situation is.

“It has a feeling that is very longing for a different time that’s not the current situation of quarantine,” said DeTiger. “It’s about feeling nostalgic or wanting to get lost, or feeling lonely and wanting to run away with someone or yourself in another place or time.”

In the coming months, DeTiger plans to release more singles and as well as a new EP.

“I’m really excited to expand on my artistry and let my fans get to know me more,” said DeTiger.

For more information or to keep track of DeTiger’s music, visit bludetiger.com.