I was there, deep in a TikTok rabbit hole, when my husband – wrapped in his own endless #ForYouPage parchment – leaned over to show me a video. “You have to see this incredible bass player!” he told me. That’s when I’m introduced to Blu DeTiger, the New York native with a penchant for groovy dance floors and a shameless fashion aesthetic to go with it. She had my full attention.
To call DeTiger a newcomer would be to sell the artist short. Before her single “Just Figure It Out” went viral on the video app and her nearly a million followers began begging her for covers of Prince, Rihanna and Anderson. 21-year-old Paak was a force in the New York underground music scene, energizing crowds with his pop-funk DJ sets and live bass performances. She has also toured, playing bass for artists Fletcher and Caroline Polachek, among others. The emerging artist managed to make a name for himself, but TikTok, as a mega artist launch pad, completely changed the game.
While venues and clubs are still closed, DeTiger has made the most of life in quarantine, writing and co-producing new music (don’t miss the video for his latest hit “Cotton Candy Lemonade”) and following performances virtual live in a chic studio setup, she built herself. Not to mention, she continues to provide care after the fact. I prefer his collection of see-through long-sleeved t-shirts. With more music on the way, the artist connected with us to talk about this exciting chapter in her career, the makers of TikTok on her radar, and some of her favorite cuts of all time.
You started playing bass guitar at 7 years old. What was the catalyst for picking up this particular instrument?
My older brother played drums at the time, so naturally I wanted to play an instrument too. I remember thinking that I wanted to be more unique and that this guitar was “too mainstream”. So I chose the bass! Now I play guitar and other instruments, but I’m so glad I picked the bass first.
What was the first song you learned on bass?
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple.
Are there other female bassists on your radar?
There were a few that I really admired when I was learning, and I still do. Tina Weymouth is a tough guy. I’m also a big fan of his band, Tom Tom Club, which has been an inspiration for my music for sure. I also love Meshell Ndegeocello. She is one of the best bass players, and she can sing and play at the same time effortlessly.
TikTok has become a springboard for many musicians, like Lil Nas X and Doja Cat, and earlier this spring your single “Figure It Out” went viral on the app. What are the exciting career moments that result from it?
It was really amazing and I am very grateful for how it all turned out. Hearing my song on the radio for the first time was really special. I got to meet some incredibly creative people. Overall, it just allowed me to keep making music and living my passion with the most freedom and opportunity.
Is there a TikTok trend that you love these days?
I feel like I pay more attention to the trending songs than the actual ones because I will cover them often.
Which creators do you like to follow on the app?
Brittany Broski is hilarious. Ethan Fields creates fun TikToks related to music. I love following all the talented guitarists and music producers on the app. There are so many creatives on the app.
You said that your last single, “Cotton Candy Lemonade,” which you wrote and co-produced during your 40s, taps into this idea of getting lost or running away right now. What’s your dream escape right now?
In my early forties, I suddenly had nostalgia for the recent past. I was craving pre-COVID time or even looking forward to post-COVID time. My dream escape would be to go to a moment of peace and love and flow!
Speaking of quarantine, life on lockdown has forced many of us to think outside the box when it comes to how we approach creative projects. How have you personally adapted to the limitations?
In terms of writing and producing, it helped me (in some ways) to be at home and not have distractions. I’m usually always running (DJing, playing gigs, attending sessions, touring etc) so this gave me a chance to focus on writing and producing on my own . Much of the EP was made in quarantine, and all of the songs were completed during that time.
In terms of performance, it’s completely different. I had to take on the roles of music director, video editor, lighting designer and cinematographer for a lot of ‘at home’ content. It’s been busy and a lot of DIY, but it’s been inspiring and fun to find new ways to engage with fans in a new kind of virtual show.
Can we expect more music from you soon?
Yes! I will soon have another single then a full EP 🙂
Tell us about your personal style and your journey with fashion over the years.
I feel like I’ve been through several different phases, but in general, I wear what makes me feel most confident, sexy, and cool – whatever makes me feel good and feel better.
How has growing up on the New York music scene influenced your style?
I was born and raised here, so I think it’s safe to say that it completely influenced me. I wasn’t so much online looking at the clothes and styles that I liked. I dress like a New Yorker dresses and I have been influenced by the people I have seen on the streets and on the stage, as well as by the general energy of the people here.
I envy your collection of transparent long sleeve t-shirts. Can you tell us some of your favorite places to find them?
I have the impression that they come from everywhere! I still have eyes and ears for good see-through tops. Sometimes I find them in vintage stores in New York or at trendy designers.
It’s clear that you also like experimenting in the makeup business, especially your videos. Where does your beauty inspiration come from?
I love to experiment and change and have fun trying new looks! Much of my inspiration comes from the disco and rock ‘n’ roll eras.
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