The Girl With the Bass Guitar
Blu DeTiger talks her debut EP, TikTok stardom and navigating the industry as a young, female bassist in this exclusive V interview.
Blu DeTiger—a name fit for a rock star, a self-fulfilling prophecy for the girl born to play bass.
The 21-year-old singer-songwriter is a woman of many trades; born and raised in New York City, she started playing the bass at the age of seven, tumbling into the underground world of DJing in the Manhattan music circuit by the age of 17, adding improv bass grooves in the middle of her sets.
The culmination of DeTiger’s penchant for music-making resulted in a profoundly funky, masterful 7-track EP; when How Did We Get Here?, a collection of anthems hailing youth culture, stylizing whirlwind romance, and challenging gender stereotypes dropped in early March, Blu DeTiger incontestably positioned herself as a true modern rockstar, seamlessly combining catchy hooks, crafty lyrics, and magisterial instrumentation.
“It feels so good to actually have the EP out,” said DeTiger. “It was a long time coming and a long process—I put my blood, sweat, and tears into it, because I got very perfectionist about the whole thing. So it feels awesome.”
The blood, sweat, and tears put into the EP come out the other end as supersonic wavelengths of adolescent nostalgia, a juxtaposition of the disco, funk, and alt influences preying on DeTiger since her DJ days. DeTiger’s musical path is one lined by vividly personal yet universal experiences, one girl’s anthems capturing the whole of growing up, of feeling alone, of finding home.
Alongside AAA chart-topper “Figure It Out” on How Did We Get Here? is lead single, “Cotton Candy Lemonade,” a wildly evocative portrayal of isolation and nostalgia keenly reflective of the entirety of the collective experience of the past year.
“As an artist, it’s kind of hard to not write about what was happening this whole year,” said DeTiger. “‘Cotton Candy Lemonade’ is very much influenced by pandemic feelings, a hundred percent. When I sit down to write lyrics, I usually take from a lot of personal experience, so it just stemmed from some sort of truth of how I’m feeling.”
DeTiger’s music is compelling, unique, dynamic—aside from her masterful music skills, years in the making and doubtlessly setting her apart from a plethora of contemporary peers, the world she paints in her songs is vividly examined through the lens of someone living through what she writes about, singing songs about circumstances she has first-hand experience of. Entirely absent are vague anthems about falling in and out of love, growing up and into life; with Blu DeTiger, every lyric is crafted and poised from firsthand encounters, every strum of the bass fuel to the still-burning flame.
The relatable, adolescent streak running as an undercurrent through DeTiger’s music is palpably captured in the music video for “Vintage,” an anthem in which DeTiger reverts to her New York roots to portray a self-empowering story about “rocking out, doing [her] own thing while boys are magically transported to where she’s performing,” and at the end of the video, she realizes she doesn’t “need any guy” to be an accessory.
“I did the music video with a lot of my friends—the director’s a friend of mine, the creative director’s a friend of mine,” said DeTiger. “It was a lot of New York creatives and friends I’ve known for a long time working on the video, which I’ve always liked doing.”
And, of course, the telltale hallmark in “Vintage”—like in all of DeTiger’s songs—is her adept bass lines, harnessed and honed to perfection.
“When I listen to songs, I always hear the groove first,” said DeTiger. “When I’m going to write something, that’s just naturally how I think about it. The bass is my main point of expression in a lot of the songs; it almost acts as another melody instrument, ‘cause that’s just how I learned music. I call it the ‘emotional undercurrent’ of all the tracks, that’s my new phrase.”
Those who have seen or heard DeTiger play the bass, whether in one of her own tracks or riffing on top of another, would find it hard to refute the emotional capacity palpable in her playing. Just over a year ago, she shot to Internet fame and became an overnight viral sensation when her TikTok cover of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” garnered millions of views and hundreds of thousands of likes, a poignant reflection of her bass dexterity.
“That video means so much to me,” gushed DeTiger. “It really was the starter. There’s a lot of people who discovered me through that, so it’s crazy to think about a 15-second clip and how if I didn’t even post it, I think life would be different.”
With the “Savage” TikTok soaring to fame at high velocities right before DeTiger began to put out her music, all eyes were on her—and as a young female bassist, she stands, for the most part, entirely in a league of her own.
It was the 15-second clips she released on TikTok, however, that proved to be a standing point of reassurance and motivation; on a platform that celebrates raw talent and unencumbered individuality, it’s only natural that Blu DeTiger would thrive.
“I try not to let other people impact the way I do what I do,” said DeTiger. “Along the way, I’ve definitely had people tell me no one cares about the bass, or that I should do this or that. Everyone has their opinion, and especially as a girl in the industry, I think it’s even more prevalent. I just stuck true to myself and kept doing what I like to do and what I’m passionate about.”
And by continuing to do what she loves to do, harnessing a passion over a decade in the making with an arsenal of DJ skills and an unfiltered, uninhibited talent for creating undeniably bona fide sound in her repertoire, the future for Blu DeTiger is coming up sunny, a colorful patchwork of underground, modern Manhattan with hints of retro rock.
“I’ve got a lot more music that I’m working on now, and I already have my first tour scheduled, though I can’t say the dates yet,” teased DeTiger. “I want to meet the fans and play these songs live—it’s just going to be a whole different experience. It’s going to be really special, and that’s the vibe.”