The pandemic helped New York bassist Blu DeTiger (actual real name: Blu DeTiger) find her audience, and blow it the fuck up. Her funky covers of songs — from Prince to Kali Uchis — started going viral on TikTok, where she's built a fan base now well into the millions. Throughout this past year, the platform became DeTiger's playground to document the journey of writing, recording and finalizing her debut EP, How Did We Get Here?, out now.
Twenty one-year-old DeTiger's sweeping online fandemonium — Questlove and Janet Jackson shared her Control tribute, for example — doesn't come without a serious background to support it, though. She started playing bass at age seven, expertly honing her skills, before later playing gigs throughout downtown Manhattan at iconic venues like CBGB, as well as touring with artists like Caroline Polachek and Fletcher.
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This generational understanding of what hits online mixed with her studied musical expertise finds DeTiger at a winning intersection on her breakout seven-track effort, with its funky approach to pop that uses NYC as a backdrop. On EP opener, "Figure It Out," DeTiger settles into her groove, before "Vintage" takes off with a warm, nostalgic chorus: "I'm a vintage girl hangin' with the flashback kids," she sings. "I need a vintage boy for my outfit."
There's an ease to DeTiger's music, which simmers near the middle with an instrumental, "disco banger but you're crying in the bathroom," that sounds exactly how pre-COVID hangouts felt. EP highlight, "Night Shade," surges into a sunset banger and the absolute perfect hook, "Your heart beats/ On the roof on the corner of Canal Street," as "Cotton Candy Lemonade" continues her city escapade. "I wanna get lost with you," DeTiger sings, riding a motorcycle in the music video.
Below, PAPER recently checked up on DeTiger to learn more about her everyday life in quarantine and the "supercharged nostalgia" that inspired this new EP.
What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Check my phone.
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Check my phone.
Have you texted an ex yet in isolation?
I haven't, but an ex has texted me... It's a long story and maybe I'll tell it one day. I actually wrote a song about it, but I'm not sure it will ever come out!
Who's the last person you hugged?
What's your go-to delivery order?
What was the last concert you attended?
One I played at! It was in London on March 11th, 2020.
Where is the first place you'll travel once the world opens up again?
A concert venue.
What website do you visit the most?
What's one thing you've learned this year that you didn't know this time last year?
How Zoom works.
How have you managed to stay creative in quarantine?
By trying to let go of pressure and do what I feel.
How has the state of the world impacted your music-making?
It's impossible not to be affected. For me, a theme that I kept coming back to was missing IRL interactions. I never thought I'd be writing nostalgic songs about a night out in 2016 or crying in the bathroom at a club. The way I approached it was with some supercharged nostalgia for the recent past.
What is the role of a musician in 2021?
I think it's the same as it always is: tap into your creative source and make something that resonates with yourself and potentially others.
Stream How Did We Get Here? by Blu DeTiger, below.
Photos courtesy of Blu DeTiger
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