Bass player Blu DeTiger got her start performing at age seven at one of the most legendary venues in music history — New York’s CBGB club. By age 25, she made one of the most prestigious lists in pop culture, Forbes Under 30, in the Music category.
Blu accomplished more in the two decades between those milestones than most artists do in a lifetime. By middle school, the Manhattan native was joining bands led by older teens and DJIng. In 2018, she toured with alt stars Kitten. She also toured with Bleachers, appearing with them on SNL, and performed with Oliva Rodrigo and at festivals world-wide. During COVID, Blu pivoted to Tik Tok, earning more than 1.4 million followers and 22 million likes. By age 21, after studying at NYU’s Tisch school, she released her first EP, “How Did We Get Here?”
In 2021, Bass Player magazine featured Blu on the cover, deeming her “ the future of bass.” She is currently collaborating with Fender on a signature bass line, out next year, and will release her full-length debut on Capital Records later this year. She has collaborated with Budweiser on an NFT collection, too.
Blu is currently on the road opening for Sabrina Carpenter. The tour brought her to Cleveland’s Agora Sunday night, where a sold-out audience bounced and sang along to every one of her exuberant funk-pop-punk grooves.
GCP and the local Forbes welcome committee had a chance to catch up with Blu on her tour bus after the show, where the wide-ranging discussion touched on growing up with music, inspiring other musicians, entrepreneurship and, of course, that Forbes honor which will bring her back to town in October for the Under 30 Summit in Cleveland.
First off, we have to ask: did you get to see much of Cleveland today?
Not this time, because we just got here this morning. But last time we went to the Old Arcade down. It was really cool, iconic.
It’s unusual, and very cool, to see a woman on bass — and a frontperson on bass. How did you choose bass?
My brother plays drums, so it seemed fitting. I remember going to Guitar Center and just thinking that, like, okay, I chose bass. Now when I record, I play every instrument though — except for drums, that’s still my brother.
Congratulations on your Forbes honor! As an artist, how do you think this will benefit your career?
The visibility and the exposure of it all is obviously really helpful. Also, the community, which is something I wasn’t really anticipating. We performed at the last Summit in Detroit, and then when the 2023 Summit was announced in New York, we got to ring the bell on the Stock Exchange with this really great community. I’ve made a bunch of friends and having that outreach has been really beneficial.
It’s a nice confidence boost to just keep doing what you’re doing and have that recognition — it’s like, maybe I’m doing something right. It’s really nice as an artist.
You’re also a businessperson — working with Fender and other projects.
I’m working on my signature line now, which is really cool. I have the prototype in the bus, I’m testing it out on tour. Really, every artist is an entrepreneur.
There was such amazing energy between you and the crowd. You seem to love playing live.
It’s the best feeling in the world — especially these crowds that just love to be here. They love music and are really welcoming. When you’re opening on the tour, it’s very different than headlining. But I almost like it better because you have to win over the crowd and that’s very fun. Performing is my favorite thing.
As a performer, it must have been hard during COVID — but you came up with a solution!
I was missing that outlet of performing live and interacting with the crowd. I wanted to kind of find something else and I was like, ‘Okay, why don’t I just perform for my phone?’
And people seemed to enjoy it, to feel inspired by it. It helped me use my time for something that I thought was benefiting people and bettering myself.
What is your creative process like?
I am always making music and always writing music, but during the pandemic I focused on it more and that’s when I figured out what process worked for me best, which was jamming and always starting with the bass and the drums and making sure that always shines through and then of going from there.
You played your first show ever at arguably the coolest club in America, CBGBs, with the School of Rock. Can you talk more about that?
School of Rock was great! It put me on to great music, like the Rolling Stones and Beatles, when I was eight. I was exposed to bands and rock music really early and also was able to take lessons with great people. The best way to better is to play with other people, people who are better than you.
What advice do you have for girls who want to play the bass or just girls who want to front a band?
Just do it. There are no rules for anything. I used to think, ‘Oh, I have to do this and this is the right way.’ And that’s just not a that’s true. Once I started doing what I felt was the best for me was when things started going places. Do your own thing. Truth. Follow your passion.
That’s awesome, great advice. So, what’s next on your path?
Well, the album release, and then a big tour. More of what I’m doing, but just bigger and bigger and bigger. And then obviously the bass coming out. And getting more into the business end of things, with a clothing line and other merch. And then, of course, the Forbes Summit is in there.
We can’t wait to see back in Cleveland!
See you in October!
Forbes Under 30: Meet the 25 entrepreneurs and leaders with Ohio connections who made the list — Greater Cleveland Partnership
Forbes Under 30 Summit coming to Ohio for 3 years — Greater Cleveland Partnership
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