Welcome to #TBT Mixtape, Billboard’s series that showcases artists’ very own throwback-themed playlists exclusive to Billboard’s Spotify account. The curated set features the artists’ favorite tracks from their youth and childhood.
This week’s spin comes from Blu DeTiger. By day, the New York City-based musician is a touring bassist for Atlantic Records’ pop-rock band Kitten and a Vogue-approved DJ. But earlier this year, the 21-year-old talent made a push at a solo music career after partnering with DJ-producer duo The Knocks’ Heavy Roc Music label, which has previously released music from Sofi Tukker, St. Lucia and Alex Winston.
To date, DeTiger has released a handful of singles on the label: “In My Head,” “Mad Love” and most recently “Tangerine,” which was written about the concept of “creating the environment you want,” she says. “It’s flirty, cheeky, empowering, badass, and the groove just glides. I had Tom Tom Club in mind when I recorded the guitar, James Brown for the stabs, classic hip-hop for the scratches, sprinkled in with some more modern synths and sound effects.”
Currently studying at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, whose alums include Maggie Rogers and FLETCHER, DeTiger’s mentors include bass masters Jerry Barnes (Nile Rodgers, Chic) and Steven Wolf (Beyoncé, P!nk). Born and raised in New York City, her musical influences range from disco house music to the city’s “rebel culture” of the ‘70s and acts from Blondie to Talking Heads. The daughter of two artists, she first experimented with electric bass at the age of seven and her fathers old Technics turntables helped spark an early love of DJ culture.
To celebrate her eclectic sonic universe, Blu put together this week’s #TBT Mixtape, featuring cuts by Prince, Steely Dan, Donna Summer and more.
Give the playlist a spin and check out Blu’s reflection on the set as well as some throwback photos of the artist below.
“I started playing bass when I was seven and went to a program called School of Rock where we performed tribute shows to different bands and artists every few months. My first shows were The Rolling Stones and AC/DC, then I did bunch more like David Bowie, Van Halen, and Prince. I was listening to The Rolling Stones and David Bowie a lot in middle school. I got a big blue fake gem ring on St Marks Street. I went to Jimmy at Trash and Vaudeville and got clothes for the tribute shows at CBGB (before it closed down). When I was learning how to play bass, these were the songs I was playing live (I also sang “As Tears Go By” at CBGB).
My parents lived in Ibiza before moving to NYC right before I was born, but we’d spend summers there every year until I was about 14. The second half of this playlist are songs I’d hear in Ibiza with my brothers. My dad would put on different compilation CDs and DJ mixes as we were driving down the “caminos” (roads) to the beach. That’s how I became familiar with songs like “Sunshine Reggae” and smooth covers of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” On the way home my older brother and I would fight to put on the new indie pop bands that were getting big at the time like The xx or Foster the People (before “Pumped Up Kicks” was huge). We also loved The Roots and we played the How I Got Over record on repeat. The rest of the songs on the playlist are ones that I’d constantly play when I was getting serious about learning funk and soul music.”