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Blu DeTiger Recalls Almost Missing a DM from Jack Antonoff After Getting LASIK Eye Surgery (Exclusive)

DeTiger opens up to PEOPLE about working with Antonoff, Olivia Rodrigo and more superstars as she releases her debut album, 'All I Ever Want Is Everything'

<p>Lucas Creighton</p> Blu DeTiger

Lucas Creighton

Blu DeTiger

You've probably already seen Blu DeTiger perform, whether on TikTok, on tour with Sabrina Carpenter, alongside Olivia Rodrigo in her Disney+ concert special or with Bleachers on Saturday Night Live. Now, it's her time to shine.

After a lifetime of playing bass guitar and performing on some of the world's biggest stages, the 26-year-old musician released her debut album, All I Ever Want Is Everything, via Capitol Records on Friday.

"Can you believe it's only the first album? It's just been so long," DeTiger tells PEOPLE over lunch in New York City of the rhythmically bombastic 14-track project. "You wait, you think it's never going to come, and now it's finally here."

<p>Lucas Creighton</p> Blu DeTiger

Lucas Creighton

Blu DeTiger

Born and raised in the Big Apple, DeTiger picked up a bass guitar at 7 years old, encouraged by her parents to find a hobby and inspired by her older brother, Rex, who'd chosen the drums. "I just saw so many girls sing and play guitar, and I was just like, 'Nah, let me choose something a little bit different,'" she recalls.

As a child, Blu attended the real-life School of Rock and performed in showcases held at the legendary N.Y.C. music venue CBGB before it closed in 2006. "Having that in my blood is so sick," she says. "[School of Rock] exposed you to the classics really early on, so I would listen to Rolling Stones and The Beatles when I was 7 and 8, and not every kid gets that exposure."

During her high school years studying jazz at the Dalton School, Blu started playing bass in a band and performed her first professional gigs at venues including Santos Party House and The Bitter End — where Lady Gaga famously got her start. By age 18, Blu was a student at New York University and regularly DJing in nightclubs around the city, performing unique hybrid sets where she'd play bass live over other artists' music.

<p>Lucas Creighton</p> Blu DeTiger

Lucas Creighton

Blu DeTiger

Part of the work, however, was getting into the clubs underage. "At my first gig ever, they took my fake I.D. I was so upset. I wasn't drinking, I wasn't partying. I just wanted to play," she says, noting that she was luckily able to retrieve it. "On the way out, to the security guard, I was like, 'Please, please, can I have it back?' It costs a lot of money, that s---."

Making a name for herself as a young adult wasn't always easy. "I probably — definitely — got taken advantage of in terms of money. I'm sure people would be like, 'Here's $100,' when I should have been getting $500," says Blu. "There's always sleazy people out there, but I feel like I'm a good judge of character."

Two years into college, she landed a gig touring with electronic duo The Knocks and dropped out of NYU, since there was no way to balance school and work. "If I ran a music school, if you had a gig I would be like, 'Go do it,'" she says.

While on tour, Blu started releasing her own music — but she'd become known for her talents on the bass and continued playing alongside other artists. "I was like, 'I'm not going to say 'no' to anything,'" she notes. "Every time I was playing with these people, I was getting fans."

She played bass on tour with Caroline Polachek in early 2020, during which TikTok was becoming a popular platform for music to reach audiences. Before getting on a plane for a show with Polachek in London, Blu decided to post her first TikTok: a video of her adding bass to Doja Cat's "Say So."

Related: Caroline Polachek on Dedicating Her Song 'I Believe' About 'Immortality' to the Late SOPHIE (Exclusive)

"I told Caroline, 'I think I'm going to just go viral on TikTok,' and she was like, 'Yeah, go girl,'" she recalls. "I posted a TikTok before I left for the airport, and then I landed, and I had a million views. I'll never forget."

A few more viral TikToks later, Blu's own single "Figure It Out" had a massive moment on the platform and fully launched her career as an artist. "It was just a perfect storm of all this crazy s---, but it was after years of playing and studying," she says, grateful to be seen for her talent as a bassist. "I just always wanted respect and recognition of being good on the instrument. I just love bass. It sounds so stupid, but I really connect with it."

Her wave of TikTok success came during the pandemic, during which she also had the downtime to get LASIK eye surgery. Amid her recovery, Rex checked her social media and realized she had "over a thousand message requests" — including one from Jack Antonoff asking her to participate in his virtual Ally Coalition charity concert.

<p>Lucas Creighton</p> Blu DeTiger

Lucas Creighton

Blu DeTiger

"[Rex] was fuming, literally, like, 'Jack Antonoff messaged you, and you could've missed this. He was so mad at me, and I was like, 'Oh, s---. Sorry,'" she recalls.

Following the charity concert, Antonoff asked Blu to play with Bleachers on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2021. The next year, he recruited her to play with the band on Saturday Night Live.

"He texted me on legit Thursday, like, 'Hey, are you in the city? We're playing SNL on Saturday. Can you play with us?' I was like, "Oh, my God! Of course. For sure,' and then I did that with literally no rehearsal," says Blu. "He's the best, biggest producer and such a good musician. Just being in his orbit is really cool."

The same year, Rodrigo asked her to play in her Disney+ concert special Driving Home 2 U. "We were following each other before 'Drivers License' even came out," she says. "She's the nicest, most professional person. She's so awesome."

With a resume that rivals some of the most accomplished musicians in the industry — she also toured with Carpenter in 2023 — Blu began working on All I Ever Want Is Everything with a stacked list of collaborators including Rex, Chappell Roan, Uffie, Justin Tranter, Magdalena Bay and Mallrat.

Related: Hit Songwriter Justin Tranter on Industry Homophobia: 'The Word Diva Gets Used a Lot' (Exclusive)

<p>Lucas Creighton</p> Blu DeTiger

Lucas Creighton

Blu DeTiger

The album features a mix of ultra-confident, upbeat bangers and more vulnerable tracks — a product of her experiences on and off the road while making its songs. "Every time I go play for people, and it's sick, I come back and I'm like, 'I'm f---ing dope. Let's write the dopest, most poppy s---,'" she explains.

Lower moments on the album were inspired by her recent move to Los Angeles, where most of her work is based, and a breakup. "I just felt very isolated. I still kind of do sometimes, but I was very isolated in L.A. so I going through a lot of that, [plus] moving to a new place, living on my own for the first time and trying to figure out where I fit in post-pandemic with other artists," says Blu.

Now that the album's out in the world, she's gearing up for a headlining tour and opening for ODESZA at massive "dream" venues like Madison Square Garden.

Many artists would find the prospect of playing arenas on their first album quite overwhelming, but Blu's come-up as a bassist has allowed her to experience such moments as part of other bands — with less pressure on herself. "I'm less nervous," she admits. "I know what it's like. I've learned so much from artists on how to navigate that space."

Ultimately, she's just excited to further introduce herself to audiences with All I Ever Want Is Everything. "I just hope people like listening to it, and I just want to experience the fanbase," says Blu. "But I think just completing the album and having it come out is success in itself."

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