Log in

entries friends calendar profile Anti-Industry Previous Previous Next Next
Naked Bulb for February 2004 - Blu Sanders! by Kristyn Cunningham -… - Anti-Industry
celebrating indie music
Naked Bulb for February 2004 - Blu Sanders!
by Kristyn Cunningham - A-I Staff

Blu Sanders' Official Website

There's a selection of stickers and pins for sale on blu.net emblazoned with the slogan "i care about blu."</b>

It seems silly at first, but as soon as you start getting wrapped up in Blu Sanders' soulful lyrics and liquid-tongued croon, you find it's impossible not to care about Blu.

Blu is by no means new to the indie music scene. He grew up in Texas, living and making a name for himself in Austin before moving to New York City. What prompted the move?

"The problem with any city that's not NY, LA or Nashville is finding the business for your music," he told me. "I moved away from the comfort of my home music town to get inspired and to look for some business support for my music."

He didn't leave his home state without creating waves, however. He was named one of Austin's top 10 singer-songwriters in 1999 and one of the top 15 in 2001. His debut album, Tierra, was named one of Austin's top 10 record releases in 1998. He's also become a college circuit regular, playing at over 50 schools.

So how did I find out about Blu? His incredibly helpful and friendly manager Krissy Teegerstrom emailed me a few weeks back to ask if I'd take a listen to some of the songs on Blu's new record. This is nothing new to me, as Song of the Week enables me to meet a ton of friendly people with music to share. Some of it is phenomenal. Some of it is trash.

With the first song, I was hooked. Blu has four albums, but his latest, My Gemini Self, is an honest, heart-breakingly beautiful look into a love tortured soul. Most of Blu's music slices your heartstrings- we've all been desperately in love before, sometimes against our will. His influences, everyone from Cat Stevens to Van Morrison to Bruce Springsteen to Joseph Arthur ("I'm a sucker for songwriters," he admits), are evident in a lot of his songs.

But not all of the songs are about the misfortune of love. There are plenty of upbeat, driving acoustic tunes that deserve only to be played while driving in the middle of July with the windows down and the sun on your skin.

The real magic of any of the songs is Blu's angelic voice rising about the music. The passion he puts into every song is palpable - his intensity is captivating.

His emotion-laden lyrics pour forth like the gentle, rhythmic poetry of a dream.

Your freckled chest
My wishing stars
Venus right behind your shoulder

I asked him what he wanted his fans to get out of his music and he responded, "I suppose having people understand where I'm coming from would be nice. It's a lot of self expression. As a fan, it can be hard to explain what I get out of music that I like. Sometimes it's the message. Sometimes it's the sadness. Sometimes it's a physical feeling. But there is some sense of understanding, at least for yourself, what something is about that makes it mean more to you."

But that's Blu Sanders the musician. What is Blu Sanders the everyday guy like?

Blu has a journal on his website (that he updates himself) that encompasses the other side of this sensitive artist. He rants about politics, fills us in on the humorous night life in New York City, offers bits of poetry and takes caustic, cynical jabs at just about everyone and everything. I got sucked into his journal late one night in the middle of a snowstorm and found myself cackling in the dark as I heard my own sarcastic thoughts echoed almost word for word. Blu also keeps in touch with his fans through his message board, asking their thoughts on recent movies and entering his opinion into the occasional debates.

He also has living room shows, where a request to Krissy will bring Blu to your own home. It seems unbelievable when you meet some of the jaded "rock stars" who have big record deals and even bigger live shows. They are people who don't even have time to sign autographs for their fans anymore, let alone drive to their house.

I got my chance to ask Blu a few questions and found him to be so intelligent and well-spoken that I think I'll let his own thoughts speak for him.

"I suspect everyone's played to bar employees only," he said. "Those lovely shows that test your worth as an artist, and what's left of your self esteem." And though he describes his turbulent affair with music to be a "love/hate relationship," he does say that "there are moments where you lose yourself inside a song. As a performer or a fan. Those are fantastic."

Many artists will go after record labels ferociously, dying for a big deal, still Blu prefers to stay independent.

"Put in terms of buying a home," he explains. "Let's say you went to the bank and asked for a loan to build a home. The process is- you get the money. You build a home. You pay the loan back over time. You own the home. In the music business, you get a loan. Make a record. You pay the loan back. Someone else owns the record. If that were proposed to any other business person in any other interest they'd laugh you out of the bank. Everything trickles down to the artist. In so many ways, it's a miserable business proposition.

"I'm looking for people who are interested in lending support. From a label it would take someone who understands what I do artistically. The potential of that to be better. And of course, the idea that I can sell some records."

Blu is also involved in many other things other than music, including photography (which he posts on his website) politics, and issues like planned parenthood. He has an area of his website called "What I Think" where he links fans to articles he finds interesting.

"People need to be more informed about things going in the universe. That includes me."

There are a number of things that are annoying Blu at the moment, one of them an event that occured on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. George W. Bush had a big photo session with black church leaders in New Orleans, laying a wreath on King's grave. The next day he appointed a former segregationist judge to the federal appeals court.

"Where's Al Sharpton when you need him?" he jokes.

It takes a lot of bravery to give up your day job to become a full-time musician, sacrificing the comfort of sleeping in your own bed to tour the country. There aren't many people in this day and age who could succeed in a world where everything is about what you see on MTV or hear on the radio. Blu Sanders is making a name for himself one city at a time, relying on old fashioned word of mouth to spread his music.

It seems to be working.

There's something about Blu's voice that you can't turn away from. Something in his simple, quiet melodies that make you stop what you're doing for a moment so you can be still and listen. Something about his brutally honest lyrics that stirs something deep within you and makes you feel for a moment that you're not alone after all. Whether in despair or in triumph, Blu brings out the real magic and beauty of love- the first time or what you swear will be the last.

And after all that- yeah, I guess it's true. I care about Blu. It's hard not to.

Shell in the Sand
Shining Through
One True Thing featured Song of the Week on A-I
Listening for Your Hello

Current Mood: enthralled enthralled

5 comments or Leave a comment
juliekate From: juliekate Date: March 4th, 2004 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Blu rules. What's he up to? Where's he touring now?
fteangel From: fteangel Date: June 11th, 2004 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
hey, that first picture was taken by my sister... that's him in our living room.
juliekate From: juliekate Date: June 13th, 2004 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Really?? Wow :D You must have loved that show. How did you get that to happen?
fteangel From: fteangel Date: June 13th, 2004 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
We just asked him to. He likes to do living room shows. He's a very good houseguest too :-) Very polite, 'cept for when he puts his legs up on your coffee table. hahaha.

Yeah, the show was great. :-D Much fun. I love living room shows. I've hosted 5 of them so far. (Emm Gryner, Kyler, Adam Richman & Andrew Kerr also... all great musicians, check them out if you haven't already!)
savormyflavor From: savormyflavor Date: June 17th, 2004 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
hey totally random that i found this on LJ...

then i noticed one of the pictures is mine back from the carroll college show that i submitted to blu's site. i did a double take, and smiled, remembering that night. nice article - love the blu.

one love.

5 comments or Leave a comment