We’re back with another installation of our latest series, TuneCore Tuesdays, which aims to highlight artists and other music professionals who are writing, recording, and hustling on their own terms. By showcasing creatives doing it their way all over the globe, TuneCore Tuesdays aims to empower and inspire our diverse community of artists.
This week we’re talking to Fiji Blue. Check out their video and be sure to learn more about their journey!
Val Fritz and Trevor Dering are Fiji Blue. The self-described “sad boy chill house” duo write and produce smooth, electronic-driven indie tunes that are soaked in R&B and modern pop sounds. They met while attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, when they collaborated on a song that was released under Val’s VALNTN project. While finding influences in different genres and artists, they connected on a personal level and stayed in touch.
While Berklee sounds like a paradise for any creator, both members of Fiji Blue had different takes.
“Berklee was finally a place that felt like home,” Val recalls. “I was active in the local music scene doing sessions and playing drums for several artists in the greater-Boston area.”
But for Trevor, “Berklee was not quite what I expected at first.” He had transferred from a more traditional state university, and wasn’t finding the connections he sought as a songwriter. His friendship with Val played a major role in shifting that: “I spent the majority of time at home, alone, writing sad songs until I met a good friend who changed my perspective of the city and the school.”
A year later they found themselves both relocating to LA after college, and Fiji Blue was born: Trevor’s penchant for songwriting and Val’s command as a producer helped the two grads explore a new collaborative journey. A city with more people, more artists, and more industry professionals meant more opportunities for connecting. But Fiji Blue believes strongly in organic connections, even as it pertains to building a team to support growth.
“We want to make sure whoever we work with has similar taste and values as us,” they say. “We take a lot of pride in being selective whilst surrounding ourselves with people who share the same passion and vision for the project. The best advice we can offer is to stay true to yourself and associate with those who equally believe in it as much as you do.”
As the pair began releasing and distributing their songs via TuneCore, editors at Spotify took notice. They landed on some official playlists and were able to utilize Spotify as a platform to row and expand the project and Fiji Blue’s brand.
“We’ve been super fortunate to receive so much love from the team at Spotify. With every successful release we found it important to stay as active and engaging as possible on other platforms, too.”
But commitment to the aesthetics and sound come first.
“If you focus on creating good music and content first, the placements will follow!”
True believers in the DIY process, Fiji Blue have created all of their songs thus far from Val’s home studio in LA.
“We love working from home. It’s amazing to be able to wake up to a bright blue sky everyday and create music without boundaries,” they assert. “But that freedom requires lots of self-discipline and a balanced lifestyle in order to keep your mental health in check.”
It’s that lack of boundaries that attracted them to utilize TuneCore’s distribution services when it came to getting their music out to the world:
“TuneCore has allowed us to grow and connect – one by one – with so many individual fans. With the ability to release music at our own pase mixed with the simplicity of their site, we’ve ben able to carefully plan and develop our artist project exactly how we’d prefer. The only people we needt to depend on are ourselves.”