Rock Out with Recent NYU Alumni Musicians
February 15, 2023
Neil Diamond (STERN, HON ’95) was on the fencing team. Rick Rubin (TSOA ’85) founded Def Jam Records in his dorm. From Wayne Shorter (STEINHARDT ’56, HON ’10) to Alan Menken (ARTS ’72, HON ’00) to the more than 30 NYU alumni and faculty nominated for the 65th Annual Grammy Awards presented earlier this month, it’s no secret that some of music’s biggest names once walked the halls of NYU. And between Tisch School of the Arts, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and Steinhardt School’s many music programs, the hits just keep on comin’. Below, take a look (and listen!) to some of the Violet virtuosos currently stealing the scene.
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Please note this is not an exhaustive list and only includes a small number of the many talented NYU alumni who work in the field of music.
Born and raised in New York City, singer-songwriter Blu DeTiger picked up bass at age seven and started DJing at 17. While attending Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, DeTiger devoted much of her time to her craft, DJing several nights a week at clubs and crafting original projects. With an offer to take her music to the next level, DeTiger took a leave from NYU to tour with musicians, including The Knocks, Caroline Polachek, and fellow NYU alum, FLETCHER. Nowadays, DeTiger has amassed a devoted fan base online with a whopping 1.3 million followers on TikTok and hits including “Figure It Out” and “Cotton Candy Lemonade."
Since graduating from the Clive Institute in 2016, pop singer-songwriter FLETCHER has racked up music milestones, including being signed to Capital Records in 2018, nominated as iHeartRadio’s Best New Pop Artist in 2019, nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist in 2021, and included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2022. Beyond winning accolades, much of FLETCHER’s music is based on her time and interactions in New York City, including her aptly-named 2019 EP, “you ruined new york city for me.”
Lauv took a step back from performing during his time at NYU, opting to work behind-the-scenes producing as a music technology major. But one night in Bobst, he stayed up writing the song “The Other.” Instead of pitching it to another musician, he said singing it himself “just felt right.” His transition from writer/producer to artist took off after its release his junior year. In 2017, Lauv released “I Like Me Better,” which solidified him as a global artist. The single went sextuple-Platinum in the US with over 1 billion Spotify streams.
Maggie Rogers’ rise to fame came seemingly overnight after a video of her presenting her song “Alaska” at a Clive Davis Institute Masterclass with Pharrel Williams went viral. Following graduation, she signed to Capitol Records and soon released her first EP, “Now That The Light Is Fading.” Her eclectic genre of music pulls from two distinct life experiences—the folk music from her childhood in rural Maryland and the electronic house and techno from clubs she frequented while studying abroad in Paris. Since her time at NYU, Rogers has gone on to release two studio albums, proving she is more than just a viral sensation
R&B singer and producer Nija went from making beats in her NYU dorm room while attending the Clive Davis Institute to being nominated for the first-ever Grammy Award for Songwriter of the Year at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. She began writing songs professionally in 2017, leaving NYU to work with major artists including Lady Gaga (TSOA), Ariana Grande, SZA, and Kehlani. However, she reconnected with the CDI community by teaching an NYU Masterclass in 2019. Most recently, she’s made a major jump as an artist in her own right by releasing her first album, “Don't Say I Didn't Warn You.”
Take A Daytrip is a songwriting and production duo made up of Denzel Baptiste (TSOA ’14) and David Biral (TSOA ’15), who met while attending NYU. Their creative partnership began as a class project after they bonded over their shared interest in hip-hop and electronic music. Some of their most notable composing/production credits include “Mo Bamba” by Sheck Wes, “Legends” by Juice Wrld, and “Montero” by Lil Nas X, which received two Grammy nominations for both Record of the Year and Album of the Year. In 2020, the duo returned to the Clive Davis Institute as part of its ReMu Talks series.
Zolita originally went to NYU Tisch to study film, immediately falling in love with music videos as a storytelling medium. She is a multi-talented artist, who not only writes her own songs but self-directs, acts, produces, and edits her high concept music videos. In an interview with Out.com, Zolita said, “My work as an artist was bound to my identity and experience as a queer person.” Much of her music incorporates themes of feminism, female sexuality, and spirituality. Her last and most elaborate project yet is a three-part narrative music video series that aims to flip classic teen romcom tropes on their head.