Birdy is a name many people don’t know yet in the United States, but gauging from the response of people in the UK, it’s only a matter of time before she’s a household name.
Birdy (known to friends and family as Jasmine van den Bogaerde) is not yet 16 years old, but her piano-based folk pop has already won over many fans across the pond. Her rise to fame began by winning the Open Mic UK contest at age 12. Three years later, she hit the UK charts with a cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” Her self-titled debut record Birdy, released last November in the UK, is just now available in the US.
Listening to the record for the first time left me with mixed impressions. At times, it feels like we’re just listening to a typical teenage girl plucking out her version of her favorite songs. And that’s basically what this is—a teenage girl playing cover songs at the piano, with the occasional drum loop, string pad, and a few harmonies thrown in for good measure.
But then…there’s… that voice.
Birdy’s smooth voice is well beyond her years, reminiscent of a young(er) Adele, but distinct in its own right. Her voice, and her overall performance, carry that intangible “it” factor that destines her to be a star. Even though this is an album of covers (including “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, “Young Blood” by The Naked and Famous, “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, and others), the entire experience is…well…endearing. Not in a cutesy way, but in a dang-I’m-really-impressed-with-this-girl kind of a way. Make no mistake—whatever “it” is, Birdy’s got it.
It’s actually a bit rare that a cover album would take a new artist very far these days. That kind of thing was typical of the 50’s and 60’s, but nowadays artists try to make a name for themselves with original tunes. However, in Birdy’s case (while she is a singer/songwriter, and we can expect to hear originals from him in the near future), I think it was a smart move to start her out with a cover album, to introduce people to her unique style using relatively familiar tunes. By the time she brings out her own songs, she’ll already have a large audience to play them to.
Meanwhile, you should pick up Birdy, and let her sing to you. Money well spent.
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Posted in: Pop Music