Jasmine van den Bogaerde may look like the sweet and shy girl you met in high school, but underneath her petite frame is a songbird waiting to break free. Better known as Birdy (a nickname her parents gave her as a baby), the 17-year-old English singer has already established herself as a remarkable vocalist over the last few years. Also a classically trained pianist, Birdy is poised to become a major star in the near future.
At 12-years-old, the Lymington, Hampshire singer won the Open Mic UK in 2008, beating out over 10,000 other hopefuls in the competition with her original performance of “So Be Free.” From there it was clear Birdy was ready to soar and began releasing cover versions of songs that she held in high regard. One of them, Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” turned out to be a huge breakthrough for Birdy with over 48 million YouTube views since she released it in 2011.
Birdy would release her eponymous debut album later in 2011, which included additional covers of classic records like James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and more modern artists such as Phoenix and The xx. Birdy displayed her exceptional range as a vocalist, gliding through the album’s stirring production with grace and an angelic confidence that the listener could feel with each note she sang.
She furthered her musical exposure in 2012 by contributing to a couple blockbuster films. Her powerful ballad, “Just a Game,” is Birdy’s addition to The Hunger Games soundtrack. She also contributed “Learn Me Right” to the Brave soundtrack with a little help from Mumford & Sons. For Birdy, working with them was an incredible experience. “It’s been so amazing to work with Mumford & Sons because they’re all so talented and so musical,” she told them.
Birdy released her sophomore album Fire Within on September 23. Unlike her first project, Fire Within features all original material with contributions from Ryan Tedder, Dan Wilson and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. The album is led by her single “Wings,” which is a spectacular tune that displays her growth as an artist. “I just want to be by your side / If these wings could fly,” she sweetly sings over the layered backdrop. Birdy’s lyrics here declare her independence as a girl transforming into a woman, and it’s a transition that she shows thoroughly throughout Fire Within.