Birdy comes of age

BIRDY
BIRDY PHOTO: OLIVIA BEE

Singer-songwriter Birdy says her third studio album, Beautiful Lies, is the first time she knew what she wanted musically

At just 20, British singer-songwriter Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde, better known by her stage name Birdy, has an impressive string of accomplishments to boast of.

There is the Grammy nomination for the song, Learn Me Right, with Mumford & Sons off the soundtrack of Pixar film Brave (2012).

She has notched up record sales for her first two albums - Birdy and Fire Within - that number in the multi-millions.

And do not forget her moving cover of the Antony and the Johnsons song, Bird Gerhl, at the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

The young talent, who shot to fame after posting her delicate piano cover of Bon Iver's Skinny Love on YouTube at age 14, will perform in Singapore for the first time tomorrow.

  • BOOK IT / THE GATHERING WITH BIRDY

  • WHERE: Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Raffles Boulevard, Hall 606

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 8pm; doors open at 7pm

    ADMISSION: $98 (standard) via www.apactix.com or $120 at the door

It is the final stop of her debut Asian tour that kicked off earlier this month in Tokyo and has taken her to cities such as Hong Kong, and South Korea.

Speaking to The Straits Times from Taiwan, she says coming to Asia counts as one of the most exciting things she has done so far.

Everything from the artwork to the production to the writing was all very much me. It feels like it's kind of grown up with me.

BIRDY on Beautiful Lies, her third studio album. She will play her first Singapore concert tomorrow

"Coming to the other side of the world and having people know my music and who I am, and being greeted at the airport by fans and photographers - that was really weird for me and not something I've experienced that much," the soft-spoken singer says.

Playing live in Asia has been a different experience for her as well.

"It's been a very quiet audience in Asia so far and people go mad afterwards," she observes. "They're really respectful and listening and nobody's talking, which kind of works for my music because I've lots of intimate moments."

The daughter of a concert pianist mother and a writer father, she learnt to play the piano at age seven. She took part in and won live music talent competition Open Mic UK at the age of 12. She has a younger brother and sister.

Her latest tour centres on her March release Beautiful Lies, her third studio album.

While her first album was a collection of indie covers and her second ventured into original compositions, Beautiful Lies was inspired by the novel, Memoirs Of A Geisha, by Arthur Golden.

Described as a coming-of-age record, she admits: "This is the first time I knew what I really wanted musically."

She says her previous records involved a lot more experimenting. "I was so young and shy, I wasn't really sure yet how I wanted it to sound, feel and look," she says.

But the 14-track album, which has spawned critically acclaimed singles such as Keeping Your Head Up and Wild Horses, is her most confident work yet. She says: "Everything from the artwork to the production to the writing was all very much me. It feels like it's kind of grown up with me."

In the interim, she has also contributed to other movie soundtracks, including The Hunger Games (2012) and The Fault In Our Stars (2014).

Music for movies is something she enjoys and hopes to do more of.

"I love writing my own stories (through my songs), but I also wanted to be a creative writer when I was little," she says. "So, for me, that's kind of similar - getting to tell stories other people have written or imagining them."

Once her Asian tour is over, the Hampshire native will be going on holiday with her family before her Europe tour kicks off next month.

Work on the next album might already be on the cards, but she is tentative.

"I write all the time. I've definitely got material, but it depends," she says.

"I don't know when one finishes and another one begins."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Birdy comes of age'. Print Edition | Subscribe