Hello everyone today is Monday so that means music! I would like to throw the spotlight on the young, talented artist Birdy!
Website: Birdy Official website
The cover versions that, along with one original composition, made up Birdy’s self-titled, 1.5m-selling debut album were an extraordinary introduction to an artist who – despite her tender years and the fact that she was interpreting other writers’ songs – managed to stamp her instantly recognisable identity on all of them. A voice that plugged the listener straight into the emotional mains, and an innate understanding of texture, nuance and restraint, helped Birdy burrow deep beneath the skin of songs such as The xx’s Shelter, Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and The Postal Service’s The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. Topping the charts in eight countries, the album won rave reviews, many of which were dominated by one question: what next?
Eighteen months on from that debut, the 17-year-old Hampshire singer and songwriter is providing us with the answer. Birdy’s new album Fire Within could be described as her second debut, because it sees her stepping into, and shining in, a new role as songwriter-in-chief. Recorded in Los Angeles and London, Fire Within’s 11 tracks include her stirring, propulsive new single, Wings, the tender piano ballad No Angel and Light Me Up, the song that, more than any other, emphasises the dramatic developments in Birdy’s musicianship and writing over the past 18 months. The hushed vulnerability of her first album is there, certainly; nowhere more so than on No Angel and fellow lighters-aloft moments such as Words as Weapons, All About You and Heart of Gold – deeply personal songs that capture Birdy’s incredible ability to convey emotion with the subtlest of vocal and instrumental touches. But these sit alongside songs that strike out in bold new directions: the afore-mentioned Light Me Up comes out of the speakers like an unstoppable force, its brooding, bluesy verse giving way to a bridge that ups the pace towards a chorus whose power chords and thunderous beats draw out of a Birdy vocal performance you could never describe as hushed; on the contrary, her voice is bigger, richer deeper than before. All You Never Say, meanwhile, combines ricocheting beats with sonorous piano chords, a mix that is at once wintry and warm, as Birdy sings the devastating central refrain: “All you never say is that you love me so.”
The release of Fire Within will usher in a period of extensive touring and promotion, including in Australia, where her debut album went to No 1, and where, in April, Birdy played three sold-out nights at Sydney Opera House. She recently attended the London sessions where the string parts for Fire Within were recorded. “To be at Abbey Road and watch all these musicians performing on my songs was overwhelming.” When given the option to sing in a vocal booth or in the same room as other musicians Birdy prefers the latter. “The passion and emotion that I feel, that I need to feel, when I’m singing doesn’t always come across in a vocal booth. Being in the same room with the band, exchanging looks, pulling together for the song, all playing live, that’s when I feel it, and that’s what we wanted to capture.”
And the results? Well, Birdy wouldn’t be Birdy without resorting to a little self-doubt. “I never really know what’s good and what’s not,” she says. “I’m just doing what I love, and I’m sure of that.” Well, we know – and, yes, Fire Within is good. No, it’s more than good; it’s phenomenal.