Birdy’s ability to distill the pure emotion of a song—whether it’s someone else’s or her own—is her most magnetic quality. This rare trait was evident from the start when, at 14 years old, the British vocalist covered Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” stripping down the already bare-bones ballad to its most fragile core. At the time of its release, the young Birdy—born Jasmine van den Bogaerde in 1996 in Lymington, England—had been playing piano half her life and already proven her vocal prowess as the winner of the Open Mic UK talent competition at age 12. In 2011, at 15, the singer/songwriter delivered her self-titled debut album, a collection of more stark and striking covers—mostly of modern indie-pop hits, like Phoenix’s “1901” and The xx’s “Shelter”—and one self-penned song, the soulful tearjerker “Without a Word,” quietly tossed in toward the end. Her songwriting talents would soon take center stage, though, with her 2013 follow-up album, Fire Within. Lush pop-rock anthems like “Wings” let her flex her vocals, while misty piano confessions such as “No Angel” hit as hard and heavy as an Adele tell-all. She’s matured gracefully since, boasting a richer, smokier croon that sounds just as at home in the big baroque-pop productions of 2016’s Beautiful Lies as the intimate, soul-searching reflections of 2021’s Young Heart. While Birdy can bring out the fragility in other artists’ songs, she finds strength—and freedom—in her own.
HOMETOWNLymington, Hampshire, England
BORNMay 15, 1996