Jasmine van den Bogaerde is surprised she is enjoying her fame, yet admits that a music career is something she has always wanted. Using the word "always" may seem a little premature when you're only 16 years old, but once the English singer, better known to fans all over the world as Birdy, made up her mind, it seems nothing could stop her.
Her chart-topping self-titled debut album, released in November 2011, saw the young star take songs from the National, Fleet Foxes, Phoenix, the xx and others and make them her own. Her cover of Bon Iver's Skinny Love, recorded when she was only 14, was a huge hit in Australia, earning five-times platinum status.
Discovered as a 12-year-old in 2008, when she beat 10,000 hopefuls to win both the grand prize and the under-18 category at the Open Mic UK talent contest, Birdy will fly south for her first Australian tour in April.
Despite her tender years, Birdy has seen bright lights and stages for several years - her mother, Sophie, is a concert pianist.
The singer says that "put me off a bit" because of the perfection required in classical music.
Sophie taught her daughter the piano at six and by eight she was writing her own songs. The songs were quite different from what she heard her mum play and what she was being taught, which sowed the first seeds of thought that maybe she could be a musician and forge her own direction.
"I loved it and I'm not really sure where it came from," Birdy says. "I'm really surprised how well everything has gone but it's everything I have always wanted. Now I'm trying to make sure I enjoy it all as well as have a lot of fun."
Since the release of her debut album, which topped the Australian charts, the singer has recorded a cover of John Butler Trio's 2004 single What You Want especially for Australian audiences, her song Just a Game featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack and she collaborated with Mumford & Sons on the Grammy-nominated song Learn Me Right for the film Brave.
Birdy's latest release is the eight-track Live in London EP. In includes Ed Sheeran's The A Team and Just a Game.
While the high-school student might be travelling the world to perform and receiving accolades in places like the Netherlands and Belgium, Birdy lives at home where she gets to enjoy her dad and siblings' love for pop mixed with her mum's classical tastes.
"It's nice to have both," she says. "I've always loved James Taylor. My dad loves him and I hear my brothers playing Fleet Foxes.
"When it came to making my album, I tried to choose songs which I was really familiar with but loved at the same time. It's hard to make songs your own but I've always imagined the songs I sing this way."
Songs she didn't know were also thrown in the mix by her producers and Birdy loved that she was exposed to a whole collection of new music.
Adele, Paolo Nutini, KT Tunstall and Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li are personal musical heroes in this young songbird's book. Birdy says that's why her own style is varied but yet she admits she's too young to have settled into just one musical genre yet. "Sometimes the songs on the album came together really easily and sometimes it was really difficult," she says. "Some of the songs we chose just didn't work or I started working on a great song but somehow it never quite made it.
"There were times where I so closely connected with the song that it could have been my own. I thought that was important, if I was going to have to perform them all the time the songs should feel like mine."
Birdy hopes her next studio album will be all her own songs which she will record somewhere in between finishing school, where her favourite subjects include French, English, art and poetry.
She's excited about the prospect of getting her "own music out there" - she just hopes we will love it as much as Birdy.Birdy performs at Riverside Theatre on April 6, supported by Lewis Watson and Lakyn Heperi. Tickets from livenation.com.au.
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