GRAMMY-nominated, globally appreciated, multi-platinum recording artist Birdy has been on The Honey Pop’s radar for quite some time. She is continually putting out work that is both worldly and wonderful, soulful and sophisticated. From an early age on, she has acquired a massive audience and accumulated streams, sales, and fans worldwide.
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Perfectly paired with the start of Gemini season, Birdy brings us ‘Air: Gemini Songs’ and her most recent release, ‘Second Hand News (Sarcastic Sound Remix).’ Honoring the time of year, she celebrates the season with the capsuled release. A collection of her most delicately smooth tracks include ‘Celestial Dancer,’ ‘The Otherside,’ ‘Wings,’ and ‘Silhouette.‘ Making marks, it is the first of the upcoming collection of 12 Zodiac-themed playlists coming straight from the UK singer-songwriter throughout the rest of the year!
As for ‘Second Hand News,’ Birdy has teamed up with Canadian producer and vocalist Sarcastic Sounds for a proper drawing remix to the recent single ‘Second Hand News,’ (listen here) which follows the talents long-awaited fourth album. ‘Young Heart’ arrived last month and gained critical acclamation from Billboard, The Guardian, and more. We’re on their side because it is a musical masterpiece!
Between releases, Birdy has stayed busy while simultaneously staying radically relevant. How does she do it? We were wondering too! While she doesn’t sell all her secrets, she did give us some inside perspective in a THP exclusive Birdy interview! That’s right. We’re here to deliver.
You’re a skilled pianist, having learned at the young age of seven. Do you feel a direct connection to the piano when writing your music? Are there any other instruments you’d love to learn to play?
Yes, I do feel my vocal and piano are intertwined, and especially when I’m writing, one leads to the other. My mother is a concert pianist so I grew up surrounded by the piano and classical music and that has influenced my sound a lot. On my new record, I was inspired by Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake and wrote more on the guitar; I think different instruments bring out different songs.
You had a five-year gap between your full-lengths. What did you do in the time between? Was it challenging to begin making music again or did you find it came just as naturally?
I had a bit of a break at the beginning, I started trying to write and wasn’t getting very far and so went on a trip to India for three months and just put it out of my mind. I’d been putting out albums and touring pretty much non-stop since I was 14 and I think it was important for me to have some time to work out this next chapter and have some experiences to write about. One of the themes of the record is heartbreak and so at times, I found writing to be quite emotionally challenging. I wrote most of the record in LA and Nashville and the music is very influenced by those places and traveling on my own.
You’ve been making music for quite some time. In what ways do you feel you’ve evolved? Both with your writing process and with the music itself.
I feel more confident and sure of myself. Writing-wise, I think the songs on this record are more authentic because I cared less what people thought… I was more focused on making sure the music I was making was from the heart and that it made me happy. This album also has quite a different sound to the last one and some of that has come from listening to artists like Etta James and Nina Simone which has made it more soulful.
You were once noted saying Beautiful Lies was the album you’re most proud of. One full of self-reflection, change, and being true to yourself. Now that you’ve released Young Heart, how do you feel the two albums differ from one another and how do you feel about what Young Heart represents to you? Beautiful Lies is a more dramatic production and a fuller instrumentation than this record… it’s a personal album too but it’s also very theatrical. Young Heart is stripped back, real and raw comparatively. Lyrically, I was inspired by Joni Mitchell a lot and so it’s more conversational. This album is more about how I play when no one else is listening, which I love because that’s something I feel I haven’t been able to capture before.
Speaking of the recent release, what was your personal favorite song from the record?
It changes all the time but my favorites that I go between are ‘Evergreen,’ ‘Nobody Knows Me Like You Do’, ‘Little Blue,’ and ‘Young Heart.’ I love Evergreen because it has a playful joyfulness about it and the other three are probably the most personal on the album and so I feel closest to them.
You’ve had some incredible achievements during your career. What would you say has been the most meaningful and why?
I think it would be performing at the Paralympics in London, it was such an honor and so emotional being in the middle of such incredible performers and sharing that moment with so many thousands of people in the audience and millions watching at home.
You pour an overwhelming amount of emotions into your songs, which we find amazing! Do you ever find yourself overcome by emotions during live performances? Do you try to control them (and how asking for a friend :)) or just let the emotions fuel the performance?
There have definitely been times where I’ve suddenly become emotional when performing but I do try to control it sometimes because I find it very hard to sing when that happens! There are a few songs on this album that were very hard to finish, and I found really difficult to get through when I first wrote them.
You have done a vast amount of flawless covers in the span of your career. What cover would you say is your absolute favorite to perform and why?
I always loved playing ‘White Winter Hymnal’ from my first album. It’s originally by the amazing Fleet Foxes and it has this dark nursery rhyme charm about it that I love, the melody is so beautiful. It’s great live because it’s mostly just voices doing a three-part harmony… we’d end the last chorus Acappella which was really fun to sing.
You have been a part of some wonderful tours around the world. What are a few touring moments that you’ve loved the most?
I was very lucky to get to tour in Australia and play three nights at the Sydney Opera House which was amazing. I also loved touring in Asia with Beautiful Lies and experiencing such a different culture… people are extremely polite and quite reserved during shows out of respect which was strange to get used to at first!
We’ve been blessed with a full-length, what sorts of things can we look forward to from you in the near future? Any live shows in the works, for example?
It’s really hard to know if shows will be able to go ahead right now and so touring probably won’t be until next spring but I’m playing the first proper live show with an actual audience this November in London, which I’m so excited about!
We love how much content Birdy has brought us over the past few months! And we can’t wait to see what’s in store for her future self. Cancer season is coming, and we are confident that’s a playlist for us ;)! What was your favorite fact from this interview? Are you flourishing in Gemini season? Talk to us! Comment down below or over on Twitter @TheHoneyPop! We are also on Facebook and Instagram!
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