NEW YORK (AP) — U.K. singer Birdy burst on the music scene at 15 with a knack for making cover songs sound like her own with her broody, gloomy vocals.
Now, she’s finding her own voice — with her own lyrics — on her new album.
Birdy moved to London from Lymington in Hampshire, United Kingdom, two years ago while creating her third album. Now at 20, she’s developed a decided taste for what she likes musically and has grown comfortable with recording.
That’s reflected all over “Beautiful Lies,” released this year and currently being promoted on her 15-city U.S. tour, which wraps June 29 in Seattle. Birdy co-wrote the entire album, co-producing six of the 14 tracks.
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“I feel like this album is kind of my coming-of-age album because I’m older and it’s taking time to really learn my opinions,” the soft-spoken singer said in a recent interview. “I feel like on this album I really knew what I wanted.”
It took nearly two years to craft the album with the help of producers MyRiot and Jim Abbiss, who worked on Adele’s debut “19” and its masterful follow-up, “21.”
Birdy, born Jennifer van den Bogaerde, released her self-titled debut in 2011. Mostly covers, it included an impressive rendition of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” She followed it with an original album, “Fire Within,” in 2013.
“Beautiful Lies” features the emotional, sad pop songs Birdy has become known for. There are also more upbeat moments, including album opener “Growing Pains” and “Keep Your Head Up.”
“I feel like the first two albums were brilliant and I’ve learned so much. I’ve got so much experience …and so this album is so much fun because I wasn’t afraid of anything. I knew how it worked. I knew the process already,” she said.
She said some of the album was even inspired by Arthur Golden’s novel “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
“I read that the book at the beginning of the whole process so as I was kind of writing …it was more of the landscape that really inspired me; just how it was described was so beautiful and I felt like I was there,” she said. “I think I’m quite inspired by places, like where I grew is kind of wild and kind of moody and so I always write these really sad songs. And then I moved to London and I feel like these songs are a bit more uplifting.”
Birdy’s influences range from Tracy Chapman to The Beatles to Jeff Buckley to her mother, who is a concert pianist. The singer said though she’s become known for her sad songs, she’s not a sad person: “I’m a pretty happy person — I hope. You know, everybody gets sad and I think I just draw from those times when I’m singing.”
She added that singing emotional and heavy songs are “what move me the most.” It can also serve as therapy.
“It feels nice to write a song and to sing and to feel the words. It can be painful sometimes I think, but probably therapeutic as well,” she said.