When British singer-songwriter Birdy released her first song in 2011—a cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”—she had no idea that her delicately powerful interpretation of the tune would become a viral sensation, amassing over 58 million views on YouTube. Soon after, she delivered a debut album—in which she put her own spin on songs by the likes of James Taylor, Phoenix and the Postal Service—that climbed the charts in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia. Since then, her original songs have appeared on the soundtracks of The Hunger Games, The Vampire Diaries and the highly anticipated The Fault in Our Stars, the latter of which opens this weekend. And if you have any doubt this girl is making waves, she was nominated for British Female Solo artist at the 2014 BRIT Awards, along with Ellie Goulding and Jessie J.
Did we mention she just turned 18 years old? Much like another young singer with fierce hair (ahem, Lorde), we won’t be surprised if Birdy is accepting awards on this side of the pond very soon.
Today, the rising star is finally releasing an album of her own original songs, titled Fire Within. I spoke to Birdy (real name: Jasmine van den Bogaerde) during her tour with Christina Perri about her inspiration, her favorite stores and how she keeps her long locks in amazing condition.
Lucky: When did you first start playing music, and who were some of your early influences?
Birdy: I started playing piano when I was about six or seven. My mom taught me because she was a classical pianist, so I grew up with classical music. And I started writing when I was eight. Growing up, I listened to Tracy Chapman and Jeff Buckley. My dad would play George Michaels and the Beatles and I listened to quite a lot of Mozart, too—it was a real mix.
Tell me about Fire Within. What inspired this album?
This album is all my own songs, inspired mostly from the past two years that I’ve been traveling and on tour and a few ideas I’ve had from when I was much younger that I revisited. I’ve been inspired by the people I’ve been around and my friends and my family and what happens when you’re growing up and meeting new people.
How would you describe your onstage style?
I like eccentric clothes at the moment. But this tour it’s a bit more relaxed, like high-waisted jeans and a cool top. I’ve been wearing a lot of stripes. And usually some high boots, from Topshop. During my shows, it’s still me but it’s a bit more eccentric me, more out there.
Who’s inspiring you style-wise right now?
Florence [Welch] from Florence and the Machine. She has the most amazing outfits and style.
Your hair is so beautiful. What do you do to maintain it?
I never put any heat or anything on it because I’m scared of damaging it. I only use a serum, called Kerastase Elixir Ultime. And I let it dry naturally because it’s quite frizzy and if I use a blow dryer, it gets crazy.
What kind of makeup do you like to wear while you perform?
I love wearing a deep red lipstick onstage. Just brown eyeshadow and some red lipstick. The eyeshadow is from Topshop and the lip color is Laura Mercier. And I really like the foundations from MAC.
You looked so cool at the BRIT awards earlier this year. How did you choose the look?
Thank you! I got it from one my favorite shops in the UK, Miss Selfridge. I just liked it because it was shiny and because it’s sort of one piece—crop top and matching shorts. I wear crop tops a lot because I’m quite short and they look good on me.
Is there anything in particular that you always wear onstage?
A ring that I got in L.A. at a flea market. It’s got garnets, and it’s one of my favorite pieces. It just feels lucky.
Check out the music video for Birdy’s song “Words As Weapons” off her new album, Fire Within, below!