|Birdy — Fire Within [Limited Deluxe Edition] (2013)|
Birdy — Fire Within [Limited Deluxe Edition]
♠ Precocious winner of Open Mic UK who hit it big with a pop cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love."
Birth name: Jasmine van den Bogaerde
Born: 15 May 1996 in Lymington, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Instruments: Piano, vocals, guitar
Location: London, UK
Album release: September 23, 2013
Record Label: 14th Floor/Atlantic
01 Wings 4:14
02 Heart of Gold 3:34
03 Light Me Up 4:16
04 Words as Weapons 3:59
05 All You Never Say 4:38
06 Strange Birds 3:04
07 Maybe 3:15
08 No Angel 4:03
09 All About You 4:38
10 Standing In The Way of The Light 4:04
11 Shine 4:06
12 The Same 3:28
13 Dream 1:54
14 Older 3:56
15 Home 3:36
By Andy Baber | 20 September 2013 | Score: ***
♠ It’s almost two years since fresh-faced Jasmine van den Bogaerde, aka Birdy, released her self-titled debut album. The record, which was almost completely made up of covers, was essentially sold on the fact that the then 15-year-old had a voice that defied her age, with the cover art showing a picture of Birdy looking all innocent and childlike. Yet while the voice remains integral to second album, Fire Within, much has changed since Birdy first burst onto the scene.
♠ The first and most obvious difference between her debut and Fire Within is that the latter is made up of completely original material, with Birdy either writing or co-writing every song. It’s a significant step forward from taking obscure, but brilliant, songs like Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and putting her own spin on them. Then there’s the brooding, melancholic cover art for Fire Within, which instantly screams coming-of-age album.
However, most importantly, Fire Within marks the progression of Birdy as a singer-songwriter in the two years that have passed, with the promise shown in Without A Word — the only original song on her debut — becoming fully realised. Album opener Wings is an impressive and apt choice to kick things off, with the song’s anthemic chorus almost Coldplay-esque, as she sings: “Oh lights go down/ In the moment we’re lost and found/ I just want to be by your side.”
♠ It’s a soaring and powerful ballad that shows a different side from some of the delicate and rather formulaic covers that found their way onto Birdy’s debut. While everything was very stripped back on her first LP, with many of the songs reduced to Birdy’s emotive vocal and piano playing, Fire Within has much more going on — and it benefits greatly from it. Take Light Me Up, which is an upbeat, punchy number, complete with a rousing, guitar-led chorus.
♠ Understandably, Birdy’s voice has also developed during her time away, but its maturer tone retains the same angelic, beauty that made her version of Skinny Love so popular, as demonstrated on the sweeping Words As Weapons. It’s also the focal point on Strange Birds, where she is really given an opportunity to show her incredible range, as she sings: “You’ve always loved the strange birds/ Now I want to fly into your world/ I want to be heard.”
♠ Other highlights include the infectious Maybe, with its simple acoustic melody and wondering beat, and the captivating, slow-burning penultimate track Standing In The Way of the Light, where Birdy really gets a chance to flex her songwriting muscles. Starting off with just a sparse, faint piano melody and her stunning vocal, more layers are gradually added to the song as it continues, before it reaches a towering climax.
While there’s no doubt that Fire Within is a positive progression for Birdy, it is not without its faults. On occasions she does slip back into the formulaic territory that encompassed many of the covers on her debut, with songs like No Angel and All You Never Say both falling a bit flat. The same could also be said of Heart Of Gold, but considering it is her first full record of original material, Fire Within is a confident and assured work.
♠ With similar English singer-songwriters such as Gabrielle Aplin and Lucy Rose both releasing well-received debut albums recently, there was a lot of pressure on the teenager to deliver with her new LP — especially considering the amount of time and effort already invested in her career. For the most part, Birdy lives up to the expectation, with Fire Within consolidating her talent and making sure that no one forgets her in a hurry. (http://www.musicomh.com/)
Artist Biography by Scott Kerr
♠ Fire Within English singer/pianist Jasmine van den Bogaerde, who goes by the stage name "Birdy," was born in 1996 in Lymington, Hampshire. Precocious from the very start, Bogaerde began composing her own songs at the age of seven, and by 12 had secured the top spot (out of 10,000 competitors) at 2008's Open Mic UK, a popular live music competition that rewards the winner with a recording contract. In January of 2011, she released her first single, a cover of American indie rock outfit Bon Iver's "Skinny Love," which peaked at number 17 on the U.K. pop charts. Her eponymous full-length debut, released through Atlantic Records, arrived later that November. The record was a huge success, particularly in Australia, Belgium, Holland and France, where it shot straight to number one in the chart, while it also reached the UK Top 20. The collection of stripped back arrangements was mostly compiled of indie artists, including The Postal Service and Fleet Foxes, whose songs were overhauled by Bogaerde's haunting voice and sparse production. The follow-up to her debut presented a new phase in Bogaerde's development as her sophomore album Fire Within displayed her own songwriting talent with 11 original tracks. The album was written with help from collaborators such as Ryan Tedder (Beyoncé, Leona Lewis), Dan Wilson (Adele, Taylor Swift) and Mumford & Sons pianist Ben Lovett and was slated for release in 2013.
Open Mic UK:
♠ In 2008, as a 12-year-old, Birdy won the UK talent contest Open Mic UK, a spinoff of the Live and Unsigned competition. She won both the under-18s category and the Grand Prize, against 10,000 other competitors. She performed her own song at the competition called "So Be Free" in front of 2,000 people.
♠ Birdy reminisced in an interview with BBC Radio 1 about the experience of the Open Mic UK Grand Final as “such a cool experience”. She explained that it showed her what she wanted to do when she was still very young.
♠ Birdy described her memories and thoughts on her experience with Open Mic UK in an interview with The Telegraph in September 2012. Regarding her desire to enter the competition, Birdy said it was "...the excitement, really" that drove her to enter. Birdy goes on to reminisce that "when I performed [at Open Mic UK] I had this connection with the audience that I'd never felt before, and I loved it. It was my first big thing, and looking out into the crowd...was just amazing."
♠ In response to whether Birdy thought she could make a career out of music after winning Open Mic UK, Birdy explains: "It was just something I loved doing — I never really thought I could do it. It was just my dreams. It wasn’t until [Open Mic UK] that I thought I was good enough to do it. Before that I’d only been doing it for my family. But winning [Open Mic UK] gave me a confidence boost."
Facebook JB: https://www.facebook.com/jasmine.schoenbrunnbogaerde
♠ Birdy is one of five children and lives near Lymington. Her great uncle was the actor Sir Dirk Bogarde.
|Birdy — Fire Within [Limited Deluxe Edition] (2013)|