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Who is Birdy?

Birdy
Dave Hogan, Getty Images

Who is Birdy? The young singer has been opening eyes on both sides of the Atlantic and now has a free iTunes download of the week with ‘Without a Word.’ Here’s what you need to know about this teen performer, who has been gaining an audience with her somber interpretations of indie rock hits.

Birdy was born Jasmine van den Bogaerde in the English port town of Lymington nearly 16 years ago, earning her nickname from her parents because she opened her mouth very wide when eating as a baby. She was unknown until 2008 when, at the age of 12, she won the Open Mic UK talent competition, emerging from a pack of 10,000 entrants and 22 finalists. For the finale, she played keyboards and sang on an original song called ‘So Be Free.’

Birdy won studio time with her victory and offered the occasional live performance but didn’t make a significant until 2011, when her cover of Bon Iver‘s ‘Skinny Love,’ featuring her angelic vocals over a piano accompaniment, cracked the Top 20 on the British charts. It’s also earned just under 20 million views on YouTube.

Following that success, Birdy completed her self-titled debut album, packing it with other unexpected covers like Phoenix’s ’1901,’ the xx’s ‘Shelter’ and the National‘s ‘Terrible Love,’ all of which are re-imagined as piano ballads. ‘Without a Word’ (check out our review of it here) is the only self-penned track on Birdy’s album, but its mature sound suggests that she has a lot more to offer when it comes to writing her own material.

What’s up next for the promising performer? She recently wowed with appearances on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show ‘ and ‘Conan,’ and her song ‘Just a Game’ is on the new ‘Hunger Games’ soundtrack. Expect more TV appearances with the occasional live concert as Birdy continues to grow her fanbase.

Watch Birdy’s Cover on Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’

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