It’s easy to get fooled by seventeen-year-old, British singer Birdy. She looks like a fairy; fragile and sweet, but hearing her live, the strength and soul of her voice make you speechless. We met with the young artist at a Stockholm hotel to talk about her need for creativity, not Dancing with the stars, and winter paleness.
Tell me about your latest album, Fire Within.
– Well it’s all original material which I’ve been writing over the past two years. It’s been inspired by changes; meeting new people and being away from home I guess. So it’s a new start as well I think.
Do you have any musical role models?
– I have lots of artists that I love, but not really role models. I love Tracy Chapman, I was listening to her when I was growing up. And also Avril Lavigne, she was one of my favourites. I also listened to The Beatles and Jeff Buckley, so it’s a real mixture of different artists and styles.
What inspires you?
– Stories, people, and relationships.
Stories that you read or hear?
– Books or life stories. Definitely being in new places and just the atmosphere there.
Tell me about your beautiful song People Help the People?
– That’s actually a cover. It’s by a band called Cherry Ghost.
Why did you choose to cover it?
– I actually hadn’t heard it before, it was suggested to me. I loved the original and I loved the meaning. It was one of the first proper piano ones that I chose to interpret.
Is there some other song you would like to cover?
– I think I’m kind of focusing on my own music at the moment. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and I find it exciting. I love the band Arcade Fire, so maybe one of their songs.
Do you have a dream collaboration you would want to do?
– I love this artist called KT Tunstall, I grew up listening to her, she’s Scottish. She’s kind of like a dream to work with.
Where do you think you will be in ten years?
– I always just live in the moment, I never think about the future. But I hope I’m still working with music and releasing albums.
If you would move abroad in the future, where would you want to live?
– I’d love to live in France, in Paris.
Do you know French?
– A little bit, not really. I’m meant to be good at it, but I’m not.
Do you write anything except for music, like short-stories or poetry?
– Yes, when I was younger, in school, I used to write stories. My dad is a writer, he’s written a book which was published quite a while ago. He’s always working on children’s stories. When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be like him.
Maybe you’ll be that too one day.
– I think it sort of goes in with writing songs and telling stories which is why I love it.
What do you think you would do if not music?
– I really like art and painting, so either that or writing. Something creative as well.
What are you doing right now?
– We’ve been doing a promo tour in Europe. I just got back from Australia which was really cool. I went to New Zealand for the first time. I was doing Dancing with the stars over there, not dancing but singing, she says laughing.
– I’ve also just been to Finland which was really amazing. Doing Dancing on ice, not dancing, she laughs again.
– I think next year we’ll do a European tour. Hopefully we’re coming back to Stockholm then, when it’s sunnier. It’s so cold and it gets dark so early. I woke up here today and it was already dark.
I know, and you become so pale in this darkness!
– I’m so pale too. I don’t tan very easily. I’m probably paler than you.
We compare our arms and she’s actually right.
And you just been to Australia!
– I know, I was thinking I was going to get so tanned and then I came back even whiter!
Listen to Birdy’s latest album Fire Within here.
Photography by Victoria Stillwell.