The moment the English singer / songwriter Jasmine van den Bogaerde had her breakthrough under her stage name Birdy in 2011, many musiclovers thought that the Bon Iver cover “Skinny Love” would make her a one-hit-wonder only. Ten years later we do know better. Next month she will be turning 25, and now Birdy has become a stable factor in the indie folk / pop scene. With her breakthrough single, ‘People Help The People’ and ‘Wings’, the British singer now does have several hitsingles and ‘Let It All Go’, ‘Keeping Your Head up’ and ‘Wild Horses’ can also be called among the more famous songs of the British beauty.
It has already been four years since we were able to see and hear Birdy perform live, so the live stream, which the singer distributed over the net on Thursday evening, was a pleasant welcome for her fans. It took a while after her 2016 album “Beautiful Lies” and accompanying tour, after which she retired from music for a while. A moment to regain herself and see a little more of the world, as she called it herself. Fortunately, she came back at the end of last year with a new EP, followed by a new album, “Young Heart” at the end of April. For this first time, songs from the record were played live from Wilton’s Music Hall in London, the oldest Grand Music Hall in the world.
Birdy introduced herself with a pre-recorded mini-documentary, in which she described the past four years of dormancy. A time in which when she spent a period in Los Angeles and met some great musicians, with whom she made her new album.
Alone on grand piano, surrounded by multiple cameras, Birdy started, and even ten years after her “Skinny Love”, Birdy’s voice was still the same, as if time had no effect on her voice. She easily switched from piano to guitar. The singer appeared to be accompanied by a brand new band, including a whole battery of guitarists, strings, a clarinet and even a French horn. Due to the lockdown, good use could be made of the beautiful authentic balcony of the more than 150-year-old concert hall and the step-ascending stage, over which her musicians were spaciously distributed.
The beginning seemed a bit awkward at times, but the moment the beautiful “Voyager” from her new album was sung, Birdy seemed to have settled down a bit more. Was it the appropriate text, the atmosphere or the tranquility that the atmospheric setting radiated? The fact was that from that moment on there was even a smile from the singer who is known for her serious concentrated performances.
Her version of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” or “Surrender,” the lead single from her upcoming album; it all fell into place tonight. And although it was not an overproduced mega production, the English singer made good use of the limited space in the British music theater. Like “Little Blue” from her new album, where she silently climbed the stairs to the balcony, only to draw attention to her oh-so-important bandmembers over there, for only just one song.
It was the best possible way for Birdy to present her new album “Young Heart” at this point. The heavier “Loneliness” on guitar, the singer went from sitting behind the piano to Cherry Ghost cover “People Help The People” and her new single “Second Hand News”, which is released this Friday. The dramatic “Terrible Love” was fantastically extended to the start of the absolute final song “Skinny Love”, which was slightly more staccato than the original hitsingle by her in 2011.
A few seconds of a drinking break and a final song gave Birdy the opportunity to spotlight the great musicians of the evening. It is the singer’s modesty, who understands very well that nothing and no one is unimportant in the big picture. The perfectionism of the young singer, the tension it gave to be on stage again after almost four years… It all came together to form a big thing in London. The singer’s broad smile, waving goodbye to the many viewers with one last eye contact, showed the power of simplicity Birdy carries. That power, that simplicity, that perfectionism, it all comes together on that one new album by the singer, “Young Heart”, which was presented this evening the way Birdy wanted us to hear. Well done!