Music

Watch the Birdy

Singer-songwriter Birdy is already a music veteran at the age of 20, and she's not about to let anyone clip her wings

What are the Beautiful Lies the title of your latest album refer to?


For me it means lying to yourself. A lot of the album is about growing up – and not wanting to at the same time. It’s about me moving away and learning to be independent but also feeling quite nostalgic, pretending that nothing is going to change.

You have toured the world, recorded three albums and have over 400 million views on YouTube all by the age of 20. It’s a different life from that of most teenagers.


I think I grew up a bit faster. All of a sudden I was touring with people a lot older than me, some of them were in their 30s, some of them were and I was 16. That was quite strange because they were my closest friends. But in a way it put me behind people my own age at the same time because I wasn’t experiencing what they might have been – going to festivals, parties, college and university. I didn’t learn any of that or know how to talk about it.

But since you’re already a veteran in the industry your songs are able to express how it feels to be at an age when it’s usually impossible to express how it feels.


I’ve been writing about love and heartbreak since I was eight years old and I definitely hadn’t experienced any of that. It is like a release. When I play the piano it’s because I feel like I have to – I have to get something out.

I spy a Japanese influence – where does that come from?


I was reading Memoirs of a Geisha and it was the energy in that. I’d never been to Japan, but the way it was described was so beautiful and it was about how delicate the culture is.

You’re just back from touring Asia so did it match your expectations?


Not quite… I only got to go to Tokyo, which is a completely crazy city, and nothing like the book and what I was inspired by. I still wear a kimono on stage. It feels magical.

Does it feel like you become someone else?

It’s a connection with the girl in the story. It was her learning to fight for herself after being forced to become a geisha in this weird city. Life is so strict, there’s so much you’re not allowed to do, she’s alone and she’s learning how to be strong enough to speak up against the people who are running it. That part of the story really resonated with what I was going through at that time.

Do you feel the last few years for you have paralleled that?


I was suddenly becoming more confident and learning my mind and not being afraid to do that – and that just comes from believing in yourself and what you do. It can be hard to say, “Well actually I think this is right and I don’t want to do it that way,” to someone who’s been in the industry for 20 years. It took a long time to learn that and feel ok doing it.

That must be more difficult when you are collaborating with people at the top of their game [Beautiful Lies includes credits from songwriters who have worked with One Direction, Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran]?

That was definitely scary but it was me realising that they’re here because they love to work with artists and that’s how it should be – it should be my music and it should be how I feel it. Otherwise it’s not really worth doing.

Beautiful Lies is out now. Birdy is touring the UK from October officialbirdy.com

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