Jasmine van den Bogaerde may be just 17, but she is no stranger to the music industry. At 12, she won the Open Mic UK competition, and a couple of years later, she hit the charts with her first single, a cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” Her debut album was almost entirely covers, but her latest release, Fire Within, shows that Birdy’s skills also extend to writing.
Though young, Birdy rarely sounds fragile. There’s a weight to her voice that seems to channel Fiona Apple without the rage. The imagery of birds appearing throughout the album could sound forced and heavy-handed given van den Bogaerde’s nickname, but the songs are lush enough that this doesn’t matter. This also plays well against the song “No Angel,” in which Birdy sings, “I ain’t no angel” and “You see those egg shells, they’re broken up.”
Given that Birdy has collaborated with some top writers and producers on this album (including Ryan Tedder, Jake Gosling, and Dan Wilson), the consistency between the songs is incredible. The motif of light throughout works well with the album title, and even as Birdy sings about heartbreak and disappointment, her strength is easy to find. For a proper debut as an artist finding her own sound, Fire Within is an album worthy of envy.