Birdy might only be 15, but she can make grown men cry. We witnessed it ourselves a few weeks ago, when the English musician performed her 2011 YouTube hit "Skinny Love" in New York City and made pretty much everyone in the audience tear up a bit. This chill-inducing quality has transformed her from small-town teenager to bonafide internet phenom, and now with multiple viral videos to her name (she's also done equally gorgeous covers of Phoenix and The Naked and Famous), Birdy is dropping her debut album this month. We caught up with the adorable musician after the show, where she filled us in on her new Hunger Games song, stage fright, and her secret obsession with Avril Lavigne. So what have you been doing in New York? This is my first time here, so I had to go site seeing! I went to the top of the Empire State Building, which was cool but freezing cold. We also had a horse and carriage ride in Central Park- that was really fun. Then I’ve just been doing interviews and a couple of showcases.
Do you get nervous with things like that? Yeah, I do get nervous. I always get nervous before I perform!
Where are you from originally? South of England, a place called Lymington. It's really small.
Is your real name Birdy? No, it’s actually Jasmine. Birdy is my nickname from when I was baby and when my parents used to feed me my mouth flew wide open like a little bird [laughing]. Nobody really calls me Jasmine.
When did you first start playing music? My mom’s a concert pianist so she used to teach me, and then when I was 8 I started writing songs. It’s been a pretty natural thing for me.
Do you play any other instruments other than the piano? I used to play the violin and I’m learning the guitar. I'm finally at the point where my fingertips are getting tough, so the guitar doesn't hurt anymore!
Out of all the songs, why did you decide to cover "Skinny Love" originally? I love Bon Iver and I think the original song is so beautiful. The parts of the song are all so different but kind of fit into each other so beautifully. When I tried it on the piano it seemed to work and when we released it online, it suddenly did so well it just seemed right to do covers on the album. I'm at school, so I don't have tons of time to work on original songs right now.
What artist were you obsessed with growing up? I loved Avril Lavigne! She's quite different from me, I know, but I think a big influence came a lot from her. I was obsessed with "Consequences."
Have people started to recognize you on the street? At home I can never quite fool anyone, because my town is so small. Actually, on the plane coming to New York there was a school trip, and they all recognized me! It was funny.
What bands are you listening to now? I love Phoenix. I love my brother’s band; they’re quite new. They’re called Native Roses. I really love their music and I sung with him when I was a bit younger. He’s a drummer.
Okay, so I heard you have a song in the new Hunger Games movie! Yes! I was in LA and I was reading all the books while I was recording my album. I was so inspired by The Hunger Games I wrote a song about it, and they are using it in the film!
Has anyone heard the song yet? I haven't performed it anywhere yet; I'm saving it. I really hope I get to go to the premiere...I'd love that. --LIZA DARWIN