From the age of 12, Birdy (née Jasmine van den Bogaerde) has had the word "prodigy" follow her around the globe. It's a label that comes with some serious baggage. But, now, on the brink of 18, the singer seems wholeheartedly unfazed by the title. Rather, she's got her game face on, prepared for the deluge of publicity her contributions to The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack and her second full-length album's U.S. release will bring.
It's a good thing, then, that Birdy is no stranger to the spotlight. She's been playing under it for the last six years. Discovered on Open Mic UK (Britain's version of the singing competition) before she could even call herself a teenager, Birdy has already performed sold-out shows and in front of millions. It's a success that can largely be attributed to her unique sound, which is imbued with a sense of heartbreak and longing one wouldn't assume a girl so new to the world could have experienced. Which, she admitted to us, she hasn't. But, that's just further proof of her talent, one that's seemingly beyond her years.
Of course, this all means you can call her a prodigy, a wunderkind, a sensation, what-have-you — just know that Birdy's not in it for the title. She makes music for the catharsis of creating and to understand the world. And, hopefully, through her work, audiences will understand it a bit better, too. Or, at least they'll have someone to turn to when the going gets a little rough.
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson