I'm a huge Bon Iver fan, and I was hugely skeptical when my love for Justin Vernon led me to a cover of Skinny Love done by a 14-year-old girl. "Birdy" is the stage name of Jasmine Van den Bogaerde. Now 15, she's getting a whole lot of attention, including mine, because she's absolutely brilliant. She apparently won some British music competition a few years ago at the ripe old age of 12, and was signed soon after, but I had never heard of her until I found her cover. Her videos are as low-light and lovely as her songs, and I'm dying to see what she'll do once she starts putting out her own music.
I do wonder if this melancholy niche she seems to have found will be the beginning and end of a range for her. I can't see her doing anything up-tempo, but then again, I don't know if I'd want her to. I'm infamous for my love of sad songs, but I think there's this growing group of soulful female singers like Florence Welch and Adele who have managed to create up-tempo, melancholy music that loses none of the poetry of their heavier stuff. Florence Welch, I think, has made a whole career out of her ability to spin these epic, up-tempo songs from a very dark aesthetic. It comes out a bit when you hear her acoustic versions of popular songs like Cosmic Love.
Anyway. My favorite of Birdy's covers so far is Ed Sheeran's The A Team, mostly because it's so unfiltered. Her album drops soon, and I'll be curious to see if there's any balance to her versions of Shelter and Skinny Love. If we do get that balance, it'll be by coming back to live versions of tunes like The A Team that we'll remember where her music comes from.