Singer-songwriter Birdy first came to prominence six years ago ages just 15 when her cover of Skinny Love stormed the UK charts, making her a household name. Three albums (the latter two hitting the top 10) later - and a schedule that's taken her touring all around the world - she's gearing up for a slot on the Garden Stage at this year’s Belladrum. The 21-year-old talks about growing up in the limelight, and who she’s dying to see at this year’s festival
Hello, hope these questions find you well! Are you looking forward to coming to the Highlands and the festival?
I actually have never played Belladrum before! I’m very excited to be doing it this year though especially because it’s a family run festival. I’ve spent a bit of time in the Highlands visiting family, it’s so beautiful and it always feels like there’s magic in the air.
You came to fame in 2011 via your cover of Skinny Love. Now you’re three albums in, and a seasoned pro! Is there anything you know now that you wished that 15-year-old you knew about music/performing?
I feel a lot more comfortable on stage than I did when I was 15. It took me a long time to feel confident performing without the piano which is something I love doing now as well as playing guitar on stage. I also found talking on stage terrifying at first, I still find it hard but playing festivals has definitely helped because the atmosphere is more relaxed and puts me at ease.
Your cover of Skinny Love was what broke you into the public eye, but what/when was the moment where you yourself realised, I guess, “oh my god, I’ve actually made it as a musician”?
I wrote a song called Not About Angels for the film The Fault In Our Stars and I think it was hearing it in the scene at the premiere. It’s one of my dreams to write songs and music for film so that was a really special and emotional moment for me.
You started releasing predominantly original material starting with your second album in 2013 – while you’ve been writing songs for years, was it a nervewracking/exciting experience to be in a position to place so much of your own material out there after the largely covers-based first album?
It was scary as I was still so young and developing my songwriting but I always feel more comfortable when I’m performing my own songs because I’m closer to the lyric, so it was really exciting to release them for the first time.
Your third album – Beautiful Lies – came out last year. Can you talk me through the writing for it – what were you looking to explore with it in terms of the lyrics and music? And looking back at it a year on, do you think you succeeded?
The lyric throughout Beautiful Lies is about change and me learning to take control of my music.
I was really inspired by Japan after reading a book called ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, the imagery was so beautiful I felt like I was there even though I’d never been.
I find my writing often changes with my surroundings and so many of the melodies and voicing’s on the album have a really Asian feel to them.
Which of your songs are you particularly looking forward to giving an airing to at this year’s Belladrum, and why? When playing festivals, how do you approach picking out a setlist to perform?
Towards the end of the set we play a song called Winter – it’s always my favourite moment in the show because it starts off so fragile and grows into something really big and psychedelic, it’s really fun to play.
I’m not sure if you’ll have the time to enjoy the festival after your set or not, but has there been any other artists on the bill that have stood out for you as ones to check out?
Hopefully I will have time. KT Tunstall is one of my favourite artists, I’d love to be able to watch her set!