Birdy flying high after debut 

click to enlarge Soundtrack savvy: British singer Birdy’s songs are in “The Hunger Games” and “Brave.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Soundtrack savvy: British singer Birdy’s songs are in “The Hunger Games” and “Brave.”

It’s odd, admits Jasmine van den Bogaerde of the moniker under which she records — Birdy. But it was bestowed upon her by her parents when she was just a toddler. “They gave it to me because when they’d feed me, I’d open my mouth really wide, like a baby chick,” says the 16-year-old British wunderkind, who started out doing soulful covers of Phoenix (“1901”), The xx (“Shelter”) and Bon Iver (“Skinny Love”), all of which are featured on her new EP, “Live in London,” a follow-up to her recent eponymous debut. Her original “Just a Game” figured into “The Hunger Games” soundtrack, and “Learn Me Right,” tracked with Mumford & Sons, is in Pixar’s film “Brave.” Now when Birdy opens her mouth, people listen.

You just went on vacation with your folks to Sicily. Were you recognized there? I got a lot of strange looks, but I think that was just because I was really white and everyone else was so tan there. And it doesn’t happen so much at home, because I live in Lymington, a really small town on the South Coast, and everyone kind of knows each other there.

Your parents actually encouraged you to pursue music?
It was just something I loved doing, and I started doing it when I was 8, just started writing and singing. And my mom was a concert pianist, so she taught me to play the piano. My parents have given up so much of their time for me, and they’re really cautious with decisions, so they’ve always been telling me how important it is to keep your feet on the ground.

Why begin your career with cover songs?
Because I was at school, and I’d done “Skinny Love” and it did really well on the radio. So it just seemed like a good idea, because it wouldn’t use up as much of my school time.

How was it working with Marcus Mumford and crew? I was so excited because I’m such a big fan. But they were all really funny, and I just felt so relaxed. And they gave me some good advice, too. That making mistakes onstage is just a normal thing, and you should just carry on with the show.

Your own songs are better than your covers, right?
Well, I’ve been quite nervous about that because I’m writing the second album now, and I know there’s an expectation. So I hope people will like my new music, as well. So far, the songs are just about my past year and my experiences. Some of them are about love. Uh, not that I have much experience with that!



Playing Outside Lands

Panhandle Stage, Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park, S.F.

When: 1:20 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $95 to $495; sold out

Contact: (415) 421-8497;

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Tom Lanham

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