Nach fünf Jahren Funkstille hat Birdy am letzten Freitag ihr neues Studioalbum „Young Heart“ veröffentlicht. Anna sprach im Interview mit der Sängerin über ihre Reisen, die guten Seiten des Alleinseins und ihre Weiterentwicklung.
You took a well-deserved break after your last album. Was there a point where you thought: „I need to take a step back“? And how did you use your music-free time?
Birdy: I began trying to write the new record and wasn’t really getting anywhere and so decided to take a break for three months and I went on a trip to India. It was good to just forget about trying to write and get back to normality for a while. I’d been touring and putting out music pretty much non stop since I was 14 and so I think I really needed that time to have some experiences and work out what the next project was going to be.
I read that you traveled to Nashville in search of inspiration. I’ve never been there, but have a very romanticized image of this musically historic city. What did you take away from your time there? And what should I definitely check out when I’m there in the future?
Birdy: Everyone you meet in Nashville is a musician and I loved writing there because it never feels like work, the writing is very authentic and it feels like people just want to have a fun day making something beautiful. You should definitely see the strip once, it’s quite hectic and touristy but amazing to see so much live music in one place. I also loved East Nashville, lots of fun bars and good food!
You also spent some time in Los Angeles – that must have been very different from Nashville, right? What inspired you there in particular?
Birdy: I wanted to go and write there because Joni Mitchell has been a big influences for me on this album, I felt the music I was making had some of that laurel canyon feel and would maybe make more sense in LA. I stayed in a beautiful house in Topanga canyon which was so amazing and just being far from home in such a vast city was really inspiring for me.
I really like your song „Loneliness“ and how you describe it as a love song to being alone. It fits pretty well with the last 12 months. Solitude is always portrayed in such a negative way, yet I keep finding a lot of peace and joy in it. For example, I love traveling by myself. What do you prefer to do alone that others might find odd?
Birdy: From years of touring and travelling, being in strange cities and hotel rooms on my own, I’m quite used to solitude and I find that feeling quite exciting sometimes. I also like to stay up really late by myself, I do a lot of my writing at 4am when everyone else is asleep. I just find there’s something magic about that time of night.
Being in your twenties is a strange, somehow beautiful phase, and before you know it, you’ve evolved a bit more. And listening to „Young Heart“, I can totally hear it in your songs. What is the biggest learning that you have taken from the last few years? Personally, but also for your life as an artist?
Birdy: I think probably as an artist it’s been learning to listen to my instincts a bit more and to not be afraid of contradiction, I think as a person I’ve learnt to be a bit thicker skinned and more independent.
I think lots of people probably still see me as being 14!
And what is especially important to you about how the outside world should see you as Birdy today? I can imagine that many are still stuck with their image of you on „Beautiful Lies“, while a lot has happened since then for sure.
Birdy: I think lots of people probably still see me as being 14! We had the 10 year anniversary of Skinny Love recently which is crazy to me how time has flown! I hope through this album people can really hear who I am as an artist, I feel that this is the first time I’ve captured that properly. All of my albums show different parts of me, on Beautiful Lies I was doing a lot of experimenting with different instrumentation and big reverbs, but Young Heart feels a lot more raw and honest.
Your music seems much more personal now, more tangible somehow. Was that a natural process of your own evolution, to change your songwriting to that? Or was it a huge effort to overcome?
Birdy: One of the themes on the record is heartbreak and so naturally what I wrote about was quite raw and personal but it was difficult at times to be so open and honest. I think I was also inspired by the way Joni Mitchell writes her lyrics because they’re so conversational and I wanted the songs to feel a bit like I was talking to a friend.
I would argue from my own experience that we don’t always handle our Young Heart very well and let it get broken by people who aren’t deserving it. If you had to give a tip to your younger self and also to our readers in that regard: What would it be?
Birdy: I don’t think you can really avoid heart break, it’s just a part of life and growing older, it’s a very hard thing to go through but it makes us stronger and appreciate love more.
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