‘Fire Within’ follows Birdy’s eponymous 2011 debut album ‘Birdy’, which saw the young star rise to success, hitting the Top 20 in the UK and fluttering to the top spot in Belgium and Holland. The album achieved Gold status in the UK, Platinum status throughout Europe and resulted in a gargantuan 148 million views on her YouTube channel.
Since winning the Open Mic UK competition and releasing her debut album, Birdy has worked with Mumford and Sons, appeared on ‘The Hunger Games’ soundtrack, and has performed live at the Sydney Opera House, which she has cited as “one of my favourite shows.”
Birdy on the Open Mic UK competition
Birdy first felt the heat of the spotlights when she came up against 10,000 hopeful acts in the national music competition Open Mic UK at the young and impressionable age of just 12. Arriving with her trademark beautiful voice and the dream of becoming a superstar, Birdy eased her way through the auditions into both the Regional and Area finals before her glorious win at the Grand Final, where she sang her own song ‘So Be Free’. You can watch her winning performance here:
The prize for winning the competition was studio time with long-term Open Mic UK sponsor, Gareth Henderson of River Studios, and it was the tracks recorded with him during these sessions that lead to her eventual publishing and recording contracts. Birdy has remained loyal to the studios ever since, recording the only original song on her first album (Without A Word) there, as well as working with Gareth on the vocals for ‘Fire Within’ on a regular basis.
‘Fire Within’ is Birdy’s second album to date and will be the first album that contains mainly her own song writing. Talking about the two years since her self-titled debut album, Birdy said “It’s been an incredible few years since I released my debut album back in 2011. I’ve been writing new songs and I’m so excited for people to hear them. They come straight from my heart.” The now 17-year-old has written/co-written all of the 11 tracks that feature on the new album, showing that she has progressed as an artist phenomenally since her humble beginnings at the Open Mic UK competition.
The first song released from ‘Fire Within’ is ‘Wings’ – a soaring, anthemic track compared to the stripped back quality found in the songs on her debut. The ever-beautiful voice of Birdy floats above the piano-led track which was co-written with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. Talking about the track and the collaboration Birdy said: “We wrote that in LA. It was one of my first co-writes, so it was a very, kind of, weird experience. I kind of wanted that song to really lead from the first album into the second, almost like a stepping stone, so it’s got that kind of melancholy feel, but yeah, it’s got real drive. For me the inspiration behind it is having a really wonderful time with your friends and having that memory. So, it’s kind of sad because you want to be back there, but it’s still a happy memory.” Continuing to speak on the change in sound from her first album to her second Birdy also said about the track: “It’s a real mix of the two albums I think, I really wanted that. There’s a few songs on the new album which have a really new sound, so I thought that was a good setting for it.”
Open Mic UK
Casting his mind back to first meeting Birdy, the Events Director for Open Mic UK, Chris Grayston – who first discovered the young talent, said “When we first saw Birdy, it was obvious that she had a rare talent – for someone so young she had maturity beyond her years and I’m delighted that we were able to give her help to take the first steps towards what I’m sure will be a fantastically successful career.”
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Open Mic UK winner, book yourself an audition at Open Mic UK now