Page 3 Profile: Birdy, singer

The low-down on today's newsworthy names

Did I see her on the TV at the Opening Ceremony?

Yes, you did. Jasmine Van den Bogaerde, better known by her somewhat more succinct stage name Birdy, sang 'Bird Gerhl', a mournful but uplifting song by Mercury Prize-winning act Antony and the Johnsons. The lyrics ("I've been searching for my wings some time, I'm gonna be born into soon the sky") couldn't have been more appropriate, reflecting both the ceremony's enlightenment theme and the personal battles some athletes endured on their way to the Games.

But who is she?

Aged just 12, the Hampshire-born singer songwriter won a nationwide singing competition, and she was offered a recording contract. Three years passed, and in 2011 she released a cover of Bon Iver's 'Skinny Love'. Birdy's version of the song was picked up by Radio 1's Fearne Cotton, and it reached number 17 in the charts - far higher than the original. The campaign around her debut album was an expensive affair,  but the self-titled record only got to number 17 - a disappointing position for a hyped new album. It eventually went gold in England and platinum in France.

What type of music is it?

Her debut album largely consisted of slow, dolorous indie-pop covers. Refreshing, perhaps, in a modern pop environment dominated by the ear-splitting pound of industrially produced dance music, but critics weren't too keen. Rolling Stone said it was the "most boring music ever recorded by a teenager". But you have to remember she is still only 16. And it's not as if she has gone off the radar completely. She contributed a song to the soundtrack of blockbuster The Hunger Games, and recorded another with Mumford & Sons for Pixar's new feature, Brave.

So will she get a Paralympic sales boost?

She almost certainly will. All eyes were on the Ceremony last night, and you can bet a fair few of them will be going straight onto iTunes to download her tracks. Kate Bush and Oasis both shot up the charts after their music was featured in the Closing Ceremony, and Emile Sande's album even returned to the number one spot.

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