Following a whirlwind few years, Open Mic UK winner Birdy has been talking about her success and the remarkable rise to fame she has experienced since winning the competition.
At only 12 years old, Birdy, entered Open Mic UK competing against 9,000 hopefuls, sweeping through the regional and area finals to become the eventual victor at the National Grand Final with her own song ‘So Be Free’. The competition searches for the best singers, singer/songwriters, rappers and vocalists in the UK every year, with acts of all genres, R’n’B, Rap, Acoustic, Pop or Classical welcome to enter.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Birdy, said that winning Open Mic UK gave her such a “confidence boost”, something which perhaps led her self-titled debut album going Gold in the UK and Platinum in Europe. The massive success since winning has also seen her spine-tingling version of ‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver reach the number one spot in various countries, and the top 20 in the UK. She has embarked on her first US tour, following the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Amy Winehouse and Prince by playing such venues as Hollywood’s legendary Roxy Theatre and New York’s Joe’s Pub, and even provided the end credit track for the massive blockbuster hit ‘The Hunger Games’.
Birdy, now 16, continued saying that Open Mic UK showed her what she wanted to do when she was still very young, “When I performed I had this connection with the audience that I'd never felt before, and I loved it. It was my first big thing, and looking out into the crowd …it was just amazing.”
The year previous to becoming the overall winner of Open Mic UK, Birdy had entered the competition as an 11 year old, singing KT Tunstall’s ‘The Other Side of the World, “I really wanted to do it. And I queued up on the pier for hours in Portsmouth. But I was a year too young. I knew I was, I just hoped, maybe …” When asked as to why she was so determined to re-enter the competition in 2008 she said “It was just something I loved doing – I never really thought I could do it. It was just my dreams. It wasn’t until [that contest] that I thought I was good enough to do it. Before that I’d only been doing it for my family.”
After winning Open Mic UK, Birdy recorded her album with Gareth Henderson in River Studios which resulted in her being offered a publishing contract with Good Soldier Songs Ltd, run by Christian Tattersfield, chairman of Warner Bros. Tattersfield was previously responsible for signing artists such as David Gray. Birdy subsequently got signed to Warner.
The question on everyone’s lips is who will follow in Birdy’s footsteps in this year’s Open Mic UK competition which started in August. Acts who make it past their first audition will go through to the live showcases at some of the UK’s most prestigious venues including Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sheffield City Hall, Birmingham’s LG Arena and Portsmouth Guildhall, following in the footsteps of famous acts such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Katy Perry. These fantastic venues all lead up to acts playing the Grand Final at the UK’s most recognised live music venue, The O2 in London.
You can check on Open Mic UK winner Birdy’s progress via her website, officialbirdy.com. If you want to enter Open Mic UK next year they are enrolling singers for auditions already! Go to www.Openmicuk.co.uk for more information.
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