Sounds Like: A young Londoner's spin on modern Americana and stripped-down soul, driven forward by killer pipes and an acoustic guitar
For Fans of: Laura Marling, First Aid Kit, Alanis Morissette's MTV Unplugged
Why You Should Pay Attention: Still too young to order a pint in the U.S., Jade Bird is already flying high overseas, where the British songwriter kicked off the year opening for Brent Cobb and recently graduated to the U.K. festival circuit. She headed to upstate New York to record her debut release, working alongside producer Simone Felice – whom she affectionately calls "a hippie with a really cool vibe" – on the five-song EP Something American. Inspired by Loretta Lynn and Patti Smith, the record finds Bird singing about weddings and heartbreak in a voice that's raw and robust, without any heavily layered arrangements or larger-than-necessary backing bands getting in the way.
She Says: "I'm really passionate about bringing good, traditional songwriting back. Your production should never overshadow that. You can make the mistake of trying to make yourself sound too much like someone else, and then you just become an amalgamation of your influences. I love country music, but I love Patti Smith too, and I almost wanted to take a punky approach to the whole thing. Something American has this country sound, but it also has this strong, female, bluesy element."
Hear for Yourself: A child of divorce, Bird wails about broken vows on "Cathedral," steadily building the song into something taut and towering. R.C.