All Bets Are On NPR Music Slingshot Artist Jade Bird The British-born artist developed a fondness for American country music in her teens. At just 20 years old, the NPR Music Slingshot artist's new single is starting to break big in the U.S.
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All Bets Are On Jade Bird

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All Bets Are On Jade Bird

All Bets Are On Jade Bird

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So "Jagged Little Pill" was also a huge influence for a girl learning to write songs in the U.K. But it was her interest in classic American country music that made her the rising star she is today. Reporter Hady Mawajdeh of KERA in Dallas tells us about a British songwriter who sounds like she was plucked from the American heartland.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GOOD WOMAN")

JADE BIRD: (Singing) One minute, you told two lies - that you love me, and it was you and I.

HADY MAWAJDEH, BYLINE: Armed with a big white guitar and a crystalline voice, 20-year-old Jade Bird has a knack for writing songs about the moments in life that you wish you could forget. A child of divorce, Bird says broken vows and forgotten promises are natural topics for her.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GOOD WOMAN")

BIRD: (Singing) You're giving me a heart attack. Ooh, what are you thinking? What all do you take me for? Ooh, what are you thinking? She's cheaper than a dollar-store version of me, version of me, a version of me, a version of me.

MAWAJDEH: Jade Bird developed a fascination with what it meant to be American partially through discovering the work of hardscrabble country music icons Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. These women endured hardships and were able to rise above. Bird drew from their resilience.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOMETHING AMERICAN")

BIRD: (Singing) I'm not nice like her, won't wear white like her, don't live life with the pages mapped out. No, I'm not perfect. But then no one is. We're all reaching for something American.

MAWAJDEH: With Jade Bird's newest single, though - a song called "Lottery" - she's starting to show that Alanis Morissette influence. See if this rings a bell. It starts off sweetly, exuding youthful innocence as she recalls a conversation with an ex-boyfriend. But quickly, it takes an aggressive turn. Bird's voice fills with rage and disappointment over her former partner's decision to bet on love with another woman.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOTTERY")

BIRD: (Singing) You used to tell me that love is a lottery. But you got your numbers, and you're betting on me.

MAWAJDEH: Jade Bird has yet to release a full album, but "Lottery," is already becoming a big hit. On top of that, she's announced her first North American headlining tour. That starts this fall. And if "Lottery" is any indication of what's to come, who knows where this bird will land?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOTTERY")

BIRD: (Singing) No, but he's 30.

GREENE: Hady Mawajdeh from member station KERA in Dallas, talking about Jade Bird, who's featured in NPR Music's rising stars project, Slingshot.

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