Nelly Furtado biographyNelly Furtado Lyrics
Nelly Kim Furtado (born December 2, 1978) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and record producer.
Furtado came to fame in 2000 with the release of her debut album Whoa, Nelly!, which featured the Grammy Award-winning single "I'm like a Bird". After giving birth to daughter Nevis and releasing the less commercially successful Folklore (2003), she returned to prominence in 2006 with the release of Loose and its hit singles "Promiscuous" and "Maneater".
Furtado is known for experimenting with different instruments, sounds, genres, languages, and vocal styles. This diversity has been influenced by her wide-ranging musical taste and her interest in different cultures
Early years and influences
Furtado , a first-generation Portuguese Canadian, was born as one of three children to Maria Manuela and António José Furtado, Portuguese immigrants from São Miguel Island in the Azores. She was named after Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim. On a faux-interview on MADtv, she stated that her last name means "stolen" in Portuguese.
Furtado's parents emigrated from Portugal to Canada in the late 1970s. She has stated that visiting her parents' birthplace, the Azores islands, as a child experiencing its culture and learning the Portuguese language has made her an open-minded person. This has strongly influenced her artistry as she has incorporated many cross-cultural sounds into her music. It is also evident in her multilingualism as she can speak English, Portuguese, Spanish and Hindi. Furtado has acknowledged her parents as the source of her strong work ethic; she spent eight summers working as a chambermaid with her mother, who was a housekeeper in Victoria. She has stated that coming from a working class background has shaped her identity in a positive way. She has also said that her Roman Catholic background and attending church was "a big part of [her] life".
Furtado first sang at the age of four when she performed a duet with her mother at church on Portugal Day. She began playing instruments at the age of nine, learning the trombone, ukulele and, in later years, the guitar and keyboard. She began writing songs at the age of twelve and, as a teenager; she played in a Portuguese marching band.
During these early years, Furtado embraced many musical genres, listening heavily to mainstream R&B, hip hop, alternative rock, New Wave, alternative hip hop, trip hop, world music (including Portuguese fado, Brazilian bossa nova, and Indian music), and a variety of others. Her influences have included Jeff Buckley, Caetano Veloso, Amalia Rodrigues, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Cornershop, TLC, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Digable Planets, De La Soul, Radiohead, Oasis, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Verve, U2, and Beck.
Furtado's music has also been influenced by her current residence, Toronto, which she calls "the most multicultural city in the entire world" and a place where she "can be any culture". Growing up in Canada and experiencing Toronto's cultural diversity, she has said that she did not have to wait for the Internet revolution to learn about world music; she began listening to it at the age of fifteen and continues to discover new genres. On a 2006 Rolling Stone issue, she commented about her diverse taste:
“I always know there's a new genre left to discover. For me, it's like a metaphor for life. I feel like if you can get down with any style of music, you can get down with any style of person. So it's fun for me-I get to expose my fans to different vibes and they, in turn, open their minds too. I'm always undergoing mind-opening. ”
The first musicians Furtado interacted with were underground rappers and DJs. During a visit to Toronto, after the summer of eleventh grade, she met Tallis Newkirk, member of hip hop group Plains of Fascination and contributed vocals to their 1996 album Join the Ranks on the track "Waitin' 4 the Streets". She spent the rest of that summer in Portugal, opening her mind to native rock acts and then returned to British Columbia. After graduating from Mount Douglas Secondary School in 1996, she moved to Toronto where she eventually formed the trip hop duo Nelstar in 1997 with Newkirk. The experience led her back to her hip-hop influences and allowed her to become more comfortable with writing her own melodies and rhymes. Although, "Like", one of the songs Nelstar recorded, received a VideoFACT grant to cover for the production of a music video, Furtado felt the trip-hop style of the duo was "too segregated" and believed it did not represent her personality or allow her to showcase her vocal ability. She left the group and decided to move back home.
Before moving, she performed at the 1997 Honey Jam, a female, mostly-black talent show at Toronto nightclub Lee's Palace. She performed to a Digital Audio Tape in jeans and a t-shirt. At the club, The Philosopher Kings singer Gerald Eaton (aka Jarvis Church) was impressed with her performance and approached her to write with him. Eaton and fellow Kings member Brian West, collectively known as Track and Field, helped Furtado produce a demo, but she already had plans to backpack through Europe and return home to take creative writing courses at Camosun College. She stayed in touch with Eaton and West who insisted that she return to Toronto to record more material. She eventually returned for two weeks; the material recorded during those sessions led to her record deal with DreamWorks Records in 1999
2000-2002: Whoa, Nelly!
Furtado continued to collaborate with Eaton and West, who co-produced her debut album, Whoa, Nelly!, which was released in October 2000. The album saw major success all over the globe supported by its singles, "I'm like a Bird", "Turn off the Light", "...On the Radio (Remember the Days)", and "Hey, Man!". It received four Grammy nominations in 2002, and her debut single won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Furthermore, Furtado was critically acclaimed for her innovative mixture of various genres and sounds. Slant magazine called the album "a delightful and refreshing antidote to the army of 'pop princesses' and rap-metal bands that had taken over popular music at the turn of the millennium". The sound of the album was strongly influenced by musicians who had traversed cultures and "the challenge of making heartfelt, emotional music that's upbeat and hopeful". Following the release of the album, Furtado headlined the Burn in the Spotlight tour and also appeared on Moby's Area:One tour.
Before the release of her sophomore album, Folklore, Furtado gave birth to her first child, daughter Nevis (purportedly named for the Caribbean island Nevis on which she was conceived but in actuality named for the Latin word "Nevi"). On September 20, 2003 in Toronto, she had a home birth with midwives. She has said about motherhood, "It's actually pretty incredible. It's a lot more instinctual than I thought".
Nevis's father is Furtado's then boyfriend, DJ/producer Jasper Gahunia aka Lil' Jaz. Furtado and Gahunia, who broke up in 2005, were together for four years and friends for several years before that. She has stated, "We're fully active co-parents and really close friends, so things are irie". Nevis is ethnically a quarter Filipino, a quarter Indian, and half Portuguese. Furtado has chosen to raise her in Toronto due to the city's cultural diversity, open-mindedness, and grassroots political activism.
Furtado's second album, Folklore, was released in November 2003. The title was influenced by her parents immigration to Canada, "when I look at my old photo albums, I see pictures of their brand-new house, their shiny new car, their first experiences going to very North American-type places like Kmart. When you have that in your blood, you never really part with it-it becomes your own personal folklore." The album also displayed a diverse sound but with a more rock-oriented, acoustic approach. As she focused more on the songwriting rather "than on frenetically switching genres five times in one song", BBC felt that it had "twice the originality" of her debut. Furtado attributed the mellowness of the album to the fact that she was pregnant during most of its recording. The final track on the album, "Childhood Dreams", is dedicated to her daughter.
The album includes the single "Força" (meaning "strength" or "carry on" in Portuguese), which was written as the official anthem of the 2004 European Football Championship. Furtado performed the song at the championship's final in Lisbon, Portugal in July 2004. Other singles included the ballad "Try" and "Powerless (Say What You Want)", in which she embraces her Portuguese heritage; the song deals with "the idea that you can still feel like a minority inside, even if you don't look like one on the outside".
The album was not as successful as her debut, partly due to troubles at DreamWorks Records and the less poppy sound. It lacked promotion because DreamWorks was sold to Universal Music Group at the time of Folkore's release. In 2005, DreamWorks Records was shut down, and many of its artists, including Furtado, were absorbed into Geffen Records.
Furtado's third album, Loose, was released in June 2006. It was named after the spontaneous, creative decisions she faced while creating the album Four lead singles were released in different regions of the world: the Spanish reggaeton-influenced "No Hay Igual" (featuring Calle 13), the hip-hop "Promiscuous" (featuring Timbaland), for which she won a 2006 Billboard Music Award for Pop Single of the Year, the latin "Te Busqué" (featuring Juanes) and the pop "Maneater". For the first time, Furtado worked with a variety of record producers and followed a more collaborative approach in creating the album. The album, mostly produced by Timbaland, showed her experimenting with a more R&B-hip hop sound and the "surreal, theatrical elements of '80s music". She has categorized the album's sound as punk-hop, which she describes as "this modern, poppy, spooky music" and stated that "there's a mysterious, after-midnight vibe to [it] that's extremely visceral". She attributed the youthful sound of the album to the presence of her two-year old daughter.