Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado Photo

Growing up, the idea of becoming a renowned singer must have been almost unimaginable for Nelly Kim Furtado. Born in 1978, in Victoria, Canada, to Antonio Jose, who was a landscaper and Maria Manuela, who worked as a hotel maid, Furtado was however, exposed to music since the start given the fact that both of her parents were very fond of music.  Throughout her childhood, Furtado played various instruments and often performed both at the church with her mother and at schools plays and concerts. She is famous for her unique fusion of genres which echoes her distinct Portuguese heritage.

She got her first break when at the age of 18; she took part in a talent show and got noticed by the manager of the Philosopher Kings. She went on to record a song with Gerald Eaton and Brian West and impressed them so much that she was convinced to work on more tracks which ultimately culminated in a contract with DreamWorks Records. From there she released her first album, “Whoa Nelly!” in late 2000. The album was an instant success managing to capture the hearts of even the critics who were impressed with Furtado’s distinctive fusion of pop and rock genres. Her single, “I am Like A Bird”, proved to be a monumental success and even increased the slowly dwindling sales of “Whoa Nelly!”  She also reinvented Missy Elliot’s, “Get Ur Freak On”, by singing its remix, which was a remarkable triumph for her. In 2002, “I am Like A Bird”, managed to win her the award for best female pop performer at the Grammy Awards.

Her second album, titled “Folklore” was released in in 2003 but failed to achieve the same success as her first one. Making use of instruments like the Dulcimer, Portuguese ukulele and the Banjo, it was an attempt to showcase folk music in a modern contemporary fashion, according to Furtado. The album, however, did not yield any hit songs and sold roughly about 500,000 copies as compared to the 2 million copies of “Whoa Nelly!”. The album did much better abroad as compared to the United States and after completing her tour; Furtado temporarily withdrew herself from the music industry for about two years. It was during in 2003, that Furtado and her boyfriend, Jasper Gahunia had a baby daughter, Nevis. The small family embarked on a world tour, traveling to far off places like Germany, France and Japan.

In 2006, after getting out of a 4 year relationship with Gahunia, she found inspiration from the new turn of events in her life and decided to resume working again. She paired up with Timothy Mosley this time and released her third album, “Loose”. The album redeemed Nelly Furtado as a performer and singer as it went on generate 2 hit singles namely, “Promiscious” which featured Furtado with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, and “Maneater”, as well as being appreciated by both audiences and critics. Critics especially commended Furtado and Timbaland’s duo. “Loose” made such a sensation that Furtado’s entire image was revamped and raved about in the media, making her a new favorite in everyone’s eyes. Also in 2006, Furtado showcased her song, “Say it Right”, from her album, at the American Music Awards which was widely enjoyed by all. During that time, she expressed her interest in making an album wholly in either Spanish or Portuguese with Gustavo Santaolalla. In addition to her win at the Grammy Awards, she has won the Juno Award for best songwriter and producer, amongst others.



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