Birth Name: Nelly Kim Furtado
Birth Date: December 2, 1978
Birth Place: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Nelly Furtado is the daughter of ethnically Portuguese parents. Growing up, Nelly Furtado was musically gifted and began learning trombone and ukulele at the age of 9. She learned keyboards at age 11 and was composing her own songs by 13. In addition to supporting her musical ambitions, Nelly Furtado’s parents instilled an ethic of hard work that has served her well. After graduating from high school, Furtado moved to Toronto to pursue her musical dreams.
Speaking to the BBC about her musical influences and interests: “I’ll always love hip hop, I love the art of turntabling and freestyling and MCing… things like that. But I also really love rock music, I love Britpop and I love rock music, I love Brazillian music and I love Portugese music, it is a mix of everything truly!”
In Toronto Nelly Furtado joined a trip hop duo called Nelstar and contributed vocals to a track recorded by her musical partner Talisman and his band Plains of Fascination. While performing in Toronto Nelly Furtado came to the attention of Gerald Eaton, lead vocalist of the Philosopher Kings. He helped her sign a contract with Dreamworks Records and co-produced Whoa Nelly!, Nelly Furtado’s first album, released in the fall of 2000.
Whoa Nelly!, a mixture of pop, hip hop, soul, and folk, was an instant critical success. Music fans liked it as well. It’s first single “I’m Like a Bird” climbed into the pop top 10 and helped take the album to the top 25. A second single, “Turn Off the Light,” made it to #5 on the US pop singles chart. Nelly Furtado capped her success with a Grammy Award for Best Pop Female Vocal for her performance on “I’m Like a Bird.”
By 2003 and the release of her second album Folklore, Nelly Furtado was an international pop star. “Forca,” a song from the album, was selected as the official theme for the 2004 European Football Championship. Unfortunately, the album’s commercial success was muted. It’s highest charting single, “Powerless (Say What You Want),” only made it to #39.
For her third album Loose released in June 2006, Nelly Furtado turned to top hip hop producer Timbaland for artistic collaboration. The result was a much more dance and hip hop oriented album than in the past. She released two different first singles from the album initially. “Maneater” was the lead single in Europe and the UK while “Promiscuous,” which features rapping from Timbaland, was the opener in the US.
This allowed Nelly Furtado to achieve the unusual feat of having #1 singles on both sides of the Atlantic but with different songs. A third single “Say It Right” was another top 10 smash in the US. In 2007 Nelly Furtado collaborated with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake on the score settling hit single “Give It To Me.”
For her next musical project Nelly Furtado turned to Latin style pop. Mi Plan, her first Spanish-language album, is due out in September 2009. The first single is “Manos Al Aire.”