Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado

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Full Name: Nelly Kim Furtado

Date of Birth: December 2, 1978

Place of Birth: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Occupation: Singer

Height: 5' 1"

Nelly Furtado Biography

Singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado heavily credits her ethnic background and childhood for culturally and crucially spawning her creativity as a female and as an inspiring musician. Born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Furtado's working-class parents, who are of Portuguese decent, instilled a strong work ethic during her upbringing. She spent eight summers working as a chambermaid with her housekeeping mother, quickly realizing what it meant to honestly make a living.

Furtado turned to music for enjoyment, learning to play the guitar and the ukulele, and listened to mainstream R&B like Mariah Carey, TLC, Jodeci, Salt-N-Pepa, and Bell Biv DeVoe. Later, she delved into her older brother's collection of Radiohead, Pulp, Oasis, Portishead, the Verve, and U2, pushing Furtado to fully embrace different musical genres, specifically Brazilian music and material by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Amalia Rodrigues. Hip-hop was also a big catalyst in shaping Furtado's musical appreciation.

After high school, she headed to Toronto where she worked at an alarm company by day and experienced the music scene by night. She joined a hip-hop duo tagged Nelstar, and this opportunity led Furtado back to her hip-hop influences of De La Soul and Digable Planets. This allowed her to get comfortable with writing her own melodies and freestyle rhymes. When Furtado started cutting loose at a local Toronto club during the week, her musical aspirations began to swirl.

Brian West and Gerald Eaton, who were of the Canadian funk-pop group the Philosopher Kings, were impressed by her strong sense of performing and asked to produce her demo. During those sessions, Furtado created some of the moving work which landed on her debut for Dreamworks; these solid collaborations led to the pertinent introduction of Nelly Furtado and the critical acclaim of her debut Whoa Nelly!, released in fall 2000. A headlining tour of the U.S. in spring 2001 sparked more interest from fans and critics, and a spot on Moby's Area: One summer tour allowed singles "I'm Like a Bird" and "Turn Off the Light" to receive bigger praise. Furtado's greatest achievement followed a year later when she earned four Grammy nods, including "Song of the Year" for "I'm Like a Bird."

Furtado's second album, Folklore, was released in November 2003. The final track on the album, "Childhood Dreams," was dedicated to her daughter, Nevis. The album includes the single "Força" (meaning "strength" or "carry on" in Portuguese), the official anthem of the 2004 European Football Championship. Furtado performed this song in Lisbon at the championship's final, in which the Portugal national team played. Other singles included "Powerless (Say What You Want)" and the ballad "Try." The album was not as successful as her debut, partly due to the album's less "poppy" sound, but also due to changes at DreamWorks Records. DreamWorks had just been sold to Universal Music Group. In 2005, DreamWorks Records, along with many of its artists including Furtado, were absorbed into Geffen Records.

Furtado's third album, Loose, was released in June 2006. In this album, primarily produced by Timbaland, Furtado experiments with sounds from R&B, hip hop, and 80s music. She categorized the album's sound as punk-hop, described as "modern, poppy, spooky" and as having "a mysterious, after-midnight vibe... extremely visceral." She attributed the youthful sound of the album to the presence of her two-year-old daughter. 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 dark pop single "Maneater." Loose became the most successful album of Furtado's career, reaching #1 in several countries including the United States and Canada. In February 2007, Furtado embarked on the Get Loose Tour.

On April 1, 2007, Furtado was a performer at and host of the 2007 Juno Awards in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She won all five awards for which she was nominated, including Album of the Year and Single of the Year. In October 2007 Furtado was nominated for three MTV Europe Music Awards, and she won the Album of the Year award.
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