September 15, 2012
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Furtado's album fueled by inspiration
By Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency


Nelly Furtado. (WENN.COM)

After Portuguese-Canadian singer Nelly Furtado finished touring her first 2009 Spanish album, Mi Plan, she seriously thought about giving up English language pop music for good.

But the 33-year-old Victoria, B.C.-raised, Toronto-based artist said she was just playing mind games with herself.

Now Furtado's The Spirit Indestructible, is due Tuesday, and she plans to tour it in early 2013, starting in Canada's west coast.

"I was just enjoying the behind-the-scenes part of what I do musically," said Furtado, all dolled up in high heels, a black leather skirt and a denim jacket in a Toronto hotel room recently.

"And I was thinking, 'Yeah, maybe I should just do writing and production and do other things.' And then I think it's just a game I play with myself. Like, 'I'm going to tell myself, I'm going to quit, so that I'm going to have to go into the studio and create something so inspiring that I have to put it out.' And that's what happens every time."

The end result is a diverse-sounding album with a variety of producers (Rodney Jerkins, Bob Rock and John Shanks among them) that harkens back to her 2000 debut, Whoa, Nelly! with plenty of hip-hop, dance, pop, and world music influences including an appearance by the Kenyan Boys Choir.


Furtado, who became a mom to daughter Nevis in 2004 and got married to her Miami-born Cuban sound engineer Demacio "Demo" Castellón in 2008 (Castellon worked on her last English language album, 2006's Loose, in Miami) has visited Africa and Kenya the last couple of years at the invitation of Free The Children.

She said those trips were part of the inspiration fuelling a lot of the nostalgic-driven music about her childhood in Victoria.

"It sounds like a cliche but just travelling to Kenya and Africa the last couple of years and getting to meet so many great people and really feeling this sense of joy and just kind of coming back to a place in myself that I had kind of forgotten about," said Furtado. "And I think that's why I'm writing so much about my youth and the essence of who I am because I kind of left that for awhile. ... I think that's why this album feels purer to me.

"On my first trip back from Kenya I felt hope that I hadn't felt in so long. Like I felt so hopeful about the future."

Still on her musical bucket list: A Brazilian pop album, a jazz album and another Spanish album.

"I want to expand musically," she said. "I don't see myself making too many more pop albums like English pop albums; I think I might like to explore other genres. I think I'm just going to keep experimenting, really."

Like mother, like daughter

Nelly Furtado's eight-year-old daughter Nevis accompanied her on her most recent Free the Children trip to Kenya and Africa.

And the trip certainly made an impression.

"She was inspired by the leadership," she said. "The high school girls who woke up so early in the morning to study and then just approached everything they did with such compassion and dedication and commitment. It's a commitment you don't always see when you're going through your regular day here in North America because we all get a free education so there's nothing special about being able to go to high school."

Furtado says the musical tastes of Nevis (whose father is a man she dated before marrying Demacio Castellon in 2008) run a wide range and include indie-rock even though she plays violin and piano. So might we see a mini-Nelly making music at some point?

"I'm not sure, if she is (planning on it), it's a secret now," said her mother. "It wouldn't surprise me, to be honest. But I don't know if it would be pop necessarily.

"Maybe something cooler," she added with a laugh. "She's cooler than me."

-- Jane Stevenson




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