Nelly Kim Furtado (born December 2, 1978) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and actress of Portuguese descent. She has sold 20 million albums worldwide and 18 million singles, bringing her total sales to nearly 40 million records. Furtado grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Furtado first gained fame with her debut album, Whoa, Nelly!, and its single "I'm like a Bird", which won a 2001 Juno Award for Single of the Year and a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It produced two more international singles: the more successful "Turn off the Light", and "Shit on the Radio (Remember the Days)". After giving birth to her daughter Nevis, her second studio album, Folklore, was released. It was less commercially successful in the US. It produced three international singles: "Powerless (Say What You Want)", "Try", and "Força" (the theme of the 2004 European Football Championship). In summer 2006, she released her third studio album, Loose. It is her biggest success to date worldwide. It produced the number-one hits "Promiscuous", "Maneater", "Say It Right" and "All Good Things (Come to an End)".
After a three-year break, in September 2009, she released her first full-length Spanish album, Mi Plan, along with her first Spanish single "Manos al Aire", which topped the Billboard Hot Latin Songs. This made Furtado the first North American singer to top the Billboard Hot Latin Chart with an original Spanish song. Further singles released were "Más" and "Bajo Otra Luz". For Mi Plan, Nelly received the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. On October 26, a remix album, Mi Plan Remixes, was released. Furtado released her first greatest hits album, The Best of Nelly Furtado, one month later on November 12, 2010. Furtado was born on December 2, 1978, in Victoria, British Columbia to Portuguese parents, Maria Manuela and António José Furtado, both immigrants from the Azores. She was named after Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim. Her parents were born on São Miguel Island and emigrated to Canada in the late 1960s. Her siblings are Michael Anthony and Lisa Anne. She was raised in a Roman Catholic home. At age four, she began performing and singing in Portuguese. Furtado's first public performance was when she sang a duet with her mother at a church on Portugal Day.
She began playing musical instruments at the age of nine, learning the trombone, ukulele and – in later years – the guitar and keyboards. At the age of 12, she began writing songs, and as a teenager, she performed in a Portuguese marching band. Furtado has acknowledged her family as the source of her strong work ethic; she spent eight summers working as a chambermaid with her mother, along with her brother and sister, who was a housekeeper in Victoria. She has stated that coming from a working class background has shaped her identity in a positive way. On February 12, 2010, Nelly Furtado sang in a duet with Bryan Adams at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. The song was called "Bang The Drum" released on EMI album Sounds Of Vancouver 2010 (a commemorative album). On February 14, 2010, she appeared again at the Winter Olympic Victory Ceremony after the awarding of the medals for the athletes. On April 13, 2010, Nelly announced on her Twitter account that Lifestyle, her fourth English studio album, would not be released during the summer of 2010 and that she will go on a second leg of her Mi Plan Tour where she will get more inspiration for her upcoming album Lifestyle. Nelly Furtado is featured in a new song by N.E.R.D. called "Hot N Fun". She also participated in the Young Artists for Haiti song, in which many Canadian artists came together and sang K'naan's inspirational song "Wavin' Flag" to raise money for the victims of the Haiti Earthquake.
On July 2, 2011, Furtado preformed a new track from her unreleased album Lifestyle. The acoustic ballad was entitled "Mystery". The proposed album is targeted for a 2012 release and has attracted producers such as The Neptunes, Tiësto, Timbaland, and Ryan Tedder. At a concert in Lisbon,'Delta Tejo Festival', Furtado covered Jennifer Lopez's 2011 hit single "On the Floor" which incorporates Kaoma's 1989 single "Lambada". Furtado announced that she would include rapper Nas on her upcoming lead single, amongst others to be featured on the album. Another album feature surfaced is Passion Pit's lead singer Mike Angelakos on a track entitled "The Edge", while Furtado also expressed interest to work once again with rapper Missy Elliot. Furtado continued to collaborate with hip-hop producer Salaam Remi, who previously worked on the 2010 single Night Is Young, on "The Edge".
The lyrics for the Salaam Remi produced track are reported to be influenced by the Tiger Woods cheating scandal, in which was originally referred to as "Elin's Song". Furtado proclaims that Lifestyle would be most like her 2000 debut Whoa, Nelly!, but containing elements from urban, alternative, and reggae. In addition is the first of Furtado's album to be completely in English. The influences for the album range from Janelle Monae, The xx, to Florence + the Machine. Aside from Lifestyle, Furtado was featured Game's second single on the The R.E.D. Album entitled "Mamma Knows" (produced by the Neptunes). For the Canadian film The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom, Furtado lent her vocals for the Dolly Parton gospel cover "The Seeker" featured during the credits of the film. She has formed her own record label, Nelstar, in conjunction with Canadian independent label group Last Gang Labels. The first act signed to Nelstar is Fritz Helder & the Phantoms. Furtado released her first Spanish single "Manos al Aire" on the new label.For World AIDS Day in 2006, Furtado took part in an AIDS awareness concert in South Africa hosted by MTV, BET, and Nike; fellow performers included Enrique Iglesias, Kanye West, Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson. Furtado also hosted a program about AIDS on MTV, which also featured guests Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.
On September 20, 2003, in Toronto, Furtado gave birth to a daughter, Nevis, whose father is Jasper Gahunia [AKA DJ Lil' Jazz, Canadian DMC Champion 1998]. Furtado and Gahunia, who had been good friends for several years, remained together for four years until their breakup in 2005. Furtado told Blender magazine that they continue to be good friends and jointly share responsibility of raising Nevis. In June 2006, in an interview with Genre magazine, when asked if she had "ever felt an attraction to women", Furtado replied "Absolutely. Women are beautiful and sexy". Some considered this an announcement of bisexuality, but in August 2006, she stated that she was "straight, but very open-minded". In November 2006, Furtado revealed that she once turned down $500,000 to pose fully clothed in Playboy. Furtado married Cuban sound engineer Demacio "Demo" Castellón, with whom she had worked on the Loose album, on July 19, 2008. Furtado is one of several celebrities who have come under fire recently after 2011 reports from the New York Times and a WikiLeaks document revealed several entertainers had received extravagant sums to perform for the family of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. She has promised to donate to charity the $1 million she received for a 2007 concert. Furtado publicly endorsed Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands during the Federal election in 2011.
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