Sprouting into the pop fields with her debut album “Whoa, Nelly!,” which featured the unique and buttery Grammy Award-winning single "I'm Like a Bird," Nelly Furtado began to spread her folksy and poetic musical seed onto the world. Shortly thereafter she released the mainstream pop CD “Folklore” in 2003, where her singles “Powerless” and “Try” found middling attention. A few years later, she spread like a weed through the hip-hop countryside with the 2006 Timbaland produced album “Loose” and the world went nuts for singles "Maneater,” “Promiscuous" and "Say It Right.” After the American world was covered in Furtado flowers she took to the Latin market In 2009, where she released her first Spanish album “Mi Plan,” which won a Latin Grammy Award.
This week the singer celebrates the release of “The Best of Nelly Furtado,” a 17-track collection of her favorite singles from the last 10 years. PopWrap sat down with Nelly to discuss all things music, her love for pal and collaborator Missy Elliot and her next album, which will see her sound come full circle, back to the “Whoa, Nelly!” vibe.
PopWrap: Congratulations on the recent Latin Grammy win.
Nelly Furtado: Thank you! We [Nelly and producer James Bryan] are the first two Canadian’s to win Latin Grammys! It was a great feeling.
PW: So now you have an American Grammy and a Latin one, it’s like some sort of Grammy sandwich.
Nelly: Yea! Grammy-sammy. I won back in 2002 for “I’m Like a Bird” and now this last week, so it’s a nice career boost. This past year has been the most amazing year in my career. I have just had more fun and been overwhelmed, musically, in more ways than I could ever imagine.
PW: It’s nice this win came at the same time as the release of your “Greatest Hits” album this week.
Nelly: Yea, all of the songs on that album are just a mix of what has gotten me to where I am. Then there are new tracks like “Stars” which was recorded back when I was releasing “Loose” but never released. I would get that requested of me at shows constantly. There are also a few songs from Salaan Remi like “Girlfriend in the City” and my current single “Night is Young.” So there is a lot of me on this album, all of me.
PW: I hear you're super busy already working on your next album?
Nelly: The new album is something a bit different, it’s me after a decade of recording so its definitely a shift. I have this uncertainty about the future, of what is next for me. Maybe I will be some amazing director or something by the time I’m 60. But that will have to wait until I am done with this.
PW: Oh, so you want to transition into the film industry?
Nelly: It interests me, yes. I just finished a small part in this Canadian movie, that’s a musical about hockey [“Score: A Hockey Musical”]. Seriously. It’s a hockey musical. Ha. So we will see how that turns out.
PW: If you had to compare this new CD to anything you have done in the past, which album would that be?
Nelly: Definitely my first record “Whoa, Nelly!,” it has the same organic and raw feel that that record did. “Whoa, Nelly!” was influenced by artists like Beck, Oasis and Cornershop which all helped me produce this refreshing, clean pop sound that I wanted. When Track Field and I did my first album, it took us like a month to record each song, but that was then.
PW: Anything you’ve already done that may catch Nelly Furtado fans off guard?
Nelly: I recently worked on a song with Mike Angelakos from Passion Pit, so that should give you an idea of the feel.
PW: Oh! You love your collaborations don’t you? Any favorites?
Nelly: Hahaha, I do. It’s such a great process. I would say ... Wow, there are so many. I loved working with Josh Grobin on a Spanish track I did called “Silencio.” Josh is so inspiring and talented, he is just amazing. I also love Missy, she opened the door for me musically in the hip-hop world. When we worked on the “Get Your Freak On” remix, she just makes her own rules and it’s really amazing to see.
PW: So you know I have to ask, who do you want to work with again, maybe for this new album? Nelly: I would love to work with Missy Elliot again, for sure. Who knows, I owe her so much.