Why Nelly Furtado Almost Retired from Pop [Interview]

With Parking Lot - The Remixes Part 1 out, and The Spirit Indestructible tour set to begin in January 2013, I had the pleasure of interviewing pop artist Nelly Furtado. This Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer has released five studio albums over the last 12 years, and you'll be pleased to know she is every bit as upbeat and charming as the tunes that made her famous. On an unseasonably warm and lazy afternoon, the Grammy winner opens up about her career, her near-retiring moment and what she plans to do when she turns 80!

iVillage Canada: Where did the title The Spirit Indestructible come from?
Nelly Furtado: It's funny how the album came around. It started at a very slow pace and then snowballed into this album full of adrenaline and energy. It took me awhile to warm up again after the Spanish project. I was really happy when the adrenaline kicked into the songs. I was inspired by humanity in the last couple of years.

You seriously considered retiring from pop to pursue other music-related and creative endeavors. Why? What endeavors were you thinking of?
I think I was getting really busy with my label Nelstar Records and I always wanted my own label so I could develop other artists. I like helping artists choose songs and help them get better as performers. That, to me, is valuable experience as it makes me feel good. Sometimes the upkeep of appearances and having to be in front of the camera can be quite tiring. But I love it too much and I can't give it up. Performing for fans is such a blessing. Part of my process as an artist is going to the brink and be like 'I don't want to do this again!' and then later be like 'Yeah, I do!'. I was thinking of getting on with the Nelstar project and maybe songwriting for other artists.

What convinced you to record again?
I was working with Ivete Sangalo, a very popular Brazilian artist.She came to Toronto and we hooked up in the studio. She brought one of her musicians with her. It was so much fun. We were writing in Portuguese and in English. I then realized that music was so much bigger than the English pop world. I have to remind myself that I'm lucky and I can sing in other languages. If you limit yourself to just the pop market, it can be a bit depressing as an artist. But if you look beyond that, it's encouraging and you just want to do it until you're 80 and barefoot on the stage singing jazz!

Is there a song on 'The Spirit Indestructible' that you're particularly proud of and why?
I like the song I wrote with the lead singer of Passion Pit, Michael Angelakos. It's called Circles. It's kind of dreamy and different from anything I've done before. He kind of pushed me as a vocalist to try something new. I like the message in the song -- talking in circles and walking in circles. When in a relationship, you get into the same circles of conversation with recycled emotions.

You're planning to release a book on 'The Spirit Indestructible.' Tell us about that.
Well, I did some poetry to go with some of the songs in the album. At some point I want to put out a little book for the fans. It will be available, probably, sometime on tour.

It’s been 12 long years since your debut album 'Whoa, Nelly!' Looking back, is there anything you wish you could change?
Well, lately I've been saying wish I put more music out. If anything, I would want to have 10 albums by now and not just five.

You have collaborated with so many artists. Who would you say is your favorite?
My favorite collaboration would be Caetano Veloso. I had the chance of meeting him last week. I sang at his tribute for the Latin Grammy's Person of the Year. I got to sing one of my favorite Caetano songs for him. He's on my second album Folklore on a song called Island of Wonder. I also liked working with Andrea Bocelli. I collaborated with him for a song in Portuguese.

Have you started working on any new songs yet?
I've already started recording my Spanish follow up and my English follow up. I'm still feeding off the creative adrenaline from The Spirit Indestructible. No more long breaks!

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