Nelly Furtado | CONFRONT Magazine Interview

CONFRONT: How are you!
NELLY: I’m great! I’m just in Thunder Bay right now.

CONFRONT: Oh you’re in Thunder Bay? Did you have a busy day?
NELLY: Well I just had sound check, meet and greet and then I have my concert.

CONFRONT: Is that a routine day for you?
NELLY: When you’re on tour that’s usually how it goes. It’s sound check, meet and greets and then the show and sometimes there’s an after show meet and greet.

CONFRONT: How has this tour been for you so far?
NELLY: Really fun! Really Canadian. We’ve stepped out and done some winter things like ice skating and playing in the snow. It’s actually been really fun. It’s been really awesome and diverse crowds coming out to see the shows as well. It really puts things into perspective. After 12 years of making music it’s nice to have people who still want to hear your songs.

CONFRONT: And you’ll be in Montreal next week!
NELLY: Yes! At the St Denis Theater.

CONFRONT: Do you have a favorite thing about playing in this city?
NELLY: I really love the Biodome and exploring Old Montreal. I like all the variety of the restaurants and the small businesses.

CONFRONT: You mentioned how going on tour and seeing all your fans kind of puts everything into perspective for you. Do you have a moment that stands out in your mind the most from your career so far?
NELLY: I would say probably releasing an album in Spanish. It was an independent project and it was a great learning process. It created this whole new aspect for my career.

CONFRONT: It must have opened new doors for you.
NELLY: It did! It introduced me to a whole new set of musicians and a new musical team who really welcomed me. I would say that had a big impact for me.

CONFRONT: Is there any news for a new album in the near future?
NELLY: I’ve already started on a Spanish follow up as well as an English album. I’m also just creating some beats and working to record a full length in Portuguese.

CONFRONT: Oh wow! There are more doors to open that way!
NELLY: Exactly. I’m very excited about finally recording a full length in Portuguese. The timing is perfect now. I don’t like to do things until the time is right and usually I just kind of know when that is and I just do it.

CONFRONT: Fans have a lot to look forward to.

CONFRONT: What musical direction do you feel like you’re moving towards?
NELLY: I’m not sure. I have this jazz section in my show where I play “Quando Quando Quando”, a song I recorded with Michael Buble, and I also do a jazz version of my 2001 collaboration with Missy Elliott “Get Ur Freak On”.

CONFRONT: A jazz version?
NELLY: *laughs* Yeah. I just did a duet with Andrea Bocelli that’s a jazz song called “Corcovado” that’s in Portuguese. I don’t know, I might want to dapple in some sort of jazz and standards album at some point. It’s just an idea. You never know with me.

CONFRONT: It’s true; you’ve touched on quite a bit in the past 10-12 years. It’s very impressive.
NELLY: Yeah I would say so for sure.

CONFRONT: Is there a genre you would say you have a connection to more than others.
NELLY: I don’t think so. I’m just a songwriter and I’ve never really seen music as categories. I just see music as one big genre. I think I’m most connected to the genre of music *laughs*.

CONFRONT: That’s a very interesting way of putting it. I think a lot of people feel that way now as well. They listen to a lot more music then they used to, they don’t feel like they have to listen to one type only anymore.

NELLY: Yeah! I could never understand that. I guess I kind of get it because when I was 13 I only listened to R&B and Hip Hop so I get the exclusivity factor. I think it’s more cultural to be honest. Music is a very social thing. People tend to stick to whatever fits their lifestyle. For me R&B and Hip Hop really suited my lifestyle at that time. The purity of music is all the same.

CONFRONT: I completely agree. Now you’re incredibly involved with WeDay. How did you become involved with this particular cause?
NELLY: I don’t think anyone can go to WeDay and leave unchanged. My first Free the Children moment came in Kenya when I saw firsthand the work that they do and all the communities that they work with. It’s really changed my whole life because I started to feel hopeful again for the future. I think what WeDay does is give children hope. It gets children involved in a positive manner and a belief that they can make the world a better place and that can start in their own backyard. I just think it’s incredible. It’s a very modern, cutting edge thing.
CONFRONT: For this interview we asked several fan questions and we got an overwhelming response on Twitter. How does it feel to have such incredible loyalty from all around the world?
NELLY: It just makes me want to keep making music. When I travel to different countries and see different types of people singing my songs. I remember being in Taiwan this summer and seeing fans singing “I’m Like a Bird” and then meeting them after the show. They were so excited to meet me and I was just like “Wow this is surreal.” The fact that my music has touched so many countries across the world is really humbling.

CONFRONT: Angela Crosbie from Montreal asked “If you had to choose one album that you feel the most personal connection to, which one would it be and why?”
NELLY: That’s a really good question! It’s really hard to answer because every album is personal. I would have to choose this last one though because I’m more in tuned with my emotions then I have ever been in my entire life. So I would therefore say that this newest album is the most personal because I’m more in touch with myself now.

CONFRONT: Mel Rich from Montreal says that your music has helped a lot of people get through tough times; herself included. One song that was particularly important to her is the song “Try” and she wanted to know what your inspiration behind writing it was.
NELLY: Try is about when your best is not enough and circumstances in life just make your best not enough and you kind of have to accept that. It’s one of the hardest things in life to accept. When you give something your all and it’s just not meant to be and it doesn’t work out. That’s what inspired that song.

CONFRONT: How does it feel, overall, to have your music touch peoples’ lives the way that it does?
NELLY: I take what I do very seriously and when I make my albums I try to be really real in my songs because I feel like people use it as soul food. It’s all about people feeling connected to music. I think that music still has the power to change the world and change lives. It’s so magical so I feel blessed to be able to write songs that connect to people in that way. The other night I was singing “Bucket List” and there was a woman in the front row singing each and every word and that is exactly why I write songs. I want to connect and reach out and hold their hands through music.

CONFRONT: Speaking of bucket lists, Selly from Germany wants to know “What’s one thing on your bucket list that you’d still love to accomplish”?
NELLY: One thing on my bucket list is probably completing my Portuguese full length album.

CONFRONT: Well that seems to be coming along soon enough!
NELLY *laughs* Yes!

CONFRONT: Sisa from the Czech Republic wants to know “When you tour, do you get the chance to sight see and explore new places? If so what’s one place that stands out in your mind?”
NELLY:  That’s a great question! Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to stop and see the sights. One of the ones that stands out the most is from this summer. I was in Vienna, Austria and I went to see an opera in this beautiful old opera house. It was absolutely gorgeous. I just had a great time.

CONFRONT: Do you actually have time to see a lot? Do you make the time?
NELLY: Early in my career, I worked so hard that I spent all my spare time sleeping *laughs*. In the last two years I’ve really smartened up to the fact that I’m in all these amazing places and you have to get out and see things and touch them and experience them. I’ve been enjoying that a lot over the past two years.

CONFRONT: It’s a great experience and you’re there already so you might as well go out and explore!
NELLY: Another really fun time I had this summer was in Latvia. We got to go out by the seashore and the Baltic Sea. That was very memorable for me.

CONFRONT: My last question for you is one that we ask every artist we interview. What are three songs that are on repeat on your iPod right now?
NELLY: Three songs on repeat on my iPod! I actually switched from iPod to record player for this tour. It’s a vinyl record player that I keep in my dressing room. I’m listening to Ry Cooder’s “Why Don’t You Try Me”, The Shirelles “Soldier Boy” and Joan Baezs’ version of “If I Were a Carpenter.” Also some Johnny Cash.

CONFRONT: That’s great! We’ll post that up on the website as well. Is there anything else you’d like to add for your fans who are reading this?
NELLY: Check out my opening act Dylan Murray. We signed him to my label three years ago and he just came out with his latest album “Inspiration”. He’s a singer-songerwriter in the vein of Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. They’re beautiful and heartfelt songs. I think the audience will love him a lot.

CONFRONT: Have a wonderful tour and thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
NELLY: Thank you!

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