Share/Save my site


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Inside Entertainment Magazine (Canada, 2006)

Inside Entertainment Magazine (Canada, April 2006)

Nelly Furtado – Whoa! Six years after her sextuple platinum debut, Canada’s urban songbird cuts Loose, reinventing herself as a red-hot mama.
On a coffee table in a downtown Toronto hotel suite, Celine Dion and David Foster stare out from the cover of a glossy magazine. The pair, smug and self-satisfied, are the epitome of safe, sanitized pop. As Nelly Furtado breezes into the room to discuss Loose, her daring new album produced largely by hip hop's Timbaland (aka Tim Mosley), the contrast begs comment: she and Mosley are worlds away from the Las Vegas glitz of Dion and Foster. "No kidding, eh," laughs Furtado, settling into a sofa for an extended interview. "Tim's always done break-through music, pushing sonic boundaries. And I like to always surprise people and turn their heads 360 degrees, like an exorcist spinning around." Presumably, without the projectile vomiting. "My music's always changning," she continues. " I don't know if I have a short attention span, or if it's just that I like too many styles of music to focus only on one. I just go where the inspiration takes me."
This time, inspiration took Furtado to Miami, where she and beats mastermind Timbaland (Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg) recorded most of the tracks. Unline her previous albums, which only hinted at urban sounds, Loose is a full-on mix of contemporary Latin, hip hop and R&B styles. "My last two records were a little cerebral," admits Furtado, "where this one is much more of the body. It's all feel-oriented, vibe-oriented." Hedonistic numbers like "Maneater", the tribal-thumping first single, and "Promiscious Girl", a steamy rap duet with Mosley, certainly take the Canadian songstress into edgier - and sexier - territory. Rolling Stone even went so far as to call her rhymes on "Promisuous Girl" a celebration of her "inner slut", which Furtado, a single mother of a toddler, denies. "I just like double entendres," she insists. " The album title actually refers to how we approached the record, which was to make it in a very unhinged, unpolished and unedited way.
Loosness is one of the album's many charms, from the in-studio banter between Furtado and Mosley to the raw, improvised quality of tracks like "Maneater" and "All Good Things" a duet with Coldplay's Chris Martin. If anything, Loose is a celebration of Furtad's inner child, as reflected in the giggling laughter that closes "Fraid" and the youthful spirit that pervades such songs as "Do it", "Glow" and "Say it Right". Like Gwen Stefani's Love.Angel.Music.Baby, Furtado's Loose is an unabashed dance record bound to thrill club-centric audiences - maybe at the expense of core listeners. The multicultural pop queen, whose previous recordings won a Grammy and a slew of Juno Awards, seems resigned to alienating some fans. "I pissed off people when I made a folk album last time," she says, "and now I'm going to piss off the acoustic types with this album."
Born in Victoria to Portuguese parents, Furtado has defied conventional wisdom from the start by embracing eclecticism and her own ethnicity. Her debut Whoa, Nelly! released in 2000, included both her breezy pop hit "I'm like a Bird" and later, in some regions, the Portuguese ballad "Onde Estas". It has sold more than six million copies to date around the world. Her follow up, 2003's Folklore, featured sounds as diverse as mainstream pop melodies, Brazilian rhythms, hip hop grooves, church music, acoustic folk and funk. Guests ranged from Bela Fleck and Caetano Veloso to the Kronos Quartet, and songs included the Euro 2004 football anthem "Forca", the immigrant-themed "Fresh Off The Boat" and the breakbeat-laden "Powerless (Say What You Want)". The latter was a forceful condemnation of the media's attempt to lighten her olive complexion in photographs: "Paint my face in your magazines," she sang. "Make it look whiter than it seems."
While Loose favours lighter messages and mostly carefree party tunes, there's a heavier emphasis on worldy sounds. In particular, Furtado dove deep into the Latin musical diaspora of the Miame scene. She sings several tracks in Spanish, including the Timbaland-produced "No Hay Igual", a groove-alicious tune rooted in the Caribbean hip hop fusion style known as reggaeton and the romantic ballad "Te Busque", produced by Lester Mendez (Shakira). "Being in Miami, as a young Latin woman, made me feel very at home," says Furtado. "I've always loved the Latin American culture in the United States and I realised how much I enjoy singing in Spanish, not just Portuguese. It comes really naturally to me."
Furtado's first brush with the Latin music market dates back to 2002, when she sang a duet with Colombian pop star Juanes on his single "Fotografia". It became a number one hit on the Latin charts and the pair performed the song on the Latin Grammy Awards show. Juanes later returned the favour, joining Furtado on her Spanish version of "Powerless."
Meanwhile, Furtado's love affair with R&B and hip hop began when she was growing up in Victoria, listening to everything from Mary J. Blige and Boyz II Men to LL Cool J and Ice T. After moving to Toronto at 17 (she lived with relatives), she formed a trip-hop duo called Nelstar. As legend now has it, her career break came when she appeared in a downtown club as the only white female at the Honey Jam, a showcase of black women performerse. There she met The Philosopher Kings' Gerald Eaton and his manager Chris Smith. Eaton and his partner, Brian West, became her production team known as Track & Field, while Smith took on management duties. Furtado first crossed paths with Timbaland with he sampled "Baby Girl" from Whoa, Nelly! and then remixed the album's "Turn Off The Light." Timbaland also brought Furtado in to duet on his remix of Missy Elliott's "Get UR Freak On."
Sitting in the hotel suite, the diminutive Furtado talks in fast, staccato bursts, punctuated frequently by eruptions of girlish laughter, as she explains her embrace of hip hop. "I've been doing all these collaborations with these great acts like Missy Elliott, Jurassic 5 and The Roots," Furtado recalls, "and I suddenly though, if hip hop comes so naturally to me, why not do it on my own albums. Am I too good for hip hop? Isn't that kind of egotisticall and pretentious? Why can't I let go of all that?" She continues: " I also realised that I'd done The Tonight Show with Jay Leno like five or six times, and the time I was least nervous was when I was performing with Missy Elliott. It just rolled off. I had to get on and do it myself."
Working with Timbaland on Loose, she says, gave her the freedom to delve deeply into her love of hip hop. "Tim's a definite genius," says Furtado. "He comes to the studio with this huge duffle bag, carrying all these CDs of mostly crazy world music - African music and things I've never heard. He's a real inspired guy." Mosley's jam-oriented approach to music also let to a near voodoo experience on "Maneater". Recalls Furtado: "Tim was programming a beat and I was singing with a keyboardist and a guitar player. The energy in the room took on this almost pagan-like quality. Suddenly, the speaker started to smoke and then flames shot out. The volume was so loud that the rubber was burning on the speaker. It was very anamalistic."
Daytime, however, was highly domestic. Furtado would spend mornings and afternoons at the beach with her daughter, Nevis, soaking up the Florida sunshine. It proved the perfect balance between work and play. "There's a spiritual vibe in Miami," says Furtado. "The sunishe and water keeps everybody really light and friendly. Everyone's into their bodiestoo. Everyone was nice tanned skin. People walk around in bikinis, even on the street. You feel sexy in Miami - maybe that's why I made such a sexy album."
The Coldplay connection came about when Chris Martin and Furtado ran into each other at last year's MTV Video Music Awards in Miami. When Furtado found out that Martin and Timbaland were big fans of each other's work, she decided to bring then together soon after in the studio. On "All Good Things", Martin can be heard at the outset telling Mosley to "give us a sick beat." The jam that follows, with Furtado and Martin singing the refrain "flames to dust; lovers to friends; why do all good things come to an end," proves to be one of the album's most spirited moments. "Why have we stopped?" asks Martin when the jam suddenly comes to a halt, leading to much laughter and Martin's quick-witten rejoinder: "Why do all good jams come to an end?"
Such a spontaneous moment would never be found on Davis Foster - produced Celine Dion album. It's too loose, anarchic and uncontrolled for the Schmaltz King and Ersatz Queen of MOR pop. But for Furtado and Timbaland, the eclectic songbird and the studio innovator, spontaneity comes as naturally as breathing. "That's what it's about," says Furtado, of her and Mosley's unbridled approach to recording. "It's about people coming by for late-night jam sessions and having fun. It's not rocket science - we're making music here."
By Nicholas Jennings
Photography by Geoff Barrenger: Click Here


Can You please scan the cover in larger?This cover is sooooo beautiful

Twitter Facebook Digg Favorites More