The Stories Behind Nelly Furtado's Hits



"LOOSE", her collaboration with Timbaland, went platinum in 32 countries. The follow-up, a Spanish language disc called Mi Plan, may have seemed like career suicide - but it won a Grammy and topped the Latin album charts. 

"My goal is to always record albums where pretty much every song sounds just as good with only an acoustic guitar and a vocal, That's always the test.Furtado explains



THE SONG THAT MEANS MOST TO ME



"TRY", which is a ballad from the second album, Folklore. I was about six months pregnant with Nevis my daughter at the time. So that album has a lot of sincere, emotionally poignant moments for me. I was really inspired.
The second half of the song was totally improvisation. It captured a lot of emotion. So every time I sing it in my live show - all around the world it's had the same reaction - fans get quite emotional, and there's a lot of crying. And I have cried when I sing it. A lot of people have told me the song gave them hope or helped them through a difficult situation.


THE SONG THAT STARTED A FIRE 🔥




This is true - there are many witnesses who were there: When we recorded Maneater a speaker caught fire. It started smoking and a flame shot out of the speaker, which nobody at the Hit Factory in Miami had ever seen before in the 40 years the studio has been there.
We put that beat on, and it was so rumbling and rapturous and pagan that it incited a fire! We actually were scared of the beat. We felt like it had the devil in it, or something. We put it away for a few weeks, until we had the courage to play it again. It was life-threatening! Someone almost got first-degree burns.


THE SONG THAT WAS MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN I EXPECTED


"SAY IT RIGHT". I had no idea what a giant song it would become. The thing that still perplexes me about the song is that I still can't put into words what it's about. I think it's maybe about personal, visceral abandon. Throwing yourself into something without inhibitions.
It has a mystery to it - which is something I always wanted to do with a pop song. When Timbaland and I were creating Loose, we were really inspired by the Eurythmics and songs like Sweet Dreams. Songs that are definitely pop songs, but that draw you into certain abstract states of mind. And I think Say It Right has that quality. It's quite haunting.
We wrote it really late at night. It was four in the morning and it just kind of came out of nowhere. We'd been watching Pink Floyd's The Wall on a huge screen all day long on mute - so I think it was playing into our subconscious a little bit.

THE SONGS THE RECORD LABEL SENT BACK


When we were recording Loose, we really liked the sounds we were creating in the studio. My whole life, I had grown up making beats in my friends' basements and loving the rawness of this direct sound, before you fix what is broken. For major records, you smooth down and master the sound but on Loose we did the opposite. We wanted it raw, we wanted it visceral, we wanted the speakers to buzz. We fought for that. The label asked us to do better, smoother mixes and we refused. I said, "no, it needs to sound this way".
Sonics are everything. A lot of the beats and the sound on Loose are louder. When Timbaland put out my album and then Justin Timberlake's album, there was an actual volume increase. I think everything on the radio became louder after that, for the next five years. Because what we did in the mix stage was creating the illusion of having the speakers turned up to 11. We were maxed out on all fronts. You're getting volume - which is what people want, because that's what you feel at a live show.

THE SONG I LOVE PLAYING IN CONCERT


Turn Off The Light. We've done electro versions, hip-hop versions. Timbaland came and surprised people when we played it at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. We did my regular version, then it was Tim's urban remix, and then we rapped, and then we went into a heavy metal ending, where I played guitar and traded licks with my guitar player. It just got rowdy, and the crowd would really move and jump in that part.
It's a great festival song, too. I played it at Glastonbury and people jump and move. It's got a lot of groove potential, so if you want that, you can really get it going on that song. It's got a bluesy raunchy sounding solo in the middle. It's great for moshing to.

THE SONG THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT ONTO THE GREATEST HITS


I really wanted the Get Ur Freak On remix I did with Missy Elliot. That was really important for my career, because it opened the whole hip-hop world to me, right after I'm Like A Bird came out. So there was a cool duality going on.
There's a funny story behind it, too - People would play that remix on the seriously urban, street radio stations in New York and the DJs said: "Oh, Missy's done a duet with a Jamaican boy."
I also wanted my duet with Michael Buble, Quando Quando Quando. It's like my jazz tune. The duet with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake [Give It To Me] isn't on there, either. And I have a really cool duet with Josh Groban. We wanted to do a collaborations album for a while, because I've done so many - and I'm still doing more. I'm not in a band but I have a thirst and a desire to be around musicians. When I was 12 I would sneak out of my house and hang around with DJs and MCs. I think I spend more time hanging around and jamming than focussing on my career.

via BBC
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