Celebrity 360: Nelly Furtado

You’ve heard us speak of the balanced 360-degree Notable life – all of our YPs strive to achieve a balance of professionalsocialcharity and living life. To feed your weekly guilty indulgence of both male and female eye candy, coupled with 360- degree inspiration, we will profile a different celeb each week that we feel embodies this. Last week, we featured Ryan Gosling and we thought we’d kick off the female celebrity with a Canadian as well, one that is as known for charity work as she is for her music: Victoria native Nelly Furtado. Let’s see how she lives a balanced 360-degree life.

From the breakthrough Grammy-winning single “I’m Like a Bird” on her debut Whoa Nelly album to later hits like “Say It Right” and “Maneater,” Nelly Furtado is certainly no one-hit-wonder. “I’m Like a Bird” received a 2001 Juno Award for Single of the Year and a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The same album produced other widely popular international singles, including “Turn off the Lights.”

Her second studio album, Folklore, which was released after giving birth to her daughter Nevis, produced three more international singles: “Powerless (Say What You Want),” “Try,” and “Força,” the theme of the 2004 European Football Championship. Although her second album was slightly less commercially successful than the first, in the summer of 2006, her third studio album, Loose, was her biggest success to date worldwide, producing number-one hits like “Promiscuous,” “Maneater,” “Say It Right” and “All Good Things (Come to an End).”

In September 2009, after a three-year break, Furtado released her first full-length Spanish album, Mi Plan, along with her first Spanish single, which resulted in Furtado being the first North American singer to top the Billboard Hot Latin Chart with an original Spanish song. She also received the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album.

Other career highlights include appearing on stage at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in London on July 1, 2007. She later sang in a duet with Bryan Adams at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Furtado was also a participant in the Young Artists for Haiti song, alongside an assortment of Canadian artists who came together and sang K’naan‘s song “Wavin’ Flag” to raise funds for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Furtado has also collaborated with some of the best in the business, including; Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Flo Rida, Divine Brown, k-os and Saukrates, among others.  

Professionally, Furtado’s musical talent spans multiple genres of music. We have seen her transition from her more folk and rock roots to edgier hip-hop and R&B.  Proving she isn’t slowing down anytime soon, Furtado has a new album scheduled for summer 2012.

Nelly Furtado enjoys a healthy social life and always appears calm and in control on the red carpet, at A List parties and at awards shows. She is not known for any sort of diva behavior and attributes her genuine and almost humble view on the world to her modest, working class background.

Though we can’t say we’ve met her, she seems warm and inviting and is known to industry insiders as fun, personable and carefree. She forms deep friendships and bonds with the many influential artists she has collaborated with, like K’naan and Timbaland.

Although known to let loose every now and again, Nelly also enjoys her personal time and has never let herself get caught up in the whole party scene, even when she broke into the scene in her early twenties and was suddenly met with quick success and its accompanying limitless resources and constant temptations.

Consistent with a balanced 360-life, Nelly Furtado is an active philanthropist. She had been active in the fight against AIDS and in educating people about the disease. In 2006, she participated in an AIDS awareness concert in South Africa, which was hosted by MTV, BET and Nike and included Enrique Iglesias, Kanye West, Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson. Additionally, Furtado also hosted a program about AIDS on MTV, alongside featured guests Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.

Most recently, on September 27, 2011, Furtado announced during Free the Children’s WeDay Toronto, that she would donate $1,000,000 to Free the Children’s initiative to build girls schools in Kenya. She travelled to the region with ArtBound to empower and inspire children through the arts. The experience was documented in the CTV documentary NELLY FURTADO: THE ROAD TO KISARUNI.  

Nelly seems lo have a life well-lived, making time for herself, her family and other important things. For example, on September 20, 2003, Furtado gave birth to her daughter, Nevis Chetan Furtado, with DJ Jasper Gahunia. Although they have since broken up, Furtado has been vocal that they maintain a deep friendship and share joint responsibility in raising Nevis.

Recognizing the importance of family, Furtado took a two-year break after rigorously promoting her 2006 album Loose to step back and take the time to experience a more normal life with her family. 

She has been outspoken about her current city of residence, Toronto, praising it for its rich multiculturalism and the fact that it’s a city where she “can be any culture.”

Unlike some celebrities, Furtado has a high degree of respect for herself and doesn’t do anything to compromise her happiness. She has revealed that she once refused $500,000 to pose fully clothed for Playboy and has been vocal that she will not obsess about getting older like some of her Hollywood peers. Although an avid gym goer and known for her killer abs, she has said that she would rather enjoy food and life than stick to an increasingly unrealistic and borderline obsessive workout routine.

She has said: “I am not ready to adjust physically, just to be marketable. My sell-by date will run out eventually. Unlike Madonna, I wouldn’t be willing to do pilates round the clock, just to slow down the deterioration of my body. I prefer to sit in the kitchen, drink tea and eat biscuits.”

Knowledgeable and invested in politics, Furtado publicly endorsed Green Party leader Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands during the federal election in 2011. She also participated in a video directed at Canadian youth, encouraging them to vote.