Singer & Songwriter

Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado is a Portuguese-Canadian singer and songwriter. She rose to the top with her debut album “Whoa, Nelly!”.

Nelly’s best songs of the album was “I’m Like a Bird” and “Turn Off the Light”. Both rise to top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

These two singles won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2003, she released her second album, Folklore, which was preceded by the lead single, “Powerless (Say What You Want)”.

  • Full name: Nelly Kim Furtado ComIH
  • Born: 2 December 1978, Victoria, Canada
  • Profession: Portuguese-Canadian Singer
  • Spouse: Demacio Castellon (m. 2008–2016)
  • Children: Nevis Gahunia
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About Nelly Furtado

Nelly was born on 2 December 1978 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She was the third child of working-class Portuguese immigrants.

Her parents, Antonio, a stone mason, and Maria Manuela, a hotel maid, had moved to Canada in the late Sixties from their village in Portugal’s Azores islands.

Her siblings are Michael Anthony and Lisa Anne. They were raised Roman Catholic. At age four, she began performing and singing in Portuguese.

Furtado’s first public performance was when she sang a duet with her mother at a church on Portugal Day.

She began playing musical instruments at the age of nine, learning the trombone, ukulele and, in later years, the guitar and keyboards.

At the age of 12, she began writing songs, and as a teenager, she performed in a Portuguese marching band.

Furtado has acknowledged her family as the source of her strong work ethic; she spent eight summers working as a chambermaid with her mother, along with her brother and sister, who was a housekeeper in Victoria.

After graduating from high school aged 17, she moved to Toronto and formed the trip-hop outfit, Neltsar.

The band gained a sizeable following and won the interest of local record labels, but the singer recognised that her time had not yet come. “Inside I didn’t feel ready,” she says, “so I decided to move back home to Victoria and live with my parents again.”

Back in Victoria, Nelly took creative writing courses, which she paid for out of the wages she earned working as a cleaner with her mum.

The hard work paid off and her songs and playing improved significantly. When she returned to Toronto in 2000 to record a demo for the record company DreamWorks, all the songs on her critically acclaimed debut album Whoa Nelly were written and ready to go.


Furtado’s third album, Loose (2006), became her best selling album with 12 million copies sold worldwide.

The album spawned four successful number one singles; “Promiscuous”, “Maneater”, “Say It Right”, and “All Good Things (Come to an End)”.

She released her first Spanish language album, Mi Plan, in 2009, which won her a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album.

In 2012, Furtado released her fifth album, The Spirit Indestructible. In 2017, Furtado released her sixth album, titled The Ride.

Furtado has sold over 40 million records worldwide, making her one of the most successful Canadian artists.

She has won several awards throughout her career, including one Grammy Award from seven nominations, one Latin Grammy Award, ten Juno Awards, one BRIT Award, one Billboard Music Award, one MTV Europe Music Award, one World Music Award, and three Much Music Video Awards.

Furtado has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and was awarded Commander of the Order of Prince Henry on February 28, 2014, in Toronto by Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the former President of Portugal.

Nelly Furtado Quotes