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File: Nelly Furtado
Nelly Kim Furtado is a Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. Furtado grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Furtado first gained fame with her debut album, Whoa, Nelly!, and its single "I'm Like a Bird", which won a 2001 Juno Award for Single of the Year and a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It produced two more international singles: the more successful "Turn off the Light", and "Shit on the Radio (Remember the Days)". After giving birth to her daughter Nevis, her second studio album, Folklore, was released. It was less commercially successful in the US. It produced three international singles: "Powerless (Say What You Want)", "Try", and "Força" (the theme of the 2004 European Football Championship).
In summer 2006, she released her third studio album, Loose. It is her biggest success to date worldwide. It produced the number-one hits "Promiscuous", "Maneater", "Say It Right" and "All Good Things (Come to an End)". After a three-year break, in September 2009, she released her first full-length Spanish album, Mi Plan, along with her first Spanish single "Manos al Aire", which topped the Billboard Hot Latin Songs. This made Furtado the first North American singer to top the Billboard Hot Latin Chart with an original Spanish song. Further singles released were "Más" and "Bajo Otra Luz". For Mi Plan, Nelly received the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. On October 26, a remix album, Mi Plan Remixes, was released. Furtado released her first greatest hits album, The Best of Nelly Furtado, one month later on November 12, 2010. Two follow-up studio albums are currently under way; one in English and another in Portuguese, both set for a 2012 release.
Furtado was born on December 2, 1978, in Victoria, British Columbia, to Portuguese parents, Maria Manuela and António José Furtado, both immigrants from the Azores. She was named after Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim. Her parents were born on São Miguel Island and emigrated to Canada in the late 1960s. Her siblings are Michael Anthony and Lisa Anne. She was raised in a Roman Catholic home.
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. She has stated that coming from a working class background has shaped her identity in a positive way.
On September 20, 2003, in Toronto, Furtado gave birth to a daughter, Nevis, whose father is Jasper Gahunia [AKA DJ Lil' Jazz, Canadian DMC Champion 1998]. Furtado and Gahunia, who had been good friends for several years, remained together for four years until their breakup in 2005. Furtado told Blender magazine that they continue to be good friends and jointly share responsibility of raising Nevis.
In June 2006, in an interview with Genre magazine, when asked if she had "ever felt an attraction to women", Furtado replied "Absolutely. Women are beautiful and sexy". Some considered this an announcement of bisexuality, but in August 2006, she stated that she was "straight, but very open-minded". In November 2006, Furtado revealed that she once turned down $500,000 to pose fully clothed in Playboy.
Furtado married Cuban sound engineer Demacio "Demo" Castellón, with whom she had worked on the Loose album, on July 19, 2008.
Furtado is one of several celebrities who have come under fire recently after 2011 reports from the New York Times and a WikiLeaks document revealed several entertainers had received extravagant sums to perform for the family of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. She promised to donate to charity the $1 million she received for a 2007 concert, which ended up going to Free the Children.
Furtado publicly endorsed Green Party leader Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands during the Federal election in 2011.
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