Nelly Furtado: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Nelly Furtado hit international fame in 2001 with her debut album, Whoa Nelly, with the album’s singles, “I’m Like a Bird” and “Turn of the Lights,” earning her several Juno awards and a Grammy. Her third album, Loose, furthered her success, featuring collaborations from such big name artists as Timbaland, Chris Martin and Juanes. Her varied influences have kept her music fresh from album to album, keeping her fans on their toes. Read on to find out more about Nelly Furtado, and look out for part two of our list, coming soon.

Number Fifteen: Her First Performance Was at a Church

Raised in a Roman Catholic household, the first time she sang publicly was in church. At the age of four, she sang a duet with her mother during Portugal Day.

Number Fourteen: Nelly Furtado Was Part of a Trip-Hop Duo

In 1997, Furtado started a trip-hop duo with Tallis Newkirk, who she had met a year earlier and collaborated with on a song for Newkirk’s hip-hop group, Plains of Fascination. Called Nelstar, the duo ultimately called it quits when Furtado felt the trip-hop genre didn’t let her show off her vocal abilities.

Number Thirteen: She’s Canadian by Way of Portugal

Furtado’s parents are from São Miguel Island and emigrated to Canada in the 1960s. Portuguese is one of Nelly’s first languages, and she has been performing in that language since she was four years old.

Number Twelve: She Has Her Own Record Label

Nelly Furtado started her own label, Nelstar, in 2009 with Canadian label group, Last Gang Labels. The label made two signings, Fritz Helder & The Phantoms in 2009 and Dylan Murray in 2010. She also released her Spanish Language album on the label in 2009.

Number Eleven: She Recorded a Spanish-Language Album

As previously mentioned, Furtado released her debut Spanish-Language album on her label, Nelstar, in 2009. Called Mi Plan, the album was a huge success, earning her a Latin Grammy for Female Pop Vocal Album. This honor made her the first Canadian musician to ever win a Latin Grammy.

Number Ten: She Got in Trouble for Performing a Concert for Muammar Gaddafi

In 2011, it was reported that Furtado had allegedly performed for the ruler and his family in 2007. Because of the press surrounding the story, she decided to donate the money she received from the show to the youth empowerment charity, Free the Children.

Number Nine: Nelly Furtado turned down ‘Playboy’

Near the height of her career, she was asked by Playboy to pose in the magazine with her clothes on. At 22, she felt like it was too soon to have something with that connotation on her resume. Check back for part two of our list of 15 interesting facts about Nelly Furtado, coming soon.