Nelly Furtado was born December 2, 1978 to working-class Portuguese parents. She grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada where she grew up speaking English, Hindi, and Portuguese. Her Portuguese heritage is very important to her, and she credits it as having influence on her musical style. Nelly’s family has been musically inclined for generations, dating back to her grandfather S.Miguel Azores who played various instruments. His brother (Nelly’s Great-Uncle) was a famed marching band score composer. Her mother was a regular in the Church choir, and her father was also known to sing on occasion.
She received her first tape recorder at age 8, where she got an early start recording herself singing. At 11 she received a keyboard, and by age 14 she was writing her own songs. Nelly also played the ukulele and trombone until she was 18. She grew up in the hip-hop generation, from 14 to 16 she was a passionate fan of Ice T, LL Cool J, Salt ‘N Pepa, Bell Biv Devoe, New Edition, High 5, The Jackson Five, Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, TLC, A Tribe Called Quest, and Prince. This phase had a major impact on her musical tastes. Later on her influences evolved to Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Pulp, Oasis, Sarah McLachlan, Portishead, Tricky, Prodigy, Bjork, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and techno music. She also began listening to other types of music, such as Hindi and Brazilian music (especially Bossa Nova).
The beginning of her career began at 18 when she jumped onstage in a Toronto talent show. This was where she met the Canadian act The Philosopher Kings. The Kings took her under their wing in a way. Their manager started managing Nelly, and shortly after the talent show Gerald Easton and Brian West of the Kings produced a demo for Nelly.
After this meeting Nelly had planned to go backpacking in Europe and study creative writing in college. She stayed in contact with her new friends back in Toronto, and they continually asked her to come back to Toronto and record more demos. She was hesitant at first, but eventually Gerald was able to convince her. These new demos eventually lead to her record deal with DreamWorks Records. On September 26, 2000 Nelly released her first CD titled, “Whoa, Nelly!”
Since the release Nelly Furtado's career has taken off, supported by constant touring and strong radio play of her singles “I’m Like a Bird” and “Turn off the Lights.” At the tender age of 22 her career has only begun, yet she has already earned critical acclaim and several awards. Only the future can tell how far her distinct sound and career will take her.
A bunch of websites including her own at http://www.nellyfurtado.com