Nelly Furtado Biography

(Canadian Singer and Songwriter Known for Her Singles: ‘I'm Like a Bird’ and ‘Turn Off the Light’)

Birthday: December 2, 1978 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Victoria, Canada

Nelly Kim Furtado is a singing sensation who rose to fame with her debut album ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ which spawned two award-winning hits. She is a highly successful artist with a worldwide sale of over 40 million records and is the proud recipient of several prestigious awards including the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. She was born into a family of music lovers and her mother used to sing in the church choir. Her own love for music was evident from childhood and she began singing duets with her mother at the church. By the age of nine, she had learned to play musical instruments like ukulele and trombone and began to write songs when she was 12. She started performing with a marching band as a teenager. She comes from a working-class family and had known the virtue of hard work from an early age. She also believes that she got her strong work ethic from her family background. Her performance at a Honey Jam Talent Show got her noticed by the singer Gerald Eaton who invited her to write songs with him. He also helped release her debut album which went on to become an international success. Since then she has produced several highly successful singles and albums.

Quick Facts

Canadian Celebrities Born In December

Also Known As: Nelly Kim Furtado

Age: 45 Years, 45 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Demacio Castellon

father: António José Furtado

mother: Maria Manuela

siblings: Lisa Anne

children: Nevis Gahunia

Born Country: Canada

Pop Singers Canadian Women

Height: 5'3" (160 cm), 5'3" Females

Ancestry: Portuguese Canadian

City: Victoria, Canada

  • 1

    What is Nelly Furtado's ethnicity?

    Nelly Furtado is of Portuguese descent.

  • 2

    How many languages does Nelly Furtado speak?

    Nelly Furtado is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

  • 3

    Has Nelly Furtado acted in any movies?

    Yes, Nelly Furtado has appeared in a few movies, including "Max Payne" and "Score: A Hockey Musical."

  • 4

    What genre of music does Nelly Furtado primarily sing?

    Nelly Furtado is known for singing pop, R&B, and world music.

  • 5

    Did Nelly Furtado write her own songs?

    Yes, Nelly Furtado is known for writing many of her own songs, showcasing her songwriting skills.

Childhood & Early Life

She was born to Portuguese parents Maria Manuela and Antonio Jose Furtado who were emigrants to Canada. She has two siblings.

Her family was musically inclined and her mother was a church choir singer. Young Nelly joined her mother in singing duets at the church.

By the time she was nine, she had learned to play the musical instruments trombone and ukulele. She also began playing the guitar and keyboards later on.

She began performing with a jazz band, concert band, and marching band as a teenager.

She graduated from Mount Douglas Secondary School in 1996.

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She became acquainted with Tallis Newkirk, a member of the hip-hop group Plains of Fascination, and sang some vocals for their album ‘Join the Ranks’ in 1996. She formed a trip-hop duo called Nelstar with Newkirk the following year, but soon left the group.

In 1997, she participated in a talent show for urban females, namely, The Honey Jam talent show. There she caught the eye of Gerald Eaton, singer for the band The Philosopher Kings, and his bandmate Brain West.

Eaton and West collaborated with the young singer and co-produced her debut album ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ in 2000. The album featured three international singles including ‘I’m Like a Bird’ and received four Grammy Nominations.

In 2001, she embarked on the ‘Burn in the Spotlight Tour’ to promote her album. She traveled all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe and performed at different venues.

Her second album ‘Folklore’ was out in 2003. The album featured a sound more mellow and diverse than its predecessor and had a rock-oriented, acoustic approach. It included the single ‘Forca’ which was the official anthem of the 2004 European Football Championship.

Her album ‘Loose’, released in 2006 had elements of dance, R&B, and hip-hop. The album, which has been described as introspective and sad, explores the theme of female sexuality for which Nelly received considerable criticism.

She recorded a Spanish album ‘Mi Plan’ which was released in 2009. The album was a highly successful one; it peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Latin Billboard chart and was accredited Platinum in the U.S.

In 2010, she went on a Concert Tour to promote the album ‘Mi Plan’ and visited countries like Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and also the U.S. and Europe.

In 2012, she released her latest album ‘The Spirit Indestructible’. Nelly was also the co-producer of this album, which had hit singles like ‘Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)’, ‘Parking Lot’, and ‘Waiting for the Night’.

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In 2015, she made a minor appearance as ‘Nelia’ in the Canadian romantic comedy film ‘A Date with Miss Fortune’ directed by John L'Ecuyer. The following year, she performed the Canadian national anthem at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. That same year in July, she put out her song "Behind Your Back."

In 2017, she released her sixth studio album ‘The Ride.’ The album garnered positive reviews from critics and reached the top 100 in Canada, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. In May 2021, she joined hands with Quarterhead and released the remix of her song "All Good Things (Come to an End)." In December 2022, she performed at the ‘Beyond The Valley Festival.’

She collaborated with Dom Dolla for the song ‘Eat Your Man’ which came out in June 2023. The same month, she also performed at the Machaca Fest in Mexico. In September, she released the song ‘Keep Going Up’ which was made in collaboration with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.

Major Works

Her debut album ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ launched her career and has sold more than eight million copies to date. It was accredited platinum in several countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

‘Loose’ is her most successful album ever and it debuted at No.1 on the Canadian Albums Chart and on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album featured the super hit singles, ‘Promiscuous’ and ‘Maneater’ and received several awards and nominations.

Awards & Achievements

She won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the song ‘I’m Like a Bird’ in 2002 and for ‘Say It Right’ in 2008.

She received the Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album, Female for her album ‘Mi Plan’ in 2010.

Personal Life & Legacy

She was in a relationship with Jasper Gahunia with whom she has a daughter, Nevis. However, the couple broke up in 2005.

She got married to sound engineer Demacio Castellon in 2008. However, the couple got divorced in 2016.

She once hosted a program about AIDS on MTV along with musicians Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.

Facts About Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado is fluent in Portuguese, which is her first language, and often incorporates the language into her music.

She once worked at a fast food restaurant before finding success as a singer, showing her humble beginnings and work ethic.

Nelly Furtado is known for her philanthropic efforts, supporting various causes such as music education and environmental conservation.

She has a unique talent for playing multiple instruments, including the guitar, ukulele, and keyboard, showcasing her musical versatility.

Nelly Furtado is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys exploring different cuisines and cooking for her friends and family in her spare time.


Grammy Awards
2002 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Winner

See the events in life of Nelly Furtado in Chronological Order

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