Jan. 10, 2013 - Issue #899: The games we play
Think of Nelly Furtado's latest album, The Spirit Indestructible, as a friendly punch in the face.
At least that's how the Canadian songstress describes the sensitive yet strong recording—her first in English since the staggering commercial success of her 2006 release Loose.
"After Loose I accomplished a lot of dreams for myself within the pop realm," Furtado explains over the phone during a break in tour rehearsals, sounding energetic despite the hectic schedule. "I was kind of ready for something new and I didn't really have anything left to say in English, so I started writing in Spanish."
The result of the cultural shift was Mi Plan, which earned Furtado a Latin Grammy Award, an achievement she's deemed as a career highlight. The album, released on Furtado's Nelstar label, was co-written with the help of fellow Canadian musician Alex Cuba, who Furtado credits for helping her create a more poetic esthetic in her music.
"My command of Spanish is not perfect and I wanted the album to be real. I wanted to really fit into that community of Latin pop and I had a lot of collaborations artistically with featured vocalists and stuff like that, so I was really lucky," she continues. "I kind of had to dissect my songwriting style; it made my English writing stronger. I feel like the lyrics on my new English album are stronger than lyrics that I've written in the past. The songs are a little more cohesive, the themes are a little more direct and they're less abstract."
This new approach helped Furtado craft English songs she was excited about, and she says The Spirit Indestructible is something of a big hallelujah; a big exhale and a lot of adrenaline evoked from singing in English and loving it again. After the two-year roller coaster brought on by Loose, she didn't feel pressure to recreate that same degree of success, acknowledging that lightning rarely strikes twice.
"By the time I got down to writing this album, I think my indie spirt came back into play," she says, noting she wrote approximately 40 songs for The Spirit Indestructible before axing the list down to 12—a decision she compares to a parent choosing a favourite child. "I think this album features a different side of me: I would say Whoa Nelly's like my brain, Folklore's like my heart, Loose is like my body, Mi Plan is like a romantic sort of segue and then this new one is like my spirit ... It has sort of a spiritual tone and I tried to stick with that vibe."
So what's the next form of evolution for Furtado? Your guess is as good as hers. While Furtado has carved out her career in the pop arena, she isn't about to be pigeon-holed, stating her next musical exploration could be anything from Latin jazz to Brazilian pop or even Portuguese folk.
"I'm interested in being a mature artist," she says matter-of-factly. "I think I've made such youthful music for such a long time I'm kind of getting bored of that; I'm getting bored of that sort of mainstream, poppy, peppy music and I think I want to move into more stylistic fluidity."
Tue, Jan 15 (7:30 pm)
With Dylan Murray, Jessica Tyler
Jubilee Auditorium, $35 – $100
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