`Whoa, Nelly' is unstoppable

March 04, 2002|By Heather Fuller | Heather Fuller,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

On the phone from New York, Nelly Furtado is cool yet not conceited, friendly without coming off as fake, and comfortable but not in a lazy sort of way. And the best part: She's real.

Furtado, now 23, is hardly your typical pop star. She's managed to maintain a presence in both teen and mainstream publications since the release of her debut album, Whoa, Nelly! in late 2000. Her music is in rotation on radio stations with very different audiences.

"You just have to have integrity, and then, in turn, people will respect you," she says.

That respect continued to arrive in the form of a Grammy Award last week for best female pop vocal performance. She was nominated for four awards.

Her musical background and influences have culminated in her current sound: an amalgam of pop, bossa nova, hip-hop, beatbox, trip-hop and more.

Furtado says she has started writing for her follow-up album.

"Emotionally I've grown a lot, and musically I've grown a lot," she says. "I've got a lot of things I still want to do."

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