Terms of use l Contact us l Staff



Nelly Furtado

Whoa Nelly is the Real Thing

In the sea of teen queens and boy bands dishing out faux hip-hop and blue-eyed soul, 19-year-old Nelly Furtado stands out in more ways than one. Beyond her raven hair and piercing blue eyes, it's her distinctive voice and sound that separates her from her bottle-blonde peers. A listen to Furtado's Dreamworks debut "Whoa, Nelly!" gives one the immediate sense that

the others might be the current "big thing," but this girl's the real thing.

Furtado claims diverse influences from Portoisehead and Tricky to De La Soul, from Janet Jackson to U2 and Sade to Ice-T. Prince, she says, is firmly entrenched somewhere among all of these. Surprisingly, Furtado smoothly blends this mish-mash of styles and sounds into her own unique brand of "urban folk alternative music," a label she draws from this melding of hip-hop, rock, jazz and world influences.

Furtado captivates from the opening strains of disc-opener "Hey, Man!" Laying hip-hop inflections--from vocals to scratching and heavy bass at times--over decidedly rock music beds, Furtado has found a style both distinctly her own (she wrote or cowrote all 12 tracks on the disc and shares production credits) and extremely appealing. And refreshingly different.

There's something delicious about "I'm Like a Bird," the Canadian-born Portuguese singer's first single. Perhaps it's how decidedly different it is from anything currently at radio--a dual-edged sword to be certain. Radio programmers looking for the next piece of teen fluff could easily shy away from this delectable piece of pop, which is undeniably more complex than most tracks currently on the air.

However, those that give it a chance are likely to agree that the song is masterfully crafted. "Bird" seeps into the listener's mind without even making him aware. The chorus ingrains itself; the beat takes hold. Furtado's soaring vocals, mature well beyond her teenage years, are akin to a slightly less raspy Macy Gray--a woman whose surprising 1999 breakthrough the youngster could only hope to mimic. With her first outing, Furtado lays a solid foundation for what is to follow.

Full of hit-worthy, radio-friendly nuggets like "Well, Well" and the aforemen-tioned "Hey, Man!", "Whoa, Nelly!" shows Furtado is poised for the long haul. "...On the Radio (Remember the Days)," a realistic look at how popular opinion can change once an artist achieves success, is one of the more radio-ready tracks.

Nelly (right) hanging out with rock superstar Sheryl Crow

More heavily steeped in hip-hop than many other tracks on the disc, "Radio" could provide the 1-2 punch necessary to establish Furtado as a star.

"Turn Off the Lights" is similarly accessible. Intelligent, sing-along lyrics and a likeable, funky groove could prove the key to capturing the radio audiences so vitally important for her long-term commercial success.

With "I'm Like a Bird" already performing well in her homeland of Canada and catching on around the globe, signs bode well for this young woman whose family is steeped in musical heritage that goes back generations. It shouldn't be long before American audiences, which tend to be painfully "behind the times" when it comes to new artists, to catch on. (Again, look how long it took Gray's "I Try" to make an impact Stateside.)

Not content to be merely a face, albeit a very beautiful one, and a voice behind someone else's music, Furtado here shows that she's highly capable of doing it all. Writer, singer, musician, producer--Furtado has covered the bases. Furtado makes a powerhouse debut, and it won't go overlooked. Come Grammy time, whether radio paves the way or not, expect critics to reward this youngster for her efforts. "Whoa, Nelly!" indeed.

Click here to purchase this CD from Amazon.com

Return to Top


Weekly features

Link of the week
MVP of the week
Not necessarily news
Jimmy The Roman

Tell us what you
think of our review!

Contact Us

Past IN THE MIX reviews

Coyote Ugly
Lil' Kim
Counting Crows/Live
Madonna's Music
Christina Aguilera
Fall Music Preview
Baha Men
Billy Ray Cyrus
Charlie's Angels

© 2000 by PEP3 Entertainment – – All Rights Reserved