Canadian pop pixie Nelly Furtado dropped by the Music Mix offices yesterday to tell us about her new album, Mi Plan, which hits stores September 15 and is the follow-up to 2006’s hugely successful, Timbaland-produced Loose. Was she looking muy bien? Yes she was. Does that exhaust my knowledge of Spanish? Shamefully, it does. But Furtado is rather more fluent in that particular tongue. Indeed, Mi Plan is a Spanish-language CD on which Furtado collaborates with a number of Latin musicians, including Colombian rocker Juanes and the Cuban singer-songwriter Alex Cuba, as well as the rather more Anglo-ish Josh Groban. “I feel like a new artist,” Furtado says of her new direction. “It’s so cool. Like: ‘Rewind! Rewind selecta!’”
After the jump, the singer reveals all about Mi Plan, her recent sessions with Timbaland, and how Groban came to be the CD’s “token gringo.”
Entertainment Weekly: Your background is actually Portuguese. So how come you ended up making a Spanish language album?
Nelly Furtado: I started speaking Spanish when I was 14 in high school, and I had a lot of friends whose parents were from Latin American countries. On Loose I wrote a song in Spanish that was kind of my tribute to reggaeton, which was called “No Hay Igual.” It’s pretty basic Spanish. But it’s still Spanish! I tried to write a song in English after Loose and it just wasn’t coming. And then I found myself writing in Spanish and got excited about pop songs again. It feels the same as when I sing in Portuguese. I guess the common thread is that it’s a Latin language, so it feels right.
You had so much success with Loose. Was there any pressure from your label to do exactly the same thing again?
Um….. Yes. [Laughs] They actually wanted me to do a quick and easy Spanish version of the Loose material and then maybe one or two originals. But I put the breaks on that. I feel like you have to follow your heart because you have more to lose if you compromise and then don’t succeed. But you’ve got to really appreciate success when it comes. With Loose I took the time to toast with champagne every number one and every platinum record.
So you were basically drunk for two years.
Has making Mi Plan helped with your English language songwriting?
Yes! Yes! It cured my writer’s block in a way. I would love to do another Spanish record, but I’m also writing an English album. Timbaland and I hooked up in the studio about three months ago and we wrote 20 songs in two days. It was really inspired. I think maybe some of that material will be on my English album. I also worked with (producer) Salaam Remi on this Spanish project. He’s worked with Amy Winehouse. He and I have a really good connection as well, so maybe more stuff with him.
You worked with a lot of different people on Mi Plan.
One cool thing about the Latin music world is that it’s massive. There are so many artists to collaborate with.
Like Josh Groban?
Like Josh Groban of course! Latino! (Laughs.) He’s my token gringo on the album. I’m joking! No, Josh is actually an incredible singer in Spanish as well. We’re friends and I love his voice. He just sounds like an angel.
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Photo credit: Robin Wong/PR Photos