Grammy winning singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado first spread her artistic wings and soared into America by taking a bold approach to pop music with her debut release of Whoa, Nelly! on October 24, 2000. At the time, she signaled a new era by coupling her multicultural musical heritage with an unabashed willingness to write songs about her strengths and vulnerabilities. On October 23, Dreamworks/UMe celebrates the 20th anniversary of the RIAA-certified double-platinum album with a new digital-only Expanded Edition, available for pre-save here.
As an emerging pop artist willing to take chances, Furtado asserts her eclecticism and lyrical directness from the very first track. On “Hey, Man!” — ‘I look at myself in the mirror’ and ask, ‘Am I vital today?’ — she opens the album with an orchestral blend of subtle hip-hop beats speckled with Latin percussion and acoustic guitar. With themes such as self-confidence (the R&B influenced “Baby Girl”) and chasing dreams (“Trynna Finda Way”), she displays her ability to convey honest emotions with lyrical and instrumental complexity. Furtado infuses the feeling of affection (“Legend”) and looking to nature to capture the essence of love (“My Love Grows Deeper, Part 1) with captivating beats and rambling rhythms that result in yet another unique intersection of genres and emotions. The frenzy that success breeds (“Party”) is punctuated with a thoughtfully slower tempo, Latin sounds and sweet melody. Throughout the album, she takes unexpected turns while maintaining a strong sense of connectedness as one song moves gracefully into the next.
Nelly Furtado earned a Grammy® Award for her performance of “I’m Like A Bird,” the first of three hit singles from Whoa, Nelly! On the track, a cinematic opening gives way to sparse beat-centric verses and a beautifully sweeping chorus in which she expresses a yearning for the kind of freedom that labels her capricious. The album’s second single, “Turn Off The Light,” shimmers with what became known as her trip pop style and her ability to rap to progressive beats only to effortlessly and beautifully hit the high notes. Her third single, “Shit On The Radio (Remember The Days)” adeptly unites her hip-hop sensibilities with soaring melodies and heavy beats to deliver an unpredictable mix that perfectly sets up a poignant message to anyone who questions her motives.
On Whoa, Nelly!, Furtado celebrated her Portuguese heritage. Her parents moved to Canada from their village in Portugal’s Azores islands. As a child, Nelly frequently performed songs from her parents’ homeland at local festivals and events. In her teens, she was playing the trombone in a marching band by day and blossoming into a hardcore hip-hop devotee by night. She founded a trip-hop outfit, Nelstar, and focused on writing. She was eventually discovered by Chris Smith and Gerald Eaton (of The Philosopher Kings) at a talent show in Toronto. Although her eclectic blend of pop, hip-hop, bossa nova and Portuguese flavor transcended categorization, her first single, “I’m Like A Bird,” was a success and Nelly Furtado quickly established herself as creative talent willing to defy the status quo.
The 20th Anniversary digital edition of Whoa, Nelly! includes 10 bonus tracks: five that were featured on the 2008 Special Edition and five that are making their first digital appearance here. Her debut release is tracks 1-12; tracks 13-17 are from the special edition. Tracks 18-22 are the new 20th anniversary digital-only bonus tracks, including a live version of “Baby Girl” and the Timbaland remix of “Turn Off The Light.” The new digital-only Expanded Edition is available for pre-save here.