“I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away.” Almost everyone knows the song and accompanying tune. The song catapulted Nelly Furtado (40) immediately to the top positions in the charts in 2000. But where is the singer today? Furtado has been out of the spotlight for months, is no longer bringing new music to the market, and has erased all messages on its social media channels.
When Nelly Furtado released her debut album ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ 18 years ago. released from the world, she immediately became a popular singer. The album was sold six million times worldwide and the lead ‘I’m Like A Bird’ won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. ‘Folklore’, her second album, came out in November 2003. Another recollection, because almost every released single became a hit on the radio. The song Forca was even chosen as the official special issue of the European Championship 2004 in Portugal. During the final of the European Championships, Nelly also released the song herself in the stadium.
The success story only lasted. In April 2006 she released ‘Say It Right’ in Europe, the most successful song of Furtado in her entire career. Later Nelly came up with ‘Loose’, which soon became her best-selling album ever. She skimmed high peaks in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The song ‘Promiscuous’ with Timbaland could be heard everywhere in the United States and the single ‘Maneater’ conquered Europe and Asia. More than eight million copies of the plate were sold worldwide.
So there seemed to be a long and glorious career ahead of Nelly. But it became increasingly silent around the singer, to the extent that she seemed to have disappeared completely from the globe. She omitted all interviews, thanked for photo shoots, removed all content from her Instagram profile, and finally did not show up anymore. But where did it all go wrong?
Nelly admitted to the British Daily Mail that she never knew how to handle celebrity and wealth. The fact that she was bombed into a superstar when she was barely 20 had a huge mental impact. She suddenly had to bear all that responsibility, which made her mature in a short time. “I was in no way prepared for what would happen to me. If I had only been 16, it was guaranteed to have gone wrong with me. Then I would be so on guard to make mistakes, that I would be destroyed by the age of 25,” she said. “I should not only be a musician, I also have to look like a model. I was raised with confidence, but still I always thought: ‘Damn, I look so fat in this dress.’
It also took its toll on Furtado. The singer got a nervous breakdown on stage. “I was on tour and was alone with my daughter. I was completely exhausted. One day I went on stage and realized how upset I was. I then burst into tears”, says Nelly. She immediately took a break and went home again. “I spent days at home. I felt like a failure and started to doubt everything. I would prefer to be a hermit. I longed for solitude.”
After she had recovered from her collapse, Nelly decided it was enough. She retreated from the media for good. And announced that she would focus entirely on her own happiness and that of her daughter Nevis, which she received together with her ex-boyfriend Jasper ‘Lil Jaz’ Gahunia. The couple separated in 2005 after a four-year relationship. Nelly later stepped into the marriage boat with sound engineer Demacio Castellon, but the couple requested the divorce in 2016. Since then, Nelly has remained single.
She does not think of music anymore. But Furtado did find new challenges along the way: they followed lessons in ceramics and playwriting, sat down at her daughter’s school to sort books in the library, and she was also behind the cash register of a record store. “All those things reminded me of who I really was,” Nelly said. “It’s great to have a career that gets off the ground. But if you just keep giving and giving, then you crash. I had to stay strong mentally, physically and emotionally for my daughter. But I really had to escape from that nonsense.”