Victoria’s own Nelly Furtado has come full circle in her life and musical career; this is reflected in her latest album, The Spirit Indestructible, which was released in September.
The tour for The Spirit Indestructible kicks off in Victoria on Jan. 8. This is Furtado’s first English album since 2006’s Loose, which received the most global success of her discography. Since then, she has also come out with a Spanish album, Mi Plan, and a best-of album.
After a 12-year career, Furtado can still get nervous before playing a show, especially in Victoria.
“You really feel the pressure when your family is there. Not in a bad way, but you really want to deliver and put your best foot forward,” she says.
Furtado, who has lived in Toronto since starting her career, launches a 23-city tour across Canada on Jan. 8 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
“Victoria has done so much for me, and I’m so grateful for the support over the years,” she says. “[The city’s] got great vibes. It’s a fun way to launch a tour in your hometown.”
As a child of Portuguese immigrants, growing up in a multicultural community in Victoria exposed Furtado to world music, which continues to be her main influence today.
“There were a lot of other first-generation Canadians who had a lot to teach me. I was always quite musical and was always adapting and learning new styles of music from my friends,” says Furtado.
“Victoria’s a really unique place. First of all, probably because of its British, colonial roots, which obviously makes an impact on the city. Also, the strong Coast Salish influence and the web of multiculturalism within that.”
Furtado, who married in 2008 and has a seven-year-old daughter, felt overworked after her Loose tour and took a break. The high-energy sounds of The Spirit Indestructible are a reflection of some big life changes that took place during that hiatus, including her travels to Africa and her work as an ambassador for Free the Children, an international youth charity.
“Becoming an ambassador for them really reignited a sense of hope,” she says. “The Spirit Indestructible is about a lot of the people I met with really indestructible spirits, and that we can overcome anything.”
The new album is also reminiscent of her first two albums, Whoa! Nelly and Folklore. This may be particularly interesting for long-time fans who got a shock from the Timbaland-produced Loose, which featured more mainstream and club-ready tunes.
“In my travels, I kind of found myself again. I travelled full circle to a place in my heart — a place of innocence and purity, which existed on my first album as well.”
One of Furtado’s favourite songs on the album is “Bucket List,” which is about putting love above everything on your bucket list.
“If you put love at the bottom of the list, then maybe it’s not worth doing all the other things. I think I’ve found that. I’ve really found true balance in life that I think is probably reflected in that song,” she says.
Rodney (Darkchild) Jerkins, who has worked with Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga and Destiny’s Child, produced most of the songs on The Spirit Indestructible.
“He and I have this real inner-child-like connection. That made it extremely fun and exciting to be in his studio,” says Furtado.
Furtado says a new songwriting process also makes the album strong lyrically.
“It was my first time writing in English again for a couple years. When I wrote my Spanish album, I had to think about theme and metaphor and song mechanics. When it was time to write The Spirit Indestructible, it kind of forced me to think about song structure again in a new way.”
The singer shows no signs of slowing down and has plans to keep diversifying her musical style. Early in 2013, she is releasing a Portuguese song with Andrea Bocelli called “Corcovado,” produced by fellow Victorian David Foster.
“I’m like a musical explorer — I always want to learn more. It’s relentless, the thirst I have for music. It’s kind of unquenchable. I think I’m going to spend my life quenching those thirsts. Like a true explorer, you never want to visit the same place twice.”
Opening up for Furtado on the tour are Ontario singer-songwriters Dylan Murray, who appears on her album on the track “Be OK,” and Jessica Tyler, known for her role on the Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Tickets for the Victoria concert are on sale now at livenation.com.
Nelly Furtado – The Spirit Indestructible tour
Jan. 8 @ 7:30 p.m.
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre