If an artist sells 3 million albums and the follow up sells a million, it’s considered a failure. In fact one of the downfalls of success in this business is that it sets you up for failure, so the trick is defining what success means to you and sticking to it, otherwise happiness will never be yours. When success is defined in terms of sales, an artist who began with one intention (which we hope is to make music that comes to them very honestly) often times end up somewhere they never wanted to be because they are chasing something that cannot be predicted.
It’s this very reason we end up with the disposable type of music that owns the airwaves. Nelly Furtado, in my opinion, is not one of those artists. An international star by the time she was 22 years old, Nelly became a critical darling with her first album (Whoa, Nelly!) because of a style that flew in the face of the dominant “pop princess” trend. She was lauded for being a female artist who didn’t have to “resort” to a sexy image to sell records, and she sold a TONN, but then her 2nd album was considered a “commercial” failure and something interesting happened: she has a baby at 25 and 3 years later releases an album called “Loose”, it’s an ENORMOUS success but she is accused of “sexing it up” to sell records.
On the surface it seems like a clear cut case of exactly that, but what I hope you will see in this episode of In Sixty is that Nelly Furtado is about as real as they come, she jumps styles because as an artist she has no choice but to follow the muse, and her success is more about an organic connection with music fans than it is an attempt to chase a bandwagon…or the fact that sometimes she’s wearing a mini skirt and high heels. What is most impressive to me however how humble she is is; something I don’t believe she gets enough credit for. At only 33 years old, Nelly Furtado is a working mom, just like her own mom, just like mine and yours, and she has found happiness in not losing sight of that.