With a career spanning two decades, five studio albums, over 16+ million records sold world-wide, and a plethora of accolades, Nelly Furtado is a proven chart-topping luminary. Furtado is now readying her sixth studio album, The Ride, due out 31st March 2017.
Furtado’s successes have been massive and fast-paced. In 2000 she released her debut album Whoa, Nelly!, which earned Furtado her first Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I’m Like A Bird.” Every three years that followed she would deliver a new project, including Folklore in 2003, her Pop smash Loose in 2006 (which spawned four #1 singles—”Promiscuous,” “Maneater,” “Say It Right,” and “All Good Things (Must Come to an End”) — her international debut Mi Plan, and her return to mainstream waters with The Spirit Indestructible in 2012. In addition to the massive hits from Loose, songs like “Turn off the Light,” “****on the Radio (Remember the Days),” “Powerless (Say What You Want),” also garnered global acclaim. Furtado’s songs have shape-shifted pop music as we know it.
After 2012’s The Spirit Indestructible, Furtado made a concerted effort to take a well-deserved hiatus from the spotlight. “What happens when you have a successful album and/or career, is you go, go, go, more is more, yes yes yes and no time for no,” says Furtado. “That took its toll on me and didn’t flow with my natural rhythm of who I am.” Needing a clean slate, Furtado decided to dial back her life. “I was having a crazy day and I drove to my friend’s record store and I said to him, ‘This is going to sound crazy but can I work at your store?'” Furtado recalls. “I started doing a lot of things I always wanted to do—like sewing, ceramic and playwriting classes. I guess I was trying to distill my life a little bit. I was living in fast forward since I was 19. Through unstrapping and layering down and simplifying my life, I found joy again in art,” says Furtado about discovering the inspiration for her forthcoming album.
The Ride serves as a culmination of Furtado’s journey, living life through experiences that oftentimes felt like a carnival ride you get on and sometimes have to get off. “I let experience be the most important thing,” Furtado explains. Experiences birthed several songs which found their way onto the new album. There’s the pensive “Pipe Dreams,” which was written on a water walk in Kenya, where Furtado learned how Kenyan women find water for their villages. A trip to Chile to visit her best friend also proved to be fortuitous, as Furtado penned “Magic” while sipping on wine in Santiago and reflecting on unrequited love. The true glue of The Ride is songwriter and producer John Congleton of the band The Paper Chase. The two met through Annie Clark of St. Vincent and had a musical chemistry from the moment Nelly entered his Dallas studio. Together they formulated the heart of the album, including the emotional “Flatline,” “Cold Hard Truth,” “Paris Sun,” and the apropos “Carnival Games.” “It’s kind of like the oh fuckmoment,” she says of the latter track. “You’re kind of at a carnival and it looks fun, but fundamentally what is actually going on?” Working with John allowed Nelly to experiment with new sounds and arrangements, leaning on Congleton’s punk beginnings.
“It’s okay to maybe get off The Ride once in a while,” Furtado says, “and reflect on everything you’ve experienced.” The result is a bold comeback project, signifying the return of an artist who lives unapologetically and is geared to bring everyone back on The Ride with her.
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THE RIDE TRACK LISTING
All songs Produced and Mixed by John Congleton at Elmwood Recording, Dallas, Texas/ Revolution Studios Toronto, Canada/The Orange Lounge Recording Studio Toronto, Canada. Except: Sticks and Stones, Produced by John Congleton and Mark Taylor
1 Cold Hard Truth
3 Carnival Games
5 Paris Sun
6 Sticks and Stones
8 Pipe Dreams
10 Tap Dancing
11 Right Road