Nelly Furtado 2023 is FASHION’s November Cover Star


She is also making some time for dating, which she says is “really fun.” “Because I’ve never known myself as well as I do now, and I’m not chasing anything,” she explains. “Plus, there’s nothing I care more about than my kids and my work. So it puts dating into perspective, right?”

Work is also fun, she says, because of the confidence she has now compared to her early years. “I had some really big moments as my first introduction to this business — my first photo shoot was with Vanity Fair!” she says with a how-wild-is-that laugh. “And then one of my first TV performances was on Saturday Night Live. I was this very nervous gangly 21-year-old tomboy going ‘Whoa! What’s going on?’” She also learned to deal with the surprises that come with performing live. “I tripped on my guitar player’s amp and went tumbling into the audience at the Hard Rock Cafe in New Orleans,” she recalls. “I literally had a chain-link-shaped bruise on my back.”

Thankfully, most of her performances go much better than that, including her comeback moment in 2022 at Drake’s OVO Fest after a five-year absence from the stage. She shocked the crowd by stepping out and singing “I’m Like a Bird” with the rapper, who told the audience he’d had a tough time convincing her to appear. But the experience seemed to reignite something in Furtado; her seventh studio album is currently in the works.

“Now I realize that I’m really doing it for me,” she shares. “I’m doing it for the craft. I’m doing it because I’m competing with myself. I want to be my best at every element of my career, whether it’s recording or performing or photo shoots. I’m a perfectionist. So I know there’s always another level to attain.” She’s worked on the very high choruses of “Promiscuous” and feels she is singing them better than she ever did. And she spends hours in the dance studio, which she says really helps with her ADHD. “I did about three and a half hours of really intense choreography for a show, and then I came home and was able to organize my whole closet,” she explains. “When doing choreography, your brain and your body have to be in sync, and that discipline is really effective.”

Most of all, she’s enjoying the experience of connecting with her audiences again. She says she sometimes feels like she’s in a giant karaoke where everybody’s just having a great time and so is she. And unlike some artists who moan about having to play old hits over and over, she says she never tires of delivering “I’m Like a Bird” live. “I would never be the type of person to say ‘I’m over that song’ because I’m not. I think: ‘Isn’t this a blessing? That’s so amazing that all these people know this song.’” Maybe that’s why Furtado, like the lyrics say, may fly away for a while now and then, but she’ll never fade.


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