By Nelly Furtado
When I started this musical journey I wasn't sure of where I would end up, as I had just finished touring my spanish album and was tentative about singing in english again.
I was seriously considering retiring from my career as a pop musician and pursuing other music-related and creative endeavours.
Slowly, but surely, I began to record again and eventually found a new freedom within my voice and an overwhelming sense of excitement about making pop music.
That is the excitement you hear on The Spirit Indestructible. Nostalgia is a huge theme. All my old memories suddenly became crystal clear to me, and I found myself re-visiting my past in a fresh and colourful way, on songs such as "Parking Lot" , produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, where I detail good times in my hometown, sort of like my own take on "Summer Of 69'". On "Big Hoops", my swagger-in-spades, rhyme-writing 14-year-old self finds liberation through hip-hop and r and b attending "music jams" in suburban Victoria. Ironically, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, the producer of this song,and seven others on my album, is responsible for creating a lot of my favourite songs from the 90's as I eventually realised while examining the plaques his studio walls. When Rodney and I work together, I feel like a child in a playground, uninhibited and happy. We have a great time."Waiting For The Night", produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, is inspired by a diary I kept as a smitten sixteen-year-old on a summer vacation in exotic S. Miguel, Portugal, my parent's birthplace.
In "High Life", also produced by Jerkins, I sing about what happens after all the dreams come true; the crash and burn; the process of running from your hometown to seek "success", and what happens when you obtain it.The song was partly inspired by a disarming moment I had during a show on the European leg of the Loose tour in 2007.
"Spirit Indestructible", produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, is an ode to the spirit which resides in all of us and triumphs over anything. It is inspired by people I have met, and special moments in history that I have read about. Spirituality is one of the underlying themes on the album. On "Miracles", produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, "Believers", produced by Bob Rock, and "The Most Beautiful Thing", featuring the angelic vocals of Sara Tavares, and produced by Salaam Remi, I sing about grace, joy, faith, commitment and ecstasy.
In "Circles", produced by indie band Passion Pits' lead singer , Mike Angelakos, and "Bucket List”, produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, I meditate on personal relationships and life goals.
On "Something", I let my voice chill out and ride Salaam Remi's effortlessly masterful beat and Nas' classic hip-hop presence.
On the reggae track "Don't Leave Me" I sing from the perspective of a woman at wit's end with her love life, to the authentically produced sounds of Jamaica's own "Di Genius".
On "Enemy", produced and arranged by Salaam Remi, I sing about the self-indulgence of self-sabotage, the artist's lame but habitual escape.
On "Thoughts", produced by myself and The Demolition Crew, I am joined by my new friends The Kenyan Boys Choir in both English and Swahili.
On the remix of "Thoughts", my favourite electronic producer/DJ, Tiesto, shows his mellow side, brewing the perfect laidback track.
On "Be Ok", produced by John Shanks with additional programming by The Demolition Crew, Nelstar recording artist Dylan Murray lends his unforgettable voice in a charming, simple duet that only he could pen.
On "End Of The World", producer Fraser T. Smith lends grace to a simple love song that Rick Nowels and I wrote together.
All of these songs have incredible meaning to me and were written in moments of intense personal growth.
Overall, I would describe this album as raw and honest- a friendly punch in the face.
These tracks combine hard beats with strong, dynamic, sometimes pretty vocals . It's overall, quite a simple, at times juvenile album that was very liberating to create and gave me immense joy.
I hope you enjoy it too!
BIG HOOPS - By Nelly Furtado
"One of the first songs I did with Rodney was, Big Hoops. The song’s called Big Hoops (The Bigger the Better). I kinda, when I was writing it, I kinda came into this mindset of myself at about age 14 you know, growing up in my small town but living, living this life that was full of this wonderful RnB and Hip Hop music that I listened to and it became sort of part of my lifestyle and my friends and I we lived, it was the soundtrack of that time in my life. And so in all the verses I kinda reference my favourite R n’B and Hip Hop groups. The idea, my verse kinda goes… “Tonight’s the jam, I’ll be there till dawn. I’m going down I got my big hoops on. Pant legs so wide, I got my backpack on. I’m going to hear my favourite song” that’s just the essence I think of my life as a teenager and really loving Hip Hop music and loving RnB and loving that element of being at a party and anyone can grab the microphone at any moment and deliver a message or just have that swagger about you and I think there’s a certain unique swagger you have at that young age and that the music gives you. I think that’s the zone of that song, The Bigger the Better. I mean I used to grab the mic at parties and jams and just kinda freestyle and do sort of my own style of singing freestyle at parties. It was all very innocent and fun. The music was very fun. I mean it’s this sort of nostalgia I guess in a sense the song really takes me to that zone again and I’m really feeling that swagger when I listen to it and really loving it. So ya, I can’t wait to perform it live it’s going to be a lot of fun. A lot, a lot of fun! It’s about making music that’s fun. I think music can take you all kinds of places, clearly! As a little kid growing up in suburban Victoria to be transported through the music to be feeling the same things as anyone else listening to the same music anywhere in the world in any neighbourhood is kinda magical. I think music is magic, clearly. So for me, it’s almost like when Alice falls down the rabbit hole and is in a new world. That’s what music does to me, sometimes it can transport me and I know it transports me not only when I make music but when I listen to something I really love. You can take on a role when you hear something, it can be your soundtrack to mischief, and it can be your soundtrack to sadness. Anything. I feel really blessed. It’s been fun.
The other crazy thing I didn’t even think about before but now realize since we’re talking about Big Hoops and the whole thing behind it. This is even weirder; this is where you’re going to go “woah”. It wasn’t until after I did that song that I went and took the time to look at the plaque on Rodney’s studio wall and then I started realising that he actually was a part of and produced many of those songs that I loved so much at that time in my life. He was a part of that. He also even toured with some of those bands. He was a part of that whole era. And so that just flipped me out – so hard to explain."