|New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ Interscope Records)
Here come the girls. Backstage at Elstree Studios, a troupe of perfect bodies files past, wearing fishnets: Nelly
Furtado's backing dancers. Then she appears, dressed like an S&M Barbie doll in a frou-frou miniskirt and black leather biker gloves. Each finger is encrusted with spiky rings and sparkly knuckledusters, and she's wearing outsize hoops, of course - 'The bigger the better, the better the bigger,' as she puts it in her new single - and this particular pair is decorated with silver shark bites. 'Wearing hoops makes me feel less insecure, more confident,' she says in a voice surprisingly small and vulnerable for a pop diva with some of the most powerful lungs in the business.
Nelly, 33, sold six million copies of her 2000 debut album Woah, Nelly! and became everyone's favourite Portuguese Canadian: feisty, beautiful — she could be Courteney Cox's little sister — wholesome yet kooky, singing about how she was 'like a bird' who wanted to 'fly away'. (Turns out she meant it: 'Birds are my power animals… eagles are important to me… I've always been attracted to ravens…') Her accordion-heavy second album Folklore was rather niche, but she came roaring back into fashion in 2006 with Loose, produced by hip-hop genius Timbaland
and featuring dancefloor favourites such as 'Promiscuous', 'Say It Right', and the insanely catchy UK number one 'Maneater'. It was the bestselling album in the US that year.
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