Singer drops earthy look in favour of glamour



Kevork Djansezian/associated press


When Nelly Furtado hosts this year’s Juno Awards, she’ll be showcasing a sexy look that may have played a key role in her rise to the top of the music charts.


When a pig-tailed Nelly Furtado burst onto the music scene six years ago, she swept Canada’s premier awards gala oozing girl-next-door charm.

But when the Victoria-raised singer hosts this year’s Juno Awards, she’ll be showcasing a very different image — a sexy, grown-up look that has arguably played a key role in her stunning ascension back to the top of the music charts.

After lacklustre sales for her sophomore album Folklore, Loose became a near-instant phenomenon when it was released early last year. Promiscuous, Furtado’s call-and-answer smash with Timbaland was a club staple. The video featured Furtado in a midriff-bearing top, grinding her hips on a dance floor.

Fans, meanwhile, were buzzing about the singer’s new sexpot image.

“I liked that she was more the girl-next-door instead of using her hot chick look,” a blogger named Jose wrote of Furtado’s early image.

“Then again, I can’t knock on the beats Timbo supplied her with.”

Former Furtado make-up artist Jackie Shawn says artists can’t miss when they pair up with red-hot hitmaker Timbaland.

“He’s on everybody’s track, I think,” jokes Shawn, who helped shape Furtado’s style during the Whoa, Nelly and Folklore albums. Shawn describes Furtado as a gregarious and bubbly personality when she first worked with her at the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2002.

Back then, the singer’s laid-back look often leaned towards casual pants and a streamlined hairstyle, pulled-back to reveal her youthful features, she recalls.

Now she’s delighted to see her former client experiment with wild curly locks on last month’s Grammy red carpet, and throws kudos to Furtado for having fun and looking comfortable in her skin.

Celebrated choreographer Fatima Robinson recalls a down-to-earth image with a hint of street when she helped Furtado groove through the video for Turn Off The Light.

Since then, Robinson has been called in to help shape Furtado’s image for more recent TV appearances.

“Everybody changes over the years,” says Robinson, whose star-packed resume includes work with Michael Jackson and the Oscar-winning musical Dreamgirls.

watch Nelly

  • Furtado heads to the Junos on April 1 with a leading five nominations. She plays the Air Canada Centre on April 4.