Born in Victoria, Canada, to Portuguese descendant parents, Nelly was raised within a culturally rich environment, very close to her Latin roots: Portuguese night school, traditional dances workshops, marching bands, and religious festivities were common activities throughout her childhood. All that cultural immersion, and the deep working ethics she learned from her parents at an early age, helped her start a prosperous musical career when she moved to Toronto right after finishing high school.
She started to write her own songs when she joined the hip-hop duo Nelstar, but her wings really started expanding in preparation for the big flight when musicians Brian West and Gerard Eaton, from the funk pop band The Philosopher Kings, decided to record a demo of Nelly's songs that ended up on the desks of DreamWorks Records, which quickly realized the potential of the then teenager and released her first album, Whoa, Nelly! in 2000.
The following year Nelly went on an extensive headlining tour around North America. Whoa Nelly! reached platinum status several times and also got four nominations at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Nelly ended up taking the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I'm Like a Bird." Her second album, Folklore, was released on November 2003; two months after Nelly gave birth to her daughter Nevis. She waited 3 years to reinvent herself in 2006 with the release of Loose, an imminently danceable album produced almost in its entirety by beats genius Timbaland. "Promiscuous" became an instant hit, earning her the number one spot at the Billboard Hot 100 while the album debuted atop the charts upon its release.
Having harvested uncountable awards, record selling plaques and many other accomplishments with Whoa, Nelly!, Folklore, and Loose, Nelly was ready to produce an album completely in a foreign language.
Nelly learned Spanish at the age of 14 and she loves singing it ever since. "The world is changing," she says, "and after 10 years recording in English, I hit a wall. I felt this was the moment to make the dream -of doing an album completely in Spanish, and releasing it worldwide- come true." That was her plan, and that plan has resulted in her most pop record yet: Mi Plan.
As with all her albums, Nelly wrote and co-produced Mi Plan with the collaboration of great writers and producers that she personally chose, including Alex Cuba and Josh Groban.
Nelly has formed her own record label, Nelstar, in conjunction with Canadian independent label group Last Gang Labels. The first act signed to Nelstar is Fritz Helder & the Phantoms. Furtado released her first Spanish single Manos Al Aire on the new label.