Nelly Furtado live in Abu Dhabi

I’ve just had the call. ‘Nelly Furtado has agreed to meet you and she’ll be ready for a chat at 3:30pm’ says the Abu Dhabi based event organizer who has flown her out for a one-time-only performance. As I look at my watch the clock reads just past 1:30pm on Friday (Nov 26). Oh no. As I jump in a taxi I rush home to grab my notebook, pen, and dictaphone. To Yas Island please driver. Zoom we go down Sheikh Zayed Road. I arrive at the Arena bang on time and meander my way through the giant Yas venue until I arrive backstage of where the Canadian singer is set to take the stage later that night. As I enter her van (it’s all very Hollywood) I see three white leather lounges where a raven haired beauty is perched on the end of one of the single seats. At first all I see is her brighter-than-bright red lipstick which is framed by her slicked back hair and she’s dressed in a black tee-shirt with cut out sleeves, jeans and heels.

“Hi. Shannon Wylie from Ahlan! magazine.”
“Nelly. Please take a seat, here.”

As she motions to where she wants me to sit on the lounge to her right, I take my position and she immediately starts firing off the small talk.

Nelly: I love your sandals.
Shannon: Thanks.
Nelly: Did you get them here?
Shannon: Yeah, they’re Kurt Geiger.
Nelly: Is there good shopping here?
Shannon: Amazing shopping and a lot of international designers.

Wow, Nelly really is very personable. But now it’s my turn to ask the questions.

Shannon: Who are your favourite designers? Who do you love to wear?
Nelly: Umm, I’m really eclectic with my clothes I like to mix a lot umm I guess different styles of clothes. My favourite sort of famous designer is probably Stella McCartney. She doesn’t use leather so I often find her handbags are really interesting. Kind of like a vegetarian who has to come up with different meals. The food tastes better because you have to try harder (laughs).

Shannon: Being a mum is it important that you have flexible clothes?
Nelly: Oh, yeah I like wearing comfortable clothes. Tops and tee-shirts and leggings, really comfortable like that. I usually live in a cold climate.

Shannon: Is that where your family are, in the cold climates of Canada?
Nelly: No, well part time. They’re in Miami. Originally I’m from British Columbia.

Shannon: And you’ve just won a Latin Grammy.
Nelly: Mmm hmm.
Shannon: How did that feel?
Nelly: Overwhelming. I’m thrilled. I felt so much joy. And I’ve had so much joy from the album. Meeting friends and fans all around the world. Just recording it and working on it. On top of that the tour and then winning a Grammy it was like Oh My Gosh. Like almost euphoria. When I won that award I think someone could have cut off my arm and I wouldn’t have felt a thing (laughs).

Shannon: What did you think of Abu Dhabi?
Nelly: Oh I had a really nice time. Public prayer on the radio and the singing and a capella it’s really beautiful. Obviously it’s not the same as the traditional music in the west. Umm, so, I know that pop is really popular here and I’m happy to be sharing the stage with Taio Cruz and Tinchy Stryder. I think it’ll be a good vibe and a nice festive party vibe. And people are going to be really excited.

Shannon: What’s next for you?
Nelly: Umm I’m just gonna take off a bit for the holidays and keep on recording. I just put out a greatest hits album umm and it features three brand new songs two of which I’m performing tonight. There’s a video for that. And I’ve just put of a remix version of that. I’m also recording a new English album. Umm, it’s kind a influenced by my Spanish Album, not in terms of the music but in terms of me learning a lot through vocalising and writing in another language I kind of come back to English with a new perspective I think .

Shannon: So what can we expect from the concert?
Nelly: Umm, well I’m just going to have a good time. When I’m on stage I can feel the vibe and the people and how people enjoy the music.

Shannon: Have you seen much of the UAE?
Nelly: I’ve driven by lots of places. The beautiful Zayed mosque.

Shannon: How do you juggle being a mother and a performing artist?
Nelly: My daughter, she comes on tour with me. But I’m not really touring as much anymore.

Shannon: Do you think she’ll be a singer?
Nelly: No. she thinks its amazing. She’s really interested in Science. They change their mind all the time.

Shannon: What has been your greatest achievement?
Nelly: My Spanish album. I just followed my heart.

Shannon: And your greatest personal achievement?
Nelly: Being a mother. It’s my number one job.