NEW YORK Canadian singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado has embraced her Latin roots -- and the Latino music market -- with the release of her first Spanish language album, "Mi Plan."
Although raised in Victoria, British Columbia, her parents are of Portuguese descent and she has been speaking Spanish since the age of 14.
The Grammy-winning singer has mixed Spanish and Portuguese lyrics into songs on her previous albums, but felt it was time to dive in completely and create an album entirely in Spanish.
"I had always included 20 percent Latin content on my three previous albums, either in Portuguese or Spanish," Furtado, 30, told Reuters Television as "Mi Plan," her fourth studio album, was released internationally Tuesday.
"It's a language that I've been speaking since I was about 14. I've also been speaking Portuguese since I was a little girl, and it's a great chance to show that other side of me."
For "Mi Plan," released by Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Furtado teamed up famous Latino guest stars including Juan Luis Guerra, Julieta Venegas, and Mala Rodriguez.
The album's first single, "Manos al Aire," (Hands in the Air), recently hit No. 1 on Billboard's Latin radio chart.
Furtado said writing in Spanish gave her a chance to express herself differently, something she couldn't completely do in English.
Furtado said she came away feeling spent creatively after a tour to promote her third album, "Loose," in which she teamed up with hip-hop producer and artist Timbaland, but writing songs in Spanish gave her new energy.
"It was almost as if the well had run dry, and the moment I started writing in Spanish and working in and making these connections with a lot of artists who helped me get all of my emotions out and these songs completed, it felt very liberating," she said.
"I don't know what you would call it, but it just felt very comfortable."
She said she was also able to express a more flamboyant and dramatic side of herself by singing in Spanish, citing the single "Manos Al Aire" as an example of how language allowed her to show her variety of emotions.
"I can be a little more complex in Spanish, I can be a little more dramatic, a little more theatrical, have a little more fire," she said.
(Reporting by Reuters Television, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)