In a chart full of big releases by Beyoncé, Kelis and even Justin Timberlake (another Timbaland client), Furtado's reinvention may yet win her this year's pop crown. Pharrell Williams told me not to worry about the fans.
He said they would get bored of me if I stayed the same."Furtado is a typical example of what it takes to be a modern pop star.
"We recorded in Miami, and I felt much more comfortable expressing my Latin side. I really admire someone like Shakira, who has managed to appeal to so many different audiences."Furtado is very aware that in the promiscuous game of modern pop, it will be hard to preserve her success. How will the story stack up against the greatest films about business?
Made during her first pregnancy, it was a shift from the bouncy pop-fusion of her 2000 breakthrough, Whoa Nelly."Folklore was about me becoming a mother and struggling with success and trying to reconcile that with my working-class background.
I think it was an artistic success, but a lot of people responded very weirdly to it."While the commercial failure of Folklore "confused" her, it gave her a chance to experiment and coincided with her record label forming a new partnership with Timbaland."I realised that we were into the same things: lots of electro music from the '80s with aggressive drum sounds. He would goad me by telling me I couldn't rap or that I was bad at something.
And, like Timberlake, Beyoncé and Christina Aguillera, she seems old and serious before her time. In a swipe at Paris Hilton, the child of Portuguese immigrants says: "I've been brought up to work hard.
Over a stripped-down synth line, the 27-year-old Canadian and her producer, Timbaland, sound as if they're getting very close. "Promiscuous boy, let's get to the point," Furtado coos back.
Even if the image is a little racier than the reality, the transformation of Furtado in the hands of producer Timbaland has been phenomenal – her album Loose went into the US charts at number one and she had simultaneous number ones with Promiscuous in the US and Maneater over here.
Like Beyoncé, she describes herself as a workaholic and perfectionist.
She is faultlessly professional when it comes to promotion: she has flown halfway around the world to appear on the Charlotte Church and Sharon Osbourne shows – hardly the big time.
"I had worked with him five years ago on my first album and then on Get Ur Freak On with Missy Elliot. And because I'm so gullible, I would fall for it."The chemistry between them evokes his pioneering work with soul singer Aaliyah.