Nelly Furtado: Promiscuity Sells

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ABC News covers the transformation of Nelly Furtado from earnest songstress to flesh-flaunting grinder. For those with the genetic goods (think Jessica Simpson and before her, Jewel), it’s a well-traveled road.

ABC asked Ronn Torossian about the evolution of Furtado and other pop singers. His thoughts:

“In a world of iPods and Xboxes, where people have increasingly short attention spans, artists must constantly evolve to be remembered 10, 20, 50 years from now … And the way the music industry is going these days, artists are not relying on album sales but are trying to turn their name into a brand.”

We can’t say there’s no truth to Ronn’s words. But speaking of artists who will be remembered 50 years from now, Bob Dylan spoke a deeper truth in this old interview with Kurt Loder:

KL: Mick Jagger seems to jump around onstage a bit too much, don’t you think?

BD: I love Mick Jagger. I mean, I go back a long ways with him, and I always wish him the best. But to see him jumping around like he does … It’s still hipper and cooler to be Ray Charles, sittin’ at the piano, not movin’ shit. And still getting across, you know? Pushing rhythm and soul across. It’s got nothin’ to do with jumping around. I mean, what could it possibly have to do with jumping around?

KL: Showbiz?

BD: I don’t know. Showbiz — well, I don’t dig it. I don’t go to see someone jump around. I hate to see chicks perform. Hate it.

KL: Why?

BD: Because they whore themselves. Especially the ones that don’t wear anything. They f—–’ whore themselves.

Or as Sabrina Jalees wrote in one of our all-time favorite newspaper columns, on the Saugeen Stripper case:

Not to get all “I’m-burning-my-bra” on you here but if you don’t wanna blame the girl or the Smirnoff you can go knock on old Mama-Big-Media’s door. But make sure you keep knocking for a while, she’s very busy … making whores! The media were occupied glorifying humiliatingly ho-ish female behaviour and packaging it as “liberation” long before Christina Aguilera learned her first word (which was “g-string”). As a result of these efforts, we are now living in the Era of Skank.

Welcome to it, Nelly.

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About the author

Scott Baradell
Scott, president of Idea Grove, oversees one of the fastest-growing and most forward-looking public relations and inbound marketing agencies in the southwestern United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers; and its clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 200 companies. Scott launched Idea Grove in 2005 along with his groundbreaking blog, Media Orchard. He has been a consistent innovator in the public relations and marketing space. Scott was among the first to understand the role of blogging in audience building. He was quick to recognize the vital importance of content quality and the power of social sharing. Most significantly, he developed a system that integrates public relations, content creation, social and search marketing, and conversion rate optimization into a program that produces hard-dollar results for clients.

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6 thoughts on “Nelly Furtado: Promiscuity Sells

  1. Anonymous

    You have lots of pictures of bikini-wearing women on your site for someone who is so opposed to objectifying women, don’t you think?

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  2. SB

    Um, yeah — probably the old double-standard trap to some extent. And heck, I can’t say I don’t prefer the new, Daisy Duke-wearing Jessica Simpson to the old virginal one.

    Or before that, the leather-clad Olivia Newton John at the end of Grease to the virginal one at the beginning.

    I guess I just want people to be honest about what’s going on here. The music industry today basically requires that female artists “whore” themselves, as Dylan put it. I wonder if a true artist like a Joni Mitchell would be allowed to emerge today; I think probably not. She’d be thrown out of the record exec’s office for not being sexy enough.

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  3. Laura

    Oh come on Scott, don’t be so cynical. What about Sarah McLachlan? India Arie? Alanis Morissette? The Dixie Chicks? I’ve never seen them “whore themselves out” with skimpy clothing and they’re all stars.

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  4. SB

    Laura,

    I’ll give you Sarah and India. Alanis, I believe, was naked throughout an entire music video, as I recall. And all of those women, including the Dixie Chicks, are very physically attractive, in my opinion. If you go back to the era of Janis and Joni, I think they’d probably be disqualified today for not being attractive enough.

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  5. Robert J. Ricci

    “Artists who will be remembered 50 years from now…” – hmm. Doesn’t sound like posterity is anything the likes of Nelly (or Jessica, or Christina, or Britney, or Carrie, or JLo, or Beyonce, or Kelly – I could go on naming Pop-Tarts forever, trust me) will ever have to worry about.

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