One Of Nelly Furtado’s New Songs Was Inspired By Robin Williams

Nelly Furtado has released three songs from her upcoming album The Ride, due out Mar. 31. In a lengthy new interview with Maclean’sthe B.C. native has opened up about her new sound, stating that “I finally feel content with my work. My fruit has started to ripen.”

It took some time to reach this point, however. After the tour finished for her most successful album to date, 2006’s Loose, Furtado says she had to take some time for herself. It was during a period following 2012’s The Spirit Indestructible that she took a playwriting class at the University of Toronto.

“I lost all sense of who I was as an artist – that person who wakes up, sits at the piano in the living room, and writes a song,” she told Maclean’s. “I started to take a step back from the big pop world. I also wanted to be at home raising my daughter rather than raising her on the road. I was depleted when I came off the Loose tour. I also realized that I had to part ways with the longest business relationship of my life – it was like a divorce.”

MORE: Nelly Furtado Releases Upbeat Song Off New Album ‘The Ride’

One of the songs off of her forthcoming album, “Phoenix”, found unlikely inspiration in Robin Williams. It was written merely two weeks after the late actor’s passing. Of the song, Furtado said, “Those ideas of somebody feeling so desperate…we can all have those kinds of feelings. When you’re scrambling to fill the void in your life and you feel like you’re drowning […] I wanted to have a song that expressed that feeling of hope.”

For The Ride, the 38-year-old tapped St. Vincent collaborator, producer John Congleton, to help shape her more mature, less poppy sound. Furtado wanted to remove herself from the expensive songwriting teams she used to employ for her earlier work, and get closer to a sound that was more true to herself.

“I do feel like I’m a survivor because the music industry is still a boys’ club,” she said. “I really respect all the women in the business. I know trusting yourself is hard work but it helps you avoid all the traps and labels that come with being in this business.”

The Ride hits shelves March 31.