When you broke in 2000 with Im Like a Bird, you were a funky boho chick, kind of an anti-Britney. Now youre releasing your third album, and youve turned into a midriff-baring sex bomb. What happened?
I made the new album in Miami and I felt really sexy there. Miami accepts booty! Plus, when I came into the business, I was really intimidated by all those girls who had been on the Mickey Mouse Club when they were kids. Im just now catching up, accepting my job more. My video choreographer taught me how to move in all these different ways. Im more at ease with my body than I have ever been.
Is your booty your best asset?
Physically speaking, yes. I like it. Its good. Its nice to have something to hold on to. Its just coming out of the woodwork, though, so its still shy. It doesnt want too much spotlight.
Your first record, Whoa, Nelly!, sold 2 million copies; your second one, 2003s Folklore, sold one-quarter of that. did you worry that you were washed up at 24?
I was talking to Jimmy Iovine, the boss at my new label, and he thinks that Folklore is like U2s Pop not quite there. I wasnt smiling and jumping up and down anymore; I was wearing a guitar and looked serious. Four or five songs have Portuguese folk music. Thats just crazy. After Folklore, I realized I had maybe taken certain things for granted. Like, isnt everyones first performance on SNL? Isnt everyones first interview with Vanity Fair? Doesnt everyone open for U2 and win a Grammy? Whoops! I should have appreciated all that stuff, especially the free clothes.
How do you feel now when you hear Im Like a Bird?
Ive heard it sung at karaoke or by cover bands, and it was awesome I was like, wow, Ive got one of those songs. Somebody once called it a hairbrush song, one that girls and guys sing in front of the mirror with their hairbrush. I just think Im lucky I have it its paying the bills!
Your flirty new single with Timbaland is called Promiscuous. Would you describe yourself as such?
No, although I did go through a phase when my first album came out, and I was meeting all these cool people. Id get their phone numbers and call them. But I dont do that anymore.
Do you usually make the first move?
I do. Im aggressive. But now, I actually have a boyfriend. A secret boyfriend. Of eight months.
Why is he a secret?
I just dont really talk about it. Its nobody famous or anything.
You have a 2-year-old daughter named Nevis. Whos her babydaddy?
Jasper. DJ Lil Jaz. Hes a DJ-turntablist-slash-keyboard-player-slash-producer. We broke up a year ago and were together for four years, friends for like five or six years before that. Were fully active co-parents and really close friends, so things are irie.
Why didnt you two ever get married? Are you not the marrying kind?
Im kind of modern. I dont really live by societys standards. Maybe in the next five years Ill get married, have more kids. One grandmother had eight kids, the other had 10. If I have that many kids, then I would need a hubby.
Youre 27, which is the age of gruesome premature rock deaths: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison. Why do you think 27 is such a killer?
I think the rock & roll lifestyle affords you a freeway to midlife crisis, which comes 10 to 20 years earlier than it normally would. Youre dealing with the increased neurosis of becoming an adult and youve got to deal with your inner demons in front of everyone.
How do you exorcise your demons?
Listening to heavy, heavy rock music like System of a Down and Death From Above 1979. I love the rhythms and the loud vocals and guitars.
Is noise rock your biggest vice?
I also use these homeopathic healing oils called Bach Flower Remedies.
With a syringe, at least?
I just spray them under my tongue.
How are you stereotypically Canadian?
Im politically correct and very nice. Canadians are known for their niceness.
Are you more hippie or hood at heart?
Hippie. I had a home birth with midwives. Im into spirituality and reading about different religions, even Wicca. I went through a feminist phase and read a lot of philosophical stuff. Some of the male-bashing brainwashed me for a bit so I stopped. I love men!
What about the hood part?
I know how to fit in. When I was making my record with Timbaland in Miami, people would show up with briefcases of cash and say to Tim, Give me a beat.
Who else showed up in Miami?
Paris Hilton. [Producer] Scott Storch brought her around to meet me. Shes sweet. Girl-next-door type of vibe.
Are you looking forward to Pariss album?
Yeah, for sure. Ive heard it was good. Shes an underdog and I like underdogs. In high school I was friends with all the underdogs. I had my cool friends, too, but I liked to be friends with the people that nobody liked. When I met Paris, I told her, Good luck, and youre innocent till proven guilty in the music business.