A&E Shorts

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado starts record label
Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado has created her own record label called Nelstar Music and has already signed the Toronto electro-dance band Fritz Helder & the Phantoms.

Furtado, the 30-year-old Juno winner and Grammy performer who hails from Victoria, B.C. is working with independent firm Last Gang Labels to distribute new acts.

“I think that it’s best to start off an indie,” she told Billboard magazine. “When you are a new band and you sign to a major, you get thrown to the fire.”

She also hopes her company will support Canadian music and she says she wants her label to “grow organically.”

Fritz Helder & the Phantoms have plenty of performing experience, having previously toured with Furtado as well as acts like Lady Gaga and Dragonette. This collaboration between Furtado and Fritz Helder & the Phantoms is unique because the band will continue to work under their own label, House of Helder, which will become an imprint of Nelstar.

In a recent statement, Furtado explained her choice for signing the band: “I’ve been thinking about a way to help Fritz Helder for a while and this venture grew out of my love for the band, their art and their work ethic,” she said. “I am as committed as they are to bringing their creativity to the world.”

Fritz Helder & the Phantoms will release its first album, Greatest Hits, under the Nelstar label on July 7. The band’s first single “Lagerfield Lady” will drop sometime in the spring.

Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson

British actress dies in Tremblant skiing accident
British actress Natasha Richardson died in a skiing accident on Monday and was pronounced dead as of last night.

The 45-year-old Tony-award winning actress, best known for her roles in films such as The Parent Trap and The Handmaid’s Tale, was skiing in Mont Tremblant while husband, actor Liam Neeson, was filming a new movie in Toronto. After hearing of the accident, Neeson left the set to be by his wife’s side.

Few details have been released regarding the accident, but Richardson’s Aunt, actress Kika Markham, confirmed to the BBC that Richardson was in the hospital with reports of “a serious head injury or traumatic head injury.”

Richardson was admitted to a local emergency room near Mont Tremblant shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday and she died in a New York hospital where she had been later transferred.

The British actress comes from a strong acting background. Her mother Vanessa Redgrave was an Oscar winner; her father was the late director Tony Richardson and sister Joely Richardson is known for her role in Nip/Tuck. Natasha was trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and has performed on Broadway. She won a Tony award in 1998 for her role in Cabaret.

Richardson married Neeson in 1994 and together they have two sons. “They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time,” said Neeson’s publicist.

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