There's much more to hip-hop/pop star Nelly than multiple Grammy Awards, a budding film career and entrepreneurship.
Nelly, who brings his Blizzard Music Tour 5.0 to Toyota Center on March 11, also is a philanthropist devoted to bringing more awareness to the need for bone marrow donors for people with leukemia.
He runs the nonprofit organization 4Sho4Kids, which works to improve quality of life for children with developmental disabilities.
He also founded Jes Us 4 Foundation with his sister Jackie Donahue in 2003, which works to bring more awareness for the need for bone marrow donations.
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Nelly's sister lost her battle with leukemia in 2005.
"She and I started that foundation, and we found donors for seven people (before she died)," Nelly said in a phone interview. "I keep this foundation going in her honor."
As for his tour, there's a good reason it's called a Blizzard even though Nelly's one hot musician.
"When we started this tour, there was so much snow going on all over the place," he said. "Most of the cities we were stopping in were having blizzards, so The Blizzard Tour it was."
Ask this eclectic musician how he deals with the critics who claim his music is degrading to women, his answer is direct and simple.
"About 85 percent of my fans are women," he said. "If I was degrading them in my music all the time, I don't think that would be tolerated."
Besides, he added, "I have so many beautiful women in my life -- my mom, grandma, my daughter. If I was doing something wrong with my music, being demoralizing to women, they'd be telling me so real fast."
Nelly was born Cornell Haynes Jr. in 1974 in Austin, Texas. He earned his nickname as a kid as a shorter version of Cornell.
"You know, it was Nel, then Nelly," he said. "But some people still call me Cornell."
His music is a mix of pop, hip-hop and jazzy rap, and he occasionally mingles his songs with duets with other top artists like Tim McGraw in the song Over and Over.
His latest album, Nelly 5.0, was released in 2010 and his single, Just A Dream, struck a chord with fans and made Billboard's Top 10.
He's released six albums since 2000 and hasn't lost an ounce of appeal during the past decade -- even stretching his talents onto the big screen in a remake of the film classic The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock.
Cranking out hit tunes aside, Nelly also has a savvy sense of style. He owns a women's clothing line called Apple Bottoms and a mens line called Vokal.
He also has a 16-year-old daughter, who's perhaps his biggest fan.
"Yeah, I was pretty young when she was born. We start young where I come from," he quipped.
But he added, "Truthfully, my daughter is a joy."
Also appearing with Nelly on the Blizzard Tour will be the 3OH!3, Sick Puppies, Big Reeno, DJ Dextriouis and Cali Swag District.
Tickets to the Blizzard Tour are from $39.50 to $47.25 plus service charges. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or the coliseum box office. Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com