Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977), known professionally as Shakira (pronounced /ʃəˈkɪərə/, Spanish: [tʃaˈkiɾa] or [ʃaˈkiɾa]), is a Colombian singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist who emerged as a musical prodigy in the music scene of Latin America in the early 1990s. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira revealed many of her talents in school as a live performer, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Middle Eastern influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. Shakira is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks fluent English and Portuguese.
After commercial flops with local producers on her first two albums, and little-known outside Colombia, Shakira decided to produce her own brand of music. In 1995 she released Pies Descalzos, which brought her great fame in Latin America and Spain, and her 1998 album ¿Dónde Están los Ladrones? was a critical success. Since then she has gained many fans in semi-Hispanophone countries, and many non-Spanish-speaking countries, especially the United States. In 2001, and aided by heavy rotation of the music video, “Whenever, Wherever”, she broke through into the English-speaking world with the release of Laundry Service, which sold over 13 million copies worldwide. Four years later, Shakira released two album projects called Fijación Oral Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2. Both reinforced her success, particularly with the most successful song in the 21st century to date, “Hips Don’t Lie”. From October-November 2009 Shakira released her latest album She Wolf worldwide.
She has won two Grammy Awards, seven Latin Grammy Awards, twelve Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She is also the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, and the second most successful female Latin singer having sold over 50 million albums worldwide. Additionally, she is the only artist from South America to reach the number-one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the Australian ARIA chart, and the UK Singles Chart.Shakira is to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Shakira’s latest success story is the superhit “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, along with its Spanish language version, titled “Waka Waka (Esto es África)”. The song has received generally positive critical reception, and has become a worldwide hit.
Shakira was born on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of Nidya del Carmen Ripoll Torrado and William Mebarak Chadid, who are of Lebanese, Spanish (Catalan) and Italian descent. She has eight older half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage.
Shakira means “thankful” in Arabic. It is the feminine form of the name Shakir. Her second name, Isabel, is also that of her paternal grandmother, meaning “my God is my oath”, “my God’s house” or “my God is abundance”, and her name is a Spanish given name for Elizabeth. Her second surname name Ripoll is Catalan. She spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia. Shakira’s business acumen is often attributed to a high IQ, which is reported in the entertainment press to be 140.
Shakira wrote her first poem, entitled “La Rosa De Cristal” (“The Crystal Rose”) when she was only four years old. As she was growing up, she was fascinated watching her father writing stories on a typewriter, and asked for one as a Christmas gift. She got her wish at age seven and continued writing poetry. These poems eventually evolved into songs. At the age of two, an older half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident and at the age of eight, Shakira wrote her first song entitled “Tus gafas oscuras” (“Your dark glasses”) which was inspired by her father, who for years wore dark glasses, to hide his grief.
When Shakira was four, her father took her to a local Middle Eastern restaurant, where Shakira first heard the doumbek, a traditional drum used in Arabic music and which typically accompanied belly dancing. Before she knew it, Shakira was dancing on the table, as restaurant patrons responded by clapping enthusiastically. It was then that Shakira said she knew she wanted to be a performer. She enjoyed singing for schoolmates and teachers (and even the nuns) at her Catholic school, but in the second grade was rejected for the school choir because her vibrato was too strong. The music teacher told her that she sounded “like a goat”.] At school, she says she had been known as “the belly dancer girl”, as she would demonstrate every Friday at school a number she had learned. “That’s how I discovered my passion for live performance,” she says.
When she was eight, Shakira’s father declared bankruptcy. While the details were sorted out, she stayed with relatives in Los Angeles. On returning to Barranquilla, she was shocked to find that much of what her parents owned had been sold; as she later said “In my childish head, this was the end of the world.” To show her that things could be worse, her father took her to a local park to see orphans who lived there, sniffing glue. The images stayed with her and she said to herself “one day I’m going to help these kids when I become a famous artist.”
Between the ages of ten and thirteen Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla and gained some recognition in the area. It was at about this time that she met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with her and as a result tried to help her career. During a flight from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Ariza convinced Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas to hold an audition for Shakira in a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in high regard and, returning to the Sony office, gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director was not overly excited and thought Shakira was something of “a lost cause”. Vargas, not daunted, was still convinced that Shakira had talent, and set up an audition in Bogotá. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to arrive at the audition, with the idea of surprising them with Shakira’s performance. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums.
1990-1994: Magia and Peligro
Shakira’s debut album, Magia, was recorded with Sony Music in 1990 when she was only thirteen years old. The songs are a collection penned by her since she was 8, mixed pop-rock ballads and disco with electronic accompaniment, however it was hampered by a lack of recording and production cohesion. The album was released in 1991 and featured Magia and three other singles. Though it fared well on Colombian radio and gave the young Shakira much exposure, the album did not fare well commercially: only 1,200 copies were sold. and the music video for Magia became first national pop video in Colombia. After the poor acclaim of Magia, Shakira’s label urged her back into the studio to release a follow up with more hit songs, to give the album potential.
Although little known outside of her native Colombia, Shakira was invited to perform at Chile’s Viña del Mar International Song Festival in February 1993. The festival gave aspiring Latin American singers a chance to perform their songs, and the winner was then chosen by a panel of judges. Shakira performed the ballad “Eres” (“You Are”) and won the trophy for third place. One of the judges who voted for her to win was then 20-year-old Ricky Martin.
The second studio album Peligro of the same genre was released in 1993, but Shakira was not pleased with the final result, mainly taking issue with the production. The album was better received than Magia, though it was also considered a commercial failure, due to Shakira’s refusal to advertise it. Shakira then decided to take a hiatus from recording so that she could graduate from high school. In the same year, Shakira starred in the Colombian TV Series “The Oasis”, loosely based on the Armero tragedy in 1985.
1995–1997: Pies Descalzos
Shakira originally recorded the song ¿Dónde Estás Corazón? (later released on her album Pies Descalzos) for the compilation album “Nuestro Rock” in 1995, released exclusively in Colombia. “Pies Descalzos” album brought her great popularity in Latin America by the hit singles “Estoy Aquí,” “Pies Descalzos, Sueños Blancos” and “Dónde Estás Corazón.” Shakira also recorded three tracks in Portuguese titled “Estou Aqui”, “Um Pouco de Amor”, and “Pés Descalços”.
Shakira returned to recording in 1995 with Luis F. Ochoa, using musical influences from a number of countries and an Alanis Morissette-oriented persona which affected some of her next albums, and made her third studio album, Pies Descalzos (English: Bare Feet). Recording for the album began in February 1995, after the success of her single ¿Dónde Estás Corazón?. Sony gave Shakira $100,000 to produce the album since they predicted that the album would not sell past 100,000 copies. Starting with this album, Shakira began producing her own music, perfecting her vocals and most of all, creative control over her music. Highly influenced by American alternative market and British groups such as The Pretenders, the album was decently presented at small auditorium at La Castilian Theater in Bogotá on October 6, 1995. The tunes of the album are melodic, musically surprising and gritty, with intellectual lyrics and an electronic/acoustic blend that effectively broke the formulaic mold of Latin pop with an authentic sound that hadn’t been heard before.
The album released on February 13, 1996 internationally. It debuted at #1 in 8 different countries. However, in the U.S. Billboard 200 the album reached #180 peak position and #5 in the U.S. Billboard Top Latin Albums. The album spawned six ultimate hit-singles Estoy Aqui (U.S. Latin #2), ¿Dónde Estás Corazón? (U.S. Latin #5), Pies Descalzos, Sueños Blancos, Un Poco De Amor (U.S. Latin #6), Antologia (U.S. Latin #15) and Se Quiere, Se Mata (U.S. Latin #8). In August 1996, RIAA certified the album platinum status.
In March 1996, Shakira went on to her first international tour named simply “Tour Pies Descalzos”, that was saddened by death of several fans because of uncontrolled crowd of 50,000 people at the concert in the singer’s native city of Barranquilla.  A year later, Shakira received three Billboard Latin Music Awards for Album of the Year (Pies Descalzos), Video of the Year (Estoy Aqui) and Best New Artist.
Pies Descalzos sold over 5 million copies, prompting the release of a remix album, titled simply The Remixes. The Remixes also included Portuguese versions of some of her best-known songs, which were recorded as a result of her success in the Brazilian market, where Pies Descalzos sold nearly one million copies.
1998–2000: ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?
Having received a World Music Award as the best selling Latin artist, Shakira already prepared some of new material of her second international record. She was chosen from dozens of Latin singers to grace the cover of Time magazine in the article titled Era of the Rockera.
Her fourth album, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? (English: Where Are The Thieves?) produced entirely by Shakira herself and Emilio Estefan, Jr. as the executive, was released on September 28, 1998. The album, inspired by an incident in an airport in which a suitcase full of her written lyrics was stolen, became a bigger hit than Pies Descalsos.On the day of its official release in Miami the album sold to 300,000 copies in one day. Allmusic and Rolling Stone gave to the album 4.5/5 stars and Donde Estan Los Ladrones has reached #131 peak position in the U.S. Billboard 200 and charting 11 weeks top spot on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. It sold over 1,500,000 copies in the U.S. alone, making it one of the best selling Spanish albums in the U.S. Eight of the album’s eleven tracks became singles, including Ciega, Sordomuda (U.S. Latin #1), Moscas En La Casa (U.S. Latin #25), No Creo (U.S. Latin #9, U.S. #74), Inevitable (U.S. Latin #3), Tú (U.S. Latin #1, U.S. #95), Si Te Vas, Octavo Día, and the world-famous, Arabic tinged Ojos Así (U.S. Latin #22). The latter two songs won Shakira one Latin Grammy each.
Eventually, ¿Donde Estan Los Ladrones? has sold ten million copies worldwide. Shakira also received her first Grammy Award nomination in 1999 for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. Shakira’s first live album, MTV Unplugged was recorded in New York City on August 12, 1999. Highly acclaimed by American critics, it is rated as one of her best-ever live performances. The acoustic album earned the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2001 and gained sales of 5 million CD’s worldwide. In March 2000, Shakira embarked on her Tour Anfibio, a two-month tour of Latin America and the United States. In August 2000, she won an MTV Video Music Award in the now-defunct category of People’s Choice — Favorite International Artist for Ojos Asi. On September 9, 2000, Shakira performed Ojos Así at the inaugural ceremony of Latin Grammy Awards, where she was nominated in five categories: Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for MTV Unplugged, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for Octavo Dia, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video for Ojos Asi, but she won only in two of them. Shakira’s performance of Ojos Asi was voted as the Greatest Latin Grammy performance of all time.
2001–2004: Laundry Service
Upon the success of ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? and MTV Unplugged, Shakira began working on a crossover album to English. Thanks to other successful crossover acts, most notably that of Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, the crossover of Spanish artists to the English market had a great surge of popularity in mainstream music and it was the next logical step in the singer’s career. Shakira worked for over a year on new material for the album.
“Whenever, Wherever” (“Suerte” in Spanish countries) was released as the first and lead single from Shakira’s first English album in October 2001. The song takes heavy influence from Andean music, including the charango and panpipes in its instrumentation. The track was produced by Shakira, and it was an international success.
The third international studio and the first English-Spanish language album Laundry Service (Servicio De Lavanderia in Latin America and Spain) was released on November 13, 2001. The album debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums chart. Seven tracks became international singles: “Whenever, Wherever” (U.S. #6) / “Suerte” (U.S. Latin #1), Underneath Your Clothes (U.S. #9), Objection (Tango) (U.S. #55) / Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango) (U.S. Latin #16), The One, Te Dejo Madrid, Que Me Quedes Tú (U.S. Latin #1) and Poem To A Horse, as the main theme of Shakira’s worldwide tour, the Tour of the Mongoose. Because the album was created with the intent of selling to an English language market, the rock and Spanish dance-influenced album gained mild critical success: some critics claimed that her English skills were too weak for her to write in it with Rolling Stone stating “she sounds downright silly” or “Shakira’s magic is lost in translation.” Shakira also was criticized by her Latin fans for seemingly abandoning her folk and rock roots in favor of contemporary American pop music. Despite this fact, the album became the best selling album of 2002, selling more than 13 million copies worldwide. and became the most successful album in singer’s career. Around this time, Shakira also released four songs for Pepsi for her promotion in the English markets: “Ask for More”, “Pide Mas”, “Knock on My Door” and “Pideme El Sol”, included in the extended play Pepsi CD.
At Aerosmith’s MTV Icon in April 2002, Shakira performed “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”. Also in 2002, Shakira joined the likes of Cher, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Anastacia, and the Dixie Chicks for VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas. In September 2002, Shakira won the now-defunct International Viewer’s Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards with “Whenever, Wherever”. Shakira also won the Latin Grammy Award for the category of Best Short Form Music Video for the Spanish version of this video. In October of that year, she won five MTV Video Music Awards Latin America for “Best Female Artist”, “Best Pop Artist”, “Best Artist—North (Region)”, “Video of the Year” (for “Suerte”), and “Artist of the Year”. Laundry Service was certified triple platinum by RIAA in June and thus helped to establish Shakira’s musical presence in the mainstream North American market.
In November 2002, Shakira’s label Sony BMG released her Spanish greatest hits compilation Grandes Éxitos. A DVD and ten-track live album, called Live & Off the Record, was also released in 2004, reaching sales of 3 million CDs worldwide, and commemorating the Tour of the Mongoose, which had a worldwide audience of 1.2 million people.
2005-2007: Fixations Era
Shakira stayed out of the spotlight for over two years. Many possible dates of release were delayed and she announced the Oral Fixation project in early 2005 with Rick Rubin as the executive producer. Fijación Oral Vol. 1, the first album of the project, was released on June 3, 2005 in Ireland, on June 6, 2005 in Europe, and on June 7, 2005 in North America, Latin America and Australia. The lead single from the album, “La Tortura” (U.S. #23), which features the Spanish balladeer Alejandro Sanz, was released as a single in April and achieved large-scale success in different radio and chart formats. It spent a record of twenty-five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart. Shakira became the first artist to perform a Spanish language song at the MTV Video Music Awards. Contrary to low expectations, Fijación Oral Vol. 1 was very well received by the public. It debuted at number four on the ‘’Billboard 200’’ chart on the week of June 15. According to that publication, the album sold 157,000 copies in its first week of release in the U.S., becoming the highest debut ever for Spanish language albums. In Latin America, on the very day of its official release in Venezuela, it went Platinum, in Colombia, triple Platinum and in Mexico, it was sold-out. The album sold over one million copies in three days. Four other singles were released following “La Tortura”: “No” (U.S. Latin #11), “Dia De Enero” (Colombia #1), “La Pared” (Spain #1) and 2007’s “Las De La Intuición”, which became the final single reaching #1 position in Spain and Argentina for several weeks and featuring Shakira with a bright purple wig and black tie in some hyper-sexualized scenes in her music video with Jaume de Laiguana as the director.
On February 8, 2006, Shakira won her second Grammy Award. She was awarded in the category of Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album (Fijación Oral Vol. 1). Shakira received four Latin Grammy Awards on November 2, 2006: Record of the Year and Song of the Year for ‘’La Tortura’’, Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Fijación Oral Vol. 1. Fijación Oral Vol. 1 sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
Before the release of Oral Fixation Vol. 2 Shakira appeared at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal, where she performed “Don’t Bother”, the lead single from the album, just minutes before winning an award in the category of Best Female Artist and also in other award in the world.
Oral Fixation Vol. 2 was released on November 29, 2005 in North America, Australia, and continental Europe. The album debuted at number five on the U.S. ‘’Billboard 200’’ Albums chart. Two tracks from the album, How Do You Do and Timor, sparked some controversy at the time of its release in the Muslim countries. The cover of the album that features Shakira in the image of Eve with forbidden fruit was also considered controversial, and had to be altered in several countries. ‘’Don’t Bother’’ failed to peak within the top 40 in the United States (U.S. #42). In the beginning of 2006, Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean joined Shakira to record the second single for the album. “Hips Don’t Lie”, the biggest hit of the 21st century, became Shakira’s first number one single on the U.S. ‘’Billboard Hot 100’’, in addition cracking number one in at least 55 countries. Shakira and Wyclef Jean also recorded Bamboo version of this song for official theme of FIFA World Cup 2006. Shakira along with Red Hot Chili Peppers received the most number of nominations for the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards with “Hips Don’t Lie”, but she won only the award for Best Choreography. Shakira also released the third and the last single “Illegal” featuring Carlos Santana, that reached top positions in some European countries and in the dance charts in the U.S. On February 10, 2007, Shakira performed on the 49th Grammy Awards for the first time ever and earned the nomination Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Hips Don’t Lie” with Wyclef Jean. Finally, Oral Fixation Vol. 2 sold over 8 million copies worldwide. Shakira embarked on her fourth longest tour, the Oral Fixation Tour, in June, 2006. The tour had 125 shows between June 14, 2006 and July 9, 2007. She performed on 5 continents: Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa with the worldwide audience of over 2.5 million people. During this tour, Shakira performed a free concert in Mexico City on May 27, 2007 with over 210,000 in attendance. This concert sets the record for the highest attendance of any concert in Mexican history. Shakira also performed on July 9, 2006 at the FIFA World Cup final in Germany. On November 12, 2007, the “Oral Fixation Tour (DVD) was released (November 13 in North America). It is also available in High Definition Blu-Rayformat.
2009-present: She Wolf and forthcoming Bilingual album
During an online chat with her fans in El Heraldo, she revealed that she was going to start writing her New Album in February 2008. Furthermore, at the CD release party for Shakira’s singer-songwriter cousin Isa Mebarak in Colombia, Shakira’s father William Mebarak stated that Shakira is currently at work beginning to write and produce new songs for her upcoming album. This is being done in “her own studio”, which many fans thought to mean the studio at her home in the Bahamas. Shakira recorded 2005’s Fijación Oral Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2 there, as well.
After two weeks in London, Shakira flew to Colombia for a peace concert in Leticia (at the three way border of Colombia, Peru andBrazil) with Carlos Vives. Followed by hundreds of thousands of fellow Colombians, Shakira was calling for the release of hostages being held by rebels in Colombia and an end to similar kidnappings in the region. Afterward, it was reported by Noticias Caracol in Colombia that Shakira returned to her home studio in the Bahamas and continued recording “a little something” with members of Vives’ band.
In an exclusive interview with Elenco Magazine in Colombia, Shakira confirmed that she has already written nearly 30 songs for the new album but still continues writing, although it is still too early to reveal too much. It is known that Swedish-Moroccan producer RedOneis working on Shakira’s upcoming album. He previously worked with Shakira on the “Bamboo Mix” of her hit “Hips Don’t Lie” which she performed at the World Cup in 2006. On her official forum, the Admin/moderator posted some new info on Shakira’s new album. He said that Shakira is still doing some experimental phases of the album in various parts of the world (Miami, Florida with Wyclef Jean (producer), Vancouver, Canada (with Luis F. Ochoa), Los Angeles, California (with Red One), London, Uruguay and Bahamas).
On July 2, 2008, Shakira signed a 10-year deal with Live Nation, the international touring giant that has begun signing up marquee names for lucrative all-purpose contracts. The record label will encompass tours, recordings, sponsorship and merchandise throughout the world, she announced. “Shakira is one of the few truly global artists,” said Jason Garner, global music chief of Live Nation. “She can sell music and tickets in nearly every corner of the globe.” Neither Shakira’s representatives nor Live Nation would confirm the value of the deal, but people close to the negotiations said that depending on Shakira’s performance over the 10 years, it is likely to be worth between $70 million and $100 million. Shakira’s contract with Epic Records calls for three more albums—one in English, one in Spanish, and a compilation, but the touring and other rights of the Live Nation deal would begin immediately. In early 2008, Forbes has named Shakira the fourth top-earning female artist in music industry.
The first single from Shakira’s third English-language album is titled “She Wolf”. Shakira wrote and produced the track with John Hill, and Sam Endicott (Lead Singer and Songwriter of The Bravery). In June 2009, several music journalists and reviewers got an advance listen of the track. The reviews were positive. The Spanish version titled, “Loba”, premiered on June 29, 2009. On July 2, 2009, Shakira’s official website announced that “The full album is She Wolf due out in October 2009 from Epic” and it “features a predominantly English track list”. The site also announced that a Spanish album will be released in 2010. Shakira premiered “She Wolf” onZ100[disambiguation needed] and KIIS-FM on July 13, 2009. On July 14, 2009 “She Wolf” and “Loba” became available to download from iTunes. The video for “She Wolf” Premiered on MTV on July 30, 2009.The single was successful worldwide, reaching number one in Latin America, number two in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Estonia and Spain, number three in Switzerland and Austria, number four in the UK, France and Greece, number five in Canada and Belgium, number six in Finland, number nine in Japan, and number eleven in the US.
The album was released in October 2009 in most countries and in November 2009 in the U.S., it received positive reviews from critics. The album has been a success on the charts and has since been certified Gold in Russia, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, France, Argentina, Greece, and Hungary, Platinum in Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East, 2X Platinum in Colombia and Mexico, and 3X Platinum in Taiwan. Subsequent singles, “Did It Again”, “Give It Up To Me”, and “Gypsy”, received moderate success on the charts.
On May 3, 2010, Shakira’s official website confirmed that she will embark on a global tour. The site announced that the tour will kick-off in North America in September 2010. The site also announced the first three confirmed dates and stated that additional dates will be announced soon, adding that “The tour will bring Shakira’s spectacular show to top arenas and a host of additional cities throughout the summer and fall”.
It was initially announced that Shakira would release a Spanish album in 2010 after the release of “She Wolf”, similar to what she did with Oral Fixation Volumes 1 & 2, but Shakira later stated that the album will now be a bilingual project, which will contain Spanish, English, and Latin songs.
Shakira collaborated with the South African group Freshlyground to perform the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” which is an of a traditional Cameroonian soldiers’ Fang song named “Zangalewa” by the group Zangalewa or Golden Sounds. The song was made popular in her native Colombia in 1987 through west African DJs in Colombia.
On June 17, during an interview with Billboard magazine, Shakira announced to them that her new album is coming out in September. She stated this in the magazine- “I see it [the new album] as having two currents,” she says. “One is a lot about love and love experiences and emotions. And the other side of it is very joyful, and upbeat.” Shakira also revealed that the music on her upcoming set would reflect influences from both the Dominican Republic and Colombia. “It’s a little more Latin on one side and a little more rock ‘n roll on the other side,” she says. It will pretty much be a similar reflection to Oral Fixation era. She is going back to basics.
Collaborations and other work
In 2003, Shakira wrote with musician Tim Mitchell a song called “Come Down Love” for the Hollywood movie The Italian Job starring South African actress Charlize Theron & Mark Wahlberg, but finally the song was not included on the soundtrack of the same.
In late 2006, Shakira and Alejandro Sanz worked together again in the duet Te lo Agradezco, Pero No, which is featured on Sanz’ album El Tren de los Momentos. The song was a top ten hit in Latin America, and topped “Billboard” Hot Latin Tracks chart.
Shakira worked with Miguel Bosé in the duet “Si Tú No Vuelves”, which was released in Bosé’s album Papito, which celebrates his 30-year career.
In early 2007, Shakira worked with American R&B singer Beyoncé in the track “Beautiful Liar”, which was released as the second single from the deluxe edition of Knowles’ B’Day. In the week of April 7, 2007, the song jumped 91 positions, from 94 to 3, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting the record for the largest upward movement in the history of the chart. It was also No. 1 on the official UK Singles Chart. The song earned them a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The song was one of Knowles’ most successful worldwide.The song was particularly popular in Spanish-speaking countries such as Argentina and Spain, where it landed at #1.
According to Billboard, Shakira, along with Lil Wayne would collaborate on a new track for Carlos Santana’s greatest hits CD titled Ultimate Santana. However, this collaboration has been cancelled, and Shakira and Lil’ Wayne have been replaced by Jennifer Lopez and Baby Bash.
Shakira is featured on Annie Lennox’s record “Sing”, from the album Songs of Mass Destruction, which also features other twenty-three female singers such as Madonna, KT Tunstall,Faith Hill, Dido, Celine Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Joss Stone, Fergie, Anastacia and Pink.
In late 2007, Shakira and Wyclef Jean recorded their second duet “King and Queen”. This song is available on Wyclef Jean’s 2007 album Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant.
Shakira performed on January 18, 2009 at the Lincoln Memorial “We Are One” festivities in honor of the inauguration ofPresident Barack Obama. She performed “Higher Ground” with Stevie Wonder and Usher. She also performed during the evening of January 20, 2009 at the Neighborhood Ball for the President’s inauguration. The song she performed was Van Morrison’s “Bright Side of the Road”. This song featured Shakira on harmonica.
In March 2009, Shakira appeared on the album Cantora 1 of the Argentinian folk singer Mercedes Sosa with the song “La Maza”, which both singers sang on the ALAS concert in Buenos Aires in May 2008.
Shakira wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the music for two new songs that are featured in the movie Love in the Time of Cholera, based on the acclaimed novel by Colombian author Gabriel García Marquez. García Marquez himself asked Shakira to write the songs. The songs are called “Pienso en ti”, a song from Shakira’s breakthrough album Pies Descalzos, “Hay Amores” and “Despedida”. All the songs can be downloaded via iTunes, as well as the score by Antonio Pinto.
“Despedida” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 65th Golden Globe Awards but did not win. It was rumored that the song would also be nominated for an Academy Award, but it was not, with a source calling the fact that it was left off the nominees the Academy’s “worst snub.” Shakira collaborated with the South African group Freshlyground to perform the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa “Waka waka (This time for Africa)”
Shakira was raised Roman Catholic. Shakira currently lives in The Bahamas. In 2000, she started dating Antonio de la Rúa, the son of the then President of Argentina Fernando de la Rúa, a romance that made headline news throughout Latin America. In March 2001, he proposed to her. There have been many rumors regarding the couple over the years. In June 2007, Latin American media speculated that the couple had finally split up. On the previous days, Shakira and Antonio were seen in a restaurant in New York City, facing and denying the rumors one more time. Shakira’s future mother-in-law Inés Pertiné claimed the wedding would take place in September 2007 in the mansion which Shakira owns in theDominican Republic, but the wedding did not happen. She also said that Shakira has already ordered Argentine designer María Pryor to design her wedding dress. All this was denied by Shakira herself in Mexico.
De la Rúa and Shakira remain engaged. A Twitter update from her on September 4, 2009 stated (translated from the Spanish) “We are neither married nor fighting [contrary to rumors]. We are very together and very good. 9 years!” Shakira has stated their relationship already works as a married couple, and that “they don’t need papers for that.” Shakira is interested in world history and frequently studies the history and languages of the countries she visits. After her Oral Fixation tour ended in summer 2007, Shakira attended a class in Los Angeles at UCLA, on the History of Western Civilization. She used her middle and last names, Isabel Mebarak, and told the professor she was visiting from Colombia so as to avoid being recognized as a celebrity. Shakira is a cousin of model and 2005–2006 Miss Colombia, Valerie Domínguez.
Philanthropy and humanitarian work
In 1995, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation. It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. It was funded by Shakira and other international groups and individuals. The name of the foundation is taken from Shakira’s third studio album called Pies Descalzos, released in 1995.
During her career, Shakira has performed at a large number of benefit concerts. In 2002 she sang at a Party in the Park concert fundraising for the Prince’s Trust. That same year she performed at Divas Live which support VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. On July 2, 2005 she performed her hits “Whenever, Wherever” and “La Tortura” on the Live 8 benefit concert at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris. On July 7, 2007, the singer opened the German leg of Live Earth in Hamburg. Her set included “Don’t Bother”, “Inevitable”, “Día Especial” (with Gustavo Cerati) and “Hips Don’t Lie”. Shakira also performed at the “Clinton Global Initiative”, where she performed her hits “Underneath Your Clothes”, “Inevitable” and “Hips Don’t Lie”. On May 17, 2008 Shakira and twenty other Latin American and Spanish artists performed in Buenos Aires and Mexico City to raise money for Shakira’s Latin America in Solidarity Action “America Latina en Accion Solidaria” (ALAS Foundation) charity. This concert attracted 150,000 people in Buenos Aires. Although tickets were free, the demand exceeded the supply; some fans who were fortunate enough to secure free tickets resold them.
Shakira is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is one of their global representatives. “Shakira, like all our Goodwill Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her appeal to young people around the world. We’re very pleased to have Shakira join the UNICEF family. I know she’ll help bring UNICEF’s mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future – young people themselves”, said UNICEF’s Executive Director Carol Bellamy.
On April 3, 2006, Shakira was honored at a United Nations ceremony for creating the Pies Descalzos Foundation. At the event, the singer said, “Let’s not forget that at the end of this day when we all go home, 960 children will have died in Latin America.”
On September 28, 2007 at the Clinton Global Initiative, it was revealed that Shakira received a commitment of $40 million from the Spanish government to help the victims of natural disasters. An additional $5 million was to be donated to four Latin American countries, to be spent on education and health. As part of the May 2007 concerts, her ALAS Foundation was able to solicit commitments of US$ 200 million from philanthropists Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, and Howard Buffett, son of U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, the singer announced on April 15, 2008.
In December 2007, Shakira visited Bangladesh to appeal for the victims of Cyclone Sidr. She spent 3 days with the victims and visited children affected by the disaster in schools built by UNICEF and participated in the distribution of family kits and warm clothes. She said that little was left of the school she visited in the village of Mirzapur, but it still provided an “oasis” for the children. “I am more convinced than ever that education is the key to so many of the difficulties that our children face in countries like mine or in developing countries like this one. It’s the key to a better and safer world,” she said.
Shakira served as the Honorary Chairperson for “Action Week” 2008 (April 21–27). The event is sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), to generate awareness about the Education for All Act. She spoke with the U.S. Congress, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and World Bank President Robert Zoellick to promote a move towards Global Education. Angelina Jolie served as last year’s chair.
People En Español announced in their December 2008/January 2009 issue that Shakira is the “Humanitarian of the Year” as part of their “Las Estrellas del Año” (Stars of the Year) awards. Shakira was also ranked at number 48 on the list of Top 50 Most Charitable Celebrities by OK! magazine. It reported that she donates approximately $55,000 to charity yearly.
On her 32nd birthday, Shakira opened a new $6-Million school in her hometown Barranquilla, which was sponsored by herself and her Pies Descalzos Foundation.
On December 7, 2009 Shakira was honored as a guest at the University of Oxford to give a speech about her work with children and education. She was chosen by the Oxford Union and joined the ranks of Albert Einstein, several US Presidents, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama XIV, as a chosen speaker. During the speech, Shakira said, “That is how I want the youth of 2060 to see us: That our mission for global peace consisted of sending 30,000 educators to Afghanistan, not 30,000 soldiers. That in 2010, world education became more important than world domination.”
In March 2010, she was awarded a medal by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization in recognition of being, as UN Labor Chief Juan Somavia put it, a “true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice.”
Music and voice
Shakira is known to have adopted many genres, including folk, mainstream pop and rock. In an interview with Rolling Stone she said: “My music, I think, is a fusion of many different elements. And I’m always experimenting. So I try not to limit myself, or put myself in a category, or… be the architect of my own jail”. Her earlier Spanish albums, including Pies Descalzos and ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? were a mix of folk music and Latin rock, while her cross-over English album, Laundry Service and her later albums were influenced bypop rock and pop Latino. Her 2009 album, She Wolf is more like electropop and dance music.
Shakira has told many interviewers that she had grown fond to listening to oriental music, which influenced many of her earlier works. For example, Shakira used the Bollywood theme for her performance of “Hips Don’t Lie” at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City. It also has influence partly for her Arabic heritage, which was a major inspiration for her breakthrough world hit “Ojos Así”. She told Portuguese TV “Many of my movements belong to Arab culture.” She also cites her parents as major contributors to her musical style.
In childhood, Shakira preferred rock and roll music, listening heavily to her favorite rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Nirvana, The Police and U2. She lists John Lennon as her #1 musical influence. She was also deeply influenced by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, The Pretenders, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Tom Petty, Depeche Mode, The Clash, Ramones, who influenced on her many prominent songs. In a recent interview to Elenco magazine, she noted that in her opinion the perfect songs are “Imagine” by John Lennon and “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley.
Shakira made several covers of prominent artists such AC/DC and Aerosmith, using them to sing in her tours, resulting in performances of “Back in Black” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” during her Tour of the Mongoose. She also sang the classic Elvis Presley song “Always On My Mind” at the VH1 Divas Live.
She also has strongly influenced by Andean music and South American folk music, using her native instrumentation for the Latin dance-pop “Whenever, Wherever” and in more serious and mournful “Despedida”, marking it the song of my dreams. Shakira recently performed two songs for two separate Haiti benefit events: “I’ll Stand By You”, by The Pretenders, and “Solo le Pido a Dios” by Mercedes Sosa.
Shakira is well known for her dancing in various music videos and in concert. Her moves are based on the art of Arabic belly dancing, a part of her Lebanese heritage: her father has a Lebanese background but was raised in Colombia. She often performs barefoot. Shakira says she learned this form of dance as a young teen to overcome her shyness. She also mentioned in a MTV interview that she learned how to belly dance by trying to flip a coin with her belly. The intense training has afforded her a fluidity in her body movement most seen in the videos to her hits “Ojos Así”, “La Tortura”, “Hips Don’t Lie”, Whenever, Wherever / Suerte, “Beautiful Liar” and She Wolf / Loba. She has had several belly dance choreographers, including award-winning Bellydance Superstar Boženka. As the MTV Making the Video for “La Tortura” reveals, she worked with Jamie King on the choreography, but ended up creating most of it herself.
Shakira appeared in the Colombian telenovela El Oasis in 1995, playing the character of Luisa Maria. In December 2009, Shakira appeared as herself in the Ugly Betty episode “The Bahamas Triangle”. In 2010, Shakira appeared as herself in an episode ofWizards of Waverly Place.
Records, achievements and trivia
According to BMI, Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. According to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, “Hips Don’t Lie” was the most-played pop song in a single week in American radio history. It was played 9,637 times in one week. Shakira became the first artist in the history of the Billboard charts to earn the coveted number one spots on both the Top 40 Mainstream and Latin Chart in the same week doing so with “Hips Don’t Lie”
“La Tortura” broke the record on the Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks chart, appearing at #1 more than any other single (a total of 25 non-consecutive weeks). According to Yahoo!, “Hips Don’t Lie” is the Best-Selling Single of the Last 10 Years, which is apparently the best-selling single since 2000. According to Forbes Magazine, Shakira was the 4th highest-earning woman in music for 2008 behind Madonna, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion. According to Nokia, Shakira has topped up more music downloads in the last year than any other Latino artist. And Her She Wolf totted the Top 10 Latino Downloads.