Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born
February 2, 1977), known professionally as Shakira 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, Portuguese and Italian. She also
sings in Classical Arabic. 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, especially the United
States, and many non-Spanish-speaking countries. 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 20 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 five Grammy Awards, seven Latin Grammy 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, according to BMI. 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
Shakira is to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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
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
eight, after an older half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident,
Shakira wrote her first song entitled "Tus gafas oscuras" ("Your dark
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.
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
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. ¿Dónde Estás Corazón? was the only
hit off the album. This allowed Sony to give Shakira a third attempt at
making an album.
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
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.
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. All
Music Guide 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.
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
"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 20 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
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.
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
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
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-Ray format.
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 and Brazil) 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
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 RedOne is 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
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. The first single from the English 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. Shakira premiered "She Wolf"
on Z100 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, July 30 at 8pm.
Shakira confirmed that she will embark on a tour in 2010 on the Elvis
Duran & The Morning Show on Z100.
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.
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 of President 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 is a practicing 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 the Dominican
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. 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
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,
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
On December 7, 2009 Shakira was honored as a guest at Oxford University 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."
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 by pop 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 heavily listening 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 Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, The Pretenders, Red
Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Richard Daniel Roman, Tom Petty, Depeche
Mode, 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
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
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 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".
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
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.