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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977) is a Colombian singer, songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer, and model. Born and raised in Barranquilla, she began performing in school, demonstrating Latin, Arabic, and rock and roll influences and belly dancing abilities. Shakira released her first studio albums, Magia and Peligro, in the early 1990s, failing to attain commercial success; however, she rose to prominence in Latin America with her major-label debut, Pies Descalzos (1996), and her fourth album, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998).
Shakira entered the English-language market with her fifth album, Laundry Service. Its lead single, “Whenever, Wherever“, became the best-selling single of 2002. Her success was solidified with her sixth and seventh albums Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 (2005), the latter of which spawned the best-selling song of the 21st century, “Hips Don’t Lie“. Shakira’s eighth and ninth albums, She Wolf (2009) and Sale el Sol (2010), received critical praise but suffered from limited promotion due to her strained relationship with label Epic Records. Her official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)“, became the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time. With over 813 million views, its music video is the ninth most-watched video on YouTube. Since 2013, Shakira has served as a coach on the American version of The Voice, having appeared in two of its seven seasons—fourth and sixth. Her tenth album, Shakira (2014), is preceded by its lead single, “Can’t Remember to Forget You“.
Shakira has won many awards, including five MTV Video Music Awards, two Grammy Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, 28 Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and sold more than 70 million Albums and 125 million singles worldwide, making her the third best selling Latin artist of all time, only behind Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan. She carries out well-known philanthropic activities through charity work and benefit concerts, notably her Pies Descalzos Foundation, her performance at the “Clinton Global Initiative” created by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and her invitation to the Oval Office by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to discuss early childhood development. As of 2014, she is listed as the 58th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. As of July 2014, Shakira has become the first person to reach 100 million followers on Facebook.
Shakira’s debut album, Magia, was recorded with Sony Music Colombia in 1990 when she was only 13 years old. The songs are a collection made by her since she was eight, mixed pop-rock ballads and disco uptempo songs with electronic accompaniment, however it was hampered by a lack of recording and production cohesion. The album was released in June 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 as only 1,200 copies were sold worldwide. After the poor performance of Magia, Shakira’s label urged her to return to the studio to release a follow-up record. 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.
Shakira’s second studio album Peligro was released in March, 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. Since then, the albums have been pulled from release and are not considered official Shakira albums but rather promotional albums. 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. The album Pies Descalzos 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”.
1995–2000: Latin breakthrough
Shakira returned to recording music under Sony Music along with Columbia in 1995 with Luis F. Ochoa, using musical influences from a number of countries and an Alanis Morissette-oriented persona which affected two of her next albums. These recordings spawned her third studio album and major-label debut Pies Descalzos. 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, practicing creative control over her music. Highly influenced by the American alternative market and British groups such as The Pretenders, the album’s songs 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 had not been heard before. The album, Pies Descalzos, was released in February 1996. It debuted at number one in eight different countries. However, it only managed to reach number one-hundred-eighty on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 but reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. The album spawned six hit singles, “Estoy Aquí” which reached number two on the U.S. Latin chart, “¿Dónde Estás Corazón?” which reached number five on the U.S. Latin chart, “Pies Descalzos, Sueños Blancos” which reached number 11 on the U.S. Latin chart, “Un Poco de Amor” which reached number six on the U.S. Latin chart, “Antología” which reached number 15 on the U.S. Latin Pop Songs chart and “Se quiere, Se Mata” which reached number eight on the U.S. Latin chart. In August 1996, RIAA certified the album platinum status.
In March 1996, Shakira went on to her first international tour named simply the Tour Pies Descalzos. The tour consisted of 20 shows and ended in 1997. Also in that year, Shakira received three Billboard Latin Music Awards for Album of the Year for Pies Descalzos, Video of the Year for “Estoy Aqui” and Best New Artist. Pies Descalzos later sold over 5 million copies, prompting the release of a remix album, simply titled The Remixes. The Remixes also included Portuguese versions of some of her well known songs, which were recorded as a result of her success in the Brazilian market, where Pies Descalzos sold nearly one million copies.
Her fourth studio album, Dónde Están los Ladrones?, produced entirely by Shakira herself and Emilio Estefan, Jr. as the executive producer, was released in September 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 Descalzos. The album has reached a peak position of number 131 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and held the top spot on the U.S. Latin Albums chart for 11 weeks. It has since sold over seven million copies worldwide and 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, making it one of the best selling Spanish albums in the U.S. Eight singles were taken from the album including “Ciega, Sordomuda“, “Moscas En La Casa“, “No Creo” which became her first single to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, “Inevitable“, “Tú“, “Si Te Vas“, “Octavo día“, and the “Ojos Así“. The latter two songs won Shakira one Latin Grammy each with six of the eight singles reaching the top 40 on the U.S. Latin chart.
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 live album earned the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2001 and gained sales of five million 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 category of People’s Choice — Favorite International Artist for “Ojos Así”. In September 2000, Shakira performed “Ojos Así” at the inaugural ceremony of the 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 Día”, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video for the video for “Ojos Así”. She won two Grammy awards.
2001–04: English transition with Laundry Service
Upon the success of Dónde Están los Ladrones? and MTV Unplugged, Shakira began working on an English crossover album. She 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 her first English album and fifth studio album throughout the period of August 2001 and February 2002. The song took heavy influence from Andean music, including the charango and panpipes in its instrumentation. It became an international success by reaching number one in most countries. It was also her first success in the U.S., by reaching number six on the Hot 100. In 2003, Shakira wrote a song called “Come Down Love” with Tim Mitchell for the Hollywood movie The Italian Job starring South African actress Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg, but the song was not included on the soundtrack of the movie.
Shakira’s fifth studio album and first English 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 chart selling over 200,000 records in its first week. The album was later certified triple platinum by the RIAA in June 2004 as well. It helped to establish Shakira’s musical presence in the mainstream North American market. Seven singles were taken from the album such as “Whenever, Wherever” / “Suerte”, “Underneath Your Clothes“, “Objection (Tango)” / “Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)“, “The One“, “Te Dejo Madrid“, “Que Me Quedes Tú” and “Poem to a Horse“. Because the album was created for the English language market, the rock and Spanish dance-influenced album gained mild critical success with some critics claimed that her English skills were too weak for her to write songs for 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 of her career to date. Around this time, Shakira also released four songs for Pepsi for her promotion in the English markets: “Ask for More”, “Pide Más”, “Knock on My Door” and “Pídeme el Sol”.
In 2002, at Aerosmith‘s MTV Icon in April 2002, Shakira performed “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)“. She also joined Cher, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Anastacia, and the Dixie Chicks for VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas. In September, she won the International Viewer’s Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards with “Whenever, Wherever”. She also won the Latin Grammy Award for the category of Best Short Form Music Video for the Spanish version of the video. In October, 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. In November, she embarked on the Tour of the Mongoose with 61 shows occurring by May 2003. The tour was also her first worldwide tour, as legs were played in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Shakira’s label Sony BMG also released her Spanish greatest hits compilation Grandes Éxitos. A DVD and 10-track live album, called Live & Off the Record, was also released in 2004, reaching sales of three million worldwide, and commemorating the Tour of the Mongoose.
2005–07: Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2
Shakira’s sixth studio album, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1, was released in June 2005. The lead single from the album, “La Tortura” reached the top 40 of on the Hot 100. The song featured the Spanish balladeer Alejandro Sanz. Shakira became the first artist to perform a Spanish language song at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2005. Contrary to low expectations, the album was extremely well received. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 157,000 copies in its first week. It has since sold over two million copies in the U.S., earning an 11× Platinum (Latin field) certification from the RIAA. Due to its first week sales, the album became the highest debut ever for a Spanish language album. After only a day of release in Latin America, the album earned certifications. In Venezuela, it earned a Platinum certification, in Colombia, a triple Platinum certification, while in Mexico demand exceeded shipments and the album was unavailable after only one day of release. The album sold over one million copies in three days worldwide. Four other singles were also released from the album. “No“, “Día de Enero“, “La Pared” and “Las de la Intuición“, with each single reaching number one in countries worldwide. Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 has since sold over four million copies worldwide. On February 8, 2006, Shakira won her second Grammy Award with the win of Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album for Fijación Oral, Vol. 1. She received four Latin Grammy Awards in November 2006, winning the awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year for “La Tortura”, Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Fijación Oral, Vol. 1.
The lead single for Shakira’s seventh album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, “Don’t Bother“, failed to achieve chart success in the U.S. by missing the top 40 on the Hot 100. It did, however, reach the top 20 in most countries worldwide. Shakira’s second English studio album and seventh studio album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 was released on November 29, 2005. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, selling 128,000 copies in its first week. The album has gone on to sell 1.8 million records in the U.S., and over eight million copies worldwide. Despite the commercial failure of the album’s lead single in the U.S., it went on to spawn two more singles. “Hips Don’t Lie“, which featured Wyclef Jean, was released as the album’s second single in February 2006. The song went on to become the highest selling single of the 21st century and became Shakira’s first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, in addition to reaching number one in over 55 countries. Shakira and Wyclef Jean also recorded a Bamboo version of the song to serve as the official theme of the FIFA World Cup 2006. Shakira later released the third and final single from the album, “Illegal“, which featured Carlos Santana, in November 2006. She then embarked on the Oral Fixation Tour, in June 2006. The tour consisted of 125 shows between June 2006 and July 2007 and visited all six continents. One show in Mexico City was performed for free, and earned an audience of over 200,000. This concert sets the record for the highest attendance of any concert in Mexican history. In February 2007, Shakira performed for the first time at the 49th Grammy Awards and earned the nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Hips Don’t Lie” with Wyclef Jean.
In late 2006, Shakira and Alejandro Sanz collaborated for 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 the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart. Shakira also collaborated with Miguel Bosé on the duet “Si Tú No Vuelves“, which was released in Bosé’s album Papito. In early 2007, Shakira worked with American R&B singer Beyoncé for the track “Beautiful Liar“, which was released as the second single from the deluxe edition of Beyoncé’s album B’Day. In April 2007, the single jumped 91 positions, from 94 to three, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting the record for the largest upward movement in the history of the chart at the time. It was also number one on the official UK Singles Chart. The song earned them a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Shakira was also featured on Annie Lennox‘s song “Sing“, from the album Songs of Mass Destruction, which also features other 23 other female singers. In late 2007, Shakira and Wyclef Jean recorded their second duet “King and Queen”. The song was featured on Wyclef Jean’s 2007 album Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant. 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 Márquez. García Marquez himself asked Shakira to write the songs. The songs that Shakira lent to the soundtrack were “Pienso en ti”, a song from Shakira’s breakthrough album Pies Descalzos, “Hay Amores” and “Despedida”. “Despedida” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 65th Golden Globe Awards.
2008–12: She Wolf and Sale el Sol
In early 2008, Forbes named Shakira the fourth top-earning female artist in music industry. Then, in July, Shakira signed a $300 million contract with Live Nation, an international touring giant, for ten years. The touring group also doubles as a record label which promotes but does not control the music their artists release. Shakira’s contract with Epic Records called for three more albums as well – one in English, one in Spanish, and a compilation, but the touring and other rights of the Live Nation deal were confirmed to begin immediately. In January 2009, Shakira performed 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. In March, Shakira appeared on the album Cantora 1 by the Argentinian folk singer Mercedes Sosa on the song “La Maza”, which both singers sang at the ALAS concert in Buenos Aires in May 2008.
“She Wolf“, the lead single from Shakira’s eighth studio album, premiered on July 13, 2009. Shakira wrote and produced the song with John Hill, and Sam Endicott (lead singer and songwriter of The Bravery). The Spanish version, titled “Loba”, premiered on the same day as well. “She Wolf” and “Loba” then became available for digital download the following day. 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, She Wolf, was released in October 2009 internationally and on November 23, 2009 in the U.S. The album received mainly positive reviews from critics, but only managed to sell 89,000 copies in its first week in the U.S., earning the number fifteen spot on the Billboard 200. It has gone on to sell only 300,000 records in the U.S., becoming her least successful album there. However, the album has been moderately successful worldwide, having 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. To date the album has sold 2 million copies worldwide, becoming Shakira’s least successful studio album to date in terms of sales.
The album’s second single, “Did It Again“, was released in October 2009 and was originally due for a U.S. release, though this was later canceled. The single reached the top 40 in most countries worldwide. “Give It Up to Me“, which featured Lil Wayne was released as the album’s second U.S. single in November 2009 and reached the top 40 in Canada and in the U.S. The album’s U.S. release was delayed in order for Shakira to record the song, which was originally due to be featured on its producer Timbaland‘s album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value II and would have featured Shakira. However, she chose to record it for her album with Timbaland’s rap verse being scrapped in favor of a verse from Flo Rida. Plans for the single changed again when Lil Wayne requested to be featured on the song, with this later happening. The album’s third and final single, “Gypsy“, was released in February 2010 and reached the top 40 in Europe but failed to reach the top 40 in the U.S. or in South America, becoming a mildly successful single.
In May, Shakira collaborated with the South African group Freshlyground to create the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)“, which is based on a traditional Cameroonian soldiers’ Fang song named “Zangalewa” by the group Zangalewa or Golden Sounds. The single later reached the top 20 in Europe, South America and Africa and the top 40 in the U.S. and was performed by Shakira at the World Cup kick-off and closing. It became the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time.
In October 2010, Shakira released her ninth studio album, Sale el Sol. The album debuted at number-seven on Billboard 200 in its first week, and at the top spot on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. The lead single “Loca” was number one in many countries. The album had sold over 1 million copies worldwide in 6 weeks, and over 4 million since its release. In September, Shakira embarked on The Sun Comes Out World Tour, in support of her two most recent albums. The tour visited countries in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa with 107 shows in total. The tour was met with positive reactions from critics, who praised Shakira’s stage presence and energy during her performances. On November 9, 2011, Shakira was honored as Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year and performed a cover of Joe Arroyo‘s song “En Barranquilla Me Quedo” at the Mandalay Bay Events Center as a tribute to the singer who died earlier that year. In 2010 Shakira collaborated with rapper Pitbull for the song “Get It Started” which is the lead single from Pitbull’s upcoming album Global Warming. The single was released on June 28, 2012. She was also signed to Roc Nation under management purposes for her upcoming studio album.
2013–present: The Voice and Shakira
In November 2011 Shakira said about her tenth album: “I already started to write new material. I’ve begun to explore in the recording studio whenever I have time in Barcelona and here in Miami. I’m working with different producers and DJs, and I try to feed off from that and find new sources of inspiration and new musical motivation. I’m anxious to return to the studio. My body is asking for it”. She worked with producers such as Benny Blanco, Tiësto, RedOne, Max Martin, Dr. Luke, LMFAO, Akon, Fernando Garibay, Sia, Ester Dean, Skrillex, The Runners, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Shea Taylor and Billboard. Originally, the first single from her new album was expected to be a song named “Truth or Dare”. The music video was filmed in Lisbon on June 29, 2012. But due to her unexpected pregnancy, plans to release the single and video were postponed.
On September 17, 2012, it was announced that Shakira and Usher would replace Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green for the fourth season of the U.S. TV show The Voice, alongside Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Shakira announced that she would focus on her new album in the fall and eventually returned for the show’s sixth season in February 2014. On September 1, 2013, Shakira gave an update on her album, stating: “Amazing day in the studio! 2 years and I finally feel in these songs as comfortable as [I do] in my torn jeans!”.
Peter Edge – the CEO of RCA Records – told Billboard magazine in October 2013: “[There’s this] new song from Shakira that’s gonna be an event single, we plan on having it out before the end of ”. On November 23, 2013, Shakira stated that she was writing the final lyrics for the album. In December 2013, it was announced that Shakira’s new single had been delayed until January 2014 and that the featured artist on the song is Rihanna. On December 8, 2013, Shakira tweeted: “I just finished the video for my first single with director Joseph Kahn!”. On January 6, 2014, both Shakira and Rihanna tweeted that the new single would be titled “Can’t Remember to Forget You“. The single was released on January 13, 2014. Shakira’s self-titled tenth studio album was later released on March 25, 2014.
On July 13, 2014, Shakira performed “La La La (Brazil 2014)” with Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown at the 2014 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium. This performance became her third consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
On August 14, 2015, at Disney‘s D23 Expo, it was announced that Shakira would be playing a character in the upcoming Disney animated movie, Zootopia, as Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia. Shakira will also contribute to the film an original song, titled “Try Everything”, which has been written by Sia and Stargate.