Shakira

  • Singer, songwriter born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoli in 1977 in Barranquilla Colombia.
  • Shakira watched her father write stories using a typewriter, so she asked for one as a gift. She had already written her first poem when she was 4. When she received the typewriter at age 7, poetry became her passion, which led to songwriting – her first song was written when she was 8. She enjoyed singing for classmates, and at 10 years old, she was invited to events in Barranquilla where she could perform. After several years, a local theater producer recommended her to a record executive. She auditioned with 3 songs, and the label signed her to a 3 album deal. She was 13 years old.
  • Her debut album, Magia (English translation – “Magic”) was released in 1991. Five of the nine pop ballads on the album were written by Shakira. It only sold around 1,200 copies, despite getting good radio exposure. In 1993, she was invited to perform at a song festival in Chile. The judges awarded her a third place trophy.
  • Her second studio album, Peligro (English translation – “Danger”), was released in 1993. Shakira was not pleased with the production of the album, and she did not promote it, so it also did not sell. She decided to take a break from recording so that she could graduate from high school.
  • In 1995, she wrote and performed a song, ¿Dónde Estás Corazón? (“Where Are You, Love?) that was included in a compilation album of music by various Colombian artists. It was a hit in Colombia, and the music video shot for the song increased her popularity even more. Her record company supported her next album, Pies Descalzos (“Bare Feet”), hoping to sell 100,000 copies in Latin America. The album had 6 hit singles, and was #1 in 8 different countries, reaching #5 on the U.S. Top Latin Albums chart. The song Estoy Aqui (“I’m Here”) reached #2 in the U.S. on the Hot Latin Songs chart. The album sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and won several Latin Music awards.
  • Her next Latin album, released in 1998, was Dónde Están los Ladrones? (“Where Are The Thieves?”). It was inspired by an incident at an airport where a suitcase filled with her written lyrics was stolen. It topped the U.S. Latin Album chart for 11 weeks, and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. She won 2 Latin Grammy awards for Octavo Dia (“Eighth Day”) and Ojos Así (“Eyes Like These”). In 2000, she released a live album, MTV Unplugged – it earned a Grammy award, her first Grammy that was not a Latin Grammy.
  • By now, she was determined to cross over to an English speaking album. In 2001, she released Laundry Service, with all songs co-produced and co-written in English by Shakira. It reached #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and was certified 3x platinum. Two singles, Whenever, Wherever and Underneath Your Clothes entered the Hot 100 singles chart, landing at #6 and #9 respectively. While some critics felt that her English skills were too weak, music fans loved it – over 20 million copies were sold worldwide. The success of the album meant that Shakira was now one of the most successful Latin crossover artists of all time.
  • In 2005, she released a Spanish album, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (Oral Fixation Vol. 1), followed by an English album, Oral Fixation Vol. 2. Both were top 5 albums on the album chart, with Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 reaching #1 on the Latin album chart. The Spanish album included the hit La Tortura (“The Torture”), which set a record for being #1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart for 25 weeks. The album also won a Grammy award. The English album included the song Hips Don’t Lie (featuring Wyclef Jean) – the song became her first #1 hit on the Hot 100, and it broke records for the most radio plays in a single week, as well as the fastest selling digital download in the U.S. Ultimately, over 13 million downloads were sold – one of the best selling songs of the decade.
  • Her 2007 collaboration with Beyonce, Beautiful Liar, peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 chart. As Shakira attained superstar status, she work with other artists increased, with collaborations with artists ranging from Santana to Pitbull.
  • Shakira released 2 more English albums – She Wolf in 2009 and Shakira in 2014 – as well as 2 more Spanish albums – Sale el Sol (“The Sun Comes Out”) in 2010 and El Dorado (“The Golden One”) in 2017. These recordings have led to 11 more songs in the top 10 of the Hot Latin Songs chart. El Dorado won Shakira her third Grammy award. In 2010, she wrote the official theme song for 2010 FIFA World Cup, Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) – it reached #38 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Latin songs chart, and its 1.8 billion views of its music video on YouTube puts it in the top 30 of all time.
  • Shakira is the most successful Colombian artist ever. In the 00s, she had 4 of the 20 highest selling worldwide hits – more than any other artist during the decade. She has won 3 Grammy awards and 11 Latin Grammy awards. In 2017, Fortune Magazine ranked her #27 on their list of the world’s greatest leaders – the only artist on the list – supported by her philanthropic work to help poor and impoverished children in Colombia. She has performed on TV (3 appearances on SNL, 2 seasons as coach on The Voice) and she was the voice of Gazelle in the Disney animated film Zootopia.  No doubt that she has many more years of success ahead. Join the billions who have watched the video Waka Waka. Super catchy – and typical of Shakira, incorporating musical styles from all of the world in her work.

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