Shakira (born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll; 2.2.1977)
Shakira is a Columbian singer, songwriter, dancer and musician.
Childhood: Shakira was born and raised in Barranquilla, Columbia, to Nidya del Carmen Ripoll Torrado and William Mebarak Chadid. Shakira has eight half-brothers and sisters from her father's previous marriage.
As a child, Shakira wrote her first poem at the age of four. It was called 'La Rosa De Cristal' ('The Crystal Rose'). At the age of seven, she was given a typewriter as a Christmas gift and her poems soon evolved into songs. When one of her half-brothers was killed in a motorcycle accident, Shakira's father wore shades to hide his emotions and Shakira's first song was entitled 'Tus Gafas Oscuras' ('Your Dark Glasses').
Shakira's love of dancing and performing started when her father took her to a Middle Eastern restaurant and she joined in with the belly dancing. She was four at the time and decided then that she wanted to be a performer. When auditioning for the school choir, though, she was told that she sounded like a goat, as her vibrato was too strong.
Shakira would perform at local events in Barranquilla and it was here that she met Monica Ariz, a theatre producer. Ariz organised an audition with Sony Columbia executive Ciro Vargas. Eventually, she was signed for a three album deal.
Music Career: Shakira's debut album, Magia, was recorded in 1990. She was 13 years old at the time. The album was a collection of songs that she had written since the age of 8. Magia was released in 1991 and did well on Columbian radio, though only 1200 copies were sold.
In 1993, a 20-year old Ricky Martin voted for Shakira in Chile's Vina del Mar International Song Festival.
Peligro was Shakira's second studio album, released in 1993. She was unhappy with the production of the album and refused to promote it. That same year, Shakira appeared in the Columbian TV series 'The Oasis'. She then took a break from her music career in order to graduate from high school.
In 1995, Shakira returned to recording, after her recording of '¿Dónde Estás Corazón?' was the only hit on a Columbian compilation album, Nuestro Rock. Her third album was entitled Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet). She was given $100,000 to record the album, as they were not expecting sales of the album to exceed 100,000 units. Shakira began producing her own music and developed her singing technique. At the time, she was influenced by American and British bands such as Pretenders. Upon its release in 1996, the album reached number one in eight countries, though it only hit number 180 in the main US album chart. When she toured the album, a number of fans died in her home town of Baranquilla, because of a lack of control in the 50,000-strong crowd. The album sold over 5 million copies.
Shakira's fourth studio album, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?), was released in 1998, to huge success. Eleven of the tracks were released as singles, including 'Ciega, Sordomuda' and 'Moscas En La Casa'. It earned her a Grammy Awards nomination for Best Latin Rock / Alternative Album. The following year, she also recorded a session for MTV Unplugged in New York City, hailed by many as her finest live performance.
Following in the footsteps of Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin, who had both had success as English Language pop artists, Shakira began working on a crossover album. The debut single from the new album was 'Whenever, Wherever', which became a huge success. The album, Laundry Service, was released in 2001, debuting at number three in the US charts. Among the seven tracks released as a single, 'Underneath Your Clothes' was probably the most popular.
In 2002, Shakira joined forces with Whitney Houston, Mary J Blige and Cher, among others, for the VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas series.
For her next album, Shakira worked with producer Rick Rubin, who has also worked with Johnny Cash and Beastie Boys. The album was called Fijacion Oral Vol. 1 (Oral Fixation Vol. 1) and was released in 2005. The lead single from the album, 'La Tortura', featured the Spanish singer Alajandro Sanz.
February 2006 saw Shakira win her second Grammy Award and five more Latin Grammy Awards. Shakira performed 'Don't Bother' at the 2005 Europe Music Awards, shortly before releasing Fijacion Oral Vol.2. the tracks 'How Do You Do?' and 'Timor' were controversial at the time, in Muslim countries, as was the cover art for the album, which depicted her as Eve.
In 2006, Shakira recorded 'Hips Don't Lie' with Wyclef Jean. The tracks became her first number one in the US. The final single from the album was 'Illegal', featuring Carlos Santana.
In 2009, it was announced that Shakira's next album, entitled She Wolf would be released in October 2009 and features a song co-written by Sam Endicott of The Bravery.
In 2010, she featured on the official FIFA World Cup anthem 'Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)' with South African band Freshlyground. It broke the record for best-selling World Cup song ever. That year she released ninth album 'Sale el Sol' which topped the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart and featured the number one single 'Loca'. She followed the album release with her The Sun Comes Out World Tour.
2012 saw her replace Christina Aguilera on the fourth season of televised singing competition 'The Voice'.
She signed with Roc Nation for the release of her self-titled album, which came out in 2014. The album featured several top producers including Benny Blanco, Tïesto, LMFAO, Akon, Sia and Skrillex.
Personal Life: Shakira dated Antonia de la Rúa, the son of the ex-Argentinian president, from 2000 to 2010. Although initially amicable, trouble soon arose when de la Rua filed a lawsuit for $100 million after Shakira allegedly made a sudden move to end their business partnership.
In 2010, she began dating Spanish footballer Gerard Piqué. The pair have a son together named Milan Piqué Mebarak.
Shakira is multi-lingual with her mother-tongue being Spanish. She is a Roman Catholic and enjoys studying world history; something which she pursued with a class at UCLA Extensions.
Biography by Contactmusic.com