Photo: Dilma Rousseff / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
Born: February 2, 1977
Age: 43 years
Born Place: Barranquilla
- record producer
- art director
- Drum kit
- Goblet drum
- Electronic keyboards
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born 2 February 1977) is a Colombian singer-songwriter, arranger, record producer, art director, dancer, actress and philanthropist. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Shakira has been referred to as the Queen of Latin Music and is noted for her versatility in music. She made her recording debut under Sony Music Colombia at the age of 13. Following the commercial failure of her first two Colombian albums, Magia (1991) and Peligro (1993), she rose to prominence in Hispanic countries with her next albums, Pies Descalzos (1995) and Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998). Shakira entered the English-language market with her fifth album, Laundry Service (2001). It sold over 13 million copies, spawned the international number-one singles “Whenever, Wherever” and “Underneath Your Clothes”, and propelled her reputation as a leading crossover artist.
Her success was further solidified with the Spanish albums Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (2005), Sale el Sol (2010), and El Dorado (2017), all of which topped the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart and were certified diamante by the Recording Industry Association of America. Meanwhile, her English albums Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 (2005), She Wolf (2009) and Shakira (2014) were all certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in various countries worldwide. Some of her songs have charted at number one in multiple countries, including “La Tortura”, “Hips Don’t Lie”, “Beautiful Liar”, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, “Loca”, and “Chantaje”. Shakira served as a coach on two seasons of the American singing competition television series The Voice (2013–2014).
Shakira has received numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards, twelve Latin Grammy Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, thirty-nine Billboard Latin Music Awards, six Guinness World Records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, Billboard listed her as the Top Female Latin Artist of the Decade. Having sold more than 75 million records worldwide, Shakira remains one of the world’s best-selling music artists. She is ranked as the most-streamed Latin artist on Spotify and became one of only three female artists to have two YouTube videos exceeding two billion views. For her philanthropic work with her Barefoot Foundation and her contributions to music she received the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year and Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year awards in 2011. She was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in the US in 2011, and Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2012. Forbes ranked her among the top-earning women in music in 2008 and 2019. Shakira is the first artist to perform three times at the FIFA World Cup.
Born on 2 February 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia, she is the only child of William Mebarak Chadid and Nidia Ripoll Torrado. Her paternal grandparents emigrated from Lebanon to New York City, where her father was born. Her father then immigrated to Colombia at age 5. The name Shakira (Arabic: شاكرة) is Arabic for “grateful”, the feminine form of the name Shakir (Arabic: شاكر). From her mother, she has Catalan/Spanish and Italian ancestry. She was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools. She has eight older half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage. Shakira spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia, and wrote her first poem, titled “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 that typewriter at the age of seven, and has continued writing poetry since then. These poems eventually evolved into songs. When Shakira was two years old, an older half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident; six years later, at the age of eight, Shakira wrote her first song, titled “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. She started dancing on the table, and the experience made her realize that she wanted to be a performer. She enjoyed singing for schoolmates and teachers (and even the nuns) at her Catholic school, but in second grade, she 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 was often sent out of the class because of her hyperactivity (ADHD). She says she had also 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. To instill gratitude in Shakira for her upbringing, her father took her to a local park to see orphans who lived there. 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 10 and 13, Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla and gained some recognition in the area. It was at this approximate 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”. Undaunted and still convinced that Shakira had talent, Vargas 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.
On her music, Shakira has said that, “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.” Shakira has frequently stated she is inspired by oriental music and Indian music, which influenced many of her earlier works. She has also been influenced by her Arabian 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 having been major contributors to her musical style. She is also strongly influenced by Andean music and South American folk music, using her native instrumentation for her Latin dance-pop songs.
Her earlier Spanish albums, including Pies Descalzos and Dónde Están los Ladrones? were a mix of folk music and Latin rock. Her cross-over English album, Laundry Service and later albums were influenced by pop rock and pop Latino. “Laundry Service” is primarily a pop rock album, but also draws influences from a variety of musical genres. The singer credited this to her mixed ethnicity, saying: “I am a fusion. That’s my persona. I’m a fusion between black and white, between pop and rock, between cultures – between my Lebanese father and my mother’s Spanish blood, the Colombian folklore and Arab dance I love and American music.”
The Arabian and Middle Eastern elements that exerted a high influence on Dónde Están los Ladrones? are also present in Laundry Service, most prominently on “Eyes Like Yours”/”Ojos Así”. Musical styles from different South American countries surface on the album. Tango, a style of fast-paced ballroom dance that originated in Argentina, is evident on “Objection (Tango)”, which also combines elements of rock and roll. The uptempo track features a guitar solo and a bridge in which Shakira delivers rap-like vocals.
She Wolf is primarily an electropop album that combines influences from the musical styles of various countries and regions, like Africa, Colombia, India, and the Middle East. Shakira termed the album as a “sonic experimental trip”, and said that she researched folk music from different countries in order to “combine electronics with world sounds, tambourines, clarinets, oriental and Hindu music, dancehall, etc.” Her 2010 album, Sale el Sol, is a return to her beginnings containing ballads, rock songs, and Latin dance songs like “Loca”. In 2017, Deutsche Welle’s journalist Kate Müser commented on Shakira’s “globalized sound”: “[her] Latin beats, spiced with Middle Eastern and other world elements and made comfortably familiar by being churned through the pop machine, make you feel like a citizen of the world.”
As a child, Shakira was influenced by rock music, listening heavily to rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Nirvana, The Police and U2, while her other influences included Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Marc Anthony, Meredith Brooks and The Cure.
Shakira is well known for her dancing in various music videos and in concert. Her moves are based on the art of belly dancing, a part of her Lebanese heritage. 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.
Shakira’s distinctive dancing style is said to be unique to her in the industry that combines Middle Eastern belly dance with Latin dancing. Her hip shaking is mentioned in songs, like Fifth Harmony’s “Brave Honest Beautiful”.
Her performances are marked to be unique and atypical of a major pop star. She is noted for usually dancing barefoot, and have minimal production. Her performances are noted to focus on her vocals, dance moves, and charisma. Shakira rarely makes use of background dancers in her performances, and usually takes the stage with minimal makeup and natural hair, Her Campus reports.
Shakira has received numerous awards and recognition for her work. She is the recipient of three Grammy Awards and twelve Latin Grammy Awards—the most for a female artist. Shakira has sold more than 75 million records worldwide, making her one of world’s best-selling music artists. Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems said that “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”. 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.
Her song “La Tortura” at one time held the record for Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks chart, appearing at number-one more than any other single with a total of 25 non-consecutive weeks, a record currently held by the Enrique Iglesias song “Bailando” with 41 weeks. Nokia stated in 2010, that there were more Shakira music downloads in the prior year than for any other Latino artist in the last five years, and She Wolf topped the Top 10 Latino downloads. In 2010, she was ranked number five on the ‘Online Video’s Most Viral Artists of 2010’ with 404,118,932 views. In 2011, Shakira was honored at the Latin Grammys as Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, and by the Harvard Foundation as Cultural Rhythms Artist of the Year. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6270 Hollywood Blvd. Originally, she was to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004, but she turned the offer down. In 2012, she received the honor of Chevalier De L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2014, Shakira became the first musical act to perform three times at the FIFA World Cup. In the same year, Aleiodes shakirae, a new species of parasitic wasp was named after her because it causes its host to “shake and wiggle”. Forbes ranked Shakira on their list of “Top 100 World’s Most Powerful Women” at number 40 in 2012, at 52 in 2013, and at 58 in 2014. In 2015 Time recognized Shakira as one of the most influential people on social media. Shakira and Argentinian president; Cristina Fernández de Kirchner were the only Latin influencers named on the list. More so Time noted that Shakira has an “unparalleled platform” on social media where she promotes her philanthropy. In 2008, Shakira was named as the Honorary Chair of the Global Campaign for Education Global Action Week.
In 2018, Spotify included Shakira in the list of top 10 most streamed female artists of the decade on the platform, making her the highest streamed Latin artist. In 2020, Shakira became the first female artist in history to have 4 songs from different decades to have over 100 million streams on Spotify, also marking her as the only artist with Spanish songs, the only Latin artist, and third overall after Michael Jackson and Eminem to achieve this milestone. She is now worth $300 million.
Shakira began a relationship with Argentinian lawyer Antonio de la Rúa in 2000. In a 2009 interview, Shakira stated their relationship already worked as a married couple, and that “they don’t need papers for that”.
After 10 years together, Shakira and de la Rúa separated in August 2010 in what she described as “a mutual decision to take time apart from our romantic relationship”. She wrote that the couple “view this period of separation as temporary”, with de la Rúa overseeing Shakira’s “business and career interests as he has always done”. As first reported in September 2012, de la Rúa sued Shakira in April 2013, asking for $100 million he believed he was owed after Shakira suddenly terminated her business partnership with him in October 2011. His lawsuit was dismissed by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in August 2013.
Shakira entered a relationship with the Spanish football player Gerard Piqué, centre back for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team in 2011. Piqué, who is exactly ten years her junior, first met Shakira in the spring of 2010, when he appeared in the music video for Shakira’s song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Shakira gave birth to the couple’s first son Milan on 22 January 2013 in Barcelona, Spain, where the family had taken up residence. Shakira gave birth to their second son Sasha on 29 January 2015. Forbes listed Shakira and Gerard in their list of “World’s Most Powerful Couples”.
- Magia (1991)
- Peligro (1993)
- Pies Descalzos (1995)
- Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998)
- Laundry Service (2001)
- Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (2005)
- Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 (2005)
- She Wolf (2009)
- Sale el Sol (2010)
- Shakira (2014)
- El Dorado (2017)
- Tour Pies Descalzos (1996–1997)
- Tour Anfibio (2000)
- Tour of the Mongoose (2002–2003)
- Oral Fixation Tour (2006–2007)
- The Sun Comes Out World Tour (2010–2011)
- El Dorado World Tour (2018)
- The 2021 World Tour (2021)