Saturday, 3 November 2007

Shakira - Life History

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977), known simply as Shakira, is a Colombian singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer, dancer, philanthropist and occasional actress who has been a major figure in the pop music scene of Latin America since the mid-1990s. In 2001, she broke through into the English-speaking world with the release of Laundry Service, which sold over fourteen million copies worldwide. A two-time Grammy Award-winning and seven-time Latin Grammy Award-winning artist, Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. She is also the only artist from South America to reach the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, the Australian ARIA chart, the United World Chart and the UK Singles Chart. Shakira is also known for having an IQ of 140.

According to the
United World Chart, Shakira is as of 2007 the fourth most successful artist so far from the 2000s. She is also the only artist to have two songs in the top ten of the most successful singles since 1999.

statue of Shakira in Barranquilla, Colombia


Early life

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado, a Colombian of Spanish and Italian ancestry, and William Mebarak Chadid, an American of Lebanese descent. Her father also had eight children with his former wife.

Shakira means "grateful" or "thankful" (شاكِرة) in
Arabic. Her second name, Isabel, is also that of her paternal grandmother meaning beautiful. She spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia.

Shakira wrote her first
poem, entitled "La Rosa De Cristal" ("The Glass Rose") when she was only four years old. After receiving a typewriter as a gift, she began to write poems constantly. Her poems eventually evolved into songs. At the age of eight, after an older brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, Shakira became inspired to write her first song.

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 barefoot 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 a number she learned every Friday at school. "That's how I discovered my passion for live performance," she says.

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 motel 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.

debut album, Magia, was recorded with Sony Music in 1991, when she was only fourteen years old. The album did not fare well commercially, selling less than one thousand copies. 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. The album Peligro was released in 1993, but Shakira was not pleased with the final result. The album was better received than Magia, though it was also considered a commercial failure, due to Shakira's refusal to advertise it. 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 then decided to take a hiatus from recording so that she could graduate from high school.

Shakira in her debut album Magia(1991)

1995–2000: Success in Latin America and Spain

Shakira returned to recording in 1995, 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 one, Pies Descalzos, which brought her great fame in Latin America. Pies Descalzos sold over five 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.

Her fourth album, ¿
Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, was released in 1998. She began to gain more fans in non-Spanish-speaking countries like Turkey, France, Switzerland, Canada, and especially the United States. Eight of the album's eleven tracks became singles, including "Ciega, Sordomuda", "Moscas En La Casa", "No Creo", "Inevitable", "", "Si Te Vas", "Octavo Día", and the world-famous "Ojos Así". Shakira's first live album, MTV Unplugged, was composed of "Estoy Aquí" and all the songs from ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? except Que Vuelvas.

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.

2001–2004: Worldwide success

In 2001, upon the success of ¿
Dónde Están Los Ladrones? and MTV Unplugged, Shakira began working on a crossover album to English. Collaborating with Gloria Estefan, she wrote and recorded English versions of the tracks from ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?. However, she later decided against using translations of older songs for the album and worked for over a year on new material for the album. The result was Laundry Service. Although it was created with the intent of selling to an English language market, the rock and Spanish dance-influenced album also featured four Spanish songs, including "Que Me Quedes Tú" (As Long as You Stay with Me). Some critics claimed that Shakira's English skills were too weak for her to write in it. The album and its singles helped to establish Shakira's musical presence in the mainstream North American market.

Shakira at the Wal-Mart 2005 Shareholders meeting

n 2002, Shakira also released her Spanish greatest hits volume
Grandes éxitos. A DVD and ten-track compilation album, called Live & Off the Record, was also released in 2004, reaching sales of 3 million CDs worldwide, and commemorating Shakira's world tour, the Tour of the Mongoose.

In September 2002, Shakira won the
now-defunct International Viewer's Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards with "Suerte". In October of that year, she won 5 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. At Aerosmith's MTV Icon in 2002, Shakira performed "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)". Also in 2002, Shakira joined the likes of Celine Dion, Anastacia, Cher and the Dixie Chicks for VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas.

2005-present: Fixations Era

Fijación Oral Vol. 1

Shakira stayed out of the spotlight for over two years. She announced the
Oral Fixation project in early 2005. 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", which features 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.

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 a Spanish language album. 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.

The second single from the album, "
No", was released in July 2005, and peaked at number one in Argentina, Spain and Colombia, there for fourteen non-consecutive weeks. This single was number one in several countries in Latin America, but it did not have the same success of the previous two singles in the United States.

On February 8, 2006, Shakira won her
second Grammy Award. She was awarded in the category of Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.

On April 27, 2006, Shakira received six
Billboard Latin Music Awards for Fijacion Oral Vol. 1. She was also honored with the Spirit of Hope Award for the Fundación Pies Descalzos.

In late 2006, Shakira released "
La Pared" as the fourth single from Fijación Oral Vol. 1. The song reached number one in her native Colombia, Argentina and Spain.

Later in 2007, "
Las de la Intuición" was released as a single in Spain and Latin America. It became an instantaneous success, topping the radio chart Los 40 Principales for eight non-consecutive weeks and peaking at number one, charting just four weeks in Argentina. In mid-April, Shakira filmed a video for the song in Miami, which was then premiered via the internet on May 7th. The video, inspired by the work of photographer Helmut Newton, features Shakira with a bright purple wig, alternating between wearing a tight black corset and either a black shirt with a white tie or a white shirt with a black tie. According to Mexican media, "Las de la Intuición" is to be the fifth and final single from Fijación Oral Vol. 1.

According to the biography in the official web of Shakira, Fijación Oral Vol. 1 has sold over 7 million albums to date.

Shakira's concert in Lisbon, Portugal (April 4, 2007)

Oral Fixation Vol. 2

Before the release of
Oral Fixation Vol. 2, the second and last album of the Oral Fixation project, Shakira appeared at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon, Portugal were she performed "Don't Bother", the lead single from the album, just minutes before winning an award in the category of Best Female Artist.

Oral Fixation Vol. 2
was released on November 29 2005 in North America and Australia, and in continental Europe. Two tracks of the album, "
How Do You Do" and "Timor", sparked some controversy at the time of its release. The cover of the album was also considered controversial, and it had to be altered in several countries.

Don't Bother" failed to peak within the top 40 in the United States. "Hips Don't Lie", the second single released from the album, became Shakira's first (and, to date, only) number one single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart. On March 28 2006, the album was re-released and featured "Hips Don't Lie". Shakira received the most number nominations for the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards with "Hips Don't Lie", but she won only the award for Best Choreography.

In June of 2006, Shakira started her biggest world tour to date, the Oral Fixation Tour, which lasted through July of 2007. The Oral Fixation tour had 111 dates and visited many European, American, African and Asian countries.

Shakira also released "
Illegal", which features Carlos Santana as a single. "Illegal" was released to pop radio in the United States, but it was not picked for regular rotation outside the Rhythmic/Dance format stations. "Illegal" has become another major hit for the singer on both the Hot Dance Music/Club Play and Hot Dance Airplay charts. The song became a top ten hit in much of Europe, and Shakira added the song to the tracklist of her tour.

According to the biography in the official web of Shakira,
Oral Fixation Vol. 2 has sold over 9 million albums to date.


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 Tu 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 Knowles in the track "Beautiful Liar", which was released as the second single from the deluxe edition of Beyoncé's 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.

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, we have known recently that this collaboration has been canceled. Shakira and Lil' Wayne have been replaced by Jennifer Lopez and Baby Bash.

Shakira will be featured on
Annie Lennox's new song called "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.

She will also collaborate in one track on
Wyclef Jean's new album, called "King & Queen".

Future projects

According to an article published on December 10 2006 in
The Boston Globe, Shakira is to provide three songs for the soundtrack of the film adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera, which is scheduled for release in November 16 2007. For this soundtrack, Shakira made two new songs called Hay Amores and La Despedida and Pienso En Ti, from the album Pies Descalzos, will be also included.

On November 12, the DVD from the
Oral Fixation Tour will be released with the title
Live In Miami. It will be also be available in the High Definition Blu-ray format.

Shakira is also due to release another song with Wyclef Jean on his upcoming album. The song is titled "
King and Queen". A short sample leaked onto the internet on September 27 2007.

Recently, it was widely known that Mexican star,
Luis Miguel, will re-release some of his most successful songs in duet with the most representative Latin female singers. Shakira was chosen to record the song "Sabes Una Cosa". Another female artist which will colaborate in this project are Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé Knowles, Natalia Oreiro, Julieta Venegas and Paulina Rubio.


Shakira appeared in the Colombian telenovela
El Oasis in 1996, playing the character of Luisa Maria.

Personal life

In 2000,
Shakira started dating Antonio de la Rúa, the son of then president of Argentina Fernando de la Rúa, a romance that made headline news throughout Latin America. In March of 2001, he proposed to her. De la Rúa and Shakira remain engaged, with future plans to marry. She currently lives in The Bahamas. 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 (though this didn't happen). She also said that Shakira has already ordered Argentinian designer María Pryor to design her wedding dress. However, these rumors have been denied by Antonio's father, Fernando de la Rúa, and by Shakira herself in Mexico.

Shakira with Antonio De La Rua

In June 2007, Latin American media speculated that the couple had finally split up and that Shakira was involved romantically with Irish actor
Colin Farrell since both were seen in a Los Angeles disco. This rumor was immediately denied by Shakira's assistants, stating that she was invited by Penélope Cruz, who later introduced Colin Farrell to Shakira. On the previous days, Shakira and Antonio were seen in a restaurant in New York City, facing and denied the rumors one more time.

The last public sighting of Shakira was on October 25, 2007 in
New York's Blue Note Jazz club.

Shakira maintains an intense interest in history. She frequently studies the history and languages of the countries she visits. After her Oral Fixation tour ended in summer 2007, Shakira audited a class in Los Angeles at
UCLA, on the History of Western Civilization.


‎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 knows the power of her feet, so performs barefoot very often. Shakira says she learned this form of dance as a young teen to overcome her shyness. The intense training has afforded her a fluidity in her body movement most seen in the video to her hits "Ojos Así", "La Tortura", "Hips Don't Lie" and "Beautiful Liar". 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 for the choreography, but ended up creating most of it herself.


In 1997, 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.

Through her career, Shakira 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 on July 7 2007 in Hamburg. Her set included "Don't Bother", "Inevitable", "Día Especial" (with Gustavo Cerati) and "Hips Don't Lie".

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 an
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."

Shakira was recently ranked at number 48 on the list of
Top 50 Most Charitable Celebrities by OK! magazine. It was said on the magazine that she donates approximately US$55,000 to charity yearly.

On 28th September at the
Clinton Global Initiative 2007, it was revealed that Shakira's charitable foundation called Latin America in Solidarity Action, donated a massive $40 million to help the victims of natural disasters. A extra of $5 million dollars will be donated to four Latin American countries, so it can be spent on education and health.