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She says her hips don’t lie, and she’s right: one look at Shakira shaking her thang, and you know that she’s one of this generation’s dancing greats. But that’s not all that shakira is. This talented young Colombian performer is also a songstress, songwriter and all-around talented musician. She’s even done the occasional acting gig. She’s also indisputably one of the world’s hottest women. A major player on the Latino pop music scene since the mid-1990s, shakira took the English-speaking world by storm with her 2001 album, Laundry Service.
The album brought the world musical gems Whenever, Wherever and Underneath Your Clothes, sold fifteen million copies worldwide and established shakira as an international superstar. To be more precise, Shakira is the best-selling Colombian musician of all time, the only South American artist to have hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the fourth most successful artist this millennium, according to that fascinating abyss of music trivia, the United World Chart. Only Madonna, Britney Spears and Eminem have got her beat. So just what lies behind those sashaying hips and that powerhouse voice? To get to know shakira, we must delve into the shakira biography, which dates all the way back to February 2, 1977. On this date, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, to mother Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado and father William Mebarak Chadid. Her mother is a Colombian of Catalan-Italian descent, and her father is Lebanese-American. Shakira was the only child born of this union, but it’s inaccurate to call her an only child; she has eight half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage. Interestingly, the name shakira means thankful or grateful, which is exactly the sentiment millions of fans worldwide would feel once shakira music made its way into their lives. Shakira grew up in the town where she was born, and from an early age, it was clear that this was no ordinary child.
The earliest shakira lyrics were written when the songstress-to-be was just four years old and wrote her first poem. As a child, she received a typewriter as a gift, and a poet was born. Shakira would write poems constantly, cultivating the gift that would later result in shakira lyrics being so beautiful and lyrical. Her very first song was written under tragic circumstances: shakira lost one of her half-brothers in a traffic accident when she was just eight years old. Shakira turned her sadness into art, and the result was a song dedicated to her father and his sadness. But happier times lay ahead in Shakira’s childhood. The next major development in the shakira biography was the fateful day that her father took her to a Middle Eastern restaurant that featured belly dancers. She took up the doubmek, and Arabic drum, and soon learned to belly dancing. Young shakira could often be seen dancing atop tables before a wildly cheering crowd. There, up on those table tops, Shakira knew that she wanted to be a performer. By the time she was thirteen years old, shakira had already become something of a local celebrity thanks to her dancing ability. It seemed that she’d already learned that hips don’t lie, and her hips were attracting the attention of local producers. One producer tried to present shakira to music executives at Sony Colombia. Although they originally wrote her off as a lost cause, a persistent producer arranges for a surprise performance by shakira for three other executives. Soon, shakira had a three-record deal in her hand. So, at an age where most girls have yet to even experience their first kiss, shakira was already celebrating the release of her first album. Magia was released to the Latin American public when shakira was just fourteen years old. Sadly, though, it was a commercial flop. Ditto for her follow-up. However, shakira did attract some attention within Colombia.
She took a break from music, graduated high school, then returned to the recording studio. They say that third time’s a charm, and they’re right, at least when it comes to the shakira biography: Pies Delcazos was a bestseller throughout Latin America and established her as the official Latin American version of Alanis Morrisette. Her fourth album was even more successful, and earned her millions of international fans and an MTV People’s Choice Award for Favorite International Artist. As the new millennium approached, so too did a change in shakira lyrics: they were to be in English now. Together with Latin American megastar Gloria Estefan, shakira penned an English language album, the legendary Laundry Service.
Once the album hit the airwaves and Shakira became an international household names, shakira videos became very much in demand on music stations worldwide, and shakira wallpaper covered many a computer screen. People couldn’t get enough of the beautiful girl with the swaying hips and sultry voice. What followed was more awards and more recordings in Spanish, but no one was prepared for the success of shakira’s next English album, Oral Fixation. This was the album that launched the worldwide hit single Hips Don’t Lie. Sure enough, shakira hips don’t lie topped music charts everywhere. It was one of the raciest of the shakira videos, showing shakira’s honest hips at their gyrating best. Then, in early 2007, more exciting news hit the music world. All around the world, people turned on their computers, admired their shakira wallpaper, then clicked over to the internet to read the headlines: beyonce and shakira were going to record a song together! Considering that much of the world’s male heterosexual and female homosexual populations dreamed of getting stuck inside a beyonce and shakira sandwich, this collaboration was an exciting prospect indeed. In stark contrast to the shakira hips don’t lie song, the beyonce and shakira song was called Beautiful Liar.
The beautiful liar song appeared on the bestselling Beyonce CD, B-Day. Though many a drooling fan out there would love a private dance from shakira, since the year 2000, Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie beside anyone other than Antonio de la Rua. Though this name may mean little to English-speaking fans, their romance made headlines throughout South America: she was a singing sensation, he was the then-president’s son. The two plan to marry.