Full Name: Shakira Isobel Mebarak Ripoll
Birth Date: February 2, 1977
Birth Place: Barranquilla, Colombia
Height: 5' 2"
Fact: Shakira means "woman full of grace" in Arabic
Quote: The worst mistake of a woman is to go to the kitchen, because
then she never gets out of there."
Born Shakira Mebarak Ripoll in the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia,
Shakira-who goes by her first name only-- is that blend of raw talent, brains
and charisma that only rarely comes along in any field. Her name, which in
Arabic means "woman full of grace," belies her ancestry.
She is the daughter of a Colombian mother and a Lebanese father--a jeweler
and writer, whose Arabic background greatly influenced his daughter. Shakira's
fondness for music was apparent early on, and she started winning local and
national talent contests at age 10.
By 13, she had signed a record deal with Sony in Colombia, which resulted
in her first album, "Magia (Magic)," a compilation of songs she wrote between
the ages of 8 and 13. It was an effort that put Shakira in Colombia's musical
map, and led to her being chosen to represent her country at the Fesival OTI
in Spain. Because she was under the minimum age of 16, she wasn't allowed
to participate. So instead, Shakira recorded a second album of original material,
At that point, Shakira took a break from music, graduated from high school
(at age 15) and came back with a vengeance.
The result was the phenomenally successful "Pies Descalzos," a hit-laden
smash, which has sold close to four million copies worldwide. Shakira became
an international sensation touring for an almost solid two years, playing
her songs to sold-out audiences throughout the world. In Brazil alone, "Pies
Descalzos" sold in excess of 900,000 copies, leading Shakira to record remixes
in Portuguese for her Brazilian fans.
She abandoned the light pop format she had been doing and declined her label's
suggestion to explore more commercial avenues. Instead, she insisted on recording
her very own brand of music: a blend of pop and rock that was unprecedented
for a Colombian musician, much less a woman.
Such a smashing hit seems impossible to surpass. But Shakira has done it
with "Donde Estan los Ladrones," a collection of potential hits that further
explores the realms of rock 'n' roll without losing Shakira's authenticity.
"It is totally refreshing for me to work with an artist who knows exactly
what she wants, both at a musical and a personal level," said Emilio Estefan.
"Her music is Shakira. It's real music."
Last year, the Colombian government designated Shakira as an official goodwill
ambassador, the Pope granted her an audience in the Vatican, and she was named
Latin Female Artist of the Year at the World Music Awards in Monaco in May.
The next logical step was to crossover to the English market.
Critics are already hailing "Donde Estan los Ladrones" as a breakthrough
album whose thought-provoking songs that leave her standing a notch taller
than a slew of female singer/songwriters heard on radio today.
For the most exciting singer/songwriter to come out of Latin America in years,
the possibilities are endless. For the millions that already buy her albums,
she is already the voice of a new generation.
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