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Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, and the second most successful female Latin singer having sold about 50 million albums worldwide. She is of Lebanese, Catalan, and Italian ancestry. Known for her belly dancing, her multiculturalism, and her Alanis Morissette-like voice, Shakira is a she-wolf to be reckoned with.
She is viewed negatively by some, because songs like “She Wolf” make her look like a “dumb” pop star. However, these people aren’t familiar with her history.
Shakira was born on February 2, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her father took her to a Middle Eastern restaurant when she was 4. Here, she heard the doumbek, and started dancing to an enthusiastic crowd. This is where she found her passion for being a live performer.
When she was 8, her father became bankrupted. She was sent to relatives in Los Angeles. She got to return to Barranquilla, but she was shocked to find that a lot of her parents’ belongings had been sold. To show her that things could be worse, her father took her to a local park where orphans were sniffing glue. 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."
She got to record two albums in her teenage years: Magia (English: Magic) and Peligro (English: Danger). These albums were commercial failures, and soon became victims of Canon Dis Continuity.
When it was time to record her third album, Shakira started to produce her own music, perfect her voice and take creative control of her music. Pies Descalzos (English: Bare Feet) was groundbreaking in the Latin pop world. The songs of the album are melodic, musically surprising and gritty, with intellectual lyrics and an electronic/acoustic blend that effectively broke the formulaic mold of Latin pop with an authentic sound that hadn’t been heard before. The album sold over 5 million copies.
¿Dónde Están los Ladrones? (English: Where Are the Thieves?), inspired by an incident in an airport in which a suitcase full of her written lyrics was stolen, was a bigger hit than Pies Descalzos. It combined world, rock, pop, and dance perfectly. It’s also notable for being a success in the United States, where 1,500,000 copies were sold. Shakira’s first live album, MTV Unplugged, was recorded in New York City on August 12, 1999. Highly acclaimed by American critics, it is rated as one of her best-ever live performances.
After the success of these two albums, she began to work on a crossover album to English, Laundry Service. Her English lyrics were unusual, which was because she hadn’t quite grasped the language yet. (Yes, this has the song with the lyric "Lucky for my breasts they're small and humble, so you don't confuse them with mountains".) Sure enough, this gained her criticism. Her Latin fans also criticized Shakira, since she apparently sold out to the contemporary American pop market. Laundry Service nevertheless became a big hit, selling over 13 million copies.
Things are looking big for Shakira. "Hips Don’t Lie", a collab with Wyclef Jean, became one of the world's best-selling singles of all time. Recent songs "She Wolf" and "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" prove that she is still one of the biggest stars in the world right now.
Shakira is also a philanthropist. She founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation. It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. She stayed true to her promise to the glue-sniffing orphans after all.
- Pies Descalzos (1996)
- 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)
- All in the Eyes – In the music video for "Objection (Tango)", there is a sequence where Shakira is in the car looking for her wayward lover. Her eyes are illuminated by the reflection from her rear-view mirror.
- It's also the main reason for the song "Ojos Así"
- Animated Music Video – A portion of the music video for "Objection (Tango)".
- Bare Your Midriff: Does this most of the time (and what a midriff!).
- Belly Dancer - See the videos for "Ojos Así" and "Hips don't lie".
- Break Up Song - "Don't Bother"
- But Not Too Foreign - 1/4 Lebanese.
- Dance Battler: In the Did It Again video, she and her partner fight in bed capoeira-style.
- Does Not Like Shoes - In her biography, Woman Full of Grace, she indicates that being barefoot makes her feel like she has removed the facades from her personality and allowed her True Self to shine through.
- Dye Hard - Shakira has been bleaching her hair ever since her first foray into the English music market.
- And before that, she partially dyed her hair red.
- Even The Girls (And Gays) Want Her - Stupid sexy Shakira!
- Foot Focus - The most dedicated barefooter in music might be Latin American singer Shakira. Shakira's commercial breakthrough album is called Pies Descalzos, Spanish for "bare feet"; the back cover features a close-up shot of Shakira's own bare feet. Shakira performs almost all of her concerts barefoot as well, and her biography Woman Full of Grace even discusses her fondness for going barefoot.
- Hot Gypsy Woman - Referenced in her song "Gypsy".
- "I Want" Song – “Quiero”. Obviously.
- In My Language, That Sounds Like... - When Borat hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, he at one point giggled when saying Shakira's name. He then explained that "Shakira" is Kazakh for "vagina". At the end of the show, he tells the audience he will later attempt to "Get into Brittany Murphy's 'shakira'."
- Lyrical Dissonance - More than one of her songs sounds happy and upbeat. Then you get to read the lyrics...
- Intercourse with You - "Las de las Intuicion/Pure Intuition":
Let us be one and let's begin / A mistake that turns into perfection / I want to see you sliding in my underworld (underwear?) / This time I plan to let you win / Be a victim of my own invention / Let us be one and let's begin, once and for all/
- Knife-Throwing Act – She appeared standing against a target with knives around her in a photo in the April 2002 issue of FHM magazine (UK edition).
- Lost in Translation: even after she became more used to the english language, there is no denying that the spanish versions of her songs are usually more poetic and original, and rhyme much better. Compare a direct translation of the song "Lo Hecho esta Hecho" ("What has been done has already been donde" is the closest translation in meaning)
It was that spice in your skin/ Of sulfur mixed with honey /So I filled myself with courage and went for a walk on the wild side
- ...to the corresponding part of the english version of the song "Did It Again",
You were like one of those guys / The kind with a wandering eye (Hey!) / But I said, "hey what the hell? once in my life i'll take a ride on the wild side
- YMMV, though.
- Name's the Same – She shares her name with Travis Morgan's ally from "The Warlord"
- New Sound Album – Shakira switches from her Latin-pop-rock fusion to electropop for She Wolf, a sound hinted at with "Las de las Intuicion/Pure Intuition".
- Nude-Colored Clothes – She wears a nude colored outfit in the “She Wolf” video.
- Our Werewolves Are Different – "She Wolf".
- Panty Shot – The video for “Las De La Intuición” has a lot of this.
- Also some in the video for "La Tortura"
- Petite Pride - She's small chested and likes it very much.
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh - Happens to the sleazy ex-boyfriend in the video for "Objection (Tango)".
- She's Got Legs - Has hips and legs to die for and is not afraid to show them.
- Three Minutes of Writhing - Shakira is particularly famous for shaking her hips.
- Shakira was originally an alt-rock singer more akin to Alanis. Then she began shaking her hips and dyed her hair blonde and became latin-Britney.
- She's a trained bellydancer, which explains the ass-shaking in
some ofher videos. Doesn't really excuse smearing herself with oil while writhing, though.
- Possibly the only person in history to dance with Beyonce (in the video for their duet "Beautiful Liar") and not get upstaged.
- Spicy Latina: Oh, yeah.
- Translated Cover Version – She has done this in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
- Zettai Ryouiki - in the video for her song "Las de la intuiciòn".