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Shakira

Shakira

Singer, songwriter

Achild prodigy and a star throughout the Spanish-speaking world, the Colombian vocalist Shakira made a successful crossover to English-language pop with her 2001 album Laundry Service. Shakira's camera-friendly looks and carefully controlled image concealed both a creative artist who wrote most of her own material and an astute businesswoman who became an international star without alienating her original Latin American fan base. After a hiatus of several years, usually the kiss of death for a career in the fast-moving world of pop, Shakira re-emerged bigger than ever with double releases in 2005, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2.

Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 2, 1977 (some sources give February 9 as her birthday), in Barranquilla on Colombia's Caribbean coast, Shakira is the daughter of a Colombian mother and a Lebanese father. The Arabic background of her father, a writer and jeweler, greatly influenced young Shakira, as can be heard in some of the songs she has written. In Arabic, her first name means "woman full of grace," and it is how she has chosen to be known professionally. While still quite young, she showed a love for music and a talent her parents considered quite remarkable in a child so young. She entered a number of local and national talent and beauty contests, and by the time she was ten years old she had won several.

At the age of 13 Shakira left Barranquilla for Colombia's capital of Bogota to take a modeling job. The modeling job never materialized, but perhaps it was for the best. Instead she signed her first recording contract with Sony Music Colombia, and soon released her first album. Titled Magia, Shakira's debut was made up entirely of songs that she had written between the ages of 8 and 13. Although the album never achieved great success, it did bring the young songstress to the attention of her country and led eventually to her selection to represent Colombia at the annual Festival OTI, scheduled to be held that year in Spain. Her participation in the festival was barred at the last moment when officials realized that she was under the minimum age of 16.

At age 15 Shakira graduated from high school. Shortly thereafter she released her second album, Peligro, which failed to win much more attention than her debut effort. Soon after the disappointing release of Peligro, Shakira signed on as an actress in the Colombia television soap opera El Oasís, and remained with the cast for about a year before returning to her musical career.

Shakira's breakthrough came with the 1996 release of Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet), an album that has sold more than four million copies worldwide and one that produced no fewer than six smash singles. At first, sales were disappointingly slow. Several months after the album went on sale, "Estoy Aquí," the first single to be released, caught fire with disc jockeys at radio stations throughout the Spanish-speaking world, and the single soon made its way to number one on the Latin charts. This feat that was later matched by the follow-up single "Dónde Estás Corazon?." Four other singles from the album—"Antologia," "Pienso en Ti," "Un Poco de Amor," and "Se Quiere, Se Mata"—reached the top ten on the Latin charts. The album itself managed to hit number one in sales in eight different countries. So popular was Pies Descalzos in Brazil, where sales topped 900,000, that Shakira recorded remixes of several songs in Portuguese.

What made Shakira's success with Pies Descalzos all the more impressive was the singer's decision to abandon her light pop format and establish for herself a distinctive and somewhat daring new style—a distinctive blend of pop and rock unlike anything being done by Colombian singers at the time. To get the album done the way she wanted, she had to overrule her label's recommendation that she stick to a format with more commercial appeal.

In support of Pies Descalzos, Shakira toured widely throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including cities in the United States with large Hispanic populations. The album and tours helped to make her one of the most visible musical performers in Latin music. Her tours crisscrossed the globe and lasted nearly two years.

After the phenomenal success of Pies Descalzos, the big question for Shakira, her recording label, and the critics was whether she could produce a comparable hit her next time out. Ably assisted by record producer Emilio Estefan, husband of Cuban-born singer Gloria Estefan, Shakira released Dónde Están los Ladrones? (Where are the Thieves?) in 1998. Critics hailed the spirit and integrity of Shakira's music, showcased beautifully by the high production standards for which Estefan is known. Of her work on Ladrones, Shakira said: "My music is sincere, everyday music. It is music that stems from a completely genuine source."

Critics hailed Dónde Están los Ladrones? as a breakthrough album for Shakira. Its title track was a none-too-veiled reference to the corruption found at all levels in her native country. One of the first big singles from the album was "Ojos Así," which roughly translates as "Those Eyes." In it one can hear some of the Arab influences that are so dear to Shakira's heart, blended skillfully with the best of Western pop. Estefan was full of praise for Shakira. "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," he said. "Her music is Shakira. It's real music." Even Shakira seemed genuinely pleased with the album. Speaking to an interviewer for Time International, she said all the album's tracks have a "real, organic sound. The whole core is rock, even the dance songs."

During the summer of 1999 the MTV Network, which broadcasts in markets around the world, including much of Latin America, taped Shakira in one of its MTV Unplugged concerts. Performing in the Grand Ballroom of MTV's Manhattan Center Studios in New York City, the Colombian singer sang almost all of the songs for which she had become well known. MTV's editors then distilled the taped footage into an hour-long program that focused on the most important and influential songs of her repertoire. Beginning in 2000 the program was aired throughout Latin America as well as in the United States. An album of the songs performed on the hour-long show was also released in 2000.

For the Record …

Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 9, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Moved to Bogota, Colombia, at the age of 13 to model but ended up instead with a recording contract for Sony; released debut album, Magia, 1991; released Peligro, 1994; acted on Colombian soap opera El Oasis, 1994; returned to recording music, 1995; released Pies Descalzos, 1996; released Los Dónde Están Ladrones?, 1998; released MTV Unplugged, 2000; released English-language debut, Laundry Service, 2001; released Live & Off the Record, 2004; released Fijación Oral, Vol. 1, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, and enhanced album Tortura recorded with Alejandro Sanchez, 2005.

Awards: Three Latin Grammy Awards, for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "Ojos Así" from MTV Unplugged, 2000; for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, for "Octavo Día" from MTV Unplugged, 2000; and for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album, for Fijación Oral, Vol. 1, 2005; American Music Award for favorite Latin artist, 2005; six Latin Music Awards for single "La Tortura" (The Torture), with Alejandro Sanz, 2006.

Addresses: Record company—Sony Music Latin America, 605 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139. Website—Shakira Official Website: http://www.shakira.com.

At the first Latin Grammy Awards in September of 2000, Shakira won Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Ojos Así" and for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Octavo Día." She also performed at the awards show. Only a week earlier she had won an MTV Video Music Award for her video of "Ojos Así." News of the Grammy Awards gave a big lift to sales of Shakira's albums. In the weeks immediately following the awards ceremony, sales shot up by as much as 30 to 40 percent in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, one of the major Latin music markets in the United States.

Estefan told Entertainment Weekly in 2000 that he fully expected Shakira to be the next big Latin crossover star, creating a sensation on the same scale as Selena or Ricky Martin. He further predicted that "Middle Eastern combined with Latin music is the next big sound." Of her work on her new English-language album, Shakira said: "I'm working day and night writing, but I'm also taking my time. I want this album to put a big smile on my face."

And so it did, selling an estimated 13 million copies worldwide. Shakira won the admiration of even the dean of South American writers, Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who (according to the Economist) praised the "innocent sensuality" of her music. In the important U.S. market, Laundry Service rose to the number three spot on Billboard's album sales ranking, thanks to the hit singles "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes." Shakira studied English intensively and as usual wrote much of the music herself.

The expected industry strategy would have been to rush a second English album to completion quickly and release it to raise the artist's profile still further. Shakira had other ideas. Determined to keep control over her own music, she took a long break after finishing worldwide touring in support of Laundry Service. Her label Sony filled the gap with the album and DVD Live & Off the Record in 2004 while Shakira wrote new material. That material fell into groups of Spanish and English songs. Now based in Miami, Shakira was determined not to lose her connection to Spanish-speaking fans in Central and South America. So she took the unusual step of releasing two linked albums, one after the other. Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 both appeared in 2005, featuring the singer's catchy mix of Latin rock, pop, and world music sounds spiced by high-powered guest talent.

An early indication of the success of Shakira's success came when Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 became a hit in European markets with few Spanish speakers, such as Germany, Finland, and France. Critical reception for the English album was mixed. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly wrote that "for all the musical ingredients at her disposal, Shakira winds up with a relatively bland dish," while Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide was impressed that "it's a deadly serious, ambitious pop/rock album, most assuredly not frivolous dance-pop." The album reached number five on Billboard's Top 200 album list (one step below Fijación Oral, Vol. 1), and the singles "La Tortura" and "Hips Don't Lie" kept Shakira on radio airwaves and music playlists across much of the world through 2006. By that time Shakira was, as an Economist writer quipped, Colombia's greatest legal export.

Selected discography

Magia, Sony, 1991.
Peligro, Sony, 1994.
Pies Descalzos, Sony, 1996.
Dónde Están los Ladrones?, Sony, 1998.
Shakira, MTV Unplugged, Sony, 2000.
Laundry Service, Sony, 2001.
Live & Off the Record, Sony, 2004.
Fijación Oral, Vol. 1, Epic, 2005_
Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, Epic, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Economist (U.S.), July 23, 2005, p. 62US.

Entertainment Weekly, September 29, 2000, p. 129; December 2, 2005, p. 79.

Hispanic, March 31, 1999, p. 75.

Interview, August 2002, p. 113.

People, June 13, 2005, p. 43; December 19, 2005, p. 93.

Teen People, May 2006, p. 52.

Time, February 15, 1999, p. 80; March 15, 2004, p. 99.

Time International, August 3, 1998, p. 36.

Online

Billboard.com, http://www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_1/index.jsp (August 9, 2005).

Billboard.com, http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/awards/index.jsp (April 30, 2006).

"Biography," Shakira: MTV Unplugged, http://www.shakira.com/main.html (May 8, 2001).

"International Beat: Shakira, Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin," Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

"International Beat: Valerie Belinga, Shakira, Gloria Trevi," Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

"Latin Grammys' Fallout: Increased Sales, Lingering Controversy," Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

"Review: Shakira Returns to U.S.," Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

"Shakira," All Music Guide, http://allmusic.com (July 15, 2006).

"Shakira: Biography," Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 7, 2001).

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Shakira: 1977—: Singer, Songwriter

Shakira: 1977: Singer, songwriter


By the time Shakira released her first English language album, 2001's Laundry Service, she had long been an international star in the Spanish speaking world. With four recordsthe first recorded when she was just thirteenthe petite Colombian singer-songwriter was already established as an authentic rockera with a unique sound that hinged on a fusion of her Latin American and Middle Eastern roots and a childhood obsession with rock music. She had done this in culture where machismo ruled. "In Latin cultures historically, though not always, females are interpreters,"Jose Tillan, vice president of music and talent at MTV Latin America, told Time. "For the most part, they don't make records. Shakira isn't like that. From the very beginning she has been involved with the songs and the recording." Could she maintain her success and individuality with a new record, in a new language? The numbers seem to say yes. Laundry Service sold 200,000 copies in its debut week. Suddenly a phenomenon in the United States, everybody wanted to know, who is Shakira? She answered the question in an radio interview quoted in the Los Angeles Times, "I think my music says it all."

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977 in the small town of Barranquilla on the coast of Columbia. Her father, William Mebarak Chadid was Lebanese and her mother, Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado was Columbian with Italian roots. They worked as jewelers and provided Shakira and her seven older brothers and sisters with a decidedly middle class upbringing. Her father, who was also a writer, freely shared his love of Arabic music and culture with his children. In fact Shakira is an Arabic word meaning "woman full of grace." At age four Shakira was already belly dancing much to the delight of her father. Her mother, with a penchant for the practical, taught Shakira to read and write by the age of three. From her parents, whom she proudly proclaims as her heroes, Shakira inherited the trait that would propel her to stardomthe creativity and intelligence to weave her cultures into music for the masses.

Found Fame at an Early Age

She wrote her first songa love song to her fatherwhile in grade school. As a pre-teen she was winning local singing contests and performing in children's groups. Show business suited her. "I knew that I was going to be a public figure," she told The Wall Street Journal. "It was like a prophecy." At thirteen a family friend arranged an impromptu audition with an executive from Sony Music Columbia. "I went to his hotel and sang a songwhich I had writtena cappella for him," she told CosmoGirl. "A few days later I sang Madonna's 'Material Girl' in Spanish for more executives in Bogota. The next day I was signed by Sony." Shortly thereafter Shakira's debut album, Magia (Magic) was released in Columbia. She left music briefly to finish high school and then returned to release Peligro (Danger) at age 15. Both albums smacked of teen pop and neither generated much in the way of sales.

At a Glance . . .

Born on February 2, 1977, Barranquilla, Columbia; daughter of William Mebarak Chadid and Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado. Religion: Catholic.

Career: Musician. Recorded Magia, 1991, Peligro, 1993, Pies Descalzos, 1996, Dondé Están Los Ladrones?, 1998, Laundry Service, 2001; spokesperson for Pepsi-Cola; Goodwill Ambassador for Colombia.

Memberships: Founded Pies Descalzos, an organization dedicated to helping Latin American orphans, 1997.

Awards: Latin Female Artist of the Year, World Music Awards, 1998; two Latin Grammy Awards, 2000.

Addresses: Home Miami, FL; Record Company Sony Discos Inc., 2190 N.W. 89 Place, Miami, FL 33172.

After a brief foray into acting on a Colombian soap opera, Shakira returned to music determined to make her next album a success. Just 17, she began to work on her third album. She wanted the album to reflect her voice and her vision. A self professed control freak, she went into the studio and insisted on being involved in the record's production. Her determination paid off. Released in 1996 Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) sold over 3.6 million copies. During a two year tour in support of the album Shakira became one of Latin America's brightest stars.


In Brazil, where Pies had sold nearly a million copies, Shakira was moved to find her Portuguese-speaking fans singing her songs in Spanish. She promptly learned Portuguese and re-released many of her most popular songs in her new language as a gift for her Brazilian fans. On the album Shakira's unique sounda fusion of rock, Latin, and Arabic rhythmssurfaced. "I was born and raised in Colombia, but I listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, the Cure, the Police, the Beatles and Nirvana," she was quoted on www.shakira.com. "I was so in love with that rock sound but at the same time because my father is of 100% Lebanese descent, I am devoted to Arabic tastes and sounds. Somehow I'm a fusion of all of those passions and my music is a fusion of elements that I can make coexist in the same place, in one song."

Her fame scorched through the Spanish-speaking world. She even gained the admiration of Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez who devoted four pages to her in his magazine, Hombre de Cambio. "Shakira's music has a personal stamp that doesn't look like anyone else's and no one can sing or dance like her, at whatever age, with such an innocent sensuality, one that seems to be of her own invention," he gushed.


Achieved International Superstardom

1998's Donde Están Los Ladrones? (Where are the Thieves?) went multi-platinum throughout Latin America, Spain, and the United States where the Hispanic-market embraced Shakira as the new face of the Latin music invasion. The album reached the number one spot on Billboard's Latin 50, scored a Grammy nomination, and helped secure Shakira the title of Latin Female Artist of the Year at the 1998 World Music Awards. At the 2000 Latin Grammy Awards, two songs from the album won awards. However, it was her sizzling performance at the Latin Grammy's that mesmerized U.S. audiences. With her rock-hewn vocals, hip swirling moves, and indomitable Latin sex appeal Shakira seduced the American music scene. The fact that her sultry looks were as magnifi-cent as her musical talent didn't hurt either. Shakira had become a bona fide international superstar. Shakira was suddenly everywhere. Her face appeared on the cover of countless magazines. She was signed to a lucrative Pepsi endorsement deal. MTV came calling and in 1999 she released an album recorded on "MTV Unplugged," the music channel's acoustic artist showcase. Colombia named her their Goodwill Ambassador. Even the pope took notice and granted Shakira an audience at the Vatican. At the same time she managed to provide support for Pies Descalzos a children's charity she had founded in 1997 to help Latin American orphans. And, much to the delight of the omnipresent Spanish-language tabloids, her high profile life didn't prevent her from finding true love with Antonio de la Rúa, the handsome son of then Argentinean president, Fernando de la Rúa.


With superstar status throughout the Spanish-speaking world, multi-platinum albums, a famous well-heeled boyfriend, and immense financial success, it seemed as if Shakira had it all. Yet, there was still something missingcross-over success. She wanted to become an star in the English-speaking world too. "I want my music to transcend all the barriers," she explained to Latina. "The spirit of conquest is a trait that has survived in human beings from the beginning. I want if for the same reason the Spaniards wanted to come to America. To be able to sink my Colombian flag in this land, that is a motivation."

Having relocated to Miami with her parents, Shakira became close to Gloria and Emilio Estefan who treated her like a little sister. Their support helped Shakira believe that she could record an album in English. "Gloria injected me [with] so much confidence,"Shakira told the Los Angeles Times. Originally, Estefan had offered to translate Shakira's songs and help her with the pronunciations during recording. However, for control freak Shakira, this wouldn't do. "I can't hire other people to write songs for me,"Shakira told Time. "I have to write them myself." So with characteristic determination, Shakira set out to learn English. With well-worn copies of Walt Whitman poems and English rhyming dictionaries, she started to gain control of the language. Using it to express her deepest feelings through song was another problem altogether. "I didn't want to make anything that was not from the heart, that was not honest enough," she told the Los Angeles Times. "And it was quite a challenge, because I was born in Spanish and raised in Spanish. I live in Spanish. I love in Spanish." Finally, she wrote the first song, "Objection. " "I prayed and asked God to send me a good song today, and I remember I started writing the song a couple of hours after," she related on www.Shakira.com. That accomplishment gave her the confidence to finish the album.


Remained Committed to Her Roots

Released in 2000 Laundry Service shot straight to number three on the Billboard charts, selling more than 200,000 copies in its first week. It was an album of love songs inspired by her relationship with de la Rúa. With it, Shakira had succeeded in creating music in a new language while preserving her distinctive style. The album is peppered with bits of tango, a heavy dose of rock guitar, brief flirtations with Andean flutes, and topped off with a decidedly Middle Eastern flair. "Yo soy una fusion," I'm a fusion she declared in Teen People. However, even as Laundry Service trumpeted her fame in the States and beyond, Shakira still knows who she is. Embracing both her roots and her future she declared to Time, "I plan to keep being the same artist, with the same musical language." She continued, "It's all still coming from my real feelings, my real-life experiences." And for her Hispanic fans who have supported her for so long, she told the Los Angeles Times, "I continue belonging to them. Forever." She has crossed over, but she hasn't turned away. That is something both her Anglo and her Latino fans can be thankful for.


Selected discography

Magia, 1991, Sony Music Columbia.

Peligro, 1993, Sony Music Columbia.

Pies Descalzos, 1996, Sony Music Columbia.

Dondé Están Los Ladrones, 1998, Sony Music Latin America.

Laundry Service, 2001, Sony Music.


Sources

Periodicals

CosmoGirl!, December 2001, p. 31.

Hombre de Cambio (Colombia), June 1999.

Latina, July 2001.

Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2001.

Teen People, March 1, 2002, p. 86.

Time, September 15, 2001, p. 16.

The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2001.


On-line

www.donde-esta-shakira.com

www.shakira.com

www.shakiraheaven.com

Candace LaBalle

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Shakira

Shakira

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Although she is one of the biggest stars on the Latin music scene, Shakira, a native of Colombia, doesnt think of her sound as typically Latin and has always considered herself first and foremost a pop-rock artist. And it may not be too long before fans of pop and rock across the United States and other English-speaking markets around the world are singing her praises. Early in 2001, the Miami-based recording artist was putting the finishing touches on a new album that will contain English translations of some of her biggest hits, and she is widely seen as the next potential crossover star.

Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 9, 1977, in Barranquilla on Colombias Caribbean coast, Shakira is the daughter of a Colombian mother and a Lebanese father. The Arabic background of her father, a writer and jeweler, greatly influenced young Shakira, as can be heard in listening to some of the songs shes written. In Arabic, her first name means woman full of grace, and it is how she has chosen to be known professionally. While still quite young, she showed a love for music and a talent her parents considered quite remarkable for a child so young. She entered a number of local and national talent and beauty contests, and by the time she was ten years old, she had won several.

At the age of 13, Shakira left Barranquilla for Colombias capital of Bogota to take a modeling job. Unfortunately the modeling job never materialized, but perhaps it was for the best. Instead she signed her first recording contract with Sony Music Colombia and shortly thereafter released her first album. Entitled Magia, Shakiras debut was made up entirely of songs that she had written between the ages of 8 and 13. Although the album never achieved great success, it did bring the young songstress to the attention of her country and led eventually to her selection to represent Colombia at the annual Festival OTI, scheduled to be held that year in Spain. Her participation in the festival was barred at the last moment when officials realized that she was under the minimum age of 16.

At age 15, Shakira graduated from high school. Shortly thereafter she released her second album entitled Peligro, which failed to win much more attention than her debut effort. Soon after the disappointing release of Peligro, Shakira signed on as an actress in the Colombia television soap opera El Oasis, and she remained with the cast for about a year before returning to her first lovemusic.

Shakiras breakthrough came with the 1996 release of Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet), an album that has sold more than four million copies worldwide and one that produced no fewer than six smash singles. However, it was not an immediate success, and at first sales were disappointingly slow. Several months after the album first went on sale, Estoy Aqui, the first single to be

For the Record

Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 9, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Moved to Bogota, Colombia, at the age of 13 to model but ended up instead with a recording contract for Sony; released debut album Magia, 1991; released Peligro, 1994; acted on the Colombian soap opera El Oasis, 1994; returned to recording music, 1995; released Pies Descalzos, 1996; released Los Donde Estan Ladrones?, 1998; released MTV Unplugged, 2000.

Awards: Latin Grammy Award, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Ojos Así from MTV Unplugged, 2000; Latin Grammy Award, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for Octavo Día from MTV Unplugged, 2000.

Addresses: Record company Sony Music Latin America, 605 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139.

released, started catching fire with disc jockeys at radio stations throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world. The single soon made its way to number one on the Latin charts, a feat that was later matched by a follow-up single entitled Donde Estas Corazon? Four other singles from the album Antologia, Pienso en Ti, Un Poco de Amor, and Se Quiere, Se Mata all reached the top ten on the Latin charts. The album itself managed to hit number one in sales in eight different countries. So popular was Pies Descalzos in Brazil, where sales topped 900,000, that Shakira recorded remixes of several songs in Portuguese.

What made Shakiras success with Pies Descalzos all the more impressive was the singers decision to abandon her light pop format and establish for herself a distinctive and somewhat daring new stylea distinctive blend of pop and rock unlike anything being done by Colombian singers at the time. To get the album done the way she wanted, she had to overrule her labels recommendation that she stick to a format with more commercial appeal.

In support of Pies Descalzos, Shakira toured widely throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including cities in the United States with large Hispanic populations. The album and tours helped to make her one of the most visible musical performers in Latin music. Her tours crisscrossed the globe and lasted nearly two years.

After the phenomenal success of Pies Descalzos, despite its slow start, the big question for Shakira, her recording label, and the critics was whether she could produce another hit her next time out. Ably assisted by record producer Emilio Estefan, husband of Cuban-born singer Gloria Estefan, Shakira released Donde Estan los Ladrones? (Where are the Thieves?) in 1998. Critics hailed the spirit and integrity of Shakiras music, showcased beautifully by the high production standards for which Estefan is known. Of her work on Ladrones, Shakira said: My music is sincere, everyday music. It is music that stems from a completely genuine source.

Critics hailed Donde Estan los Ladrones? as a breakthrough album for Shakira. Its title track was a none-too-veiled reference to the corruption found at all levels in her native country. One of the first big singles from the album was Ojos Así, which roughly translates as Those Eyes. In it one can clearly hear some of the Arab influences that are so dear to Shakiras heart, blended masterfully with the best of Western pop. Estefan was full of praise for Shakira. 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, he said. Her music is Shakira. Its real music. Even Shakira seemed genuinely pleased with the album. Speaking to an interviewer for Time Inter-national, she said all the albums tracks have a real, organic sound. The whole core is rock, even the dance songs. She allowed that the resulting sounds might not please some of her earlier fans but said that the most important thing is to be honest.

During the summer of 1999, the MTV Network, which broadcasts in markets around the world, including much of Latin America, taped Shakira in one of its MTV Unplugged concerts. Performing in the Grand Ballroom of MTVs Manhattan Center Studios in New York City, the Colombian singer sang almost all of the songs for which she had become well known. MTVs editors then took all of the taped footage and distilled it down into an hour-long program that focused largely on the most important and influential songs of her repertoire. Beginning in 2000, the program was aired throughout Latin America, as well as in the United States. An album of the songs performed on the hour-long show was also released in 2000.

In September of 2000 at the first Latin Grammy Awards, Shakira won Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Ojos Así and for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for Octavo Día. She also performed at the awards show. Only a week earlier she had won an MTV Video Music Award for her video of Ojos Así. News of the Grammy Awards gave a big lift to sales of Shakiras albums. In the weeks immediately following the awards ceremony, sales shot up by as much as 30 to 40 percent in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, one of the major Latin music markets in the United States.

Just to prove that into each life some rain must fall, Shakira got the answer to the question posed in the title of her 1998 album Donde Estan los Ladrones? (Where are the Thieves?) in November of 2000. The mansion in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in which Shakira had been staying for a couple of months, was robbed, although little of value was taken. The singer, her mother, and Antonio de la Rua, son of Argentine President Fernando de la Rua, stayed in the Punta del Este house while Shakira recorded a number of songs for her new album. Shaken by the break-in, Shakiras party left abruptly for Colombia.

Estefan, who continued to work with Shakira on her upcoming English-language album, told Entertainment Weekly late in 2000 that he fully expected Shakira to be the next big Latin crossover star, creating a sensation on the same scale as Selena or Ricky Martin. He further predicted that Middle Eastern combined with Latin music is the next big sound. Of her work on the English-language album, Shakira said: Im working day and night writing, but Im also taking my time. I want this album to put a big smile on my face.

Selected discography

Magia, Sony, 1991.

Peligro, Sony, 1994.

Pies Descalzos (includes Estoy Aqui, Donde Estas Corazón? and Pienso en Ti), Sony, 1996.

Donde Están los Ladrones? (includes Ojos Así), Sony, 1998.

Shakira, MTV Unplugged, Sony, 2000.

Sources

Periodicals

Entertainment Weekly, September 29, 2000, p. 129.

Hispanic, March 31, 1999, p. 75.

Time, February 15, 1999, p. 80.

Time International, August 3, 1998, p. 36.

Online

Shakira, All Music Guide, http://allmusic.com (April 25, 2001).

Biography, Shakira: MTV Unplugged, http://www.shakira.com/main.html (May 8, 2001).

International Beat: Shakira, Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin, Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

International Beat: Valerie Belinga, Shakira, Gloria Trevi, Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

Latin Grammys Fallout: Increased Sales, Lingering Controversy, Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

Review: Shakira Returns to U.S., Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 8, 2001).

Shakira: Biography, Sonicnet.com, http://www.sonicnet.com (May 7, 2001).

Don Amerman

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Shakira

SHAKIRA

Born: Shakira Mebarak; Barranquilla, Colombia, 2 February 1977

Genre: Rock, Latin

Best-selling album since 1990: Laundry Service (2001)

Hit songs since 1990: "Estoy Aquí," "Ciega, Sordamuda," "Wherever, Whenever"


Talented, alluring, and authentic, the Colombian singer/songwriter Shakira became ubiquitous on MTV, on the radio, and on magazine covers after 2000. Though she was a child prodigy, Shakira still had to overcome record-label resistance, machismo, and culture shock to reach the ultimate crossover success with her multiplatinum English debut, Laundry Service.

Born to a father of Lebanese descent and a Colombian mother, Shakira grew up among two cultures whose influences were woven into her unique rock fusion. Shakira learned to appreciate the beauty of Colombian, Arabic, and Anglo-American music, from vallenato and cumbias to reggae and rock. A gifted early reader, she picked up on her father's love for writing. She also seemed to have an instinctive knack for belly dancing, which she attributes to "genetic memory."

She wrote her first song at the age of eight, "Tus Gafas Oscuras," about her father's sunglasses. At eleven she began winning regional and national talent contests. Shakira's first album, Magia (1991), is made up of original tunes she wrote between the ages of eight and thirteen, including "Tus Gafas Oscuras." However, that album and the 1993 follow-up, Peligro, sold poorly and were never released in the United States. Saying she feels embarrassed by their "immaturity," she has blocked their re-release.

In 19941995 Shakira appeared on the Colombian soap El Oasis but soon reaffirmed her real dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. Released in 1996, the album Pies Descalzos was a critical breakthrough, establishing her as a rising star. This release was a major risk because she had overruled label advice to set aside her love of rock in favor of something more stereotypically commercial like ballads or salsa. Shakira agonized over losing her record contract and returning to modeling. But the first single, "Estoy Aqui," was a smash hit and was followed by four more Top 10 singles. She became the first international Colombian female rocker.

The title track of 1998 CD Dónde Estan Los Ladrones criticizes corruption in politics and the clergy. It was another risk because Colombia is the kidnapping capital of the world and labels don't like controversy. The CD also contains the intriguing "Ciega, Sordamuda," a rock-flamenco-mariachi fusion that was a radio and dance-club favorite.

In 1998, Shakira moved to Miami, signing a management deal with the Latin music mogul Emilio Estefan, who encouraged her to record in English. Shakira then took on her biggest challenge, the ultimate pop crossover. It was a tough task. She had to sing and write in a new language. Shakira's thirteen-track CD, Laundry Service, was released to great fanfare in November 2001, with the thundering "Wherever, Whenever," quickly climbing the Top 40. Her new manager, Freddy DeMann, the star maker who helmed the careers of Madonna and Michael Jackson, was making her as ubiquitous as Britney Spears and *NSYNC.

Although Shakira's undulating dance moves and revealing outfits made her one of Latin and pop music's biggest sex symbols, she created a strong bond with her female fans thanks to lyrics that tackle insecurities, body image, and jealousy. With a voice that can go from plaintive wails to gaspy, girlish whoops, she has drawn comparisons to Natalie Merchant, Alanis Morissette, and the Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Magia (Sony Colombia, 1991); Pies Descalzos (Sony Latin, 1996); Dónde Están los Ladrones? (Sony Latin, 1998); MTV Unplugged (Sony Latin, 2000); Laundry Service (Sony/Epic, 2001).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

X. Diego, Shakira: Woman Full of Grace (New York, 2001); E. Garcia -Ochoa, Shakira: Nueva Diosa del Rock (Bogotá, 2001).

WEBSITE:

www.shakira.com.

ramiro burr

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"Shakira." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Shakira." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shakira