Shakira’s combination of rock & latin sounds is a worldwide smash

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, is a Columbian Latin pop singer and songwriter. Shakira?s love of music began at a very young age. At the age of eight she was writing and composing music. Though failing to make her school?s choir because of her ?too strong? voice, Shakira was able to sing her heart out by competing in a weekly television signing competition for children, Vivan Los Ninos (Long Live The Kids). By age thirteen, Shakira was a local celebrity who had a lucky chance encounter with Sony Columbia executive, Ciro Vargas, on a flight from Barranquilla to Bogota. Vargas agreed to provide Shakira with an audition and was impressed by her.

His confidence in her ultimately led to a record deal with the company. At the young age of 13, Shakira released her debut album, Magia (Magic), recorded with Sony Colombia in 1991. The album, which lacked recording and production cohesion, failed to sell over one thousand copies. Released in 1993, Shakira?s second album, Peligro (Danger) did not fare much better. It was at this time, Shakira decided to take a break from recording and graduate from high school.

In 1995, Shakira returned to the music scene with the album Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet), which solidified her commercial success by selling over 5 million copies worldwide. Upon releasing a remix version of the album, The Remixes, Shakira met with Emilio Estefan, Jr., who wound up working as an executive producer on Shakira’s fourth studio album, ?D?nde Est?n Los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?).

The album, which combined rock and Latin sounds, produced hit singles including, Ciega Sordomuda (Blind Deaf-Mute), Moscas En La Casa (Flies In The House), No Creo (I Don’t Believe), Inevitable (Inevitable), T? (You), Si Te Vas (If You Leave), Octavo D?a (Eighth Day) and the worldwide success Ojos As? (Eyes Like That). The cumulative effect of such hit singles allowed the album to sell over 7 million copies worldwide. Shakira would later release her first live album, Shakira MTV Unplugged, which was comprised of singles from ?D?nde Est?n Los Ladrones? (?Where Are The Thieves?).

In 2001, Shakira started work on a crossover album to the English language. Teaming up with Gloria Estefan, Shakira wrote and recorded English versions of the singles from ?D?nde Est?n Los Ladrones? and new songs were also added to create Shakira?s first U.S. album, Laundry Service. Though some critics claimed her grasp of the English language was not yet firm enough, it did not prevent Laundry Service from becoming a commercial success. Laundry Service would eventually go on to sell more than 13 million CDs worldwide, thanks to such hits as Whenever, Wherever, Underneath Your Clothes, Te Dejo Madrid (I Leave You Madrid), Objection (Tango), and The One. Such hit tracks helped establish Shakira’s musical presence in mainstream America.

Shakira?s next album, Fijaci?n Oral Vol. 1, released on June 6, 2005 in Europe and on June 7, 2005 in North America, was also a commercial success. The album debuted at 1 in Spain and 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200, which remains the best-selling Spanish first-week sales album. The album?s lead single La Tortua, would climb to 1 in Spain and 23 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. On November 29, 2005, Shakira would release her second English album, Oral Fixation Vol. 2, which includes the hit single, Hips Don?t Lie, a single that would climb to 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The album was re-released on March 28, 2006. Shakira is currently engaged to the son of former president of Argentina, Fernando de la Rua.

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