Feb. 2: Shakira - "Waka Waka," "Hips Don't Lie" - is 34 today.

Did you know?

While Shakira is a native Spanish speaker, she also speaks fluent English and Portuguese as well as some Italian, French and Arabic.

It has been reported in the entertainment press that Shakira's IQ, is 140.

Shakira's videos recently surpassed a billion views on Youtube, making her one of the most-viewed artists of all time.

Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll - known professionally as Shakira - is a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s.

She has won two Grammy Awards, seven Latin Grammy Awards, twelve Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She is also the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, and the second most successful female Latin singer after Gloria Estefan, having sold over 60 million albums worldwide according to Sony Music. Her U.S. album sales stand at 9.6 million.

In childhood, Shakira preferred rock and roll music. Her favorite rock bands were Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Nirvana, The Police and U2. She lists John Lennon as her #1 musical influence.

She says she was also influenced by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, The Pretenders, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Tom Petty, Depeche Mode, The Clash and the Ramones. In an interview with Elenco magazine, she said in her opinion the perfect songs are "Imagine" by John Lennon and "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley.

She is the only musical artist from South America to reach the number-one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the Australian ARIA chart, and the UK Singles Chart. Shakira is to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Shakira was ranked the 76th artist of the 2000–10 artist of the decade by Billboard.


In the beginning...

Shakira spent her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia. Shakira wrote her first poem, entitled "La Rosa De Cristal" ("The Crystal Rose") when she was only four years old.

While growing up, she was fascinated watching her father writing stories on a typewriter, and asked for her own. She received her own typewriter as a Christmas gift at age seven and continued writing poems, which eventually became songs.

At the age of eight, Shakira wrote her first song entitled "Tus gafas oscuras" ("Your dark glasses") which was inspired by her father who for years wore dark glasses to hide his grief over the loss of Shakira's brother from a motorcycle accident when Shakira was two years old.

When Shakira was four, her father took her to a local Middle Eastern restaurant, where Shakira first heard the doumbek, a traditional drum used in Arabic music and which typically accompanied belly dancing. Soon after, Shakira was dancing on the table, and knew she wanted to be a performer.

She enjoyed singing at her Catholic school, but in the second grade was rejected for the school choir. At school, she says she had been known as "the belly dancer girl."

When she was eight, Shakira's father declared bankruptcy and Shakira was sent to stay with relatives in Los Angeles. In her early teens, she met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with her and as a result tried to help her career.  She performed three songs for Sony executives in Bogotá who signed her to record three albums.

Shakira's debut album, Magia, was recorded with Sony Music in 1990 when she was only thirteen years old. The songs are a collection made by her since she was 8, mixed pop-rock ballads and disco uptempo songs with electronic accompaniment. Only 1,200 copies were sold.

Although little known outside of her native Colombia, Shakira was invited to perform at Chile's Viña del Mar International Song Festival in February 1993. The festival gave aspiring Latin American singers a chance to perform their songs n front of panel of judges. Shakira performed the ballad "Eres" ("You Are") and finished in third place. One of the judges who voted for her to win was then 20-year-old Ricky Martin.

That same year, Shakira's second studio album Peligro was released. It too was a commercial failure. Shakira took time off from recording so that she could graduate from high school. In the same year, Shakira starred in the Colombian TV Series The Oasis.

Her third album- which many really consider her first REAL album -  Pies Descalzos, was released in October 1995 in South America and in February 1996 internationally. It debuted at number one in eight different countries. However, it only managed to reach number one-hundred-eighty on the U.S. Billboard 200 but reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.
(Continued below videos and Amazon portals ...)

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Oral Fixation Vol. 2


The album spawned six hit singles, "Estoy Aquí," "¿Dónde Estás Corazón?," "Pies Descalzos, Sueños Blancos," "Un Poco De Amor," "Antología" and "Se Quiere, Se Mata." RIAA certified the album platinum status.

In 1997 Shakira received three Billboard Latin Music Awards for Album of the Year for Pies Descalzos, Video of the Year for "Estoy Aqui" and Best New Artist. Pies Descalzos sold over 5 million copies, prompting the release of a remix album The Remixes. The album included Portuguese versions of some of her well known songs.

Her second "official" studio album, Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, produced entirely by Shakira herself and Emilio Estefan, Jr. as the executive producer, was released in September 1998. It became a bigger hit than Pies Descalzos.

The album has reached a peak position of number one-hundred-thirty-one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and held the top spot on the U.S. Latin Albums chart for eleven weeks. It has since sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, making it one of the best selling Spanish albums in the U.S. Eight of the album's eleven tracks became singles, with "Octavo Día," and the Arabic tinged "Ojos Así" winning Shakira one Latin Grammy each. Six of the album's eight singles reached the top 40 on the U.S. Latin chart.

Shakira also received her first Grammy Award nomination in 1999 for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. Shakira's first live album, MTV Unplugged was recorded in New York City on August 12, 1999.

On September 9, 2000, Shakira's performance of "Ojos Así" at the Latin Grammy Awards show was voted as the Greatest Latin Grammy performance of all time.

With the success of Dónde Están Los Ladrones? and MTV
Unplugged, Shakira began working on an English crossover album. Shakira worked for over a year on new material for the album Laundry Service (Servicio De Lavanderia in Latin America and Spain).

"Whenever, Wherever" was released as the first single. The song was heavily influenced by Andean music, including the charango and panpipes. It reached number one in most countries and in the U.S., it reached number six on the Hot 100.

Laundry Service, released in November 2001, debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart selling over 200,000 records in its first week. The album became the best selling album of 2002, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide.

In October of that year, she won five MTV Video Music Awards Latin America for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist, Best Artist — North (Region), Video of the Year (for "Suerte"), and Artist of the Year.

Laundry Service was later certified triple platinum by the RIAA in June 2004 and helped establish Shakira's musically in the mainstream North American market. Seven songs from the album became international singles: "Whenever, Wherever" / "Suerte," "Underneath Your Clothes," "Objection (Tango)" / "Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)," "The One," "Te Dejo Madrid," "Que Me Quedes Tú" and "Poem To A Horse."

Still, some critics claimed that "she sounds downright silly" or "Shakira's magic is lost in translation." Shakira also was criticized by her Latin fans for seemingly abandoning her folk and rock roots in favor of contemporary American pop music.

Undaunted, and buoyed by her commercial success, Shakira released her next album which also was a success. On February 8, 2006, Shakira won her second Grammy Award with the win of Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album for the album, Fijación Oral Vol. 1. Shakira received four Latin Grammy Awards in November 2006, winning the awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year for "La Tortura," Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Fijación Oral Vol. 1. It has since sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

The album didn't fare as well as its Spanish counterpart in the U.S., selling a few hundred thousand less records overall.


Shakira's next released her second bilingual studio album, Oral Fixation Vol. 2. It sold over 8 million copies worldwide. The cover of the album featured Shakira as Eve with forbidden fruit was also considered controversial, and had to be altered in several countries which would not sell the album with that cover.

"Hips Don't Lie," featuring Wyclef Jean, was released as the album's second single in February 2006. The song went on to become the highest selling single of the 21st century and became Shakira's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, in addition to reaching number one in over fifty-five countries. Shakira and Wyclef Jean also recorded a Bamboo version of the song to serve as the official theme of the FIFA World Cup 2006.

In the fall of 2009, Shakira released her sixth album She Wolf worldwide. Shakira's "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," was chosen as the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, along with its Spanish language version, titled "Waka Waka (Esto es África)."

The song has received generally positive critical reception, and has become a worldwide smash hit and the biggest selling World Cup song of all time. On YouTube, the English version of the music video is the 3rd most watched video of all time with over 280 million views.

Her seventh studio album, the bilingual Sale el Sol, was released October 19, 2010.