Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll is a Colombian singer, songwriter, dancer, businesswoman, and philanthropist. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. At the age of four, she wrote her first poem, titled La Rosa De Cristal/Crystal Rose. She was fascinated to typewriters watching her father write stories. Shakira asked for one and got that typewriter when she was seven. She continued writing poetry since then. These poems eventually evolved into songs. At the age of eight, she wrote her first song, Tus gafas oscuras/Your dark glasses.
Between the age of 10 and 13, she was invited to various events in Barranquilla and gained recognition in the area. She met Monica Ariza the local theater producer who was impressed with her and helped her career. Then Ariza convinced Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas for an audition for Shakira in a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in high regard and gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director was not overly excited and thought Shakira was “a lost cause“. Vargas still believes that Shakira had talent and he set up an audition in Bogotá. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to arrive at the audition, with the idea of surprising them with Shakira’s performance. Shakira performed three songs that impressed the executives and have her signed to record three albums.
In 1990, she started recording her debut album, Magia which contains mixed pop-rock, ballads, and disco uptempo songs. Unfortunately, the album is not a commercial success. In 1993, Shakira released her second studio album, titled Peligro. The album was better received than Magia had been, though it was also considered a commercial failure due to Shakira’s refusal to advertise or promote it. Then in 1995, Shakira’s third studio album was released titled Pies Descalzos. The album housed Latin pop styles, pop rock elements, and six hit singles. RIAA certified the album as platinum status.
Then in 1998, her fourth studio album was titled Dónde Están los Ladrones? produced by Shakira and Emilio Estefan Jr. The album held the top spot on the U.S. Latin Albums chart for 11 weeks. Six singles reached the top 40 on the U.S. Latin chart. Also, in 1999, Shakira’s first live album, MTV Unplugged, is rated as one of her best-ever live performances. After the success of Dónde Están los Ladrones? and MTV Unplugged, Shakira began working on an English-language album. Her single Whenever, Wherever was released as the first and lead single for her fifth studio album titled Laundry Service. The album was later certified by RIAA as triple platinum. The album sold 20 million copies and the most successful album of her career to date.
Moreover, in 2005, she released her sixth studio album, Fijación Oral, Volumen Uno. The album was certified 11x Platinum. In the same year Shakira’s seventh album Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA in the United States and received 18 platinum certifications in various countries. In early 2008, Shakira was named as the fourth top-earning female artist in the music industry by Forbes. In 2009, her seventh album, She Wolf was released and received mainly positive reviews from critics. Shakira collaborated with Freshlyground for the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).” Then in 2010, Shakira released her ninth studio album Sale el Sol. The album was a commercial success throughout Europe and Latin America.
Furthermore, Shakira released her self-titled tenth studio album in 2014. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200. Then in 2017 her eleventh studio album El Dorado was released. El Dorado was also certified as ten-times platinum. Shakira sold over 140 million records worldwide, won 420 awards over 600 nominations including 3 Grammy Awards and 12 Latin Grammy Awards, making her the most awarded Latin female artist of all time.