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Shakira for VOGUE in 2021 2.png
Shakira for Vogue in 2021
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll

(1977-02-02) 2 February 1977 (age 47)
Barranquilla, Colombia
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • dancer
  • actress
  • philanthropist
Years active 1990–present
Organization Barefoot Foundation
  • Discography
  • songs recorded
  • videography
  • concerts
Children 2
  • Awards
  • records
  • impact
Musical career

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll ( shə-KEER born 2 February 1977), known mononymously as Shakira, is a Colombian singer and songwriter. She has been referred to as the "Queen of Latin Music". With a catalog of 145 songs, Shakira has sold over 95 million records, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

Early life

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on 2 February 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of William Mebarak Chadid and Nidia Ripoll Torrado. She has eight older half-siblings from her father's previous marriage.

Shakira spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia.

Shakira wrote her first poem, titled "La rosa de cristal" ('The Crystal Rose'), when she was only four years old. As she was growing up, she was fascinated watching her father writing stories on a typewriter, and asked for one as a Christmas gift. She got that typewriter at age seven, and has continued writing poetry since then. These poems eventually evolved into songs.

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 Middle-Eastern music and which typically accompanied belly dancing. She started dancing on the table, and the experience made her realize that she wanted to be a performer.

She enjoyed singing for schoolmates and teachers (and even the nuns) at her Catholic school, but in second grade, she was rejected for the school choir because her vibrato was too strong. The music teacher told her that she sounded "like a goat".

Between ages ten and thirteen, Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla and gained some recognition in the area. It was at this approximate time that she met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with her and as a result tried to help her career. During a flight from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Ariza convinced Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas to hold an audition for Shakira in a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in high regard and, returning to the Sony office, gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director was not overly excited and thought Shakira was something of "a lost cause". Undaunted and still convinced that Shakira had talent, Vargas 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. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums.

Career outline

Shakira made her recording debut with Sony Music Colombia at the age of 13. Following the commercial failure of her first two albums, Magia (1991) and Peligro (1993), she rose to prominence in Hispanic countries with her next albums, Pies Descalzos (1995) and Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998).

She entered the English-language market with her fifth album, Laundry Service (2001), which sold over 13 million copies worldwide. Buoyed by the international success of her singles "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes", the album propelled her reputation as a leading crossover artist. Broadcast Music, Inc., described Shakira as a "pioneer" who extended the global reach of Latino singers.

Her success was further solidified with the Spanish albums Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (2005), Sale el Sol (2010), and El Dorado (2017), all of which topped the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart and were certified diamond (Latin) by the Recording Industry Association of America. Meanwhile, her English albums Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 (2005), She Wolf (2009) and Shakira (2014) were all certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in various countries worldwide.

Shakira Rio 06
Shakira performing at the Rock in Rio festival in 2006

Some of her songs have charted at number one in multiple countries, including "Whenever, Wherever", "La Tortura", "Hips Don't Lie", "Beautiful Liar", "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", "Loca", "Rabiosa", "Can't Remember to Forget You", "Chantaje", "Me Gusta", "Te Felicito", "Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53", "TQG", and "Copa Vacía".

Usher and Shakira at the Obama inauguration, 2009 (cropped1)
Shakira performing at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in 2009

She served as a coach on two seasons of the American singing competition television series The Voice (2013–2014).

Shakira 2014
Shakira at a press conference for the 2014 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony

On 11 January 2023, Shakira released the single "Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53", a collaboration with Argentine DJ Bizarrap. The single reached record-breaking success on Spotify and YouTube.

She is credited with opening the doors of the international market for other Latin artists. She has received numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards, twelve Latin Grammy Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards (including the 2023 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award), seven Billboard Music Awards, thirty-nine Billboard Latin Music Awards, twenty-one Guinness World Records, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was named the Top Female Latin Artist of the Decade by Billboard twice (2000s and 2010s).

Personal life

Shakira began a relationship with Argentine lawyer Antonio de la Rúa in 2000. In a 2009 interview, Shakira stated their relationship already worked as a married couple, and that "they don't need papers for that".

After 10 years together, Shakira and de la Rúa separated in August 2010 in what she described as "a mutual decision to take time apart from our romantic relationship".

Shakira entered a relationship with the Spanish football player Gerard Piqué in 2011. Piqué, who is exactly ten years her junior, and Shakira met in spring 2010 after he appeared in the music video for Shakira's song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Shakira gave birth to the couple's first son, Milan, on 22 January 2013 in Barcelona, where the family took residence. Shakira gave birth to their second son, Sasha, on 29 January 2015. Forbes listed Shakira and Piqué in their list of "World's Most Powerful Couples". In June 2022, the couple confirmed in a joint statement that they were separating after being together for 11 years.


Shakira with Rey Juan Carlos and Alejandro Sanz
Shakira, Alejandro Sanz and Juan Carlos I, The King of Spain, during the Ibero-American Summit of El Salvador

To instill gratitude in Shakira for her upbringing, her father took her to a local park to see orphans who lived there. 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."

In 1997, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation (Barefoot Foundation), a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. It was funded by Shakira and other international groups and individuals. The name of the foundation was taken from Shakira's third studio album, Pies Descalzos, which she released in 1995. The foundation's main focus is on aid through education, and the organization has five schools across Colombia that provide education and meals for 4,000 children. On 27 April 2014 Shakira was honored with the Hero Award at the Radio Disney Music Awards for her Fundación Pies Descalzos work.

In 2005, Shakira became a founding member of Latin America in Solidarity Action, a coalition of artists and business leaders seeking to promote integrated early childhood public policies. In 2008, she served as the Honorary Chair of the Global Campaign for Education Global Action Week. Later, in 2010, she collaborated with the World Bank and the Barefoot Foundation to establish an initiative that distributes educational and developmental programs for children across Latin America.

Shakira is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is one of their global representatives.

Other ventures

Shakira has ventured into many other businesses and industries. She acted in the Colombian telenovela El Oasis in 1994, playing the character of Luisa Maria.

Shakira began her own beauty line, "S by Shakira", with parent company Puig, in 2010.

In December 2021, it was announced that Shakira would be an executive producer for Dancing with Myself, an NBC dance competition series.

Interesting facts about Shakira

  • Shakira is of Spanish and Lebanese descent.
  • She was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools.
  • At school, she was often sent out of the class because of her hyperactivity.
  • As a child, Shakira was influenced by rock music, listening heavily to rock bands like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Nirvana, the Police and U2, while her other influences included Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Marc Anthony, Meredith Brooks, and the Cure.
  • She cited Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" as the song that first sparked her passion for pop music.
  • She often performs barefoot, a form of dance she learned as a young teen to overcome her shyness.
  • Shakira is a contralto and is known for her "unique and mesmerizing" singing voice which includes her "trademark" yodeling.
  • Billboard reported that as of 2023, she is the best-selling female Latin artist of all time.
  • In 2014, Shakira became the first musical act to perform three times at the FIFA World Cup.
  • In 2020, Shakira completed of an ancient philosophy course through the University of Pennsylvania, describing it as an impractical hobby of hers.
  • She is the recipient of three Grammy Awards and twelve Latin Grammy Awards—the most for a female artist.
  • Shakira has sold more than 75 million records worldwide, making her one of world's best-selling music artists.
  • She is now worth $300 million.

Shakira quotes

  • "You can't achieve anything in life without a small amount of sacrifice."
  • "The worst mistake of a woman is to go to the kitchen, because then she never gets out of there."
  • "I know what it's like to feel that fear and the need of affirmation and appreciation. To build confidence in yourself is the toughest thing."
  • "I am a person who has many dreams. But as soon as I accomplish one, I move on to the next."


  • In 2006, a six-tonne (6.6-short-ton), 5-metre-tall (16 ft) statue of Shakira was installed in her hometown Barranquilla in a park near Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez.
  • In July 2018 Shakira visited Tannourine in Lebanon which is the village of her paternal grandmother. During her visit, she visited the Cedars Reserve in Tannourine where a square in the forest was named after her. The square holds the name "Shakira Isabelle Mebarak".


Shakira has received numerous awards and recognition for her work.

  • In 2008, Shakira was named as the Honorary Chair of the Global Campaign for Education Global Action Week.
  • In 2011, Shakira was honored at the Latin Grammys as Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, and by the Harvard Foundation as Cultural Rhythms Artist of the Year.
  • In 2011, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6270 Hollywood Blvd.
  • Forbes ranked Shakira on their list of "Top 100 World's Most Powerful Women" at number 40 in 2012, at 52 in 2013, and at 58 in 2014.
  • In 2015 Time recognized Shakira as one of the most influential people on social media.


  • Magia (1991)
  • Peligro (1993)
  • Pies Descalzos (1995)
  • 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)
  • Shakira (2014)
  • El Dorado (2017)


  • Pies Descalzos International Tour (1996–1997)
  • Tour Anfibio (2000)
  • Tour of the Mongoose (2002–2003)
  • Oral Fixation Tour (2006–2007)
  • The Sun Comes Out World Tour (2010–2011)
  • El Dorado World Tour (2018)



Year Title Role Notes
1994 El oasis Luisa Maria Rico
2002 Popstars Brazil Mentor assistant Season 1
2002 Taina Herself Episode: "Abuelo Knows Best"
2005 7 vidas Episode: "Todo por las pastis"
2009 Ugly Betty Episode: "The Bahamas Triangle"
2010 Wizards of Waverly Place Episode: "Dude Looks Like Shakira"
2011 Dora and Friends: Into the City Episode: "Dora's Explorer Girls: Our First Concert"
2013–2014 The Voice Coach/Mentor Seasons 4 and 6
2014 Dreamland Herself Episode: "3"
2020 Global Goal: Unite for Our Future Television special
2020 The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II
2022 Dancing With Myself TV Show
Zootopia+ Gazelle (voice) Episode: "So You Think You Can Prance ?"; archival recordings


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Shakira: The Documentary Film Herself Documentary
2007 Pies Descalzos Foundation
2011 Hagamos que Salga El Sol
A Day with Shakira
2016 Zootopia Gazelle Voice role
2020 Miss Americana Herself Documentary
2022 Jennifer Lopez: Halftime

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Shakira para niños

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