Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia. With a Lebanese father and Colombian mother, Shakira honors both her Latino and Arabic heritage in her music. She wrote her first song at the age of 8 and signed her first record deal at 13.
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. 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 at her Catholic school, but in second grade, she was rejected for the school choir because her vibrato was too strong.
Shakira’s first studio albums, Magia and Peligro, failed to attain commercial success in the 1990 ; however, she rose to prominence in Latin America with her major-label debut, Pies Descalzos (1996), and her fourth album, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998).
While hugely popular throughout much of the rest of the world, Shakira had not yet achieved a major record on the U.S. pop charts. In an attempt to increase her American fan base, in 1997, at the age of 20, the singer moved with her family to Miami, Florida, and taught herself to write songs in English. There, she enlisted Emilio Estefan, of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine fame, to act as her manager and producer.
Shakira returned to the Top 10 of the albums chart twice in 2005. She released the Spanish-language Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 in June of that year, followed by the English-language Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 in November. Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 garnered Shakira her second Grammy, this time for best Latin rock/alternative album.
Shakira’s first live album, MTV Unplugged was recorded in New York City on 12 August 1999. Highly acclaimed by American critics, it is rated as one of her best-ever live performances. The live album earned the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2001 and gained sales of five million worldwide.
Touring extensively, Shakira went on to release two concert albums: 2007’s Live and 2008’s Oral Fixation Tour. In July 2009, she put out a new single, “She Wolf,” from her studio album of the same name. The album hit No. 15 on the Billboard charts in 2009, and went platinum in 2010. Around the same time, her hit “Waka Waka” from 2010’s Sale el Sol became the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Shortly thereafter, the now-global superstar headed on tour to promote her album. By January 2016, the video for “Waka Waka” had been viewed more than a billion times.
Shakira is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is one of their global representatives. On 3 April 2006, Shakira was honored at a UN ceremony for creating the Pies Descalzos Foundation. In March 2010, she was awarded a medal by the UN International Labour Organization in recognition of being, as UN Labour Chief Juan Somavia put it, a “true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice”.
Shakira entered a relationship with the Spanish football player Gerard Piqué, centre back for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team in 2011.Piqué, who is exactly ten years her junior, first met Shakira in the spring of 2010, when Piqué appeared in the music video for Shakira’s song “Waka Waka , the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.Shakira gave birth to the couple’s first son, Milan Piqué Mebarak, on 22 January 2013 in Barcelona, Spain, where the family had taken up residence.Shakira gave birth to their second son, Sasha Piqué Mebarak, on 29 January 2015.