Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
February 2, 1977
Currently Known For:
Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, and Record Producer
Hips Don't Lie
February 2, 1977
Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, and Record Producer
Hips Don't Lie
“I’m barefoot whenever I can be.” A 13-time Latin Grammy Award winner, Shakira is a Colombian singer, songwriter, dancer, businesswoman, and philanthropist who is best known for her high energy performances that combine a mixture of belly dancing and rock ‘n roll with Latin American and Arabic influences. First launching her career in the 1990s with albums like Peligro and Magia, Shakira didn’t find mainstream success until 1996 with the release of her third album, Pies Descalzos. Once she became a household name in Latin America, she made the transition to the English market in the new millennium and hasn’t looked back since with chart-topping singles like “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” and “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” on albums like Laundry Service (2001), Oral Fixation Volume Two (2005), and She Wolf (2009). With the release of her 11th album, El Dorado, topping the charts in 2017 as one of the most streamed albums of all time, let’s take a closer look at Shakira’s incredible journey to fortune and fame as well as her recent return to the stage after a series of vocal setbacks in 2017!
The only child of William Mebarak Chadid and Nidia Ripoll Torrado, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll came into this world on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. With her name meaning “grateful” in Arabic, Shakira was the light of her parent’s life as she spent most of her childhood along the northern Colombian coast where she attended Catholic schools and played with her eight older half-siblings, all of whom came from her father’s first marriage. Despite having plenty of playmates, however, Shakira discovered her father’s typewriter at an early age and was fascinated by the machine her father used to write stories. She wrote her first poem at four years old and later received her first typewriter for Christmas.
As she got older, Shakira’s interest in poetry transitioned into music and her poems quickly transformed into lyrics as her passion for music flourished. Often dancing on tables at restaurants, Shakira’s enthusiasm followed her to school where she was often scolded for being too hyper since she had trouble sitting still in her seat. She was even denied a spot in the school choir when the teacher realized she had a strong vibrato. Regardless, Shakira refused to give up on her musical dreams and started performing at various events around Barranquilla. In fact, one of her belly dancing routines caught the attention of local theater producer Monica Ariza who instantly recognized Shakira’s talent and charm. Ariza invited her to audition for Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas who, in turn, liked Shakira so much that he convinced his fellow Sony executives to watch the youngster perform.
Shakira performed three songs for Sony Colombia and was immediately offered a recording contract for three albums under the Sony Music Colombia label. At 13 years old, she released her first album, Magia, which featured a collection of songs that she’d written over the last five years. As a new artist, Shakira received some exposure but failed to make a lasting impression since the collection was a mix of pop-rock ballads and disco singles that lacked cohesion.
Although the album only sold 1,200 copies, Sony Colombia encouraged Shakira to push forward especially after she was invited to perform at Chile’s Viña del Mar International Song Festival in 1993. Designed to give young Latin American singers a chance to showcase their talent, the festival was the perfect venue for Shakira whose performance of “Eres” earned her third place. Coincidentally, one of the judges at the festival was a young Ricky Martin. On the heels of her success at the festival, Shakira returned to the studio to work on her second album, Peligro. The album was better received than her first, but Shakira was still disappointed with the end result and ultimately took a year off to finish high school before working on her third album.
Shakira returned to the studio after her graduation in 1995 and found the hiatus incredibly helpful as she channeled musical influences like Alanis Morrissette to inspire her third album, Pies Descalzos. The album was a huge success upon its release in early 1996 and charted on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in the United States. Singles like “Dónde Estás Corazón,” "Estoy Aquí," and "Pies Descalzos, Sueños Blancos” quickly made Shakira a household name in Latin America as listeners couldn’t get enough of the young singer.
Over the next five years, Shakira cashed in on her growing fame and launched her first international tour—Tour Pies Descalzos—in 1996. She performed 20 shows over the next year and earned three Billboard Latin Music Awards—Album of the Year, Video of the Year for “Estoy Aqui,” and Best New Artist. The album itself sold over five million copies and fueled Shakira’s next studio album, Dónde Están los Ladrones?, which she produced herself alongside Emilio Estefan, Jr. Shakira’s fourth album was an even bigger hit than her previous release and became one of the best-selling Spanish albums in the United States thanks to singles like “Ciega, Sordomuda,” “Moscas En La Cassa,” and “No Creo.” The album also earned Shakira her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album in 1999.
Shakira released her first live album, MTV Unplugged, and became an instant hit in the United States earning her a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2001. She launched her next tour, Tour Anfibio, and took home an MTV Video Music Award before getting to work on her English crossover album. Learning English with the help of Gloria Estefan, she spent a year working on her next album, Laundry Service, which featured hit singles like “Whenever, Wherever.” As many critics anticipated, the album was a huge success and climbed to the top of the Billboard charts as Shakira became a household name in North America known for hit singles like “Underneath Your Clothes,” “The One” and “Poem to a Horse.”
Taking home numerous awards including five MTV Video Music Awards Latin America for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist—North (Region), Video of the Year, and Artist of the Year, Shakira released her sixth studio album, Fijación Oral, Volumen Uno, in 2005. The album’s lead single, “La Tortura,” climbed to the top 40 of the Hot 100 and once again proved Shakira’s talent as she became the first artist to perform a Spanish song at the MTV Video Music Awards. Selling over one million copies in just three days worldwide, the album earned Shakira her second Grammy Award and four additional Latin Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album.
Following up with her seventh album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2., Shakira’s popularity continued to soar thanks to singles like “Hips Don’t Lie.” She launched the Oral Fixation Tour in 2006 and spent the next year performing 125 shows at sold-out venues across six continents. By 2008, she was named the fourth top-earning female artist in the music industry by Forbes and, as if to prove her status, signed a 10-year $300 million contract with Live Nation and extended her contract with Epic Records. The following year, she released her next album, She Wolf, which failed to have the same impact as her previous records.Shifting Gears: Making Room for Motherhood and Music
In 2010, Shakira released her ninth studio album, Sale el Sol, which was a critical success and earned the Colombian artist a handful of awards before she embarked on The Sun Comes Out World Tour. Following the tour, Shakira returned to the United States where she joined Usher, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton as a guest judge on the fourth season of The Voice. After the season wrapped, she delayed the release of her next album to focus on her pregnancy, a surprise announcement that came shortly after she confirmed her relationship with Spanish football player Gerard Piqué. On January 22, 2013, she gave birth to the couple’s son, Milan Piqué Mebarak, in Barcelona, Spain.
“My whole life, I had pressed pause on so many things in my personal life to follow my dreams, my professional dreams, to become a successful artist,” Shakira said of her role as a new mother. “And suddenly, things changed, and I saw myself as a mother, with a family I had dreamed about since I was a child. And then, when I realized the creator inside of me was also asking to be considered, my music became my escape. The studio became the place to let some steam off, away from everyday life as a mother—that became my hobby. And then it became a pleasure like all hobbies are. So now music is my hobby. Oh, I never thought I would say that! It’s crazy!”
While Shakira’s focus has shifted especially since welcoming her second son, Sasha Piqué Mebarak, into the world on January 29, 2015, she’s continued to release chart-topping music like her 2014 album, Shakira, in addition to returning to The Voice as a guest judge. In 2016, she started working on her 11th studio album and released the album’s first single, “Chantaje” featuring Colombian singer Maluma. While the single wasn’t intended to be the album’s lead track, it earned over two billion views on YouTube as fans anxiously awaited the album’s release, which came in May 2017.
Following the album’s release, Shakira announced the El Dorado World Tour, which was set to begin in November 2017. However, Shakira suffered a severe voice-strain during rehearsals that escalated into a hemorrhage on her right vocal cord, which led her to postpone the entire tour. “Last year was one of the most difficult times of my entire life,” Shakira said of the setback. “It was actually more than a hemorrhage. It was like a vascular lesion. So, you can imagine, there were times when I doubted I would ever be in front of a crowd again singing my songs… Miraculously, and contrary to everything the doctors predicted, I recovered naturally. They all foresaw surgery, but the lesion disappeared completely from my vocal cords. I remember praying. I had forgotten to pray for a while, but when you go through hardship, you suddenly recover your faith. I was promising God if I could ever use my voice again, I would celebrate every night—and that’s what I’m doing.”
With her vocal cord healed, Shakira made a major comeback to the stage and resumed the tour in Amsterdam. “Being back on stage has been so emotional,” she admitted. “It feels like the first time. In the past, my experience on stage was a little different. A little more narcissistic. I was like, ‘Oh wow, they’re here for me—I’d better look good and sound good.’ But now it’s more like, ‘Man, I have this amazing opportunity to make the crowd smile. To make all those people, who’ve also had hardship in their own lives, happy.’”
Certainly making her fans happy with her return, the 41-year-old Shakira admits that life is certainly different now not only because of her recent vocal cord issues but because of her family at home—her longtime boyfriend, Gerard Piqué whom she met on the set of her “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” music video, and their two sons. “I’m exhausted all day long, truth be told,” she says. “it’s not easy, continuing a career with intensity and commitment and also being the kind of mother I want to be. But I’m discovering it step by step. They’re at a spectacular age… I’m enjoying them tremendously, and they’re eager to share my life on the road. I’m taking them with me, but without letting that absorb them too much. You have to find a balance—to allow them to live their lives and not be absorbed by their mother’s celebrity.”