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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (pronounced [ʃaˈkiɾa isaˈβel moˈbɑːɾˤɑk riˈpoʎ]; born February 2, 1977), known mononymously as Shakira (English /ʃəˈkɪərə/, Spanish: [ʃaˈkiɾa]), is a Colombian singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer and model who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Shakira began performing in school, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Arabic influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. Shakira is a native Spanish speaker who speaks fluent English and Portuguese, as well as some Arabic, Italian, French, and Catalan.
After a poor commercial reception with local producers on her first two albums, and being little-known outside Colombia, Shakira decided to produce her own brand of music. In 1995 she released Pies Descalzos, which brought her to prominence in Latin America and Spain; her 1998 album, Dónde Están los Ladrones?, was a critical success selling over 7 million copies worldwide.
In 2001, aided by the worldwide success of her first English single "Whenever, Wherever" that became the best selling single of 2002, she broke through into the English-speaking world with the release of Laundry Service, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Four years later, Shakira released two album projects called Fijación Oral Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2. Both reinforced her success, particularly with the best selling song of the 2000s, "Hips Don't Lie".
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