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". In 1997, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation. It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. During her career, Shakira has performed at a large number of benefit concerts. Among the most famous are the Live 8 benefit concert in July 2005, the Live Earth concert, Hamburg where she headlined the show, as well as the "Clinton Global Initiative" created by former US President Bill Clinton. She was also invited to the Oval Office by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to discuss early childhood development.
Shakira has won many awards. She has her own star for Hollywood Walk Of Fame, won five MTV Video Music Awards, won two Grammy Awards, nine Latin Grammy Awards, seven Billboard Music Award, twenty-eight Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She is also the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, and the second most successful female Latin singer behind Gloria Estefan, having sold over 125 million copies worldwide (70 million albums and 55 million singles). Her U.S. album sales stand at 9.9 million. In the fall of 2009, Shakira released her sixth studio album She Wolf worldwide gaining a lot of critical praise for her eccentricity and writing skills. The album sold roughly 2 million copies around the world. Shakira's "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", was chosen as the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song has received generally positive critical reception, and has become a worldwide hit and the biggest selling World Cup song of all time. On YouTube, the English version of the music video is the 5th most watched video of all time with over 500 million views. When she released her seventh studio album, the bilingual Sale el Sol in October 2010, she gained back her Latin following, which Shakira described as being the main goal for the album. The album has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Since 2009, Shakira's musical career suffered from a strained relationship with her label Epic Records, which resulted in lack of promotion and investment from Epic Records towards her two latter studio albums She Wolf (2009) and Sale el Sol (2010).
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