Birth Date: February 2 1977
Birth Place: N/A
Born Shakira Mebarak Ripoll in the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia on February 2, 1977, Shakira -- who goes by her first name only -- is that blend of raw talent, brains and charisma that only rarely comes along in any field. Her name, which in Arabic means "woman full of grace," belies her ancestry. She is the daughter of a Colombian mother and a Lebanese father -- a jeweler and writer whose Arabic background greatly influenced his daughter. Shakira's fondness for music was apparent early on, and she started winning local and national talent contests at age 10. By 13, she had signed a record deal with Sony in Colombia, which resulted in her first album, "Magia (Magic)," a compilation of songs she wrote between the ages of 8 and 13. It was an effort that put Shakira in Colombia's musical map, and led to her being chosen to represent her country at the Fesival OTI in Spain. Because she was under the minimum age of 16, she wasn't allowed to participate. So instead, Shakira recorded a second album of original material, "Peligro (Danger)." At that point, Shakira took a break from music, graduated from high school (at age 15) and came back with a vengeance. The result was the phenomenally successful "Pies Descalzos," a hit-laden smash, which has sold close to four million copies worldwide. Shakira became an international sensation touring for an almost solid two years, playing her songs to sold-out audiences throughout the world. In Brazil alone, "Pies Descalzos" sold in excess of 900,000 copies, leading Shakira to record remixes in Portuguese for her Brazilian fans. She abandoned the light pop format she had been doing and declined her label's suggestion to explore more commercial avenues. Instead, she insisted on recording her very own brand of music: a blend of pop and rock that was unprecedented for a Colombian musician. Such a smashing hit seems impossible to surpass. But Shakira has done it with "Donde Estan los Ladrones," a collection of potential hits that further explores the realms of rock 'n' roll without losing Shakira's authenticity. No wonder, then, that it was Shakira who was chosen among dozens of female Latin singers to grace the cover of Time Magazine in an article titled "Era of the Rockera".
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