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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977. She is the only child belonged to William Mebarak Chadid and Nidia Ripoll Torrado, although she has 8 older half-siblings. Her grandparents emigrated from Lebanon, a country in the Middle East to NYC, where her dad was born. Her dad then emigrated to Columbia at only 5 years of age. As for her mom, she has Spanish and Italian ancestry. She mainly grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia. She grew up in a Catholic family and went to Catholic schools.
When she was very young, Shakira took an interest in poetry. When she was seven, she got her very first typewriter. She then kept on writing poems since. These poems turned into songs. When Shakira was 2 years old, her half-brother died in a car crash. When she was 8 years old, she wrote her first ever song named Tus gafas oscuras, Your dark glasses, which was inspired by her dad, who for many years wore dark glasses to hide his grief.
When Shakira was 4 years old, her dad took her to a local restaurant. There was someone playing the doumbek, a traditional drum mainly used for Arabic music accompanied by belly dancing. Then she started doing the craziest thing: she started dancing on the table! This experience made her realize that she wanted to become a performer. She liked singing for her classmates and teachers and even the nuns at her Catholic school. But in second grade, she was rejected from choir because her vibrato was too strong. Her teacher even said she sounded like a goat! How rude! When Shakira was in school, she was often sent out of the classroom for her hyperactivity. She was also known as the belly dance girl. She would show people new things she learned (say a new routing, number, song, etc.) every Friday. In a future interview, she says “that’s how she discovered her passion for live performance.”
Her dad had even taken her to a local park to see the orphans that sadly had to live there.” One day I’m going to help these kids when I’m a famous artist” she said. When Shakira was in her pre-teens (10-13) she was invited to a lot of parties and events and gained some popularity in Barranquilla. It was that exact same time when she met Monica Ariza, the local theater producer, who was impressed with Shakira and tried to help her out a little. While flying from Barranquilla to Bogota Ariza persuaded Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas to hold an audition for Shakira at a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in high regard and, coming back to the Sony office, gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director wasn’t quite over the moon and thought Shakira was something of “a lot of cause.” Undaunted and still believing that Shakira had skills, Vargas set up an audition in Bogota. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to come to the audition, with the thought of surprising them with Shakira’s performance. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums.
In the beginning of the 90s, Shakira’s first album Magia was released. It was recorded with Sony Music Colombia. She was only 13 years old at the time! The album only sold over 1,200 copies. Although albums were not selling great, it still was quite a hit on the Colombian radio stations, plus she was invited to Chile’s Vina del Mar International Song Festival in February 1993. The event young performers like Shakira to sing in front of lots of people. Shakira performed Eres. She won 3rd place. Shakira came back to working with Sony Music in 1995.
Her second ever album was released in February, 1996. It actually debuted number 1 in eight different countries! In March 1996 Shakira went on her first ever world tour. The tour included Shakira singing in 20 different shows. The tour ended in 1997.
Shakira received her first ever Grammy award nomination in 1999. In August, 1999 in NYC, Shakira recorded her first live album, MTV Unplugged.
In 2001, Shakira entered in the American language into her music. In 2005, she became the first artist to perform a Spanish song at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2005. In January 2009, Shakira sang We are One at the Lincoln Memorial to honor the inauguration of Barack Obama becoming the president of the United States of America.
In 2012, it was announced that Shakira would be replacing Christina Aguilera and Ceelo Green on the hit TV show The Voice. In 2016, Shakira worked with Disney and voiced Gazelle on the hit Disney movie “Zootopia.’ The El Dorado world tour was in 2017. We will have to see what she is cooking up for 2019!
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