Shakira Mebarak
Birth Date:
February 2, 1977
Birth Place:
Barranquilla, Colombia
Famous for:
Her hit album Donde estan los ladrones? (1998)
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Whenever, Wherever


"My brain, I believe, is the most beautiful part of my body." Shakira Grammy-winning, multi-platinum star Shakira received critical acclaimed for her work in the best selling album Dónde están los ladrones (1998). It spawned the mega-hit single "Ojos Así," and such U.S's chart topping singles as "Tu" and "Ciega, Sordomuda." Aside from the album topping the Billboard's Latin album chart for 11 consecutive weeks, it also sold over four million copies worldwide.

In 1998, Shakira was named Latin Female Artist of the Year.

The Colombian native garnered even more recognition with the 2000 MTV Unplugged album; a live version based on the acclaimed album Dónde están los ladrones. She was awarded in 2000 for her efforts. The same year, she also earned Latin Grammy Awards for her work in "Ojos As" and "Octavo Dia." In 2001, Shakira drew praise with the release of her English-Language debut album Laundry Service. Through the first single "Whenever, Wherever," combined with its music video, Shakira became well remembered not only in the English-speaking world, but internationally as well. In addition, Laundry Service received triple platinum certification and became one of the hit albums of 2002.

Off screen, the ninth of 102 Stuff magazine's Sexiest Women in the World (2002) is a philanthropist. She formed the charitable children's organization "Pies Descalzos," which was named after her third album. With her foundation, Shakira had donated 10,000 pairs of tennis shoes to her hometown of Barranquilla to impecunious children.

As for her private life, the Latin pop sensation was linked to actor Osvaldo Rios, then became headlines for dating her Antonio de la Rua, the son of the former President of Argentina.

In 2005, Shakira, who is fluent in Portuguese, Italian, English, Spanish and Arabic, launched the Spanish language album Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1. The English language album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 will be released in November.


Childhood and Family:

"I was born and raised in Colombia, but I listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, the Cure, the Police, the Beatles and Nirvana." Shakira In Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977. She is the daughter of William Mebarak (jeweler and clock salesman) and Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado. As the youngest of the family, Shakira, whose name means "woman full of grace" in Arabic, has seven older siblings: four brothers, Tonino (road manager), Alberto (lawyer), Moises and Edward, and three sisters, Lucy (neurosurgeon), Robin and Patricia.

A mix of Lebanese and native Colombian, Shakira, whose nickname is Shaki, showed her love of music at an early age. As a child, she listened to English-language rock & roll, and began writing songs by age eight. Ten-year-old Shakira was recognized in local and national talent contests, and often won the shows. Her love of music continued as she began to study guitar by age eleven.

Shakira's fondness of music continued to bloom when she decided to move to Bogotá for a modeling career. Instead of doing modeling gigs, she signed a record contract with Sony's Colombian when she turned thirteen.

Where are the thieves?


"Shakira's music has a personal stamp that doesn't look like anyone else's and no one can sing or dance like her, at whatever age, with such an innocent sensuality, one that seems to be of her own invention." Gabriel García Márquez

Displaying her love for music early in life, Shakira, who once was written out of her school choir due to her too-powerful voice, began her music career in 1991 with the release of her debut album Magia (Magic), which contains a collection of songs she wrote. The album did well in her native country although it did not break internationally. Her second studio album, Peligro (Danger, hit the music shelves in 1993), received no better success.

Disappointed with the moderate success of her albums, Shakira tried her hand in acting by joining the cast of the Colombian soap opera "Oasis, El" in 1994, playing series regular Luisa Maria. However, she decided to return to the music industry.

In 1995, Shakira recorded a blend of pop, rock and traditional Latin rhythms in her third album titled Pies Descalzos (Barefeet). The result of her work was astonishing as the album hit number one in eight different countries, was certified platinum in the U.S., and sold over four million copies worldwide. Its lead single, Estoy Aqui, became a hit all over Latin America and in Spain, as well as being recognized internationally. The album also spawned such hit singles as "Donde Estas Corazon," "Antología," "Pienso en Ti," "Un Poco de Amors" and "Se Quiere, Se Mata."

The great success of Pies Descalzos (Barefeet) gave opportunity for Shakira to embark on her first world tour. She also launched Portuguese remixes of her songs for her Brazilian fans.

Shakira's big breakthrough arrived with the release of her big budget album titled Dónde están los ladrones (Where are the thieves?) in 1998. Working with über-producer Emilio Estefan, she produced a perfect mix of gritty, provocative lyrics and rock-laden tracks. As a result, the album received rave reviews and quickly skyrocketed to No. 1 on Billboard's Latin album chart for 11 consecutive weeks. It spawned the worldwide mega-hit "Ojos así," and two chart topping singles in the U.S, "Ciega, Sordomuda" and "Tu." Dónde están los ladrones eventually gained multi-platinum certifications in such countries as the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Central America, and Mexico, and gained platinum certification in Spain. Through the huge success of her fourth album, Shakira was named 1998's Latin Female Artist of the Year at the World Music Awards.

Following her success, Shakira launched the 2000 MTV Unplugged album; a live version based on her best selling album Dónde están los ladrones. Just like its predecessor, the album also tore up the charts, landing at No. 1 on the Latin charts. It gained even more success when Shakira took home her first Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance in 2000. Additionally, she won Unplugged-related trophies for Best Female Pop Vocal ("Ojos Así") and Best Female Rock Vocal ("Octavo Dia") at the 2000 Latin Grammy.

Shakira again drew attention with her first English recorded album, Laundry Service (2001). With its first single "Whenever, Wherever," accompanied by her sexy video, Shakira turned heads of American audiences, making her a star in the English-speaking world.

The follow-up single, "Underneath Your Clothes," also became a hit. Thanks to those two singles, Laundry Service debuted at No. 3 on the American pop chart and was certified triple platinum. The album also became one of the top albums of 2002.

To promote Laundry Service, Shakira staged her second world tour. She then released a remix collection titled Laundry Service: Washed and Dried, and a live album titled Live & Off the Record (2004).

Recently, the singer launched a Spanish language album titled Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1 in June 2005. It spawned the lead "La Tortura" (The Torture), in which she collaborated with Spanish pop-star Alejandro Sanz. The video of the single entered Total Request Live (TRL), peaking at No.9, while the album itself reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and became the best-selling Spanish first-week sales album. It also was well received in non-Spanish speaking countries including Canada and Germany. Shakira will release the English language album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, in November 2005. In her two albums, she co-produces and co-writes her songs with Lester Méndez and Luis Fernando Ochoa. She teams up with Rita Quintero for vocal compilation and direction of background vocals.


  • MTV Video Music (Latin America): Video of the year, 2002
  • Grammy: Best Latin Pop Performance, Shakira: MTV Unplugged, 2000
  • Latin Grammy: Best Female Pop Vocal, "Ojos Así," 2000
  • Latin Grammy: Best Female Rock Vocal, "Octavo Dia," 2000
  • World Music: Latin Female Artist of the Year, 1998
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