Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977),known professionally as Shakira is aColombian singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira revealed many of her talents in school as a live performer, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Middle Eastern influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. Shakira is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks fluent English and Portuguese as well as some Italian, French and Arabic.After commercial flops 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 great fame in Latin America and Spain, and her 1998 album ¿Dónde Están los Ladrones? was a critical success selling over 10 million copies worldwide.In 2001, aided by the worldwide success of her first English single "Whenever, Wherever", 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 1995, 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 Concert of Live Earth in 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 is known to have adopted many genres, including folk, mainstream pop and rock. In an interview with Rolling Stone she said: "My music, I think, is a fusion of many different elements. And I'm always experimenting. So I try not to limit myself, or put myself in a category, or... be the architect of my own jail". Her earlier Spanish albums, including Pies Descalzos and ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? were a mix of folk music and Latin rock, while her cross-over English album, Laundry Service and her later albums were influenced by pop rock and pop Latino. Her 2009 album, She Wolf is more like electropop and dance music.Her 2010 album, Sale el Sol, is a return to her beginnings containing ballads such as Lo Que Más and Antes de las Seis, rock songs like Tu Boca and Devoción, and Latin dance songs like Loca.Shakira has told many interviewers that she has grown fond of listening to oriental music, which influenced many of her earlier works. For example, Shakira used the Indian theme for her performance of "Hips Don’t Lie" at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City. She has also been influenced by her Arab heritage, which was a major inspiration for her breakthrough world hit "Ojos Así".She told Portuguese TV "Many of my movements belong to Arab culture."She also cites her parents as major contributors to her musical style.In childhood, Shakira preferred rock and roll music, listening heavily to her favorite rock bands like Led Zeppelin,The Beatles, Nirvana, The Police and U2.She lists John Lennon as her #1 musical influence. She was also deeply influenced by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, The Pretenders, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Tom Petty, Depeche Mode, The Clash, Ramones, whose influence can be heard on her many prominent songs. In a recent interview to Elenco magazine, she noted that in her opinion the perfect songs are "Imagine" by John Lennon and "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley.