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Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 2, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira moved to Bogotá with her family at the age of thirteen. Her mother was a native Columbian, but her father - of Lebanese descent - would be the influence on her famous hip-shaking belly dance moves.

Writing her first song at the age of eight, Shakira's dream of entering show business began with early notoriety at talent competitions in her hometown. Later moving to Bogota, her talent was brought to the attention of Sony Records, with whom she signed a record deal at age 13.

The result was her debut album, Magia (Magic) with all songs written entirely by the artist, followed by her second album Peligro (Danger).

The singer next turned her attention to acting and won a role in a popular Columbian soap opera, El Oasis before returning to full-time to music in 1995, when Shakira's breakthrough album came with the release of Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) which featured an international hit, Estory Aqui.

Shakira's signature dance style
is a mix of Colombian rhythms and
Mideastern belly dancing.

Her "overnight" fame caught the attention of Emilio Estefan, Jr. (husband of singer Gloria Estafan), who produced her next album, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? (Where are the Thieves?), a huge hit that spun off such mega-hit singles as Inevitable and Ojos Así.

With nowhere to go but up, Shakira began planning her cross-over to the English speaking world, resulting with a performance on MTV Unplugged, the channel's first Spanish-language broadcast. Her much-heralded performance was released as an album in early 2000, going on to win a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.

The following year, her first English language album, Laundry Service, brought almost instant pop stardom in both North American and the UK, where the album became one of the top selling in 2002, helped along by Shakira's own live performances, and a video in which the singer's provocative rock style was combined with never before seen or heard (in the world of rock, at least) hypnotic Arabic rhythms and belly dancing.

A 2002 -2003 world tour, "Tour of the Mongoose" soon followed, resulting in a live performance album in 2004.

Shakira released two albums in 2006, the Spanish-language Fijación Oral Volumen 1, which came out in June and the English-language Oral Fixation Volume 2, in November. She later led the led the nominees at the MTV Latin America awards with a total of six nominations, and was also a front runner at the MTV Video Music Awards that same year.

Shakira and her partner, Spanish soccer star Gerard Pique.

Shakira's next album, She Wolf, was released in late 2009 spinning off the title track as a hit single. Yet another hit, "Gypsy" was accompanied by a music video in which she appeared with tennis great Raphael Nadal.

In 2010, Shakira notably collaborated with the South African group Freshlyground to create the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)". In October, she followed up with her seventh studio album, "Sale el Sol", from which several hits emerged including the lead single "Loca".

Offstage, the singer has been romantically linked to Antonio de la Rúa, son of Argentine president Fernando de la Rúa. They split in 2011. Shakira's most recent love interest is Spanish footballer Gerard Pique, with whom she announced the birth of their first child, a baby boy, in spring 2013.

More about Shakira around the Web: - The official site, in English and Spanish, featuring news and tour dates, biography, photo gallery, message board, screen savers, buddy icons, wallpapers, audio clips from albums, video clips, related links.

Shakira Planet - The latest news, photo gallery, video clips, biography, discography, online forum and related links.

ShakiraMedia - Headline news, tour schedule, biography, quotes, lyrics, video and audio clips, photos gallery.


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