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Real Name: Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll 
Birthday: February 2,1977
Birth Place: Clinica Asuncion de Barranquilla
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 5'5"



Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado, a Colombian of Catalan-Italian descent, and William Mebarak Chadid, an American of Lebanese descent. Her father also had eight children with his former wife.

Shakira means "grateful" or "thankful" in Arabic. Her second name, Isabel, is that of her grandmother. She spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia.

She wrote her first poem, "The Glass Rose" when she was only five years old, and after getting a typewriter, she started to write relentlessly. Her poems evolved into music. At the age of ten, after an older brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, she was moved to write her first song.

When she was five, her dad took her to a Middle Eastern restaurant, where she first heard the doumbek, a drum used in Arabic music and usually accompanies belly dancers. Soon, she was dancing on the table, as guests responded by applauding. It was then that she knew she wanted to be an entertainer. She enjoyed singing for friends and teachers at her Catholic school, but in the third grade was passed-over for the school choir because her vibrato. 

Her first album, "Magia", was recorded and produced in 1991, when she was only fourteen years old. It did not do well, selling less than five thousand albums. After "Magia", her agent encouraged her to go back to the studio to write more songs. The album "Peligro" was released in 1993, but the singer was unhappy with the result. The album was better acknowledged than "Magia", though it was a commercial letdown because of the lack of advertisement and promotion.. While little known outside of Colombia, she was asked to perform at Chile's Viña del Mar International Song Festival in 1993. The event gave Latin American singers an opportunity to perform their music, and the winner was then selected by a panel of judges. She performed the song "You Are", and won third place. One of the judges who voted for her was a young Ricky Martin of "Menudo" fame.. 

She returned to the studio, using influences from various countries, and an Alanis Morissette type of personality, which could be seen in her next album, "Pies Descalzos", which gained her huge recognition in Latin America. "Pies Descalzos" sold over six million records, leading to the release of a remix album, "The Remixes". 

Her fourth album, "¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?", was released in 1998, and she started to attract more fans in non-Spanish-speaking countries like Turkey, France, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. Eight of the album's eleven songs became hit singles, including "Ciega, Sordomuda", "Moscas En La Casa", "No Creo", "Inevitable", "Tú", "Si Te Vas", "Octavo Día", and the now world-famous "Ojos Así". 

In 2000, she started her "Tour Anfibio", a four month tour of Latin America and the United States. Also that year, she won an MTV Video Music Award for Favorite International Artist.

In 2001, she started work on an album in English. Working with Gloria Estefan, she wrote and produced English versions of the songs from ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?. The final product was "Laundry Service". While it was created with the goal of selling to an English language market, the rock and dance album featured four Spanish songs, including "As Long as You Stay with Me". 

In 2002, she released her Spanish greatest hits CD "Grandes éxitos". A DVD and ten track compilation album, called "Live & Off the Record", was also released in 2004, hitting sales of 5 million units worldwide, and launching her world tour, the "Tour of the Mongoose".

Also in 2002, she won five MTV Video Music Awards - Latin America for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist, Best Artist-North, Video of the Year, and Artist of the Year. At Aerosmith's MTV bash in 2002, she sang "Dude Looks Like A Lady". She also joined with Celine Dion, Anastacia, Cher and the Dixie Chicks for "VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas".

She announced the "Oral Fixation" project in early 2005. "Fijación Oral Vol. 1", the first CD of the project, was released in 2005 in the United States, Latin America and Australia. The hit single from the album, "La Tortura", was released as a single and found success. It spent a record time of thirty weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart.

"Fijación Oral Vol. 1" was loved by listeners. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart. The album sold 160,000 copies in its first week in the United States, becoming the highest debut ever for a Spanish language album. In Latin America it went Platinum, in Colombia, triple Platinum and in Mexico, it sold-out. The album sold over two million copies in three days.

The second single from the album, "No", was released in 2005, and hit number one in Argentina, Spain and Colombia. The song was number one in several countries in Latin America, but it did not have the same success in the United States.

In 2006, shw won her second Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.

Also that year, she won the Billboard Latin Music Awards for "Fijacion Oral Vol. 1", and also walked away with the Spirit of Hope Award for "Fundación Pies Descalzos".

In late 2006, she released "La Pared" from "Fijación Oral Vol. 1." The song hit number one in  Colombia, Argentina and Spain.

Also in 2007, "Las de la Intuición" was released as a single in Spain and Latin America. It became an instant smash hit, topping the charts for months. She then filmed a video for the song in Miami, which was released on the internet. According to the biography in the official web of Shakira , "Fijación Oral Vol. 1" has sold over six million albums to date.

Before the release of "Oral Fixation Vol. 2", she appeared at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon, Portugal were she performed "Don't Bother", the hit single from the album, just moments before winning an award in the category of Best Female Artist.

Oral Fixation Vol. 2 was released in November 2005 in the United States, Australia and Europe. Two songs of the album, "How Do You Do" and "Timor", started some debate at the time of its release. The cover of the album was also considered controversial, and it had to be altered in several countries due to nudity laws.

In 2006, she started her biggest world tour to date, the Oral Fixation Tour, which ran through July of 2007. The tour visited European, American, African and Asian countries.

She also released "Illegal", which features Carlos Santana as a single. "Illegal" has become a hit on music charts everywhere. The song became a top ten smash hit in much of Europe, and she added the song to the song list on her tour.

The musician also contributed three songs to the soundtrack of the film adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez book "Love in the Time of Cholera" starring Benjamin Bratt, which was released in November 16 2007. For this soundtrack, she wrote new songs called "Hay Amores", "La Despedida" and "Pienso En Ti". 


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