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Shakira

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Barranquilla, Colombia (1990 – present)

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977), known simply as Shakira, is a Grammy-award winning Colombian singer-songwriter, musician, composer, record producer, music-video director, dancer, choreographer, instrumentalist and philanthropist who has sold over eighty million albums worldwide. She has won two Grammy awards, ten Latin Grammy awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, twenty-seven Latin Billboard Awards and has been nominated for a Golden Globe. She has been in the music industry since 1990, releasing her first album the following year. A child prodigy, she began writing poems and songs at age four and taught herself the guitar at age ten. The death of a half sibling and her father’s reaction to it inspired her to write her first full song at age eight.

Little known outside her native Colombia, it wasn’t until 1995 when Shakira took full creative control over her music, a fusion of rock and dance pop with both deeply personal and biting political lyrics. The approach yielded two multiplatinum albums. In 2001, she broke through into the English-speaking market with the release of her first album in that language, Laundry Service, which she wrote and produced herself and which has sold 3 million copies in the United States and 13 million copies worldwide. The album’s massive sales came in large part thanks to the worldwide hit, “Whenever, Wherever” a dance song with unique Andean instrumentation which soon became one of the highest selling singles of the 21st century.

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