Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shakira, The #63 Female Artist of the Rock Era

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoli was born in Barranquilla, Columbia.  She began performing in school, and wrote her first poem at age four.  She asked for a typewriter and continued to write poems, which eventually turned into songs.  Shakira wrote her first song, "Tus Gafas Oscuras" (Your Dark Glasses) at the age of eight.

Shakira performed often around Barranquilla in her early childhood.  She met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who set up an audition for Shakira in Bogota.  Shakira performed three songs for executives of Sony Columbia Records, and signed a recording contract with Sony to record three albums.  

Shakira released the album Magia in 1991 when she was fourteen years old.  The songs received airplay on Colombian radio but just 1,200 copies of the album were sold.  Shakira was invited to perform at the Vina del Mar International Song Festival in 1993, and won the trophy for third place.  After recording the album Peligro, Shakira took time off to graduate from high school.  

She returned to the business to record the single "¿Dónde Estás Corazón?". The song did well, and it was included on the album Pies Descalzos, which was released in 1996.  Shakira was given freedom to produce her own music, and the album debuted at number one in eight countries.  She received considerable airplay on the Latin chart in the U.S., but airplay was limited to that genre.  Still, the album was certified Platinum by the end of the year and it went on to sell over five million copies.

Shakira's follow-up was Dónde Están los Ladrones?, which has now sold over seven million albums worldwide and 1.5 in the U.S.  She earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album and a World Music Award for World's Best-Selling Latin Female Artist.  But Shakira had yet to be successful in crossing over to mass-appeal music formats.  

In 1997, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation, named after her first major album.  The Foundation raises money and builds special schools for poor children all around her native Colombia.

Shakira's live album MTV Unplugged in 1999 earned a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album and sold over five million copies worldwide.  She toured the United States and Latin American and won an MTV Video Music Award for People's Choice-Favorite International Artist for the song "Ojos Asi".  

Shakira began working on an English-language album, Laundry Service, which she released in 2001.  "Whenever, Wherever" was the first single, and it took off to #1 in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France and Belgium, became her first hit in the U.S. at #6, and was the best-selling single of 2002.

The video for "Whenever, Wherever" won the MTV Video Music Award for International Viewer's Choice.  The follow-up single, "Underneath Your Clothes" was #1 in Australia and Belgium and #9 in the United States.

Shakira was nominated for seven MTV Music Awards for "Whenever, Wherever", including Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, and Best Dance Video, and she won the award for International Viewer's Choice Awards Latin America (North).  Shakira also received two BMI Pop Awards for "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes".  She toured North America, South America, Europe and Asia on her first worldwide tour.  "Objection (Tango)" was a #2 hit in Australia and reached the Top 10 in several European countries.

Shakira once again won the World Music Award for World's Best-Selling Latin Female Artist, and she was nominated at the Billboard Music Awards for Top Pop Artist-Female and Top Billboard 200 Album Artist-Female.  She was also nominated for Favorite Latin Artist at the American Music Awards in 2001, a distinction she repeated in 2002 and 2003.

Laundry Service has now sold over 20 million worldwide copies and 3 million in the United States.  Shakira was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and she has spent a good deal of her time promoting girls' education and other causes since. 

Shakira released the album Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 in 2005, and it promptly debuted at #4.  The first single, "La Tortura" hit #1 in Spain and #2 in Switzerland, but only #23 in the United States.

Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 sold over two million copies in the U.S., and sold over one million copies in three days worldwide.  The album has now gone over the four-million mark in sales worldwide, and earned Shakira the Grammy for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album, an American Music Award for Favorite Latin Artist and Billboard Music Awards for Latin Album of the Year, Latin Song of the Year ("La Tortura") and Latin Album Artist of the Year. 

"La Tortura" also picked up the BMI Award for Song of the Year, and it was nominated for Best Female Video, Viewer's Choice Award and Best Dance Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.  The remainder of the album received airplay and some Top 10 success in Europe, but chart success was limited.  

"Don't Bother" was the lead single from the album Oral Fixation, Volume 2, but it only peaked at #42.  Shakira released the album in 2005 and it promptly debuted at #5.  The album is nearing Double-Platinum status in the United States and has sold over eight million copies worldwide.

"Hips Don't Lie" with Wyclef Jean did much better, shooting to #1 in the United States and over 55 other countries.  The single has now gone over two million in sales in the U.S. and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.  It also captured an ASCAP Pop Music Award as one of the Most Performed Songs.

"Hips Don't Lie" won Shakira a Billboard Music Award for Top Pop 100 Airplay Track, and she was also nominated for Pop Single of the Year, Top Hot 100 Single and Top Billboard 200 Album Artist-Female.  Shakira won a third World Music Award for World's Best-Selling Latin Female Artist, and she was nominated for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist.  

"Illegal", featuring Carlos Santana, received some airplay in Europe.  Shakira gave 125 performances on all six continents to promote the album.  She once again captured the America Music Award for Favorite Latin Artist.

Shakira recorded several songs with other artists, including Beyonce ("Beautiful Liar").  That single jumped from 94-3 in 2007, setting a record for the largest jump in the history of the Billboard chart at the time.  "Beautiful Liar" reached #1 in  the U.K., Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain and peaked at #3 in the United States, and earned the pair a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

"Despedida", one of the songs from the Pies Descalzos album was included on the Soundtrack to "Love in the Time of Cholera".  "Despedida" was nominated for Best Original Song at the Golden Globe Awards.

In 2008, Forbes magazine named Shakira the fourth top-earning female artist in the current music industry.  She served as the Honorary Chairperson for "Action Week" 2008 in April, an event sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education to increase awareness about the Education for All Act.  In its December 2008/January 2009 issue, People En Español announced that Shakira was the "Humanitarian of the Year".  Shakira also ranked #48 on the list of Top 50 Most Charitable Celebrities by OK! magazine.

Shakira signed a 10-year contract with Live Nation, a touring group which also owns its own record label.  She also was set to record three more albums for Epic Records.  In January of 2009, Shakira performed at the Lincoln Memorial festivities for U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration.

In 2009, Shakira released the single "She Wolf", which reached #1 in Latin America, #2 in Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain, #4 in the U.K. and #11 in the United States:

The album of the same name was released in October, and has sold 300,000 copies in the U.S. and two million worldwide, her least successful album.  "Did It Again", "Give It Up To Me" and "Gypsy" received moderate airplay in Europe and the U.S.
In December, Shakira was a guest at the University of Oxford to give a speech about her work with children and education.

In 2010, Shakira recorded "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)" for the FIFA World Cup.  With over 500 million views, the music video for the song is the most-watched video on YouTube.  The single hit #1 in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Spain but only #38 in the United States.

In March of 2010, Shakira was awarded a medal by the United Nations International Labor Organization in recognition of Shakira being "a true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice."  In November, after performing at the MTV European Music Awards, Shakira was honored with the MTV Free Your Mind award for her "continuing dedication to improve access to education for all children around the world".

Shakira released the album Sale el Sol, which debuted at #7 in the United States.  The single "Loca" shot up to #1 in Switzerland, France, Spain and Belgium, but once again lagged behind in the U.S. (#32).

The title track and "Rabiosa" also did not generate worldwide success, although Shakira fans loyally bought the album to the tune of one million copies in six weeks, and four million since its release.  Shakira won the American Music Award  for Favorite Latin Artist for a third time and also won two Billboard Music Awards.  She earned trophies for Top Latin Artist and Top Latin Song ("Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)"), and was also nominated for Top Streaming Artist, Fan Favorite Award, Top Latin Album (Sale el Sol) and Top Streaming Song ("Waka Waka").  Shakira also won a World Music Award for World's Best-Selling Latin American Artist.

Shakira toured North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.  She also began her own beauty line, "S by Shakira", with the release of two perfumes.  

In 2011, Shakira was honored as the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year (for her philanthropy and contributions to Latin music), and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In February, the FC Barcelona Foundation and Pies Descalzos reached agreement for children's education through sport.  In October, U.S. President Obama announced that Shakira was appointed as a member of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. 

The following year, she began working with numerous producers on a new album, expected out this year, and sang with Pitbull on his song "Get It Started".  Once again, Shakira received the American Music Award for Favorite Latin Performer, and she was nominated for two Billboard Music Awards (Top Latin Artist and Top Social Artist), winning in the former category. 

In 2012, Shakira received the honor of Chevalier De L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, in recognition of her contribution to the arts.  She was nominated for World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Female Artist and World's Entertainer of the Year.  

Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all-time, with career worldwide sales pegged at over 70 million albums.  Shakira has won five MTV Video Music Awards, two Grammy Awards, and seven Billboard Music Awards.  She has sold nearly 10 million albums in the United States, and enjoyed 14 career hits, with three reaching the Top 10 and one #1 song. 

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