When Shakira was nine years-old, she began writing and composing music. One of the first songs she had written was "Tus Gafas Oscuras," and its lyrical message revolved around her father and his grief over a son who had been killed in a car accident. At the age of ten, Shakira applied for her school choir, but she was rejected because her voice had been noted as "too strong." Friends teased her by saying she sounded like a goat. Shakira was deeply hurt and considered giving up on singing, but instead of that she started looking for other singing oportunities. She decided to compete in a weekly television singing competition for children, Vivan Los Niños. This was her debut television appearance, and she won the contest.
Between the ages of ten to thirteen, Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla, and became a local celebrity. At that time she met local theatre producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with Shakira and helped to make her known outside Barranquilla. During a flight from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Ariza happened to be sitting next to Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas. Vargas agreed to hold an audition for Shakira, which took place a few weeks later in a hotel lobby. Vargas was impressed and returned to the Sony office and gave Shakira's cassette to the song and artist director, but he was not excited at all, and thought Shakira was "a lost cause."
Vargas was convinced that Shakira had talent, and set up a suprise audition in Bogotá. He tricked the Sony Colombia executives to this bar, and around midnight he announced he had a suprise: Shakira. She sang three songs, and her performance was a hit. Shakira was subsequently signed to write and record three albums.
1991–1994: Magia & Peligro
In June 1991, Shakira's debut album Magia (English: Magic) was released on the Sony label. The album launch was in the Teatro Amira de la Rosa, the biggest theatre in Barranquilla. The first single was the title track, a song she wrote for her first boyfriend, Óscar Pardo. The album, however, was not a commercial success, selling only one thousand copies.
In 1993, Sony rushed the recording of a poorly produced album Peligro (English: Danger) (produced by Eduardo Pazz), which was another flop. Shakira did not support the album and did not promote the album either. Although the ballad "Tú Seras La Historia De Mi Vida" was played on local radio stations, the dismal sales resulted in a quick disappearence of Shakira from the music scene.
Following the failures of her first two albums, Shakira turned to acting and played a role in a Colombian telenovela El Oasis, for which she also sung the theme song "Lo Mío". She did not have any acting experience and was not good at it, but it was enough to enhance her popularity and widen her network of contacts in the entertainment business. During this time, she also met Patricia Téllez, the Director of Special Projects for Caracol Television, making Shakira the channel's exclusive artist.
1995–2000: Spanish market success
Shakira returned to the music business in 1995 with the album Pies Descalzos (English: Bare Feet), which established her commercial success. The album The Remixes was subsequently recorded and features remixes from the songs on Pies Descalzos, with some songs re-recorded in Portuguese.
Following the release of The Remixes, Shakira became acquianted with Emilio Estefan, Jr., who ended up working as an executive producer on Shakira's fourth studio album, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? (English: Where Are the Thieves?) It was an expensive production, costing approximately $3 million. Singles from the album include "Ciega Sordomuda", "Moscas en la Casa", "No Creo", "Inevitable", "Tu", and the worldwide success "Ojos Así." The album's blend of rock and Latin soundscapes made it a big success. Shakira also produced Shakira MTV Unplugged, a live album based on the singles from ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?
2001–2003: English market crossover
Upon the success of ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, Shakira began working on a crossover album to the English language. Collaborating with Gloria Estefan, Shakira wrote and recorded English versions of the tracks from ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, and new songs were also composed to create Laundry Service. Although it was aimed at the English language market, the rock and Spanish dance-influenced album also features four Spanish songs, including "Que Me Quedes Tú". Some critics claimed that Shakira's English skills were too weak for her to write in it (she was satirized in a MAD TV sketch), but Laundry Service was a success, yielding the worldwide hit "Whenever, Wherever" and singles "Underneath Your Clothes" (a Canadian number-one), "Objection (Tango)", and "The One". The album and its singles established Shakira's musical presence in the mainstream North American market.
In 2002, Shakira also released the Spanish greatest hits volume Grandes éxitos. A DVD and ten-track compilation album called Live & Off the Record, was released in 2004 commemorating Shakira's 2002-2003 world tour, the "Tour of the Mongoose". The name of the tour was derived from the fact that mongoose can defeat a cobra without being killed by its poison. The concerts were interspersed with visuals of a mongoose fighting a cobra.
2005–2006: Release of two albums
Fijación Oral Vol. 1
Fijación Oral Vol. 1, Shakira's first Spanish language album since ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, was released on June 6 2005 in Europe and on June 7 2005 in North America and Australia. The lead single "La Tortura" (English: Torture, featuring Alejandro Sanz) became one of the only Spanish songs to debut on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100; though it took time, it eventually reached number twenty-three on the chart, the highest position for a Spanish song in the United States. In Canada, "La Tortura" also became the highest-charting Spanish song when it debuted and peaked at number twenty-one. Its success across the rest of the world was widespread and it managed to peak within the top ten of the majority of the charts it entered; it reached number four in Germany and number two in Switzerland. In the U.S., "La Tortura" spent a still-record twenty-five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart, making it the most successful Latin single ever.
The video for "La Tortura" made its debut on MTV's Total Request Live at number nine, and was the second Spanish music video ever to be included in the countdown. It reached a peak position of number four on the countdown, setting a record for highest Spanish position ever on the chart; it also achieved some success on VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown.
Fijación Oral Vol. 1 was simultaneously released in Latin America and charted at number one in almost all of its countries. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and is currently the best-selling Spanish first-week sales album (180,000 copies), breaking Ricky Martin's self-titled album (number twelve, selling 60,000 copies). It was also well-received in non-Spanish speaking countries such as Italy and Germany, where it reached number one, Austria, where it reached number three, and Canada, where it reached number seven.
The second single from Fijación Oral Vol. 1, "No" (English: No), was released in September 2005. It failed to match the international chart success of "La Tortura", however peaked at number one in Colombia for fourteen non-consecutive weeks. It also reached number one in Spain and many other LatinAmerica countries like Chile, Ecuador and Mexico.
Shakira, who performed at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards in Miami, Florida on August 28 2005, was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards: Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, and Viewers Choice for "La Tortura". Her performance at the awards ceremony made history as being the first performance ever that was sung completely in Spanish.
Oral Fixation Vol. 2
Shakira's second English album, Oral Fixation Vol. 2, was released on November 29 2005 in North America and Australia. "Don't Bother" was well-received by music-critics as the album's lead single, however failed to peak within the U.S. top forty, reaching number forty-two. Its chart performance was weaker than that of Shakira's previous English singles "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes", however surpassed the performance of "Objection (Tango)". It peaked at number seven in Germany, at number eight in Italy, and at number thirty in Australia.
On October 30 2005 at the Hackney Empire in Hackney, East London, England, Shakira presented her new album Oral Fixation Vol. 2 to more than two hundred and fifty competition winners and selected members of the British press. The concert (at which Shakira performed four tracks from the album as well as previous work) was hosted by MTV and was featured in the MTV 5 Star campaign following her performance. Shakira is one of the first artists to be featured for the campaign.
Oral Fixation Vol. 2 was placed in pre-order status weeks before its release at the iTunes Music Store. Under this status, it gave a pre-order song which would not be available after its release date. The remix of "Don't Bother" was available in the other stores as a purchaseable song, which was the pre-order song in the United States. The album is included with a digital version of the booklet.
Recently the media has reported that Oral Fixation Vol. 2 has been censored in Egypt, the Middle East. Many Muslim nations have banned the song "How Do You Do" because it might offend people for its content in which Shakira questions God. The song has been taken out of the album, and the cover has also been altered. Shakira appears behind a bush and is covered from her shoulders down, whereas her stomach is exposed in the North American and European LP cover editions. Timor is a political song relating to social problems.
The UK division of Sony BMG were reprimanded by Shakira's PR agency for incorrectly promoting the album in time for its worldwide release, resulting in the UK release date being postponed to February 27 2006. To help promotion in the UK, which has always been a difficult area for Shakira, a DualDisc version of Oral Fixation Vol. 2 will be released worldwide.
Shakira has recently confirmed that she will embark on her second worldwide tour in April 2006; she has also confirmed interest in beginning a family with her fiancé, as well as in taking a more relaxed approach to music.
- Main article: Shakira discography
- 1991: Magia
- 1993: Peligro
- 1995: Pies Descalzos
- 1997: The Remixes
- 1998: ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?
- 2000: MTV Unplugged
- 2001: Laundry Service
- 2002: Laundry Service: Washed & Dried
- 2004: Live & Off the Record
- 2005: Fijación Oral Vol. 1
- 2005: Oral Fixation Vol. 2
- List of best-selling music artists
- Pop Latino
- List of artists who reached number one in Ireland
- List of artists who reached number one on the the Australian singles chart
- VH1 Driven: Shakira (article) 
- VH1 Driven: Shakira (video) 
- Book: Woman Full Of Grace by Ximena Diego 
- Pareles, Jon (Nov. 14, 2005). "Shakira, from lip to hip". New Straits Times, p. L3.
- "Shakira pertahan orang Arab". (Nov. 8, 2005). Berita Harian, p. 13.
- Frank Cogan's review of Laundry Service for The Village Voice 
- Chart Performance for Don't Bother from Billboard Hot 100 
- Chart Performance for Oral Fixation 2 
- Grammy Nomination for Fijación Oral 1 
- Chart Performance for Oral Fixation 2 in Argentina 
- Canadian chart position for Oral Fixation 2, week ending December 8, 2005. Retrieved from http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Charts/ALBUMS.html on December 8, 2005.
- Chart Performance for Oral Fixation 2 in Australia 
- Oral Fixation 2 Sales 
- Shakira Official Web Site
- Shakira at the Internet Movie Database
- Largest Shakira Photo Gallery
- Shakira lyricsast:Shakira