Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977, in Colombia. Shakira’s writing skills started at an early age, when she wrote her first poem at four, per Rolling Stone. Gifted a typewriter at seven years old, Shakira continued writing poetry, which eventually evolved into songs. A year later, Shakira wrote her first song, titled “Tus gafas oscuras” (“Your dark glasses”). With her father being Lebanese and taking her to a Middle Eastern restaurant, Shakira first heard the doumbek (a traditional drum used in Middle-Eastern music usually accompanied by belly dancing). She started dancing on the table, and the experience made her realize she wanted to be a performer. She enjoyed singing for schoolmates, teachers, and the nuns at her Catholic school, but in second grade, she was rejected for the school choir because her vibrato was too strong. The music teacher told her that she sounded “like a goat.” She was also known as “the belly dancer girl” after showing off her skills at school every Friday. “That’s how I discovered my passion for live performance,” she said.
An Early Star
Between the ages of ten and thirteen, Shakira gained local recognition after participating in various events in her hometown of Barranquilla. A local theater producer was impressed with her and tried to help her career. Traveling to Bogotá, the producer convinced Sony Colombia executives to hold an audition for Shakira. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums. Her debut album, Magia, was recorded in 1990 when she was only 13. The songs are a collection she made when she was eight, consisting of pop-rock ballads and disco songs.
Shakira’s second studio album, Peligro, was released in March. Neither recorded was a hit and are currently out of print. With a final chance given by Sony, she released Pies Descalzos in 1996. Her fourth studio album, Dónde Están los Ladrones? was released two years later. Upon the success of the album, Shakira compiled an English crossover album. Her lead single, “Whenever, Wherever,” became an international success. With eleven studio albums in her discography, we compiled a list of our six favorite Shakira songs. Take a look below: