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Shakira: Woman Full of Grace!

Full name: Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll
Profession: singer and songwriter
Place of birth: Barranquilla, Colombia
Date of birth: February 2, 1977
Astrological sign: Aquarius
Siblings: 7 brothers

Talented, charismatic, and beautiful Shakira has been called the Latin Alanis Morissette because of their similarities. However, in Latin America, Shakira stands on her own two feet. Shakira recently won Artist of the Year and Female Pop Artist or Group at the Ritmo Latino Music Awards, El Premio de la Gente. Now she is working on crossing over to the US market, with the assistance of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, with an English version of ¿Dónde están los ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?).

Woman Full of Grace:

Shakira was born in Barranquilla to parents of Arab origin, who chose her name because it means, "woman full of grace." Ever since she was very young, Shakira has written verses and songs (before the age of 10, she had already written more than 30), and her ever growing ambition was to be a singer. Her parents realized Shakira's potential, and they put her on radio and television programs in hopes of a record company discovering her. Finally, after learning that an executive from Sony Colombia was staying at a hotel in Barranquilla, the Mebaraks took their daughter to the hotel and waited patiently in the lobby. Since a meeting had not been arranged, her parents had to beg the Sony official to listen to their daughter for a few seconds. Shakira began singing right in the hotel lobby and when she finished, she had her first recording contract.

Evolution:

Miguel E. Cubillos produced her first album, titled Magia, in 1991. Although the album did not sell well, the mere fact that a 14 year old girl had come out with an album awakened the public's curiosity, and it provided the chance for the young star to be invited to several important events in Colombia. In 1992, Shakira was considered to represent Colombia at the OTI Festival in Spain. Her 2nd album, Peligro, came out in 1993, but was not promoted because Shakira was disillusioned with it. Looking for her own path to follow, she accepted a role in the soap opera El Oasis, but only to find that music was her forte. After a period of reflection, her third album was released, Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet), which sold more than three million copies. Estoy Aquí and Un Poco de Amor hit the top lists across Latin America. ¿Dónde están los ladrones? is her most recent work and the fourth album of her career, and it reached number one on the Latin Billboard Charts.

Contributed by Donald Kriz of Conga!

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