Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, and the second most successful female Latin singer having sold about 50 million albums worldwide. She is of Lebanese, Catalan, and Italian ancestry. Known for her belly dancing, her multiculturalism, and her Alanis Morissette
-like voice, Shakira is a she-wolf to be reckoned with.
She is viewed negatively by some, because songs like “She Wolf” make her look like a “dumb” pop star. However, these people aren’t familiar with her history.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her father took her to a Middle Eastern restaurant when she was 4. Here, she heard the doumbek
, and started dancing to an enthusiastic crowd. This is where she found her passion for being a live performer.
When she was 8, her father went bankrupt
. She was sent to relatives in Los Angeles
. She got to return to Barranquilla, but she was shocked to find that a lot of her parents’ belongings had been sold. To show her that things could be worse, her father took her to a local park where orphans were sniffing glue. The images stayed with her and she said to herself, "One day I’m going to help these kids when I become a famous artist."
She got to record two albums in her teenage years: Magia
) and Peligro
). These albums were commercial failures, and soon became victims of Canon Discontinuity
When it was time to record her third album, Shakira started to produce her own music, perfect her voice and take creative control of her music. Pies Descalzos
(English: Bare Feet
) was groundbreaking in the Latin pop world. The songs of the album are melodic, musically surprising and gritty, with intellectual lyrics and an electronic/acoustic blend that effectively broke the formulaic mold of Latin pop with an authentic sound that hadn’t been heard before. The album sold over 5 million copies.¿Dónde Están los Ladrones?
(English: Where Are the Thieves?
), inspired by an incident in an airport in which a suitcase full of her written lyrics was stolen, was a bigger hit than Pies Descalzos
. It combined world, rock, pop, and dance perfectly. It’s also notable for being a success in the United States, where 1,500,000 copies were sold. Shakira’s first live album, MTV Unplugged
, was recorded in New York City on August 12, 1999. Highly acclaimed by American critics, it is rated as one of her best-ever live performances.
After the success of these two albums, she began to work on a crossover album to English, Laundry Service
. Her English lyrics were unusual, which was because she hadn’t quite grasped the language yet. (Yes, this has the song with the lyric "Lucky for my breasts they're small and humble, so you don't confuse them with mountains".) Sure enough, this gained her criticism. Her Latin fans also criticized Shakira, since she apparently sold out to the contemporary American pop market. Laundry Service
nevertheless became a big hit, selling over 13 million copies.
Things are looking big for Shakira. "Hips Don't Lie
", a collab with Wyclef Jean, is still the world's best-selling single of the 21st Century and is the world's biggest pop song ever as well as being the YouTube
video with the highest number of views until 2007 and
spawning "Hips Don't Lie (Bamboo)", the 2006 FIFA World Cup
anthem. Recent songs "She Wolf" and "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" prove that she is still one of the biggest stars in the world right now; "Waka Waka" is currently the fourth most viewed YouTube
music video ever (after Gangnam Style, Baby, and Bad Romance) and was the 2010 World Cup anthem.
Shakira is also a philanthropist. She founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation. It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. She stayed true to her promise to the glue-sniffing orphans after all.
- Pies Descalzos (1996)
- Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998)
- Laundry Service (2001)
- Fijación Oral Vol. 1 (2005)
- Oral Fixation Vol. 2 (2005)
- She Wolf (2009)
- Sale el Sol (2010)
Tropes related to Shakira are:
- All in the Eyes – In the music video for "Objection (Tango)", there is a sequence where Shakira is in the car looking for her wayward lover. Her eyes are illuminated by the reflection from her rear-view mirror.
- It's also the main reason for the song "Ojos Así".
- And "En Tus Pupilas".
- Lines in Whenever, Wherever and Spanish equivalent Suerte say, respectively, "And these two eyes that for no other/ the day you leave will cry a river" and "And these two eyes which tell me/ that they must mourn when you leave".
- Animated Music Video: A portion of the music video for "Objection (Tango)".
- Bare Your Midriff: Does this most of the time (and what a midriff!).
- Belly Dancer - See the videos for "Ojos Así" and "Hips Don't Lie".
- Bilingual Bonus - Her song lyrics, and everything else really, are much more enjoyable if you know Spanish.
- In this interview she purposely mis-translates Daly's message into Spanish, and what she does say is hilarious. There are subtitles, but a lot of the audience was Latino anyway.
- Book Ends: Song No begins and ends with the same one-word line. "No." (Pronounced 'noh'. In Spanish.)
- Breakthrough Hit - "Pies Descalzos"
- Breakup Song - "Don't Bother"
- But Not Too Foreign - 1/4 Lebanese.
- Call Back: The infamous lines of Whenever, Wherever - "Lucky for my breasts they're small and humble/ So you don't confuse them with mountains" - is somewhat revoked in Costume Makes The Clown with the very first lines; "Told you I felt lucky with my humble breasts/ Well I don't".
- In Don't Bother with "and [I'd] learn about football", referencing Inevitable line "I don't understand football".
- Also, Don't Bother repeats the line "I promise you won't ever see me cry" and even though it was released as a single a few weeks before the Oral Fixation Vol. 2 album release, How Do You Do? was the title track of this, including the repetitive lines "Do you ever cry?/ I sometimes cry", the latter of which is confessed - just like it was in Inevitable ('the truth is I cry once a month') and Whenever, Wherever ('the day you leave will cry a river'), which are both earlier songs.
- Illegal has the verse "Who would've thought/ That you could hurt me/ The way you've done it/ So deliberate so determined". The song is preceded by No, the general message of which (you try translate that coherently) is "I can't believe you could hurt me like that, so cruelly". Illegal then ends with "I'm starting to believe it should be illegal to deceive a woman's heart." Clearly, she's getting tired of the cheating.
- Shakira likes to dance in the street, we know this, Hips Dont Lie even has the lyrics "baile en la calle". The video for Ciega, Sordomuda is set up by an event at the beginning, this event being Shakira getting arrested for dancing in the street.
- The Cameo - Enrique Iglesias, Rafael Nadal, Lil Wayne, Wyclef Jean, Beyoncé, Alejandro Sanz and Carlos Santana have all featured with her in a song, music video, or both.
- Dance Battler: In the "Did It Again" video, she and her partner fight in bed capoeira-style.
- Does Not Like Shoes - In her biography, Woman Full of Grace, she indicates that being barefoot makes her feel like she has removed the facades from her personality and allowed her True Self to shine through.
- Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) anyone?
- Though a line in that song does say "ponte siempre zapatos" ('Always wear shoes'). Specifically.
- Double Entendre: "Underneath Your Clothes" to the young ear is about how great the person is inside. To the ear of someone who's been through high school, not so much.
- Dye Hard - Shakira has been bleaching her hair ever since her first foray into the English music market.
- And before that, she partially dyed her hair red.
- Even The Girls (And Gays) Want Her - Stupid sexy Shakira!
- Hot Gypsy Woman - Referenced in her song "Gypsy".
- Hot Pursuit - In the video for Ciega, Sordomuda Shakira and friends are arrested for dancing in the street, the police unafraid of being rough. She manages to get out with some guy and there is a chase scene, complete with smashing through Cardboard Boxes. The cops never quite catch them and in the end discover that they are robots and then the video ends, leaving the viewer with no knowledge whether Shakira and the this-videos-love-interest's dancing with hoops to a mariachi band in the street then leading the police through streets of blindfolded anybodies to discover they are robots in an abandoned disco crimes were ever punished. (The cops could well have been chasing them because first she was and then the pair were both blindfolded, though, and not because they broke out.) Not to mention that it blatantly lies about her height (According to the line-up it's 5'9'').
- Humble Hero - Shakira is a philanthropist and in 2004 turned down a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Used as an excuse to get her dancing into music videos. Props to the one in Ciega, Sordomuda where the cops somehow discover she's dancing there.
- Hypocrite: Songs like Illegal, Objection and Don't Bother are about how much she doesn't like cheating and deception. However, in the video for La Tortura she portrays the woman a man is cheating on his partner with and in Costume Makes The Clown she comes right out and says "It's your turn now/ To cheat on me".
- "I Want" Song – “Quiero”. Obviously.
- The chorus of Suerte ('Lucky', the Spanish version of Whenever, Wherever) just repeats the fact that she wants to live with this guy for the rest of her life. Changes slightly at the end, saying literally that she's up to her neck for him and she wants him to stay with her. In fact, there's pretty much just that line identical in both versions.
- In My Language That Sounds Like - When Borat hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, he at one point giggled when saying Shakira's name. He then explained that "Shakira" is Kazakh for "vagina". (It isn't.) At the end of the show, he tells the audience he will later attempt to "Get into Brittany Murphy's 'shakira'."
- Intercourse with You - "Las de las Intuicion/Pure Intuition":
Let us be one and let's begin / A mistake that turns into perfection / I want to see you sliding in my underworld (underwear?) / This time I plan to let you win / Be a victim of my own invention / Let us be one and let's begin, once and for all/
- Knife-Throwing Act – She appeared standing against a target with knives around her in a photo in the April 2002 issue of FHM magazine (UK edition).
- Lost in Translation: Even after she became more used to the English language, there is no denying that the Spanish versions of her songs are usually more poetic and original, and rhyme much better. Compare a direct translation of the song "Lo Hecho esta Hecho" ("What has been done has already been done" is the closest translation in meaning)
It was that spice in your skin/ Of sulfur mixed with honey /So I filled myself with courage and went for a walk on the wild side
- ...to the corresponding part of the English version of the song "Did It Again",
You were like one of those guys / The kind with a wandering eye (Hey!) / But I said, "Hey, what the hell? Once in my life, I'll take a ride on the wild side
- Lyrical Dissonance - More than one of her songs sounds happy and upbeat. Then you get to read the lyrics...
- Ciega, Sordomuda possibly sounds the most upbeat of them all; the chorus starts, however, "[Unkempt], blind, deaf-and-dumb,/ clumsy, [worried/ irrational], stubborn,/ it is all that I have been".
- Te Dejo Madrid is about having to leave someone she loves dearly.
- And Si Te Vas, but the other way round.
- Waka Waka really is happy, though, whatever language you're listening in.
- Meaningful Echo: In Inevitable she sings "no entiendo de fútbol" - 'I don't understand football' - as she's confessing at the beginning. In Don't Bother she says near the end "For you, I'd give up all I own, and move to a communist country... and learn about football. If it would make you stay."
- Don't Bother repeats the line "I promise you won't ever see me cry", going back to previous track How Do You Do? which included the repetitive lines "Do you ever cry?/ I sometimes cry", the latter of which is confessed which shows her relationship with God is stronger that she can cry in front of Him; but still manages to be question Him because female anger.
- Motor Mouth: She is quite capable of this, and good luck trying to sing along...
- Ms. Fanservice: YES. Tons of belly dancing, ample midriff exposure, and the cover to ''Oral Fixation Vol 2''◊ makes Shakira the loud and proud Trope Codifier.
- Name's the Same – She shares her name with Travis Morgan's ally from "The Warlord"
- New Sound Album – Shakira switches from her Latin-pop-rock fusion to electropop for She Wolf, a sound hinted at with "Las de las Intuicion/Pure Intuition".
- Not Christian Rock - She is a Roman Catholic.
- How Do You Do? is a song which is directed at God; but being rather rude with implied spite from delivery of lines such as "How does it feel to be so high/ and are you happy?'', totally going against Christian Rock. Given, it contains some of the Lord's Prayer but it can be summed up with the lines "if you wrote the script then why the troublemakers?" and "How many people die/ and hurt in your name?/ Hey, does that make you proud?/ Or does it bring you shame?".
- Also mentions Allah, Mosques and Synagogues.
- Some songs vaguely reference God, though; mostly the Spanish ones (so, 'Dios') - also why she makes the cross when singing some of these.
- Nude-Colored Clothes – She wears a nude colored outfit in the “She Wolf” video.
- Obsession Song - If you listen really carefully to the lyrics and block that lovely accent you'll hear that what she's singing can fall into either and in some cases both of the categories.
- Underneath Your Clothes is an example of how she can be both passive and aggressive in this: from "I love you more than all that's on the planet" to "There's my territory/ And all the things I deserve" and with "We... belong to each other".
- Whenever, Wherever and Suerte, despite being supposedly the same song, go in different directions on this one. The former more aggressive and the latter passive with the lyrics "Whenever, Wherever/ We'll learn to be together/ I'll be there and you'll be near/ And that's the deal, my dear" and "With you, my life/ I want to live that life/ And the rest of my life/ I want to live with you" respectively.
- Hinted at in Objection when she sings at the partner "Every twenty seconds you repeat her name/ But when it comes to me you don't care/ If I'm alive or dead" then "I love you for free and I'm not your mother... I'm falling apart in your hands again/ No way! I've got to get away".
- Only One Name - goes mononymously as Shakira (except that one time at UCLA).
- Our Werewolves Are Different – "She Wolf".
- Panty Shot – The video for “Las De La Intuición” has a lot of this.
- Also some in the video for "La Tortura"
- Paper-Thin Disguise: She managed to spend an entire summer at UCLA without being recognized by going by her middle name and dressing up in a cap and pants. The fact that it hit the news she had attended after she was done with the classes proves how effective her disguise was.
- Petite Pride - She's small chested and likes it very much.
Lucky for my breasts they're small and humble / So you don't confuse them with mountains
- That page image disagrees with the "petite" part, though.
- The first two lines of 'Costume Makes The Clown' (Told you I felt lucky with my humble breasts/ Well I don't) also beg to differ with the 'pride' part.
- The Phoenix - The live performance of No in 2007, which is more viewed than the actual music video and widely seen as better, swaps out the butterfly for a phoenix.
- Playing with Fire - On the single cover of Hips Don't Lie; it makes the picture look positively tribal.
- Pretty Butterflies - Music video for No.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... - Happens to the sleazy ex-boyfriend in the video for "Objection (Tango)".
- Raised Lighter Tribute - At the start of the official video for Inevitable.
- Self-Depreciation - Inevitable starts, in short, with "If we're being honest, I'm useless"
- Ciega, Sordomuda has "[Unkempt], blind, deaf-and-dumb,/ clumsy, [worried/ irrational], stubborn,/ it is all that I have been".
- This pretty much sums up the masochistic titles.
- She's Got Legs - Has hips and legs to die for and is not afraid to show them.
- Shout-Out - to James Bond in Spy.
- Singer Namedrop - In true Wyclef style, he manages to repeat "Shakira, Shakira" far too many times to count and still get "The Fugees" into 'Hips Don't Lie', as well as both his home country (Haiti), Shakira's (Colombia) and her birthplace (Barranquilla).
- The start of 'Beautiful Liar' goes "B-Beyoncé, Beyonce/ S-Shakira, Shakira".
- Spicy Latina: Oh, yeah.
- Standard Disco Equipment: Features in the Gratuitous Disco Sequence of some music videos.
- Three Minutes of Writhing - Shakira is particularly famous for shaking her hips.
- Shakira was originally an alt-rock singer more akin to Alanis. Then she began shaking her hips and dyed her hair blonde and became latin-Britney.
- She's a trained bellydancer, which explains the ass-shaking in
some of her videos. Doesn't really excuse smearing herself with oil while writhing, though.
- Possibly the only person in history to dance with Beyoncé (in the video for their duet "Beautiful Liar") and not get upstaged.
- Title1 - Fijación Oral Vol. 1.
- Translated Cover Version – She has done this in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
- Zettai Ryouiki - in the video for her song "Las de la intuiciòn".