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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll
was born in Barranquilla, Colombia to a Roman Catholic family on February 2, 1977. Shakira began writing and composing music at the age of eight. By the age of 10 she applied for her school choir but because her voice was considered too strong she was rejected. She looked for other singing opportunities and won a weekly television singing competition for children, Vivan Los Niños. Between the ages of ten to thirteen she was a local celebrity in Barranquilla and was invited to several events. Theater producer Monica Ariza helped Shakira to be known outside Barranquilla and even got her an audition with Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas. And even if Vargas was not able to convince Sony Colombia executives to sign her at first, he eventually was successful to do so by arranging a surprise performance for the executives.

Shakira's debut album recorded with Sony Colombia, Magia, was recorded on 1991 when she was 13 years old. Now considered a collectors item, the record sold only 900 copies. In 1993, Shakira’s second album titled Peligro was released. After this album Shakira decided to take a break from recording and to graduate from high school. Shakira was turned down from appearing at the OTI Music Festival in Spain, because she was underage.

In 1995, Shakira returned to the music business with the album Pies Descalzos which established her commercial success. Subsequently the record The Remixes, that featured remixes from Pies Descalzos and some songs re-recorded in Portuguese, was launched. 1998’s Record ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? Produced by Emilio Estefan presented a blend of rock and Latin sound scapes that made it a big success.

With the successful ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? under her belt, Shakira (collaborating with Gloria Estefan) wrote and recorded English versions of the tracks from that album. Some new songs were also composed to create Laundry Service. In September 2002, Shakira was one of the last artists to win the now-defunct International Viewer's Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards with Suerte. In October of that year, she won 5 MTV Video Music Awards Latin America for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist, Best Artist—North (Region), Video of the Year (for Suerte), and Artist of the Year.

In 2005 Shakira released Fijación Oral Vol. 1. The lead single "La Tortura" (The Torture, featuring Alejandro Sanz) became one of the only Spanish songs to debut on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and in Canada it also became the highest-charting Spanish song when it debuted. On October that same year Shakira presented her album Oral Fixation Vol. 2 and on November Shakira won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Female, becoming the first Latin artist to ever win an MTV Award outside of Latin America.

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