Born in Barranquilla, Colombia to Nidia and William, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll ("Shakira") was an only child, though she has 8 half-siblings from her father's previous marriage.
She was raised Roman Catholic. As a child, Shakira wrote poems, which eventually became songs. She enjoyed belly dancing, experiencing it when she was four years old. No one taught her how. She said, "It's proof that a collective, genetic memory really exists because as long as I've been aware, as soon as I hear the beat of a Derbeque, my hips begin to move instantly, without any effort at all" (shakiraisabel.com).
At age thirteen, Shakira moved to Bogota to pursue a modeling career, but ending up signing a record deal with Sony's Columbian division instead.
Shakira made her debut album, "Magia," when she was thirteen. Other albums followed, but it wasn't until her album "Laundry Service" that she was able to cross over into the English market. Her song, "Whenever, Wherever" reached number one in most countries and the album went triple platinum in less than a year after its release. She told Time, "I knew I could write songs in English. I just had to get over the fear."
Shakira speaks English and Portuguese with a smattering of Italian, French, Catalan and Arabic and has a contralto vocal range.
Shakira has become the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold 60 million albums worldwide. She has toured and released two concert albums, 2007's "Live" and 2008's "Oral Fixation Tour."
In 2008, Shakira signed a ten-year contract with Live Nation and Forbes named her the fourth top-earning female musician in history (starpulse.com).
Shakira listed John Lennon as her biggest influence, though many other bands inspired her as well.
Shakira dated Antonio de la Rua for over 11 years, beginning in 2000, but they broke up. She told Teen People, "I looked at him from a distance and said, 'Oh my God, how handsome this guy is.'" She is currently dating Gerald Pique and they are expecting their first child. She tweeted a photo of them, translated as "I present my sun to you."
Aside from singing, Shakira replaced Christina Aguilera as one of the regular coaches on the NBC singing competition show "The Voice." She also began her own beauty line, "S by Shakira" in 2010.
Shakira created her own charity, the Pies Descalzos Foundation that helps poor children in Colombia.
Shakira has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has won five MTV Video Music Awards and two Grammy Awards, among other accomplishments.
When not touring, Shakira lives in Barcelona, Spain.