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Shakira

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira’s first steps in her creative life were developed at a very early age. As a child, she would write short notes to her father, who encouraged her to keep logging her thoughts and emotions and was unintentionally fostering her ability to write song lyrics. But writing wasn’t her only developing skill. By the time she was seven, Shakira displayed an impressive dancing ability when she joined a group of belly dancers at a Middle Eastern restaurant. She showed she could emulate their moves, much to the delight of everyone in the restaurant and she continued delivering impromptu performances for anyone who would stop long enough to watch her. It’s a talent she has clearly continued to put to good use throughout her career though it hardly begins to describe her fluid, sexy dancing ability and the impact it has had on pop culture.


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She also began singing and, from the start, displayed a unique voice that stood out among her peers. Because of her already developed strong vibrato, she could only sing the solos in school because her voice overpowered her class mates. Some of her school pals would laugh at her singing and called her sound “animal-like.” But Shakira was undeterred by the criticism. Early on she decided to embrace her individuality and cultivate her unique voice and dance moves.

In a twist that seems like something out of a made-for-TV movie, a local theater producer whom Shakira had befriended met a Sony Music executive on a flight and convinced him to audition Shakira in a motel lobby. He liked what he heard, but his Sony colleagues in Bogotá felt her voice was too unusual. In a sneaky, yet clever move, the label executive arranged an in-person audition for Shakira, but told his record company staffers they were seeing someone else since they had only heard Shakira and never met her. Her talent won over any doubters and the label signed her to a three-album deal. But she was hardly an overnight sensation. Her first album, “Magia," recorded when she was only 14 in 1991, failed to find an audience. She returned to the studio to record “Peligro", which came out in 1993 and although the album began to build an audience for her, she felt distant from the songs, feeling the project was more a reflection of her producer’s taste than her own.