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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, 2 February 1977, Barranquilla, Colombia. This Colombian singer first broke into the Latin Music charts in 1995, and has since established herself as a crossover star with a groundbreaking blend of pop and rock styles. The daughter of a Colombian mother and a Lebanese father, her name means woman full of grace in Arabic. Shakira left her family home at the age of 13 to pursue a modelling career in Bogotá, but ended up signing a recording contract with Sony Records. She released her debut album in 1991, but despite indicating a precocious talent (all the tracks were self-written) neither this nor the follow-up Peligro enjoyed much commercial success.
Shakira returned to high school before branching out into acting, appearing on the Colombian soap-opera El Oasis. She released her breakthrough album, the rock-orientated Pies Descalzos, in 1996. The album was buoyed by the chart-topping success of...