Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll is a Columbian singer known better as just Shakira. She was born February 2nd, 1977 in Barranquilla, Columbia. Her parents have Lebanese, Spanish, and Italian decent and she is their only child, though Shakira does have eight half siblings from her father who was married to a different woman before Shakira's mother.
She began to write poems at the age of four and continued throughout adolescence. She wrote her first song at eight. While in a Catholic school, Shakira would perform belly dances for her peers. Shakira's father was forced to declare bankruptcy and to sell much of what they owned. To show his daughter that things could always be worse, he took Shakira to an orphanage and the young girl made a pledge to help these kids. She was true to her promise later on in her life. Through a string of connections, Shakira got an audition with Sony Columbia and was signed to do three albums.
Her first album was relised when she was just 13 years old. The album failed because of poor production but the label urged her to do a follow up. After the second album was also a failure, Shakira took a break to finish high school. After returning to the studio, she took control of the album creatively. It was a huge hit upon its release in 1996 and sent Shakira to international fame. Her subsequent albums were also hits and Shakira has won many awards for her music, including two Grammies and 12 Billboard Latin Music Awards. After her success, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation to help poor children in Columbia. She has also performed for many fundraising events and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Shakira is engaged to Antonia de la Rua, who is the son of Argentina's former President Fernando de la Rua.