Who is Shakira? Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, known professionally as Shakira, is a Columbian singer, songwriter, dancer, record producer, businesswoman, and philanthropist. Shakira is one of the most successful Latin American recording artists and one of the most successful female pop artists of all time. She is known for her unique vocal style and her hip-shaking belly dance moves. Early Life Shakira was born on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She was raised in a Roman Catholic household. From a young age she enjoyed singing and dancing. When she was only four years old she wrote her first song titled “Tus Gafas Oscuras” (Your Dark Glasses). At the age of eight, she began performing in school plays and local festivals. Career At the age of 13, Shakira signed her first record deal with Sony Music Colombia and released her first studio album Magia in 1991. The album was not a success but it helped launch her career as a singer-songwriter. Over the next few years she released several more albums with Sony Music before signing a deal with Epic Records in 2001. Her first album with Epic, Laundry Service was an international success selling over 20 million copies worldwide. Achievements Throughout her career Shakira has released 11 studio albums and over 50 singles which have sold over 80 million copies worldwide. She has won numerous awards including two Grammy Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, 28 Latin Grammy Awards, and numerous others. She has also been listed by Billboard as one of the Top 5 Pop Artists of the Decade (2000-2009). Philanthropy In addition to her music career, Shakira is also an active philanthropist. She founded The Pies Descalzos Foundation to improve education in Colombia. She also founded ALAS (Latin America in Solidarity Action), which works to improve education throughout Latin America. In addition to this she also works with UNICEF on various initiatives.