Thanks to stars like J Balvin, Maluma, Karol G and Sebastian Yatra, Colombia has become the hub for reggaeton, urban music, and future hit makers, but Shakira is one Colombian artist who broke into the international music world way before her native country became a musical hotspot.

Shakira was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1977 to a Colombian mother and an Lebanese father. The future superstar began writing her own music at the age of eight and signed her first record deal when she was just 12 years old. But despite having a record deal with Sony Colombia, Shakira’s first two albums didn't sell well commercially, although they did help boost her profile.

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When Shakira’s third album, Pies Descalzos, was released, the artist was in her late teen years and had taken much control over the production process. The record was the artist’s major breakthrough; with the blend of Latin, rock and Arabic beats combined with Shakira's charismatic image – including her soon-to-be iconic, dark flowing hair – the album sold more than three million copies.

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After such a successful third album Shakira released ¿Donde están los ladrones? and broke into the American market under the Latin category. When she was 20 years old, Shakira and her family moved to Miami, where the up and coming singer worked with Emilio Estefan on her album Laundry Service. The album went to number 3 on the charts, sold more than 200,000 copies in its first week and was a major hit overall.

Throughout the years Shakira continued to work with musical experts, legends and newcomers in the industry but more than anything, she has continued to create hit records in a variety of genres and languages, showing off both her unique talent and her powerful voice. 

Shakira’s musical success also led her to find love, since she met her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué, while filming the video for her song Waka-Waka (It’s time for Africa), the 2010 World Cup anthem.

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