Grammy Spotlight: Shakira

Honestly Shakira, needs no introduction. She’s a global superstar known for her unique voice and sound, captivating lyrics, incredible dancing and energetic stage presence. I could go on and on listing Shakira’s hits, but the fact that Whenever Wherever was the best selling single of 2002 and that in 2006 Hips Don’t Lie  broke the record for most radio spins in a week says enough. According to Billboard, Shakira has achieved the Number 1 position on the Hot 100 chart and 4 top 10 hits. As reported by Sonny, Shakira has sold over 70 million albums worldwide. In 2014 her Self-Titled album peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard 200 Album chart, surpassing her previous peak of #3 with Laundry Service. This comes to prove that not only is Shakira one of the few Latin American singers that have been able to successfully cross-over into the American music market. She has found tremendous success in both the English and Spanish language.  The Recording Academy has recognized the Colombian-Lebanese singer/songwriter  with 2 Grammy Awards and 13 Latin Grammy Awards. This year she’s nominated for Best Pop Latin Album for her 2017 album, El Dorado. This is Shakira’s first nomination in 10 years, since last been nominated in 2007 for Hips Don’t Lie.

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Photo courtesy of the Latin Grammy Awards

Shakira got her first record deal when she was just 13 years old, and with El Dorado she proved that after almost 30 years in the music industry, the magic is still flowing. The album includes songs in Spanish, English, and French. The album includes her collaborations with fellow Colombian artists, the legendary Carlos Vives ( La Bicicleta) and with Maluma (Chantaje & Trap), one of the most prominent voices of the Latin Urban genre. Her collaboration with Dominican singer Prince Royce (Deja Vu), Dominican-Puertorican reggaeton singer Nicky Jam (Perro Fiel) and with French rapper Black M (Comme Moi). Another song from the album, Me Enamore, was everywhere this last summer, showing once again the power Shakira holds.

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Photo courtesy of Billboard

Shakira’s unique sound is known for combining both lines of her heritage, incorporating both Latin and Arabic influences with pop-rock production. With El Dorado , she added more current Latin sounds, such as those dominating the current Latin Urban/ Trap scene. Shakira has been writing songs since she was 8 years old, and her penmanship on this album shows us her growth over the last 32 years. Songs such as Nada, Toneladas, and Amarillo showcase not only her vocal skills but is here where her songwriting really comes to shine.

At the beginning of her career, Shakira failed to achieve commercial success, due to her label controlling the creative process of her first two albums. It wasn’t until Pies Descalzos that she took creative control, which showed as she attained success across Latin America. With Donde Estan Los Ladrones ?, she started her transition to the United States, taping at the Latin Music market of the country. Shakira is an example of a strong woman that took things into her own hands. She did not let the failures of her career get in the way of her goals.

Shakira Poses For A Photo Session
Photo Courtesy of Billboard

Shakira not only opened doors for women but for all Latin artists in the United States. Her influence on the industry is still present. Nowadays everyone is releasing Latin remixes of their songs, and we are seeing more and more artist cross-over into the U.S market, and while it’s amazing that the talents and artistry of Latin America are being recognized, it’s important to recognize those who pioneered it in modern times.

You can listen to Shakira’s El Dorado on Spotify, AppleMusic, and Tidal.

Tune in on January 28, for the 60th annual Grammy Awards to see if Shakira takes home the award for Best Pop Latin Album.

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