Shakira’s Super Bowl performances restores Latin star’s popularity


It served as a reminder for millions of just how brilliant Shakira is, having been a Latin pop icon for the better part of two decades.

Shakira’s music on Spotify saw an overall streaming spike of 230 per cent after the show on Monday, her song Empire seeing an insane 2135 per cent increase in listens from the week before, while She Wolf jumped 905 per cent and Whenever Wherever 705 per cent.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

It had been a while since many people had listened to these songs, which were released in the pre-streaming era.

Shakira, 43, was music’s “It” girl in the 2000s, and while it might seem to some that she’s dropped off the mainstream radar, that’s certainly not the case.

BELLY DANCED AS A TODDLER

Aside from her incredible voice, Shakira is perhaps best known for her insane belly dancing skills.

While eating at a restaurant with her dad in Colombia where she grew up, a four-year-old Shakira heard a doumbek (traditional Arabic drum) for the first time.

The little girl, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, began dancing on the table, and thereafter realised she wanted a future in performing.

When she was 13, she regularly attended events in Colombia and earned local fame, which led her to meeting someone who helped her get an audition with Sony executives.

They were so impressed, they signed her to record three albums.

CROSSOVER TO ENGLISH SINGING

After two unsuccessful albums, Shakira’s third turned out to be a winner, reaching number five on the US Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.

This saw her embark on her first international tour entitled, Tour Pies Descalzos.

Her fourth album was even more successful, leading the US Latin Albums chart for 11 weeks.

But her big breakthrough was in 2000, when she learnt English and worked on her first English crossover album, Laundry Service, featuring the smash hit single Whenever Wherever.

While already hugely successful in Colombia, the album put Shakira on the map globally, particularly in North America.

Her second English studio album and seventh studio album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, was released in late 2005, selling 128,000 copies in its first week and going on to sell 1.8 million records in the US, and more than eight million worldwide.

She performed a popular pop hit with fellow female artist, Beyonce, Beautiful Liar, which was released in 2006.

The following year Shakira sang for the first time at the 49th Grammy Awards and earned a nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for her successful tune, Hips Don’t Lie, with Wyclef Jean.

ONE OF MUSIC’S HIGHEST EARNERS

Shakira, said to be worth a whopping $US300 million today, was dominating the mainstream music landscape, with several successful albums, singles and duets with big artists.

In 2008, Forbes named her the fourth top-earning female artist, just before she signed a substantial $300 million deal with global music touring company, Live Nation.

Shakira performing in Egypt in 2007. Picture: AP/Ben Curtis

Shakira performing in Egypt in 2007. Picture: AP/Ben CurtisSource:News Corp Australia

After releasing another popular single, She Wolf, and performing at Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Shakira recorded the official 2010 FIFA World Cup song, Waka Waka (This Time for Africa), which became the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time.

RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN

Shakira, also a keen philanthropist particularly with human rights and youth education, went from strength to strength leading up to 2010.

But that successful year also marked the end of her long-term relationship with Argentinian lawyer, Antonia de la Rua, whom she had been dating since 2000.

The pair never married.

At the time of their break-up, Shakira said it was a mutual decision and described it as a “temporary separation”.

De la Rua was overseeing her business and career, as he had done for years.

And while it seemed civil at first, de la Rua announced in 2013 he was suing Shakira for $EU100 million ($A1.6 million) he claimed he was owed.

He said Shakira fired him out of the blue in 2011. However, a judge dismissed his lawsuit.

It wasn’t long before Shakira ended up with her current boyfriend, and the father of her two children, Spanish football player Gerard Pique, who she met on the set of the music video for Waka Waka.

Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona and Shakira. Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images

Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona and Shakira. Picture: David Ramos/Getty ImagesSource:Supplied

After the birth of her two children, Milan in 2013 and Sasha in 2015, Disney announced Shakira would voice their new animation Zootopia, as the voice of pop star Gazelle.

The film opened to a record-breaking box office success and earned a worldwide gross of over $1 billion.

TAX PROBLEMS AND CAREER CONCERNS

In 2017, Spanish prosecutors announced an investigation into Shakira’s tax status.

She was later charged with tax evasion, alleged to have owed $EU14.5 million ($A23.71 million) by claiming to live in the Bahamas.

Authorities maintained she was a resident of Barcelona, (where she currently lives with her partner and two children).

Prosecutors alleged she was already living in the Catalan capital between 2012 and 2014, and should have paid tax on her worldwide income for those years in Spain.

They argued she was resident in Spain for most of the year and only travelled abroad for short stints.

In a statement at the time, Shakira’s PR company said she had appeared in court to “help clarify the facts over her tax situation in Spain”, adding the singer had always met her tax obligations in each country she worked in and did not owe taxes to the Spanish state.

“As soon as she learned how much she owed the Spanish tax authorities – and before a complaint was filed – Shakira paid the full amount,” the statement said.

All the while, Shakira was suffering from crippling health problems.

In late 2017, she feared she’d never be able to sing again after suffering a haemorrhage in her vocal chords.

Singer Shakira holds the four awards she won at the Latin Grammy Awards in New York in 2006. Picture: AP/Paul Hawthorne

Singer Shakira holds the four awards she won at the Latin Grammy Awards in New York in 2006. Picture: AP/Paul HawthorneSource:AP

“I always thought there were going to be things in my life that would go away, like beauty, youth, all of that stuff,” she told The Guardian last year.

“But I never thought that my voice would leave me, because it’s so inherent to my nature.

“It was my identity. So when I couldn’t sing, that was unbearable. There were times I couldn’t even get out of bed. I was so depressed.”

Her El Dorado World Tour was postponed as a result, only one day before it was slated to begin in November in Germany.

It took seven months, but Shakira’s voice returned without surgery, and she restarted her world tour in June 2018.

“It felt like I was having some kind of religious experience,” she said of her return toe the stage.

SUPER BOWL SUCCESS

Last year, the organisers behind the NFL Super Bowl halftime show – which has become a cultural phenomenon over the years – announced JLo and Shakira would be the 2020 performers.

It was the first time two Latin artists would headline the event.

Shakira belly danced at the Super Bowl. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP

Shakira belly danced at the Super Bowl. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

Despite being up against JLo’s string of catchy hits, Shakira’s song Hips Don’t Lie proved the most streamed song from their set on Spotify, with 1.8 million audio streams on Sunday and Monday.

Shakira’s longevity in the industry is particularly impressive given her ability to breach the lines of crossover, a feat not many artists have been able to achieve.

The New York Times called her the “Titan of Latin Pop”, adding “Shakira is a titan of Latin pop. Even as a new generation of Spanish-speaking artists are crossing over into American music’s mainstream, Shakira’s output stands alone.”

As for what she’s up to next? Who knows, Shakira belly dances by the beat of her own drum.



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