Shakira's Influence On America

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When Shakira shimmied her way onto MTV in 2001 with a steamy video for a slick, cookie-cutter dance-pop song, some people associated the Colombian singer with her American pop-music contemporaries Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. But the stylistic breadth of Shakira's music — elements of folk, Middle Eastern and traditional Latin styles over a foundation of rock and pop — gave her a degree of credibility the American teen queens lacked. What's more, when Shakira broke through in the United States, she'd already been a huge star across Latin America since 1996.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born February 2nd, 1977, and raised in a middle class family in the Colombian port city of Barranquilla. Her Colombian-born mother is of Spanish and Italian descent; her New York City-born father's parents had emigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon. Shakira's name is Arabic for "full of gratitude."
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At 10, she won first place in a talent contest sponsored by a local TV station. After enrolling in a modeling school, she put together a dance group and served as its choreographer. Three years later, at 13, she performed an impromptu song and dance for an executive of Sony Discos — the Latin division of Sony Music — and was offered a three-album deal. Her first two albums, Magia (magic) and Peligro (danger), released in Colombia only, consisted of poorly produced pop ballads with electronic accompaniment, and suffered weak sales. But before she began writing and recording the songs for her third disc, she took a hiatus to finish high school. In that time, she discovered American rock acts Nirvana, Aerosmith and Tom

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