What Is Shakira’s Real Name and Where Is She From?

International star Shakira has been a household name in North America since the early 2000s. With her smash song, Hips Don’t Lie, shooting to the top of the charts, she became an instant pop sensation.

Shakira | Noam Galai/Getty Images

Find out more about this extraordinary artist.

She’s from Barranquilla, Colombia

Shakira was born and raised in the seaport Colombian city of Barranquilla, adjacent to the popular tourist city of Cartagena. Her music reflects the fusion of her parentage: her mother is Colombian and her father is Lebanese.

She grew up listening to the local folkloric music of the area, but knew she wanted to do more, to introduce her country to her own brand of Latin rock.

“When I started out in Colombia,” Shakira told Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 show in 2019, “there wasn’t any pop scene for a local artist like me. There was no receptivity. Only for international artists. It was really tough.”

“I was just a kid starting out with big dreams. I wanted to make great productions and expensive videos and there was not only no budget, but no interest. So it was really hard.”

Today’s the Super Bowl, plus it’s also Shakira’s 43rd birthday!

Part of Shakira’s excitement in performing before the Super Bowl crowd is having such an enormous birthday party. Feb. 2 is the artist’s 43rd birthday and she’s ecstatic to be spending her birthday where most artists dream to one day perform.

“I think it’s like the holy grail of the entertainment industry,” the Beautiful Liar singer continued in her conversation with Lowe. “It’s a sports event but it has huge relevance for us artists, and I think it’s going to be fantastic. And I’m going to be celebrating my birthday with 100 million people.”

The fact that this year’s halftime show features two Latina women has not been lost on either star. Each feels this is their opportunity to represent Latino communities in the U.S. and around the world.

“I feel that it’s going to be great because [Lopez] also represents a really important part of the Latino community who lives in the U.S., and who have been born and raised in the U.S.,” she said. “I feel that I’m representing another part of the Latin world, which is all those people around the globe who almost barely speak English.”

The singer’s real name

Shakira’s name is Arabic and it means “thankful.” The full name of the former coach on The Voice is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll. She learned her trademark hip-shaking, belly dancing moves from her grandmother.

Katie Couric, as part of CBS News, asked the singer how she got her hips to move like that. 

Shakira laughed, saying “I have no idea! I’m not a trained dancer. But I do know that I grew up in a city that revolves around dance. Dance is such an important part of our culture. I see so many kids who are so good with their bodies and the way they move to music. I think I was just one of those kids.”

“I think I learned how to dance before I learned how to walk! That’s an exaggeration, of course. But I’ve been dancing my entire life. . . I only have one body and four limbs. This one body that I’ve been given has so many infinite possibilities, isn’t that wonderful?”

Read more: Shakira’s Surprisingly Doable Super Bowl 2020 Diet and Workout