Shakira has become one of the biggest names in music

Tue 14 Jun 2011

Since she burst into the UK charts in 2001 with her panpipe-laden hit single Whenever Wherever, Shakira has become one of the biggest names in music with a string of hit singles, multi-million record sales and a stack of awards to her name. But what you might not know is that her career began much earlier than that in her native Columbia.

After signing her first record deal aged just thirteen, the singer, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, released a number of Spanish language albums. While her first two efforts were only modest successes, her third, Pies Descalzos (which means Bare Feet - see, we knew our GCSE Spanish would come in handy one day!), set her on the path to superstardom, reaching No.1 in no less than eight countries.

When the follow-up, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? (Where Are The Thieves?), became an even bigger hit, she decided to follow in the footsteps of Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias by recording her first tracks in English. The resulting album, Laundry Service, sold over thirteen million copies worldwide and famously gave birth to the phrase Lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you dont confuse me them with mountains.

Keen to keep both of her fan bases happy, she released her next album, Oral Fixation, in two parts: one in Spanish and another in English. The latter featured her duet with Wyclef Jean, Hips Dont Lie.

With 2009's chart-topping album, She Wolf, Shakira set tongues wagging around the world. More hits (like the Pitbull-produced Loca) came in 2010. We're looking forward to seeing what the Latina princess does next!