Shakira has an enormous talent, the way she sings, and most definitely, the way she moves that sexy bod of hers. She takes belly dancing to whole new levels. The sex appeal, spectacle, and substance of Shakira are in full effect on Live and Off the Record, a combination DVD/CD recorded primarily in Rotterdam in 2003. In many respects, Shakira's show is like those of other contemporary pop divas: tightly choreographed dancing, frequent costume changes, songs (in Shakira's case, sung in both English and her native Spanish) with big, anthemic choruses. But Shakira's sound is harder-edged than, say, Britney or Celine's; her core backing musicians are your basic two-guitars-bass-drums rock band, and she even covers AC/DC's "Back in Black." She's a stronger singer than Janet Jackson, and writes or co-writes more of her own material (music and lyrics alike) than any of the others; she even displays some passable chops as a drummer. Much of the material here, including hits like "The One" and "Whenever, Wherever," comes from Shakira's Laundry Service, the 2001 CD that was her first to feature songs in English. Ten of the 15 tunes from the live performance are also included on the accompanying audio-only CD, while among the DVD features is a 50-minute documentary. Combine all of that with frequent close-ups of her belly (bare, of course) and her, um, back, and you've an entertaining show by a performer with a substantial upside.
Shakira was born in Barranquilla, Colombia to a Colombian mother Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado of Spanish-Italian (Catalan) descent and an American-born father William Mebarak Chadid of Lebanese Catholic descent. She was one of seven siblings, one of which is her road manager. Shakira began writing and composing music at the age of eight. One of her first songs was called "Tus Gafas Oscuras" (Your Dark Glasses), which was about her father's grief over his son who had died in a car accident. At the age of ten, Shakira tried out for her school choir, but she was not taken because her voice was "too strong." She was teased by her friends for sounding similar to a goat.  As a result, Shakira started looking for other singing opportunities, and competed in a weekly television singing competition for children, Vivan Los Niños (Long Live The Kids). Between the ages of ten to thirteen, Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla, and gained some recognition in the area. It was around this time that she met local theater producer Monica Ariza, who was impressed with Shakira and as a result attempted to help her career. During a flight from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Ariza convinced Sony Colombia executive Ciro Vargas to hold an audition for Shakira in a hotel lobby. Vargas held Shakira in good regards and returned to the Sony office and gave the cassette to a song and artist director. However, the director was not overly excited and thought Shakira was somewhat of "a lost cause". Vargas, not daunted, was still convinced that Shakira had talent, and set up an audition in Bogotá. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to arrive at the audition, with the idea of surprising them with Shakira's performance. She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be subsequently signed to record three albums.
Magia (Magic) was Shakira's debut album, recorded with Sony Colombia in 1991, when she was 15. The album did not fare well commercially as less than one thousand copies were sold. After Magia, Shakira released Peligro (Danger) in 1993. The album was better received than Magia, but Shakira decided to take a hiatus from recording so that she could graduate from high school. In 2001, upon the success of ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, Shakira began working on a crossover album to the English language. Collaborating with Gloria Estefan, Shakira wrote and recorded English versions of the tracks from ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, and new songs were composed to create the album Laundry Service. Although it was created for the intent of selling to an English language market, the rock and Spanish dance-influenced album also featured four Spanish songs, including "Que Me Quedes Tú" (That You Love Me). Some critics claimed that Shakira's English skills were too weak for her to write in it, but Laundry Service was a success, with more than 13 million sales worldwide, yielding the worldwide hit "Whenever, Wherever" and singles "Underneath Your Clothes" (a Canadian number-one), "Te Dejo Madrid" (I Leave You Madrid), "Objection (Tango)", and "The One". The album and its singles helped to establish Shakira's musical presence in the mainstream North American market. In 2002, Shakira also released her Spanish greatest hits volume Grandes éxitos. A DVD and ten-track compilation album called Live & Off the Record, was also released in 2004 reaching sales of 3 million CDs worldwide, commemorating Shakira's 2002-2003 world tour, the "Tour of the Mongoose." In September 2002, Shakira won the now-defunct International Viewer's Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards with "Suerte". In October of that year, she won 5 MTV Video Music Awards Latin America for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist, Best Artist—North (Region), Video of the Year (for Suerte), and Artist of the Year. At Aerosmith's MTV Icon in 2002, Shakira performed "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)". Also in 2002, Shakira joined the likes of Celine Dion, Anastacia, Cher and The Dixie Chicks for VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas. In 2000, Shakira started dating Antonio de la Rúa, the son of the then president of Argentina Fernando de la Rúa, a romance that made headline news throughout Latin America. In March of 2001, he proposed to her. During Fernando De la Rúa's presidency, the economy of Argentina collapsed, leading to the subsequent December 2001 riots; in response to the turmoil, Tower Records decided to no longer sell Shakira's albums  in Argentina as Antonio was directly involved in the management of his father's administration. De la Rúa and Shakira remain engaged, with no announced marriage plans.
Here are some quotes by Shakira for you to savour:
-- "The worst mistake of a woman is to go to the kitchen, because then she never gets out of there."
-- "I can't hire other people to write songs for me. I have to write them myself."
-- "I admire a person who, for the love of art, is able to take off their clothes in front of a camera. But I'm not capable, I'm too cowardly for that".
-- "It's not easy to work with me, I recognize that. It's not easy if those people aren't as perfectionistic as I am".
-- "The worst frustration for a singer is choosing a career in making music and then not being able to make music because you're always giving interviews".
-- "My brain, I believe, is the most beautiful part of my body".
-- "Videos come definitely after the music has been created, but I have always felt, and especially today, that videos are vital in the album process. I think that we live in a very visual era and if you make a mistake with a video, those images will accompany the song forever. There is no way to divorce the image from the music once the video has been filmed and exposed."
-- Announced engagement to Antonio de la Rua, son of the present President of Argentina. [March 2001]
-- Is the youngest of eight siblings.
-- Shakira is Arabic for "grateful or full of grace."
-- Is of Colombian and Lebanese heritage
-- Named her album "Laundry Service" because when she is in love she feels "clean and fresh"
-- Has an IQ of 140!
-- Fluent in Portuguese, Italian, and English, in addition to Spanish and Arabic
-- Hates to wear jewelry.
-- Her Lebanese grandmother taught her the art of Arabian Belly Dancing so she can stay true to her middle eastern roots
-- Has perfect pitch (the ability to recognize any note upon hearing it or sing any note without prior to hearing it)
-- Her manager for Latin America, Patricia Tellez, the woman who helped her go from being local artist to Grammy-winning global artist, died of a heart attack in Bogota on 17 August 2004.
-- Ranked #9 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002).
-- She likes chocolate balls.
-- Father's name is William Mebarak Chadid and mother's name is Nidia del Carmen Ripolli Torrado.
-- Her mother is half Colombian and half Italian and her father is American with Lebanese ancestry.
-- She has 5 half brothers Alberto, Edward, Moises, Tonino and Robin and 3 half sisters Ana, Lucy and Patricia.
-- Steven Spielberg offered her the role of Elena Montero in The Mask of Zorro (1998) back when he was originally in talks to direct it. But she turned the offer down because she felt that not only was she a bad actress, but her English wasn't good enough.
-- When she was two years old her oldest half-brother died in an accident while he was riding a motorcycle and a drunk man hit him with his car.
-- Her oldest half-sister Lucy is a surgeon, Alberto, her half-brother, is a lawyer, Moises is the third child, Tonino is the fourth child and the closest to Shakira, having worked many years as her road manager. Then is Patricia who lives in Spain, she is a special education teacher, and finally there is Antonio and Edward, the youngest who lives in Miami.
-- The first English song she wrote was Objection, from the album Laundry Service.
-- She loves to eat corozos, a little Colombian fruit that is sweet-sour.
-- Lost her suitcase with all her songs from Donde Estan Los Ladrones in an airport in Bogota Colombia. This happened a couple of months before she walked into the recording studio to begin on that album.
-- Mattel put out several Barbie dolls inspired by Shakira and her look.
We know your captivated by Shakira. Who isn't? You won't be able to take your eyes off her belly, once you start watching her DVD, totally downloadable and your absolute right to have. There are no commercials, nothing to interrupt the viewing of Shakira and her live performance from 2003. She's got such a beautiful face and that belly button undulates with such ferocity and sensuality, you're gonna be hypnotised watching her hot bod and listening to her perfect pitch. It's a combination you DON'T need to miss. Indeed, all this is yours, permanently downloaded to YOUR hard drive. Share with your friends. Party hard and knock yourselves out with the excellence of Shakira!