Born in 1977 in Barranquilla, a Colombian port city, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoli was an only child. Born to parents Nidia Ripoli and William Mebarak Chadid in the then-struggling country of Colombia, Shakira spent her childhood engrossed in the world of poetry, writing her own creations on her father’s typewriter from age four.
Unlike many other artists, whose interests in music and performance grew slowly over time, Shakira can trace her point of interest in music back to a single event in her childhood. At age four, her father booked the family a table at a local restaurant specializing in Middle Eastern food and art performances.
Upon sitting down to eat, Shakira noticed a belly dancing performance on the stage, located at the back of the restaurant. Before her parents could explain the dancing to her, she leaped onto the table and started imitating the dance. This moment remains in her mind as an indicator of her extreme interest in performance as a youngster.