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Shakira Shakira
'Whenever, Wherever, ... Whatever!!'

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, on February 2, 1977, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll is the youngest sibling of her parents' eight children. Her father William Mebarak, who is American of Lebanese descent, and Colombian mother, Nidia Ripoll, both supported their daughter's ambition of becoming a singer.

Since then, Shakira's female rocker style has garnered her the World Music Award for Latin Female Artist of the Year, while the phenomenal success of Laundry Service and the hit single "Whenever, Wherever" has catapulted her to fame.

The track 'Whenever, Wherever' was a massive hit throughout America and Europe. Were you suprised at how successful the record became, or did you know as soon as it was released that it was going to be huge? "Well, I'm kind of an optimistic person and I worked on this project expecting that I could obtain good results in terms of success, but the moment that I realised that this could be something beyond my expectations was an afternoon sitting in Tommy Mottola's office. I played the record to him and watched him jump up and down on his chair. I said to myself: "Oh my God Shakira, be ready because this could be something really big!"

OK, what was the single 'Underneath Your Clothes' really all about?! "It's about love, it's about the love that transcends the skin, fashion and the whole external appearence of someone. Loving everything about a person, not just on the outside. It's difficult because when I'm writing I'm just obeying a need and not calculating my words or the power of my words, I'm just trying to be faithful to what I am feeling at that particular moment."

Well you're having a lot of success and the fans love you around the world and particularly your image. In a lot of polls you have been voted one of the sexiest women in the world. How do you feel about that?! "Well," she laughs, "the people who consider me as sexy is probably because they haven't seen me at 4am with no make-up, after coming off a plane! I don't know, I think that there are moments in every women's life that she considers herself to be sexier than others."

You have said that the song 'Rejection' was very special to you. Why is this? "This is actually the first song I wrote for this album and the first song I have ever written in English. This is going to sound a little mystical but I really have a special feeling towards this song. The day I wrote it I was asking God if he would send me an answer if I was really called to do this project, to do the famous cross-over thing. So I tell him ok, if you want me to do this send me a song now, and that's what happened. I wrote the music and lyrics at the same time, it really is something special for me."

Interviewed By Sarah Hickson For Exclusive Magazine

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