At the age of 13, Latin sensation Shakira signed her first recording contract with Sony Music Colombia. In the years that followed, she was established as the major force behind Latin pop-rock. Her album 'Â¿DÃ³nde EstÃ¡n Los Ladrones?' went multi-platinum in the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Central America, Mexico and platinum in Spain. Then came a Grammy and two Latin Grammys. The amazing thing is that Shakira is just getting started. This talented desert rose has bloomed in America with her first English language album release, 'Laundry Service.' (She became fluent in English and wrote all the songs herself.) Recently engaged, 24 year old Shakira is having a whirlwind year. She stopped just long enough to chat a little with dELiA*s. Check out our exclusive interview below.
How has your culture influenced your music?
I am a blend of several cultures. Through my veins runs Spanish, Lebanese and Italian blood. All of this heritage is a strong influence on the character of my music.
Which bands/singers do you listen to?
I am still very hooked on the classics of rock and roll, British pop bands like The Cure, The Police, The Rolling Stones, and of course, Led Zeppelin.
How do you think America differs from Colombia?
Each country has it's own personality. We have different lifestyles, different cultures, a different language, but we do share the most important characteristics, which are values and principles.
What do you miss most about home?
Since I travel so much, I do it with my family, so my 'home' travels with me. Home is made of people you love, not of bricks and walls. But I miss especially the food and my friends from high school.
Whom do you admire?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a fan of yours. What is your favorite novel of his?
I'm a big fan of his. Maybe my favorite novel of his is 'One Hundred Years of Solitude,' not only because it's the most well known all over the world, but because it has allowed people around the world to get to know a piece of my country's idiosyncrasies.
You wrote the songs of your latest album in English. How was the process different from writing songs in Spanish?
Writing in English was a major challenge. However, I didn't want other songwriters to write for me. I wanted to preserve the spirit of my songs in Spanish. I am the same Shakira in English as I am in Spanish. Expressing my ideas and feelings in another language turned into an interesting process. Once I wrote the first song in English, I knew it would be possible to do the rest.
How would you describe your style? Has it changed as you've become more famous?
My basic style hasn't changed. It has evolved. As each day is in a way an evolution of the previous one, I am always in an evolving process.
If you had one hour alone with nothing you had to do, how would you spend it?
Reading, painting and probably staring at nothingness.
What do you do for fun with your girlfriends?
There is nothing more fun than chatting with friends about the old times.
What do you like best about yourself?
Do you have any advice for dELiA*s girls?
The best advice is that from your gut!
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