The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

La Reina: Shakira

Taken by Danny Howe from Unsplash

Tsamina-mina eh eh Waka Waka eh eh

Tsamina mina zangalewa This time for Africa.

You recognise those lyrics don’t you? Of course you do, it’s likely one of the most recognisable songs worldwide. The artist that made that song? Shakira, of course, a true musical icon and perhaps one of the greatest artists of her generation. In Australia she is almost underrated with the lack of recognition she gets, which is a massive pity. So here I am to give her the recognition she deserves in school article form.

*Note: We Are Editor-In-Chief, James has asked me to keep this article brief due to the amount of editing my longer articles require. So, apologies to all of you wanting a 2000-word article, this one is going to be short…ish.

The first, and perhaps most impressive strength of Shakira’s career is her longevity. Her career began with her first career beginning in 1990 when she was just 13 and her first major album being released in 1995. Now, at 47 years old, she is set to release a new album on March 22nd this year. That’s nearly 30 years between her first and latest album. Not only that but her popularity has maintained and in fact increased with a song released last year with Karol G, TQG, receiving over 1 billion total streams, breaking the Guinness World Record for most listened to Spanish track by female artists. She has had hits with over 1 billion steams in 3 decades at this point spanning over 20 years between the first and last. If that isn’t longevity for a modern pop artist, I don’t know what is. For context bands such as Nickelback, matchbox 20, the spice girls (no hate to the spice girls though), the backstreet boys, Green Day, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera and probably most notably Britney Spears all started their musical careers in the 1990’s or 2000’s and have now lost all their mainstream popularity. Even if you argue any of them are still relevant, perhaps due to writing a book, they certainly haven’t had a hit song that reached over a billion streams in the last year or so. It’s also hard to imagine artists that are currently famous maintaining that popularity after 30 years or when they’re 47. As a reference point, Taylor Swift is 34, I find it difficult to picture her being anywhere near as popular as she is today in 13 years time. Popular 2010’s artists like Justin Bieber have only recently hit 30, he’d have to keep going for nearly 20 years to match Shakira’s record and honestly, it seems like he, and others like him have already started declining in popularity. Shakira’s longevity and maintenance of popularity is basically unmatched by the artists of her generation, an accomplishment that already pushes her close to legendary status.

Speaking of accomplishment, however, let’s go on to some of the things Shakira has won over the years. These include 3 Grammy’s and 14 Latin Grammy’s. She’s won awards all over the world, including in Canada, Germany, Cyprus, Italy and Switzerland, all of which aren’t Spanish speaking countries. She also currently holds 19 Guinness World Records and countless other awards for her music, with Wikipedia claiming the total awards she has won as 505. She’s had many number 1 hits on not only Spanish speaking billboards, but also on the international level as distant as Japan. Her songs in both English and Spanish are loved and accoladed around the world.

It’s also important to acknowledge the fact that Shakira’s first language is Spanish as she is from Colombia. This makes the hits she’s had that are in English all the more impressive. As her more recent songs and likely her newest album will be in Spanish you would be forgiven for thinking that Shakira, like so many similar artists, had become irrelevant. But in reality, she’s probably almost as popular as she was in the 2000’s or perhaps equally so. In saying that, her popularity will get another huge boost with the release of her new album Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran. The reason you likely haven’t been aware of that popularity is because it is mainly in the Spanish speaking areas of the world. That’s still over 600 Million people mind you. The reason many people, in Australia at least, aren’t aware of Shakira’s success and popularity past around 2014 is due to the lack of Spanish speaking population in Australia (Under 200 000).

For those of you who are unaware of Shakira’s more recent music, honestly you’re missing out. If you like pop, Latin or reggaeton music or even if you don’t, you’ll still probably love Shakira’s music. You might not be able to understand the lyrics, but you’ll still find yourself bopping to the music.

In case you didn’t have enough reasons as to why Shakira is an absolute icon, I have more. Whilst being more than capable of having her solo songs do well, Shakira has also collaborated with a great number of other popular artists throughout her career. These include, Rihanna, the Black-Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Carlos Santana and many more. There are also many notable Latin Artists that she has collaborated with, recently and notably with fellow Colombian Karol G and Argentine DJ and producer Bizzarap as well as Alejandro Sanz and Maluma among many others.

I’ve got to mention that she does all this now while being a single mother of two. With her children Sasha and Milan actually featuring on her song Acróstico last year. It’s honestly just really impressive, to me at least, that a 47-year-old single mother of two preteen children can churn out massive hits and now, in less than a month, her 12th studio album whilst staying sane and also maintaining incredible popularity, in the Spanish speaking world especially.

In reality I could yap for multiple thousand words on this topic, but for the sake of the readers sanity and my employment in We Are I’ll leave it at this.

Shakira is a musical icon and legend, she’s highly acclaimed, heavily awarded and has more longevity than most artists of her generation. On top of that her music is genuinely enjoyable as well as extremely popular, especially in the Spanish-speaking world. I think its hard to deny her influence on both Latin music and on music in general. As my final message, please check out her new album, releasing March 22nd and some of her other music and find out for yourself why she is so successful and iconic.

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