Shakira was born on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of Nidya del Carmen Ripoll Torrado and William Mebarak Chadid, who are of Lebanese, Spanish (Catalan) and Italian descent.She has eight older half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage.
Shakira means “thankful” in Arabic. It is the feminine form of the name Shakir. Her second name, Isabel, is also that of her paternal grandmother, meaning “my God is my oath”, “my God’s house” or “my God is abundance”, and her name is a Spanish given name for Elizabeth. Her second surname name Ripoll is Catalan. She spent much of her youth in Barranquilla, a city located in northern Colombia. Shakira’s business acumen is often attributed to a high IQ, which is reported in the entertainment press to be 140.
Shakira wrote her first poem, entitled “La Rosa De Cristal” (“The Crystal Rose”) when she was only four years old. As she was growing up, she was fascinated watching her father writing stories on a typewriter, and asked for one as a Christmas gift. She got her wish at age seven and continued writing poetry. These poems eventually evolved into songs. At the age of two, an older half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident and at the age of eight, Shakira wrote her first song entitled “Tus gafas oscuras” which was inspired by her father, who for years wore dark glasses, to hide his grief.