Shakira: Woman Child in the Promised Land
Colombian superstar recounts her rise to the top of pop
By VH1 News
VH1: So what’s it really like being Shakira?
Shakira: Sometimes I feel that Shakira is an old woman trapped in the body of a 24-year-old girl. Sometimes I feel that there’s a baby inside me that hasn’t grown up yet. So Shakira can be a very confusing character!
VH1: Why do you think you’re like an old woman inside a young woman’s body?
Shakira: Sometimes I feel full of theories. I don’t necessarily go through the experience of something, because I’ve already decided what the results are going to be. I don’t go out too much at night. I don’t visit too many clubs. I like to go out sometimes and just observe how people behave. When I was 15 years old I preferred dancing to watching. Now I’m on the other side.
VH1:So where do you get inspiration for your songs? By watching
Shakira: I’ve always been curious about the way humans react and live and behave. That’s why I like to observe others. It inspires me and [fuels] my songs. Imagination also plays an important role. All writers have a little bit of a liar or exaggerator in them. All women exaggerate, and I’m no exception. So when I write, I exaggerate a bit.
VH1: What is it that drives you to be a songwriter?
Shakira: I always felt a calling. Like there was some invisible hand behind me pushing me to write, dance, do things. When I was a child, I had the illusion of becoming a scientist, a writer, and a dancer. All three things combined! I remember doing my first poems at the age of four on everything that would surround me. I wrote one to my mom. It was called “The Rose of Crystal.” It was full of fantasy and daydreams. But I didn’t feel clearly that I wanted to be a musician. I started writing my first songs when I was 8 years old. I think my career as a songwriter started my career as a singer.
VH1: How would you describe your music?
Shakira: To me it’s pretty difficult to categorize. It’s just a reflection of what I am – and I am a cocktail! I’m an infusion of different cultures. I was born in Barranquilla, Columbia, and grew up listening to all kinds of typical music from my country. But I also had a great passion for Arabic music, because of my Lebanese background. During puberty I discovered the world of rock ‘n’ roll, and just gave myself up to it. I became a big fan of bands like the Beatles, the Police, the Cure. I guess my music is a reflection of all that.
VH1: What is it like for you to be a rock star?
Shakira: Sometimes I feel like I am a rock artist trapped in the body of a pop artist! I still need the approval of others. I still need to look pretty in my videos. That’s not exactly what represents a rock artist. But I feel rock ‘n’ roll in my veins. I breathe it and I listen to that music the whole time
VH1: Was there a moment when firstly realized, ‘Oh my God, I’m famous!’
Shakira: My encounter with fame has been very gradual, so it hasn’t been traumatic for me to become a popular artist. But I still get surprised when I see myself on something like Saturday Night Live. I’m like, “Is that me
There? On American TV?” Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. It’s like a dream almost.
VH1: How is becoming a star in the United States different from the acceptance you received in Latin America?
Shakira: There’s not that much of a difference between Americans or Latinos now. I know that throughout history we’ve been trying to find differences.