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THE LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS

Shakira May Be Next to Take U.S. by Storm

September 12, 2000|MARCELO REY | LA OPINION

Names such as Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias have become familiar in the mainstream U.S. market; but, in the coming months, they may have to make room for Shakira, who is recording her first English-language album and who is being called the next revelation from the Spanish-speaking world.

The 23-year-old Colombian singer is a Latina version of Alanis Morissette. A great part of her success is attributed to the originality of her lyrics and the manner in which she addresses certain themes. Her unconventional love songs are filled with an acid humor and they avoid predictability.

This helped make her the first pop-rock artist to top the Latin Billboard charts, usually reserved for balladeers and regional Mexican or tropical acts. Despite all the acclaim, until recently her private life had been invulnerable to the press.

That changed in late May when the Argentine media broke the big news: Shakira was attached to the son of president Antonio de la Rua. Shakira was now the kind of personality she had always tried to avoid becoming.

Her life changed radically, she recently left her recording session in the Bahamas to visit her future in-laws. The quick trip was extended and she stayed in Buenos Aires for two weeks. There was talk of pregnancy, a rushed wedding and more, all denied by Shakira and her family--but it was too much for someone who had stayed so far away from such publicity.

It appeared that her song, "Ciega, sordomuda" (Blind, deaf, mute), about the foolish behavior that can come with hopelessly falling in love, had suddenly become about her.

Shakira has now been in Los Angeles for several days, rehearsing for her performance on the Latin Grammy show. She's back working as intensely as she did when she wrote her first song eight years ago. She has everything she needs to conquer the U.S. market, as long as she doesn't remain "blind, deaf and mute."

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