Shakira Returns from an Extended Maternity Leave: How 'Bicicleta' Could be Shakira's Comeback Single

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Ever since Shakira burst onto the pop culture scene in 2002 with her hit single, Whenever, Wherever her success has been the subject of intense speculation.

While this proud mother of two sons and wife to Gerard Pique Bernabeu has been on hiatus for the last few years, Shakira was driven to achieving in her career quite early on in her life.

But just how did she get her start and what has she been up to in recent years? Read on for a history of her rise to fame.

Shakira: The Early Years

Shakira was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. She had an artistic inclination early on, spending early years singing and dancing. With a Lebanese father and Columbian mother, Shakira has both Arabic and Latin musical roots. As a child, she was known for her talent for belly dancing. Shakira began writing poems when she was age 4, and at age 8, wrote her first song. But it was after meeting a local theater producer, Monica Ariza, that Shakira got her big break. Ariza was impressed with Shakira and arranged for Shakira to have an audition with a Sony Columbia executive.

The audition was impressive enough for Shakira to receive a deal for the recording of 3 albums. Shakira recorded her first studio album at age 13. The album was called, Magia, and released in 1991.

However, it did not do well commercially. Her second album, Peligro, did not do that much better than her first album.

By this time, Shakira, has reached her teenage years, and took some time to take a break and attend high school.

Shakira: Rise to Fame

It was with the release of her third album, Pies Descalzos, that Shakira saw a true glimmer of success. The album was a different artistic direction for her, given that Shakira's songs in her third album were a blend of Arabic and rock and roll influences. The album sold more than 3 million copies.

But it was her next album, Donde Estan Los Ladrones? released in 1998, that marked Shakira as a true superstar given the rise of the album to the top of the Latin Billboard charts.

It wasn't long before the release of Whenever, Wherever, at which point, Shakira's position as a world renowned singer was cemented.

Shakira: Her Career Following the Birth of her Sons

In recent years, Shakira has continued to be active in her singing career. However, her albums have not received the same acclaim as they had in the past.

In fact, she's received more media coverage for her relationship to Gerard Pique, the birth of her two sons, Milan and Sasha and her role as a judge on the American music talent show, The Voice. But with her release of recent teaser videos for her upcoming single, La Bicicleta we suspect that Shakira's gyrating hips are about to catapult her to another round of fame.

Are you ready? Preparados? #LaBicicletaVideo #8July #8deJulio @CarlosVives

A video posted by Shakira (@shakira) on

Photo credit: Marcello Casal Jr/Agencia Brasil