Did You Know Shakira Has Spanish and English Versions of All Her Hits?

From dancing to “Hips Don’t Lie” to singing “Waka waka (This Time for Africa)” during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, everyone, everywhere, knows even one of Shakira’s hit songs. Nevertheless, her first Spanish albums may appear as a surprise to the public who has been in love with this worldwide phenomenon for a long time. Here, we propose a guide to the musical path that became a bridge between Spanish and English.

Barranquilla, Colombia: the origins


If the sound of “Barranquilla” is somewhat familiar to you, it is probably on Shakira’s account, for she included her Colombian hometown in several songs. Born in 1977, she faced rejections from her school choir and from the first Sony executives that listened to a record of her songs, but she finally managed to gain a contract that led to the release of her first albums at just thirteen years of age. While Magi (“Magic”) and Peligro (“Danger”) did not get the commercial success, the company was aiming for, Pies Descalzos (“Barefoot Feet”), her third album, hit both the charts and the records, selling 5 million copies worldwide. It also began the extensive award career that Shakira had in store.

Pies Descalzos had reached the U. S. audience, but it was ¿Dónde están los ladrones? (“Where are the thieves?”) that made her gain U. S. recognition by appearing in the U. S. Billboard 200, recording an MTV Unplugged session in New York, and receiving a Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album. It was also one of the best-selling Spanish albums in the U. S. The “Amphibian Tour” that followed the album’s release included both Latin American and American cities.

Both sides now: English and Spanish versions


Shakira was one of the first Latin artists that gain the spotlight in U. S. culture. Though her Spanish albums were widely sold, she started to release both Spanish and English versions of some of her songs. If you want to understand her previous work and Spanish work overall, you can learn Spanish Barcelona.

A bridge between cultures


What the English-speaking world knew as the single “Whenever, wherever”, was known in the Spanish-speaking world as “Suerte” and it led the way to Laundry Service, the crossover album (influenced by several musical genres) that mixed rock, pop, tango, and Andean and Arabic elements and that secured her place in U. S. Hot 100 ranking. If you are learning with Expanish, you will find Spanish and English songs in the album’s standard edition.

This album was the first of a very long career between cultures. Though she received criticism for her song “translations”, her success crowned her the “Queen of Latin Music”. Being one of the best-selling artists of all time, she made Latin music globally famous. Her MTV Unplugged special, which we have previously named, was the first to be broadcasted entirely in Spanish. Alongside Daddy Yankee, she was one of the first artists to perform Spanish language songs at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. She led the way and influenced many other Latino artists. From Alejandro Sanz to Maluma, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, she has collaborated with various artists from different genres and cultures.

Laundry Service’s impact did not diminish the Spanish-speaking song presence in Shakira’s discography, for Fijación oral, vol. 1, with its almost 160 000 copies sold in the first week of its release, set the record for the best debut of a fully Spanish album in the U. S. It was followed by Oral Fixation, vol. 2. As reflected in the following albums, she would keep on mixing Spanish and English in her albums: in 2009, she released She Wolf, followed by 2010’s Sale el Sol, 2014’s Shakira and 2017’s El Dorado.

She has also promoted the inclusion of Middle Eastern sounds in the global market, for, due to her Lebanese ancestry, she included Eastern Asian elements in her songs. For this reason, she also holds excellent popularity in the Middle East and Africa.

Top Hits

A mixture of musical genres, Shakira has made it to the charts with her songs, both in Spanish and English. Here are some of her best hits:

  1. “Hips Don’t Lie”: this collaboration with Wyclef Jean can also be found as “Será Será (Las caderas no mienten)”. It is the most successful single of the artist.
  2. “Whenever, Wherever”: known in Spanish-speaking countries as “Suerte”, this was Shakira’s most notorious hit until “Hips Don’t Lie” was released. The music video was broadcasted on MTV in both Spanish and English, making it the first Spanish-speaking video to be aired on the channel.
  3. “Waka, Waka (This Time for Africa)”: sung alongside Freshlyground, this single became the South African 2010 FIFA World Cup anthem, and it was said to be “the most successful World Cup anthem ever”. The song was influenced by African and Dominican songs and rhythms, such as the chants “Zangalewa” and “Waka Waka”.
  4. “Underneath Your Clothes”: the English counterpart of Spanish’s “Debajo de tu ropa” was, alongside “Whenever, Wherever”, one of the artist’s earliest international hits.
  5. “She Wolf”: or Spanish’s “Loba”, the single that made it into Shakira’s second bilingual album title.
  6. “Beautiful Liar”: Shakira and Beyoncé sang together in the song, which was followed by a Spanish version called “Bello embustero”.
  7. “Objection (Tango)”: the very first song the artists composed in English was translated as “Te aviso, te anuncio (tango)” for its Spanish version.
  8. “Eyes Like Yours”: or Spanish’s “Ojos así” was one of the hits that made Shakira known in Europe.
  9. “Pure Intuition”: the English version of Spanish’s “Las de la intuición”, which was particularly popular in Spain.
  10. “Did It Again”: also known as “Lo hecho está hecho”. It is included in the album “She Wolf”.

To dance, sing, or study languages, you can listen to Shakira’s songs as a bridge between cultures.