Shakira recently gave an exclusive interview where she opened up about her creative process, her remarkable success on the Billboard charts, and her future plans. The interview was held at the Faena Forum during the Billboard Latin Music Week 2023 and was moderated by Leila Cobo, the chief content officer of Billboard Latin/Español. This was a rare chance for fans to get an intimate glimpse into the life and career of the Colombian superstar.
Here are my top 10 favorite quotes: 1. “Working with Keityn and Edgar from Fuerza Regida was such a blast! They’re great friends and we had a lot of fun together.” 2. “Our goal with ‘El Jefe’ was to showcase the reality that many people face. We wanted to create a song that would resonate with listeners.” 3. “I’ve always loved regional Mexican music, but I wanted to add a unique twist to it. That’s why I decided to incorporate ska elements into the song.” 4. “When you listen to ‘El Jefe,’ you can definitely hear that touch of sensibility that we were going for. It’s a fusion of different genres that somehow all come together.” 5. “It’s interesting because the song could be mistaken for Balkan or British music, but it’s actually all rooted in regional Mexican music.” 6. “I think ‘El Jefe’ is a great representation of our collaborative efforts. We all brought something different to the table and it really came through in the final product.” 7. “Writing and recording this song was a really special experience for me. I felt like I was able to express myself in a way that I hadn’t before.” 8. “One of the things that I love about working on music is the ability to connect with people through a shared experience. I hope that ‘El Jefe’ is able to do that.” 9. “Music is a universal language and it has the power to bring people together. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my art with the world.” 10. “At the end of the day, I just want to make music that makes people feel something. Whether that’s happiness, sadness, or anything in between, it’s all worth it if I can touch someone’s heart.”
Regarding inspiration, I am currently feeling incredibly motivated and inspired. There have been times in the past where it has been a struggle to get myself into the studio, but that’s not the case now. I think everyone faces those moments of creative resistance. Right now, though, I’m in a honeymoon phase with both music-making and my career as a whole. I absolutely adore what I do. When it comes to composing, writing music is a cathartic experience for me. It has always played a therapeutic role in my life. I tend to write the most when I’m going through difficult times. Struggles and hardships have taught me a lot and made me feel stronger than I ever thought possible. I didn’t realize just how much resilience I had until I was forced to confront certain challenges. My music has been an essential tool for me to survive and keep going.
With the unwavering support of his fans, this artist has never felt alone. He describes feeling their presence beside him, offering comfort, motivation, and inspiration. From the early days of his music career at just 14 years old, he has cultivated a relationship with his audience that has only grown stronger over time. Being an artist for the people has been a cornerstone of his experience, and he is grateful for the community that has formed around him.
Regarding his creative process, he explains that it’s not a fixed method, but rather something that changes over time. Sometimes he writes alone and comes up with ideas and melodies while on airplanes or even in the shower. Other times, he prefers to collaborate with friends whom he trusts and feel comfortable with as the process of composing is quite intimate. He also talks about his trust in his sons’ artistic abilities. For instance, his son Milan introduced him to Bizarrap’s music, which he believes can take a song worldwide. He values his children’s opinions and often consults them before releasing a new song. In fact, some of their ideas have been incorporated into his work, such as Sasha’s idea for the robot in the “Te Felicito” video and Milan’s suggestion for the use of fire.
When asked about her relocation from Barcelona to Miami, the singer shared that being in Barcelona made her feel isolated due to the lack of an active music industry. With the absence of immediate access to producers, many of her ideas were left unrealized, which led to a feeling of demotivation. However, upon moving to Miami, she found herself in a community of fellow artists, producers, and musicians, which ignited her creativity once again. Regarding her personal growth, the artist revealed that she used to be quite anxious about small things like a stray hair or smudged eyeliner. Today, she still pays attention to detail but has learned to prioritize what truly matters to her and focus on substance over superficiality. She credits her team for understanding her and supporting her along the way, something that wasn’t immediately present in her early days as an artist. She believes that one’s criteria and values are built up over time through experience and self-reflection.
In the late ’90s, when Tommy Mottola gave me the opportunity to release music in English with “Whenever, Wherever,” I barely spoke the language. But I felt that “Objection” was the perfect song to debut with since it was the first one I had ever done in English. However, Mottola had a different vision and urged me to go with “Whatever, Whatever.” It took some convincing, but he eventually got me on board. Nowadays, audiences have full control over which artists they relate to and what language they prefer to listen to music in. Age, genre, condition, and language are no longer obstacles. All that matters is how well an artist can connect with their audience through their music. When I released Laundry Service, there were many roadblocks and challenges to overcome. But today, singing in Spanish is the trendiest thing you can do as an artist.