A comprehensive list of the 100 women who've influenced how I listen to music. These are the women who've impacted MY life. You may not agree...as a matter of fact...I hope you don't. The debate is the interesting part. Enjoy!
Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity...
“ A voice of pure heartache...she moves me with her raw spirit. She may not have had the most beautiful voice, but her soul was her true instrument, anyway. Highlights: Strange Fruit, Fine and Mellow, My Man ” - tjg9696
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland
was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota...
“ Fred Astaire referred to Judy as "the greatest entertainer that ever lived"..and I couldn't agree more. Her voice went deeper than any man's and she beckoned you with her vulnerability. She made you want to put her arms around her and just listen...listen to the voice of a difficult life. Highlights: The Man that Got Away, Smile, Through the Years ” - tjg9696
“ Often mistaken for a country vocalist, Ms. Raitt couldn't be more indicative of the blues. She could play her slide guitar with the best men, and frequently outdid them. A voice with just the right amount of grit and warmth, she found worldwide recognition late...late in a long, illustrious career that continues to this day. Highlights: Angel From Montgomery, Love Me Like A Man, I Can't Make You Love Me ” - tjg9696
“ The voice of God, if you must know, is Mahalia Jackson. Highlights: How I Got Over, Nearer My God To Thee, Trouble Of The World ” - tjg9696
This volatile opera diva was born in New York City to Greek émigrés in 1923. Her father set up a pharmacy and changed the family name from Kalogeropoulos to Callas. As a child Maria studied the piano. When her parents separated (she was 14 at the time), her mother returned to Athens with Maria and her sister...
“ A voice that can best be described as "legendary" or "mythical"....Maria Callas is just simply beyond the musical vocabulary of many people. Too many people, really...and that's a shame because Maria had the ability to convey absolutely any emotion through sheer force of her instrument. She told the most epic stories and lived them simultaneously. Highlights: Casta Diva, La Mamma Morta, Il Dolce Suono. ” - tjg9696
Amy Winehouse was a five-time Grammy Award-winning English singer-songwriter known for such hits as 'Rehab' and 'You Know I'm No Good' among her other works. She was born Amy Jade Winehouse, on September 14, 1983, in Enfield, London, England to a Jewish family with Russian ancestry on her mother's side...
“ Its not really a coincidence that so many women on this list are figures of tragedy, but Amy might just take top honors in that category. She was tragic in life, and somehow lesser so in death. She knew what pain was, and she infused her music with it effortlessly. She could never have been as well known as she was without her demons pushing her...and perversely, I'm glad she had them. We were all blessed with her short tenure on this planet, and I will forever refer to her as my one and true "Goddess". Highlights: Wake Up Alone, Love Is A Losing Game, You Know I'm No Good. ” - tjg9696
Several Grammy award wins, the first women to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and dubbed as the Queen Of Soul. Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Aretha was born to parents, Barbra Singers homemaker, and Clarence Franklin a baptist minster. Aretha Franklin started to sing due to her father being a minister...
“ The one and only Aretha, perhaps the epitome of the hype living up to the talent. She has a gift for both supreme soulfulness and incredible versatility in her performance. I don't think I've ever heard her attempt a genre she didn't completely excel at. With a flawless musical pedigree, even her troubled youth couldn't stand in the way of this meteoric career. Highlights: The House That Jack Built, Dr. Feelgood, Until You Come Back to Me. ” - tjg9696
“ More than any other woman on this list, Sade was truly gifted with an amazing, and natural, sound. She has, in my opinion, little actualy skill...and rarely uses vibratto, but I would rather listen to no other woman sing softly into my ear. While many have voices that personify sex...few have been bestowed with voices that personify love. Sade is one member of that elite circle. Highlights: No Ordinary Love, Cherish the Day, Is it A Crime? ” - tjg9696
Janis Lyn Joplin was born at St. Mary's Hospital in the oil-refining town of Port Arthur, Texas, near the border with Louisiana. Her father was a cannery worker and her mother was a registrar for a business college. As an overweight teenager, she was a folk-music devotee (especially Odetta
“ Many ladies have been compared to this first lady of rock/blues....but few can match her ability to lose herself in a performance. Songs were often barely recognizable when she belted them out, and yet the always sounded superior. She came out of the gate with this filthy tone, and was not ashamed of it. She lived and died a 60's ideal, and nobody has ever had such impact with so few albums to her name. Highlights: Ball and Chain, Summertime, Mercedes Benz. ” - tjg9696
Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932 in Winchester, Virginia. Her brush with show business came at age four when she won a prize in an amateur tap dancing contest. By the time she entered grade school, her family was fully aware of her musical talent. On her eighth birthday...
“ A voice made of tears, Patsy was an artist with a story to tell. She used her incredible, juicy, rich tone to beat your heart to a pulp. She represented everything that country isn't (and should be) today. ” - tjg9696
“ Once referred to as "the greatest white soul singer alive", Annie has the benefit of a voice as deep as an ocean but as precise as a scalpel. She needs nothing but a stool and a stage to captivate an audience. An audacious and often imitated sense of style only adds to th legend that is Annie Lennox. Highlights: Why, Little Bird, Would I Lie to You? ” - tjg9696
“ "Showmanship" is a word that springs to mind when thinking of Ella. Her talents went beyond simple vocals and contributed to a career marked by an incredible sense of performance. She could tackle em with the big boys, and often did it better. Like a female Sinatra, Ms Fitzgerald understood her capabilities, and used them precisely and playfully. Highlights: How High the Moon, Mack the Knife, Love is Here to Stay ” - tjg9696
was born in Phoenix, Arizona. From an early age, she showed a love and aptitude for music, singing country and western duets with her grandfather when she was 4 years old. After moving to San Francisco, she began songwriting and performing at Menlo-Atherton High School, where she met her future long-time companion...
“ All one must do is watch an archived Fleetwood performance of "Rhiannon" at The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1976 to behold the incredible fire this woman packs. Usually a bit demure and mysterious, that performance is evidence of the talent. Her voice is sandy and a little imperfect, a testiment to a tough life of rock and cocaine, but its what gives her perfomance its character. Highlights: Silver Springs, The Chain, If You Ever Did Believe ” - tjg9696
, a native of South Orange, New Jersey, first came to attention with the multi-talented Fugees
. Their first album, "Blunted On Reality", went virtually unnoticed by the public; their real breakthrough came with the sophomore album, "The Score", which featured "Killing Me Softly"...
“ Nobody quite conjures memories of my childhood quite like Ms. Fugee herself. I can think of nothing but sitting by an open window, trying to memorize her music, hoping a talent scout would hear me while they just HAPPENED to walk past my house at that precise moment. I believed in that just as much as I believed in Lauryn and her power. Even after all the negative press that surrounded her, I refused to let it affect my relationship with her music. Highlights: Ex-Factor, Tell Him, Just Like the Water ” - tjg9696
“ More than anyone on this list, Sarah has the most incredible way with lyrics. Listening to her coffeehouse albums, its quite easy to get completely lost in that moment, in that song. Pair that with a hypnotic voice, and you have a performance quality like nobody else on this Earth. Highlights: Possession, Full of Grace, Do What you Have to Do. ” - tjg9696
Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar...
“ That TONE....that rich, smoky, feline tone! Nina is easily the most underrated artist on this list...in fact, I think I underrated her too. Instead of injecting herself into music she would twist a song around her voice. She had the ability to induce musical comas with the sheer weight of her performance. Not easily understood, but truly gifted. Highlights: Sinner Man, Feelin' Good, Summertime. ” - tjg9696
Daughter of former singer Diane McAfee and actor Brandon Maggart
. She was classically trained as a pianist as a child and began composing songs when she was eight years old. She crafted a demo tape while in Los Angeles finishing High School. When she returned home to New York for Christmas one of the tapes found its way to a friend who supervised the care of a music industry executive's children...
“ Smacking us in the face, right out of the gate, Fiona has a musical sensibility like a dagger. She just thrusts it inside your soul and twists it unmercifully. Would you have her any other way, though? Highlights: River Stay Away From My Door, Extraordinary Machine, I Want You (feat. Elvis Costello) ” - tjg9696
“ Quite simply one of the purest voices on the whole of this Earth. Her timbre ranges from deep and resonant, to agile and exuberant. Nobody sings soprano in a dramatic role quite like Jessye, and with that, she has the power to move a nation. Beyond that, her unsurpassed knowledge behind her craft only serves to highlight how painstaking she is with every note. Highlights: Im Abendrot, When I am laid in Earth, Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix. ” - tjg9696
When one thinks of Edith Piaf, one thinks of love, sorrow and music. One did not breathe without the other two. Born in Paris practically on the streets on December 19, 1915, she struggled from day one, the daughter of street performers. The mother, a singer, eventually abandoned both Edith and her father for a solo career...
Barbra Streisand is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business. She is the only person ever to receive all of the following: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards,...
“ Funny and quirky at first glance, Barbra is the last person you'd expect to sing like a siren. Her tone is pure and soaring...even able to compete with sizeable orchestras in her legendary stage appearances. She's the ultimate entertainer, with talents that transcend all forms of media. What does it say when one keeps a, shall we say "substantial" nose, in order to preserve one's unique vocal signature? Highlights: Evergreen, People, Send in the Clowns ” - tjg9696
“ One's first encounter with k.d. might involve a double take...or a raised eyebrow. However, to hear her voice...the disbelief grows even more intense. That's part of her appeal, though, the contrast from image to vocal impact. K.d. has succeeded, even flourished, regardless of what she portrays to the world. Crystal clear tone, exceptional control, and remarkable showmanship, those are the hallmarks of a true star. Highlights: That Lucky Ole Sun, Constant Craving, Crying. ” - tjg9696
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born into a musical family on 9 August 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of gospel star Cissy Houston
, cousin of singing star Dionne Warwick
and goddaughter of soul legend Aretha Franklin
. She began singing in the choir at her church, The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark...
Dusty Springfield has been acknowledged around the world as the best female soul singer that Britain ever produced. With her oddly erotic, throaty voice, she racked up a string of hits from the 1960s onwards. Born in London to Irish parents, Dusty grew up in and around London. Her early work included an all-girl trio...
Born in 1965 in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, the daughter of Gudmundur Gunnarsson (an electrician) and Hildur Hauksdóttir who divorced before her second birthday, Björk grew up in a hippie-type community with her mother and her seven siblings. She started to study classical music at the...
Lena Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. In her biography she stated that on the day she was born, her father was in the midst of a card game trying to get money to pay the hospital costs. Her parents divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother left later in order to find work as an actress and Lena was left in the care of her grandparents...
After almost fifty years in the music business, Tina Turner has become one of the most commercially-successful international female rock stars to date. Her sultry, powerful voice, her incredible legs, her time-tested beauty and her unforgettable story all contribute to her legendary status. Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush...
Hailing from the small town of Charlemagne, Québec, Céline Dion has become one of the all-time greatest singers. Céline was born in 1968, the youngest of 14 children. Early in childhood, she sang with her siblings in a small club owned by her parents. From these early experiences, Céline gained the know-how to performing live...
Beyoncé was born in Houston, Texas. Her father, Mathew Knowles
, manages Destiny's Child
. Her mother, Tina Knowles
(née Celestine Ann Beyincé), designs their glittering costumes. Solange Knowles
, her sister (they're about 5 years apart), has released her debut album. She dances with her big sister during DC-3 concerts. Beyoncé is of African-American and Creole descent...
Cyndi was born at Boulevard Hospital, in Astoria, Queens. She spent her first four years in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Her family then moved to Ozone Park, Queens.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Karen Carpenter moved with her family to Downey, California, in 1963. Karen's older brother, Richard Carpenter
, decided to put together an instrumental trio with him on the piano, Karen on the drums and their friend Wes Jacobs on the bass and tuba. In a battle of the bands at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966...
Mariah Carey was born in Long Island, New York. She is the daughter of Patricia (Hickey), a singer and vocal coach, who is of Irish descent, and Alfred Roy Carey, an engineer, who was of Afro-Cuban ancestry. Mariah attended Greenlawn's Harborfields High School. In June of 1990, Mariah made her debut with "Mariah Carey" which entered at #73...
Patti LaBelle, born Patricia Louise Holt-Edwards, is an American singer, author, and actress. Patti began her career in the early 1960s as lead singer of the band Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. A decade later the group changed their name to Labelle and recorded the hit song "Lady Marmalade". Patti became a solo artist in 1976 and her debut album was another success...
Alanis Morissette has released a series of groundbreaking albums that have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. She has won twelve Juno Awards, seven Grammy® Awards, and has also received an additional fourteen Grammy® nominations. Morissette's international debut album "Jagged Little Pill" remains the best-selling debut album by a female artist in the U.S...
Alicia Keys was born in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, to Teresa (Augello), a paralegal who was also an occasional actress, and Craig Cook, a flight attendant. Her father is African-American, and her mother, who is caucasian, is of Italian and English/Irish/Scottish ancestry. Alicia began taking piano lessons at age seven at her mother's insistence...
Sarah Vaughan was born March 27, 1924 in Newark, NJ, and died April 3, 1990, in Los Angeles of lung cancer. Her parents were Asbury, a carpenter, and Ada, a laundress. She began studying music when she was seven, taking eight years of piano lessons and two years of organ. As a child she sang in the choir at the Mt...
Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19, 1946, one of 12 children of Robert Lee Parton, a tobacco farmer, and Avie Lee Parton (née Owens). Dolly grew up on a run-down farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. At 12, she was appearing on Knoxville TV and, at 13, she was already recording on a small label and appearing at the Grand Ole Opry...
Cass Elliot was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941, in Baltimore, Maryland. She grew up in the Washington D.C. environs and in her senior year of high school, performed in a summer stock production of "The Boyfriend" at the Owings Mills Playhouse, where she played the French nurse who sings "It's Nicer...
Born in 1972 in North Philadelphia, Jill Scott grew up in the ghetto with her mother, Joyce, and grandmother. A deeply loved and gifted child, she learned to talk at only eight months and was reading by age four. Always the center of attention, her principal in elementary school described her as a little butterfly...
Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Jeanne Ann (Rose), a teacher of English, and Stephen Michael Clarkson, an engineer. She was the first winner of the series American Idol, in 2002. Kelly is also a strong believer in God. She has been married to Brandon Blackstock
since October 20, 2013. They have two children.
Christina Maria Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York, to Shelly Loraine (Fidler) and Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera. Her father is Ecuadorian and her mother, who is American-born, has English, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry. Her parents divorced when she was young and she lived with her mother...
Kathleen Battle was born on August 13, 1948 in Portsmouth, Ohio, USA. She was the youngest of seven children in the African-American family, with a good tradition of singing spirituals. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Ohio (1971) and taught music to Cincinnati's inner-city youth...
Singer, flute player, songwriter, and guitarist Ann Dustin Wilson was born on June 19, 1950 in San Diego, California. The daughter of a colonel in the Marine Corps, Wilson and her family moved around a lot, before eventually settling in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, WA. Ann attended Interlake High School in Bellevue...
Roberta Flack was born February 10, 1937 (1939 according to some sources), in Black Mountain, North Carolina, a small town located about 10 miles (18 kilometers) from the city of Asheville, North Carolina. She is best known for her love ballad "Killing Me Softly With His Song", released in 1969. She earned a music scholarship to Howard University and graduated with a BA in Music...
Best known as the the lead singer of the popular 1960s singing group The Supremes
, Diana Ernestine Earle Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, the second of six children of African-American parents Ernestine Lillian (Moten), a schoolteacher, and Fred Earl Ross, who served in the army...
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the former Ruth Lee Jones moved with her family to Chicago as a young girl. She considered the Windy City her true home. And it was there in early 1940s that a local nightclub owner provided her first gig - and a new name that she would make famous. By 1959 she had earned a Grammy for her version of the song "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes." In his 2001 biography Q...
Ani Difranco began Righteous Babe Records in the beginning of the 1990s and has released almost a plethora of albums. While most are her own, she has also collaborated with Utah Phillips on two albums. Ani is committed to her independency and the her art.
Donna Summer rocketed to international super-stardom in the mid-1970s when her groundbreaking merger of R&B, soul, pop, funk, rock, disco and avant-garde electronica catapulted underground dance music out of the clubs of Europe to the pinnacles of sales and radio charts around the world. Maintaining an unbroken string of hits throughout the 70s and 80s...
Minnie Riperton was born November 8, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, to Thelma Inez (Matthews) and Daniel Webster Riperton, a Pullman porter. At a young age, Riperton, the youngest of eight children, began taking dancing and ballet. Once she reached high school, she began singing in the Hyde Park A Capella Choir...
Multi Grammy Award-winning singer/comedienne/author Bette Midler has also proven herself to be a very capable actress in a string of both dramatic and comedic roles. Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. She is the daughter of Ruth (Schindel), a seamstress, and Fred Midler, a painter...
Reba Nell McEntire was born on Monday, March 28th, 1955 in McAlester, Oklahoma. The reigning queen of country music has pursued a musical career since the age of 5. In junior high, she performed with her siblings as the Singing McEntires. A fine athlete, McEntire followed in the footsteps of her rodeo champion father in competitive barrel racing...
Deborah Harry was born Angela Tremble on July 1, 1945 in Miami, Florida. At three months, she was adopted by Catherine (Peters) and Richard Smith Harry, and was raised in Hawthorne, New Jersey. In the 1960s, she worked as a Playboy Bunny and hung out at Max's Kansas City, a famous Warhol-inhabited nightspot...
Peggy Lee was Born Norma Dolores Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota, on May 26, 1920. At age four her mother died. Peggy's father, a railroad station agent, remarried but later left home, leaving Peggy's care entrusted to a stepmother who physically abused her. Peggy later memorialized this in the calypso number "One Beating a Day"...
Growing up and living under the huge, daunting shadow of a singing icon can intimidate a son or daughter enough to want to look anywhere else to find their station in life. Those who dared to try to follow in their footsteps, such as Frank Sinatra Jr.
, found success branching out in other areas of music; others like the Crosby brothers...
was the middle daughter of Albert Vinicio and Joan Bridge Baez. At age 10, her father took a job (and the family) to Baghdad, Iraq, for a year, after which they moved to Palo Alto, CA, home of Stanford University. In 1956, she bought her first guitar and heard Martin Luther King
, Jr.'s lecture on nonviolence; the following year...
The beat goes on ... and on ... and as strong as ever for this superstar entertainer who has well surpassed the four-decade mark while improbably transforming herself from an artificial, glossy "flashionplate" singer into a serious, Oscar-worthy, dramatic actress ... and back again! With more ups and downs than the 2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average...
Norah Jones (born Geetali Norah Jones Shankar; March 30, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress. She is a daughter of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar and Sue Jones. She is Anoushka Shankar's half-sister. In 2002, she launched her solo music career with the release of the commercially successful and critically acclaimed album Come Away with Me...
Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson
(née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson
, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while her brothers and father lived an extravagant life in Los Angeles...
Anita was born January 26, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She began singing in church choir when she was 12 and at 16 sang in a local group along with high school friends. In 1975 she successfully auditioned for the group Chapter 8, having been approached by bass player David Washington...
Talented. Beautiful. Modest. These three words described R&B singer-turned-actress Aaliyah perfectly. Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Diane (Hankerson) and Michael Haughton. Her uncle was music manager Barry Hankerson
and her brother is director Rashad Haughton
. Aaliyah was raised in Detroit...
Pink was born Alecia Beth Moore in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and was later raised in Philadelphia. Her parents, Judith Moore
(née Kugel), a nurse, and Jim Moore
, a Vietnam veteran, divorced when she was very young. Her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while her father has Irish, German...
The Dixie Chicks are a popular trio of women country-and-western musicians who hail from Texas. Their public comments have increasingly made them controversial, even among their own fans. The group began in 1989 singing on a Dallas street corner. Their music initially stayed largely within the bounds of traditional bluegrass...
The remarkable, hyper-ambitious Material Girl who never stops reinventing herself, Madonna is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner who has sold over three hundred million records and CDs to adoring fans worldwide. Her film career, however, is another story. Her performances have consistently drawn scathing or laughable reviews from film critics...
Eva Marie Cassidy was born on 2nd February, 1963 in Washington Hospital Center in the United States to Barbara and Hugh Cassidy. Eva grew up with her siblings, Anette, Margaret and Dan, in Bowie, Maryland. The Cassidy family was very musical. From an early age, Eva could master harmonies and first learned the auto-harp but later went on to learn the acoustic guitar...
LeAnn started singing at age 3, and has sold over 20 million records since. She was born August 28, 1982 in Jackson, Mississippi. By age 7, LeAnn made her stage debut in a Dallas musical production of "A Christmas Carol". Later, she would sing "The Star Spangled Banner" to open Dallas Cowboys football games...
Shania Twain was born as Eilleen Regina Edwards in 1965, the middle of three daughters to Clarence and Sharon Edwards (sister Jill is two years older and Carrie-Ann three years younger). When she was age 6, her mother remarried Jerry Twain, a full-blooded Ojibwa native from Timmins, Ontario, who adopted her as his own...
Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Marie Frances (Guilfoyle) and Andrew Joseph Clooney. She was one of five children. Her father was of Irish and German descent, and her mother was of Irish and English ancestry. She grew up in Maysville, where she and her sister Betty Clooney
used to sing in her grandfather's mayoral election campaigns...
Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, a city 50 miles southeast of Houston, to Abraham Quintanilla Jr.
and Marcella Quintanilla
. Abraham opened a Mexican restaurant, Papagayo, in Lake Jackson. Selena was 9-years-old when her father discovered her talent for singing. He formed a band consisting of Selena on vocals...
Pat Benatar was born Patricia Andrzejewski in Brooklyn and raised in suburban Lindenhurst, Long Island. Her mother Millie had sacrificed her own career as an opera singer to bring up Pat and son Andrew. Years later, it was Pat who singing classical, honing the powers of her 4.5-octave voice as a member of Lindenhurst High's musical-theater department...
Grammy-winning Latina pop singer Shakira was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, on February 2, 1977. Her father is a Lebanese American immigrant and her mother a native of Colombia of Italian and Spanish descent. Shakira began her musical career at age 12 and quickly captured fans throughout Latin America. She won the 2001 Best Latin pop Grammy for her "MTV Unplugged" album.