Shakira’s hips don’t lie, and neither does she — at least not when it comes to how her hit single or latest album came about.
“This is the truth, so hear me out,” Shakira said. “I don’t want you to think I’m esoteric or metaphysical, because I’m not superstitious, but I dreamt about Wyclef one night before he and I actually met.”
Unbeknownst to her, Wyclef Jean was also dreaming of Shakira — well, at least of working with her. He had called her manager to pitch an idea for a collaboration, and her manager passed along the message to the singer’s houseguest. When Shakira woke up and told the guest her dream, her friend remembered to pass along the message.
“It was a sign from heaven,” Shakira said. “So I took a plane to meet him in Miami, and that’s how it all got started. It’s a happy accident or one of those games with destiny.”
In the studio, Shakira and Wyclef combined elements of Haitian and Colombian cultures to make their “Hips” cocktail. “Like with reggaetón, the groove of it, that’s what I tried to use,” Shakira said. “The beat is very contagious, from a dance perspective.”
The title “Hips Don’t Lie” comes from her in-studio mantra about how her bandmembers needs to watch her hips to determine where a song they’re working on needs to go, so she can’t help but move to it. “I would tell them, ‘Listen, hips don’t lie. If they’re not moving, this isn’t working. If they shake, we’re in good shape.’ ” Shakira then took her private joke with the band and put it in the context of the song, which is about “a woman dancing, her seductive powers through dance.”
“Hips Don’t Lie” is one of two bonus songs on Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, which is not a track-by-track translation of Fijación Oral, Vol. 1, despite three songs appearing on both versions (see “Shakira Says Her Oral Fixation Was Not Premeditated” ). “Little by little, people are understanding that these are two completely different albums,” she said. “It was a challenge to make it work.”
It wasn’t hard, however, to write songs in English — at least not as hard as it was four years ago during the making of Laundry Service, which she calls “the biggest intellectual challenge I ever faced” (see “Shakira To Release (Mostly) English Laundry Service“ ). Back then, she could barely speak the language. And now, while there are days she feels rusty, “I can think in English and write songs in English; it’s natural and spontaneous,” she said.
Also spontaneous, she said, are her use of dance (because in her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia, “people learn how to dance even before they learn how to walk”) and her mash-ups of music from all across the globe.
“As a pop artist, it’s my license to experiment with anything and everything at any time, and there’s a lot of real cool stuff in the world,” Shakira said. “I don’t consider myself a Latin artist or a Colombian artist. I’m just an artist, period. My passport happens to be Colombian, and I’m proud of that, but it’s not a geography thing. And I’ve never been able to make an album with a unity of sound, or one concept. I just use everything, and make it co-exist. It’s the only thing I know how to do.”