The economy is hurting, and [artist id="504144"]Shakira[/artist] is here to help.
The hip-shaking, belly-undulating mistress of sultry Latin music spent more than a year toiling on She Wolf — her follow-up to 2005's Oral Fixation Vol. 2 — and she's hoping the club-ready album will provide fans a bit of an escape in these uncertain times.
"It's a very electronic album," the singer told MTV News. "Dance-oriented. Club-oriented. I want people to have fun with it. Forget about the troubles. Forget about the crisis. Forget everything for a minute — at least while they listen to the music."
Shakira recorded the album, as well as a forthcoming Spanish-language disc, in the Bahamas, working with producers like Pharrell and Wyclef Jean and incorporating elements of Colombian, Indian, Middle Eastern and African musical styles. While she knew she wanted to capture a more electronic sound from the beginning, she had no idea what the actual shape and feel of the album — out in October — would eventually be.
"You never know the final destination of a creative project," she said. "At first, you are standing in front of a white canvas, and that's the scariest thing on earth. You don't know if you're gonna do justice to the gifts that you have been given. Or if you are gonna be able to present the public something decent. You just have a huge question mark in front of you, and it's just frightening. But from the beginning of the project, I knew that I wanted an album that had a lot more to do with electronica. That would have a more bigger bottom end."
Um, a bigger bottom end?
"I wanted a bassier album with harder sounds," she explained with a laugh. "I wanted the beats to be very solid. I wanted to build a solid foundation starting from the beats."
That's where her producers stepped in. Comparing the collaborative studio process to parents raising a child, the 32-year-old Shakira said of Pharrell, "He comes up with ideas, and he executes them immediately. It's really cool, because I'm a little bit slower, and he's the man with the big strokes, and he really comes with great ideas. It was a great synergy."
And reconnecting with Wyclef meant a chance to try to recapture the salsa- and reggaetón-infused magic that spawned the Billboard-topping 2006 hit "Hips Don't Lie."
"We both grew up in the developing world," Shakira said. "We both have been very close to another kind of reality — you know, extreme poverty. People who don't have the ability to get access to education or even fulfilling their basic needs. And we both share the same visions and the same views about the world and what we can all do to — in our own small way — change that. So that is a recurrent topic of conversation between him and I."