If there's a she-wolf in your closet, go ahead and put a party hat on her, as today is Shakira's birthday. The Colombia-born singer turns 33 years old today. Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, she has been putting out albums since 1995 but made her big English-speaking crossover in 2001 with Laundry Service. That album boasted two giant singles in "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes," and it's been nothing but massive hits for Shakira since. Her most recent album, 2009's She Wolf, contained the title track (one of the finest tunes of 2009) and the current hit "Give It Up to Me" (which features Lil Wayne).
Shakira recently participated in the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, where she performed a rollicking cover of the Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You." She has been quite hands-on with her Haiti support, as she has pledged to open a school there to help the youngest victims of the earthquake. Her charity organization — called the Barefoot Foundation — has teamed up with Architecture for Humanity for the project.
But as much as she takes pride in her philanthropic work, it's her music that makes people shake around and puts people in the seats of her sold-out concerts. She Wolf is a remarkable tour de force, full of sugary pop, tough-sounding hip-hop inflected R&B and punch dance tracks, all centered around her dynamic and unusual voice. And of course, there's the video for "She Wolf," which is really how you should start every day.