On Nov. 9, 34-year-old Colombian star Shakira will be honored as the Latin Recording Academy's Person of the Year, in recognition not only of her artistic and musical achievements but also of her multiple and broad-reaching philanthropic endeavors. From "Waka Waka," the World Cup anthem whose video is the fourth-most-viewed of all time on YouTube, to her recent appointment to President Barack Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, no other female artist has been able to so seamlessly manage onstage sex appeal with offstage philanthropy and purpose. Shakira spoke with Billboard about her many faces.
You've been on the road for more than a year. What's next?
I already started to write new material. I've begun to explore in the recording studio whenever I have time in Barcelona and here in Miami. I'm working with different producers and DJs, and I try to feed off from that and find new sources of inspiration and new musical motivation. I'm anxious to return to the studio. My body is asking for it.
You have 10 million Twitter followers, and more than 41 million Facebook likes. What are your thoughts on social media?
From politics to philanthropy and music to movements, we are able to make the world a better place because of social media, and even better, it can happen in real time. It's not just about me connecting to my fans, or them to me; it's also about them connecting to one another. Creating bonds, global bonds, communities. It's a vehicle that grants us all the ability to relate to one another regardless of where we are in the world, what our backgrounds are or what we do. It's democracy at its best. One of human nature's simplest, more primitive desires is to be connected with other people, and here we have it on such a huge, global scale-it's amazing.