Can Shakira Shake Her Bad Publicity From The VOICE?

Four simple strategies to help Shakira and you recover from bad press.

The VOICE continues to attract strong ratings thanks to millions of viewers who enjoy both the singing competition and the superstar coach/mentors. This season featuring Shakira, Blake Shelton, Usher and Adam Levine was pretty uneventful until Shakira's April 22nd performance.

Columbian born Shakira is described by Wikipedia as a singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer, and model.

After she performed her hit song, Empire, she earned another, not so flattering title, lip-syncher. Fans of the VOICE complained that her dance was too provocative and that she was scantily clad.
Both claims were accurate yet expected from the Latin sensation.

What was not expected was that the leader of the self titled Team Shakira would lip-synch on a vocal competition show.

I am quite certain all of the current and past contestants would love to have been judged on their singing as produced in a multi-million dollar studio, but they were judged on one thing and one thing only, their voice.

In fairness, Shakira was performing not competing, but the bottom line is she performed on a vocal competition where she is supposed to be teaching, training, coaching, mentoring her team of competitors.

Shouldn't she have taken her role seriously enough to actually sing?

The question now is how does she respond to and recover from the bad publicity she brought on herself?

The following four tips can not only help Shakira, but they can help you too, the next time you, your company, or your brand gets some bad press.

1. FESS UP - Admit what you did and apologize. Don't try to cover it up or rationalize. Don't offer rationalization or try to justify what you did. Simply saying, "I did it, it was stupid and I'll never do it again", is almost always the best way to deal with a mistake.

The general public is pretty forgiving when we apologize but they hate lies and cover ups.
2. FIX IT - Whenever possible fix whatever you did wrong. Make it up to someone. Make it right. Shakira should ask the producers to let her sing again. She should do the same song and she should do it live. That takes guts, but it will get her positive attention and good publicity that will far overcome the bad publicity from her lip-synch misadventure.

3. FOLLOW THROUGH - Make a conscious decision to not repeat whatever you did that was wrong. Don't spend time contemplating on how not to get caught in the future, just decide not to do it.
4. FOCUS - Focus on things that will get you GOOD publicity! The truth is we all get bad press. If you attract any attention to yourself, your company or your products you will get some, hopefully not many, bad reviews and some type of bad publicity.

If you establish a publicity plan and focus on getting good publicity, then that will overshadow the occasional bad publicity you get.

Shakira And Usher Bring New Competitive Edge to 'The Voice'

Season four of The Voice, featuring Usher and Shakira filling in for Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera, taped blind auditions recently, and Rolling Stone had a chance to watch the new judges in action. What we saw in our brief glimpse into the new season was that there will be no messing around. All four judges, including returnees Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, mean business.

When we spoke to Usher at iHeart Radio in Las Vegas in September he promised to promote a competitive edge, but he isn’t the only one bringing that attitude. At the audition we saw some friendly competition between Usher and Shakira over one contestant, and when Usher bested Levine for another vocalist at the audition, he playfully taunted his fellow judge.

During a junket featuring all four judges and show creator Mark Burnett, Shelton confirmed this season will give new meaning to the term "battle rounds."

"I would say the competitiveness is up," he said. "We've replaced Cee Lo with somebody that's just that much more aggressive. And Christina was always competitive, [but] now you've got four that are just killers up here."

Levine agreed that Shakira might be the one they have to watch out for. "You have a pregnant, hormonal Colombian," he says. "She's ready to bust some heads. She ain't messing around."

Shakira said she is happy to be welcomed with humor, as it shows her she is part of the family. "Spending some time with these guys, I can only tell you that it is the best – they joke all the time and make me laugh onstage, offstage," she said. "They have been such great hosts making us, Usher and me, feel at home at all times."

But the battle we witnessed over contestants was real, she insisted: "There's a lot of competitiveness, of course. Once we are in the process of trying to get a contestant recruited for our team, there's a lot of adrenalin, and there's a lot of tension, but the healthy kind."

Both of the new coaches believe they bring more than just a new intensity. "You can't really compare my style to anybody," Usher said. "My style is more military than anything, because I'm all about the preparation and have always been. I rehearse a million times to be prepared. My style is to make them understand the seriousness of the craft and that they have the very best opportunity to be the greatest or the worst, depending on how you take it."

As for Shakira’s approach, she views it as very involved. "Besides being a singer, I'm also a producer and writer. Once I'm in the recording studio, I am so hands-on," she said. "While I'm coaching my team I tend to focus on the detail. I don't know if it's maybe because of the female condition, but men are more focused on the general aspects, and women tend to sort of focus on details a lot. And so when I'm giving directions to my contestants I'm particularly focused on details."

"She plays the female card quite a bit," Levine said. "That's one thing we can't compete with, really."
As the proven commodities, Levine and Shelton, who between them coached the winning contestants in all three previous seasons, feel they still have an edge. "There are many advantages to being the seasoned veteran, starting with we've seen about 4,000 more auditions," Levine says. "We fell into the traps that the newbloods will fall into and dig themselves out of because they are strong, and they will survive, but we know from experience where we've been, where we're going, how to get through this. But these guys are smart and quick studies, so they are probably going to get better quickly, and it's going to suck for us because then they will probably win this damn thing."

Usher brings in his own experience, having mentored Justin Bieber to the top of the charts, and Levine says that does count for a lot. "As much as I hate to say this about another coach in the beginning, Usher has done what this show has yet to do," he says. "You have launched a superstar, and that's our goal. That's the show's goal. That's something we want to do as an institution."

Usher agreed. "The one thing that I hope is to come into this show and be able to score an incredible entertainer that people will talk about for years and years and track it back," he says. "I am kind of a living example of that. I started on Star Search, and my career kind of launched from there."

How long he and Shakira will remain on the show is up in the air. "Everybody can't coach for life," said Burnett, "because when you have people with current recording in the game, this is not their job. Their job is their fans and making music and being live, and so we knew from the beginning that this would happen. They all have another life and their schedules."

Shakira concurred that while this is where she is now, her music comes first. "We are not judges. It's not what we do for a living," she said. "We have musical careers that we have to attend to, but we are embarking on this great adventure and enjoying it until we feel that we have to get back to our first and most important duties with music."

Shakira becomes most liked celebrity on Facebook

Colombian singer sets record with 100 million followers, ahead of Eminem and Rihanna, who have 91.9 million and 89 million


Shakira preforms during the closing ceremony during the 2014 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph: Ian Macnicol/Getty Images

Shakira has become the first person to attract more than 100 million fans onFacebook, becoming the most "liked" celebrity on the social network in the process.

The Colombian singer, who recently performed at the closing ceremony of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, stands ahead of Eminem and Rihanna, who have amassed 91.9 million and 89 million fans respectively.

The number of fans a person has on Facebook is measured by how many people have chosen to "like" their page and follow updates from it.

Shakira was particularly active on the social network during the World Cup, sharing a host of pictures from behind the scenes. Among them was a photograph of her standing on the field at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro with a football at her feet, which became her most popular post on the site with more than 3.5m "likes".

She performed her World Cup-themed La la la (Brazil 2014) at the closing ceremony on 13 July.

In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Shakira said she was "honoured and humbled" to have reached the milestone. "Social media and specifically Facebook has helped myself and other artists bridge the gap between the stage and the audience," she said.

Facebook's founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, congratulated Shakira in a comment on her page. "Congrats! What an amazing milestone for an amazing person," he wrote.

Shakira's Facebook page is frequently updated with pictures and videos of her performing on stage, or at home with her boyfriend, the Spanish national footballer Gerard Piqué, and their son Milan.

She has had a number of global hits such as the 2006 "Hips Don't Lie" and has been a goodwill ambassador for Unicef since 2003.

Ten years after its creation, Facebook has more than a billion users worldwide.

Shakira: 'I know what I'm doing, even when I'm wearing a pencil skirt'

Shakira is not your average £26m pop star. She reveals why life is like a soccer field, why she's in therapy, and why she licked the bars of that cage.


Shakira ... 'The universe is so broad, I cannot be at the centre of it' Photograph: Capture Digital

In the lobby of the studio where Shakira is receiving the British press, there is a television tuned to a non-stop music video channel. For the most part, it appears to be engaged in a lengthy experiment to see how many times viewers can watch Pixie Lott's Mama Do video before suffering permanent damage to their cerebral cortex, but just before I'm called into the presence of the fourth richest woman in music (according to Forbes magazine), it shows the video for her new single, She Wolf.

This makes meeting Shakira a slightly disconcerting experience. It's not just that it feels strange politely shaking the hand of a woman you've just watched licking the bars of a cage with her thighs wrapped round her head. It's also quite hard to square said woman with the leotard-sporting figure being broadcast in the lobby. Shakira, as every interviewer is legally required to note, is tiny and pretty and softly spoken. She is dressed down and, unexpectedly, her nail varnish is black and hopelessly chipped, in the time-honoured manner of a teenage goth. The song and the video, she says, "are symbolic of the woman of our time who knows what she wants and defends her individual liberty with teeth and claws, who rebels against the limitations that society and our own culture places on her".

That's certainly one way of putting it, although, as quickly becomes clear, Shakira's way of putting things is noticeably different from other pop stars. Over the course of our meeting, she will quote Socrates ("a life without examination is a life that's not worth living"), openly discuss the fact that she's in therapy – "I just think that it's very helpful to have a map of your psyche, because when you have a map you know where to go" – and mention her love of Thomas Paine's 1791 abstract revolutionary political tract The Rights of Man. You don't have to have a panoply of journalistic experience to know that these are areas seldom covered in interviews with multi-platinum-selling pop stars, which usually cleave more to the gripping topics of (a) how truly blessed they feel, and (b) how grateful they are for their fans' support. In fairness, Shakira does some of the standard-issue stuff too – "if I can contribute to people having fun I would feel very fulfilled as an artist" – but you can tell her heart's not really in it by the way the conversation invariably heads off piste again within minutes: "Life is a soccer field, don't you think?"

Eliptical metaphors

Fans of her unfailingly peculiar lyrics will be delighted to learn that she talks rather like she sings, expressing herself through elliptical metaphors. She says she started seeing a shrink eight years ago, because she couldn't work out "whether the horse was guiding the jockey or the jockey was riding the horse" (noting my slightly confused expression, she adds firmly: "it should be the latter"). It's utterly charming, and you get what she's driving at, but it does leave the mind boggling a little at precisely how last year's much-vaunted telephone conversation between Shakira and Gordon Brown panned out: you rather picture the prime minster holding the phone away from his ear and pulling WTF? faces at his spin doctors. Then again, perhaps not. The conversation was about her charity work in the field of educating underprivileged children in Latin America – the Pies Descalzos [Bare Feet] foundation she started at 19 and named after her third album has provided education and jobs to 30,000 Colombians, and when Shakira gets on to the subject of her charity work, the more airy metaphors vanish in favour of a torrent of statistics: 35 million children in Latin America don't receive access to education of any kind, 300 million worldwide don't attend school, one year of primary schooling can increase a person's salary by between 10% and 20%. There's an impressive steeliness in her manner that presumably stands her in good stead when glad-handing the world's politicians. No, she says, she's not overly concerned with politicians using her for a youth vote-grabbing photo op and then ignoring her demands. "They don't get the photo op if they don't commit to something. That's how it works with me." She pauses, apparently searching her bottomless supply of peculiar phrases. "I know what I'm doing even when I'm wearing a pencil skirt."

She says she studied writing lyrics in English "when I could barely speak the language", with the aid not merely of a dictionary, but the collected works of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Walt Whitman (needless to say, these are names that seldom come up in interviews with multi-platinum selling pop stars). "It was probably one of the most important challenges of my life," she says. "I feel like I was thrown in a pool without learning to swim and I didn't drown." Nevertheless, there's a slightly patronising assumption that her more abstruse lyrics – She Wolf's "I'm starting to feel a little abused like a coffee machine in an office", or the deathless line from her English-language breakthrough hit Whenever, Wherever about how lucky she is that her "breasts are small and humble so you don't confuse them with mountains" – are the cack-handed efforts of a woman struggling to express herself in a language she doesn't entirely grasp. They aren't: if you listen to the version of Whenever, Wherever recorded for the Latin American market, the stuff about her breasts is present and correct: "Suerte que mis pechos sean pequeños, y no los confundas con montañas," should you ever wish to discuss Shakira's bosom in Bogotá. Similarly, she's much given to hitting journalists with a slightly elliptical metaphor when being interviewed in her mother tongue, as when her hometown of Barranquilla unveiled a six-tonne metal statue of her. "Barranquilla is a big breast," she told the assembled media, "that fed and nurtured me as a human being." It's clearly nothing to do with language barriers: her English is superb. Shakira just has a unique way with words.

'I got addicted to being on stage'

But almost everything about Shakira is unique. Her press pack reveals a woman who has in recent years been interviewed by FHM magazine, which wanted to talk about whether or not she'd ever consider a boob job, and The Economist, which didn't, preferring to concentrate on her views on the globalisation of the music industry. She says her philanthropy has its roots in an odd incident in her childhood when her recently bankrupted father took her to a park to see the local glue sniffers in an attempt to convince her that there were people substantially worse off than them. Meanwhile, her path to stardom is again different from the average pop superstar's route. She apparently decided fame was to be her lot at the age of four, following an epiphany involving a belly dancer gyrating to the sound of a Arabic drum called a doumbek during a visit to a restaurant with her Lebanese father. Within a year, she was "dancing and doing performances in school, every Friday, the same number over and over again. I was five years old, I got addicted to being on stage, it felt like it was the most wonderful place on Earth, performing in front of an audience, who in this case were a bunch of classmates, kids my age."

Quite what said classmates made of being subjected to Shakira performing the same song over and over again on a weekly basis is unrecorded, but the school choirmaster was definitely unimpressed: "He thought I had a pronounced vibrato. He said I sounded like a goat and I would destabilise the entire choir if I was allowed to join." At least her parents were supportive of a drive that, she notes, "was more like a compulsion" than a mere ambition. "At the age of eight I discovered that I could write songs. My dad used to take them to the notary and register them so that nobody could steal them from me. Who does that? What parent takes a treasure in his child's scribbles?"

They also took to ferrying her around a bizarre selection of gigs in Barranquilla, including a series of shows for mine workers. "I would sing anywhere they would invite me," she says airily, as if a 10-year-old girl singing and dancing for the edification of a load of miners is the most normal thing in the world. "That's how I made my first pesos. I used to sing at beauty pageants, local events of every sort." By the time she was 14, she had a record deal, having tracked a label executive down to his hotel room and where she performed with a boombox. But her career didn't take off – there wasn't much of an indigenous pop scene in Colombia – and at 17, her record label threatened her with the chop: "Before my third album, they warned me that if nothing really happened, they were going to drop me. I knew it was my last chance, so I took control. I started to get more involved with production. I started to use my own influences. My music was influenced more by the Anglo-Saxons than the local tropical or Latin roots. When I was singing in Spanish, I had a more rock'n'roll attitude. I was very inflexible, very rigid in many aspects. There were things that would be completely unacceptable to me, like wearing a leotard, or showing my legs." She laughs. "I was more of a purist then."

Even without the aid of a leotard, the subsequent album sold 5m copies in Latin America alone. Its follow-up, the English-language Laundry Service, sold 13m copies. "After that, the artist can set the rules," she nods, which, in her case, means making deeply idiosyncratic musical choices – her 2006 album Oral Fixation Vol 2 variously featured mock-Gregorian chanting, elephant sound effects, Britpop oompah, a children's choir and a Led Zeppelin pastiche – and equally idiosyncratic career moves: after touring the Oral Fixation album, she declined to start work on a follow-up, preferring instead to don a disguise and study history at UCLA. "It was such a long tour, I needed a break from me. The universe is so broad, I cannot be at the centre of it. So I decided to go to the university and study history for a summer course, just to kind of switch gears, taste the student life. I used to wear a cap and a big backpack, I looked like a boy. I didn't get recognised. Some people looked at me very suspiciously, a few people asked me, but I told them my name was Isabelle. I would go to university over and over again if I could."

But for now, there's the new album to promote, journalists queuing outside the door to interview her, then another world tour. She says fame is "pretty much" everything she thought it would be when she was four. "I can't complain. I come from a city in Colombia that most people have never even heard of. When I look back, I can't believe the path behind me. I always feel like I haven't really done anything."

She's said a lot of strange things this evening, but that seems a particularly odd remark, given the record sales and the charity work, the estimated fortune of £26m. She nods. "I should care less. It's been 20 years, but I still care about my career. I care about the music." She shakes her head. "I'm not normal," she adds, a little superfluously.