Shakira Goes to Washington

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 22, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: International singing sensation Shakira is here. She has sold more than 50 million CDs. She is one of the best-selling female artists in the world.

Today she was using her voice and star power here in Washington, D.C. to support the ALAS foundation which encourages early childhood development education in the Latin American world.


VAN SUSTEREN: Shakira, welcome to Washington.

SHAKIRA, SINGER: Thank you so much.

VAN SUSTEREN: You were here because of ALAS?

SHAKIRA: Yes. I was here to meet with the president's education staff and National Security Council. And also I had the privilege to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office today to discuss early childhood development initiatives.

I know that this is a cause close to his heart and a high priority for this administration. So I wanted to see how I can be helpful to the administration in any kind of way to continue promoting early childhood development strategies around the world and within the U.S.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is ALAS? How do you describe it?

SHAKIRA: It is coalition of artists, intellectuals and academics and business leaders who have all come together to promote early childhood development initiatives, to defend the right that our children have in those first years, those first six years of their lives, to receive education and nutrition and proper care.

So that is something that we've been working on for the past three years, working closely with government and heads of state in Latin America. I have personally attended two summits, and I will be attending in 2010 the summit to take place in Argentina to discuss early childhood development strategies.

So this is something historical, I think, that the whole region is coming together to support an idea and a transformational concept.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are an international star, everybody knows Shakira. But what is it that drives you for this? Why are you so interested in early childhood?

SHAKIRA: I grew up in the developing world. I grew up seeing a great deal of injustice and inequality and feeling very frustrated about it and wanting to change things somehow, even if it was in a very small way.

So when I was 18-year-old I started my own foundation in Colombia, Barefoot Foundation. And since then we've been providing education and nutrition and building schools for kids who live in areas of conflict.

Right now we have 6,000 kids in Colombia, we built six schools, and we continue to bill more. But especially to provide support to the community, not only the kids but also the families. So this is something that keeps me passionate because it is so exciting to see the results, to see that money spent on education is money well spent.

VAN SUSTEREN: It is so extraordinary. You talk about starting this foundation at 18, Barefoot Foundation. But your career starts at 13.

SHAKIRA: I'm not that old. I started really early.

VAN SUSTEREN: At 13, your first CD.

SHAKIRA: Yes, that's right.

Watch Greta's interview with Shakira

VAN SUSTEREN: That's extraordinary. So you go from 13, 18 your first foundation. You are here today, you go to the Oval Office. Have you ever been to the Oval Office before?

SHAKIRA: No. I had been in the White House before, but never to the Oval Office. I was in the West Wing. I used to watch that show, so I was checking out the furniture making sure everything was just like they put it on TV.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you think? They say you can go in and see the president now?

SHAKIRA: Just like that. I was very excited to see President Obama again. I saw him during the inauguration. He gave me the best impression.

He's really one of these people who are unforgettable. When you meet in person, he's very warm, and also gives you his focus and undivided attention, which is quite unusual when you usually meet with presidents. Presidents are always, not always, absentminded people, but he's focused. I like that about him.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you performed at the inauguration.

SHAKIRA: I did, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: So this is not your first trip here, by any means.

SHAKIRA: No it's not. I've been here before.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did the president talk to you -- you talked the early childhood initiative with him. Did you talk about obesity? The first lady Michelle Obama is promoting fighting obesity in this country?

SHAKIRA: As a matter of fact he did mention that, because part of what you do -- what early childhood development means is not only educating our leaders, but also educating parents, educating families so the kids receive proper stimulation nutrition and proper care so they live to live healthy lives.

And so that was one of the topics that emerged today during our conversation.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is more nerve-racking for you -- performing, speaking to all those people today in the atrium of the World Bank, or going into the Oval Office? Which is the most nerve-racking?

SHAKIRA: These are all exciting.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nothing nerve-wracking to you. You don't feel a little nervous?

SHAKIRA: You get adrenaline. You feel nervousness. You know what makes me nervous? Live television. American live television, oh my god, I don't know how you guys do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's easier than taped.

SHAKIRA: You think.

VAN SUSTEREN: Much easier, because if you make a mistake, it is again. There's nothing you can do about it.


That makes you nervous?

SHAKIRA: That makes me nervous, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many languages do you speak?

SHAKIRA: I'd say three and a half.

VAN SUSTEREN: You speak English?

SHAKIRA: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and some Italian. But I'm not completely fluent in Italian yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand how you learned Spanish. How did you learn the other languages?

SHAKIRA: I started touring in Brazil when I was 18 years old and that's how I picked up the language really quickly, Portuguese, in two months, yes. English, I had an American boyfriend once, and that helps.

VAN SUSTEREN: I won't ask any more about that.



And working in the studio. And Italian, just by going back to Italy and meeting all the people and diving in the pool of language.

VAN SUSTEREN: Last question -- you are here in the United States to promote in initiative, buy your next career move, give us a hint.

SHAKIRA: I just shot a video with Rafael Nadal, the tennis player, for my next single called "Gypsy." I'm excited about it. It's quite a nice video.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll see it when?

SHAKIRA: You'll see it probably this Thursday.

VAN SUSTEREN: Welcome to the United States. Thank you very much.

SHAKIRA: Thank you so much, pleasure to meet you.


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