Shakira says losing voice was 'darkest moment' of her life

Colombian musician Shakira

Colombian superstar Shakira says temporarily losing her voice two years ago was "the darkest moment" of her life, and which affected her "deeply".

In November 2017 the three-time Grammy winner was forced to postpone her hip-shaking "El Dorado World Tour" for seven months after suffering a hemorrhage on her right vocal cord.

"It affected me deeply, there is a before and after," the 42-year-old said during an interview with AFP late on Monday in Barcelona, where she lives with Spanish footballer Gerard Pique and their two young sons.

"You take many things for granted when you have them... In the case of my voice, it is something that is so inherent in my nature, it is my identity," she added in the interview at a Barcelona hotel.

"I always thought that one day I would lose many things, one day you lose your youth, you lose your beauty, you even lose friends, there are people who come and go... but I never thought my voice was something that could disappear.

"When that doubt arose, when I did not know if I could sing again, it was the darkest moment of my life," she added.

In what she describes as "a miracle", Shakira recovered her voice naturally, without needing to undergo surgery as recommended by doctors and was finally able to carry out her tour in 2018.

- Super Bowl birthday show -

A documentary about her 54-show tour, which encompasses over two decades of hits and is based on two shows she gave in Los Angeles, will open in around 60 countries from November 13.

"It is one of the most important tours of my life for what it means, for the different obstacles that I had to overcome," Shakira said.

With her mix of Latin and Arabic rhythms and rock influence, Shakira is one of the biggest stars from Latin America, scoring major global hits with songs such as "Hips don't Lie" and "Whenever, Wherever".

She was picked to perform alongside pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez, 50, at the halftime show of the NFL's Super Bowl championship final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2, 2020 -- which happens to be Shakira's birthday.

"We have a lot of ideas, it is hard to do them all in the short amount of time which we have. But we will try to take advantage of it as much as possible, especially the opportunity to represent Latinos," Shakira said.

The Latina superstars will be part of the NFL's bid to rebuild its embattled halftime show -- one of pop music's most visible gigs -- which last year struggled to secure performers over the treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, who has not played in the NFL since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017, began kneeling in protest of social injustice and racial inequality during pre-game renditions of the US national anthem three years ago.

- Colombia violence -

The Super Bowl is the biggest annual event on US television. The halftime show typically features some of the world's best-known performers. Last year's show drew 98.2 million viewers.

But the 2019 halftime show saw the performance slot go from highly coveted to largely unwanted, with prominent artists including Rihanna, P!nk and Cardi B reportedly turning it down over Kaepernick's plight.

Shakira said she was concerned by the recent uptick in violence in her native Colombia and said education was an "infallible tool" to ensure a "lasting peace" in the country.

"The more schools there are in remote areas, in conflict zones... the more we will preserve childhoods" and prevent children from being "recruited by violent groups," said the singer, whose charity has several schools in Colombia.

Colombia's previous government signed a peace deal in 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels to end more than five decades of war.

But a band of FARC dissidents have announced a return to arms while another guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and myriad crime gangs remain active.