Empire (Shakira song)

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Single by Shakira
from the album Shakira
Released 22 February 2014
Recorded 2013
Genre Rock
Length 3:59
  • Steve Mac
  • Shakira
Shakira singles chronology
"Can't Remember to Forget You"
"Dare (La La La)"

"Empire" is a song recorded by Colombian singer and songwriter Shakira for her self-titled tenth studio album, Shakira (2014). It was written by Steve Mac and Ina Wroldsen, while production was handled by Mac and Shakira. The song was released as the second single from the album on 22 February 2014. "Empire" is a downtempo rock ballad about finding a love so powerful their empire could make "the world unite." Her vocals on the track was compared to those of Tori Amos, Jewel, Joni Mitchell and Alanis Morissette.

Upon its release, "Empire" was acclaimed by music critics, who commended the singer for getting back to her rock roots. Some even called it a gorgeous ballad and praised her vocals. The song charted moderately in countries like France, South Korea and Spain. In the United States, it peaked at number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song's accompanying video was released on 25 March 2014 and portrays Shakira playing a runaway bride unharmed by fire and on the side of the Montserrat mountain, near Barcelona. Shakira performed the song in a number of places, including The Voice (both U.S. and UK), Billboard Music Awards, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, iHeartRadio Music Awards and others.

Background and release[edit]

After the success of her ninth studio album, Sale el Sol, in 2010, Shakira revealed in November 2011, "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."[1] In 2012, it was reported that Shakira was shooting the video for the tentative-first single "Truth or Dare" in Lisboa, Portugal.[2] However, due to Shakira's pregnancy, the song was not released. Later, in March 2014, Shakira explained to Billboard that, "It's been two-and-a-half years of making songs, trashing them, doing them again, doing eight versions of each song, having a baby, doing "The Voice," coming back to the studio, reconnecting with my songs."[3]

In December 2013, Sony Music Entertainment reported that Shakira's new single would be released in January 2014, and that it was supposed to be a duet with Barbadian recording artist Rihanna.[4] On 13 January 2014, "Can't Remember to Forget You" was released and indeed features Rihanna.[5] On 24 February 2014, Popjustice announced that "Empire" would be the album's second single.[6] The cover art is simple, with Shakira in a white strapless dress and hair pulled back. Shakira also premiered the track on VEVO on the same day[7] and it was offered as a free download with a pre-order of the album, "Shakira.".[8] Shakira's official Facebook page announced it as the second single from the album.[9]


"Empire" was written by British songwriter Steve Mac and Norwegian Ina Wroldsen, while Mac produced the song.[10][11] "Empire" is a rock ballad,[12] beginning in acoustic mode with a sparse intro before Shakira unleashes her "inner head-banger" and "howls her way" through the chorus, according to Idolator's Mike Wass.[7] Lyrically, "Empire" talks about a bursting passion that the singer simply cannot express in words.[8]

Billboard's Leila Cobo points out that "Empire" sounds a little like a Tori Amos song, writing that, "the fragility in Shakira's voice, the background strings and captivating hook are all eerily reminiscent of Amos's 'Little Earthquakes'."[8] Maggie Pannacione of ArtistDirect compared the song to the works of Joni Mitchell and Alanis Morissette, but "in the Shakira Latina way."[13]

Critical reception[edit]

"Empire" was critically acclaimed, with most critics praising the singer for getting back to her rock roots. Leila Cobo of Billboard called the track "a gorgeous rock ballad that harks back to Shakira's earliest work."[12] Jason Lipshut also of Billboard called it a " downtempo, downright emo track."[8] Jazz Tangcay of So So Gay named it a "thumping ballad" that "takes a few listens but it seems rock guitar and a thumping sound is the direction Shakira is going with her forthcoming self-titled album."[10] Mike Wass of Idolator wrote that 'Empire' "is her rowdiest rock adventure by far."[7]

Emily Mackay of Digital Spy described the track as "a more mature, classic, piano-led sort of pop with a star-gazing, philosophical rush", with "a cosmic-orgasmic chorus."[14] Maggie Pannacione of ArtistDirect simply called it "flawless and unique,"[13] while Jamieson Cox of Time magazine complimented the track for having "Bond-theme grandeur and a spotlight on Shakira’s rich, soaring vocals," noting that, "If you’re going to give your single an imperial moniker, it’d better come with tons of space and an explosive climax; Shakira delivers on both counts."[15]

Music video[edit]

On 10 March, Shakira posted to her social media pictures of herself shooting the video for "Empire". The pictures find the singer wearing a white wedding dress.[16] On 13 March 2014, a lyric video was uploaded to her YouTube account. Mike Wass of Idolator called it "a beautifully shot nature documentary with a rather incredible soundtrack." He went on to describe the lyric video, stating that, "The visual feast features slow motion photography of seeds sprouting and flowers blooming — an exceedingly good fit for the Colombian’s kooky lyrics about stars making love to the universe."[17]

The official music video was released on 25 March 2014, directed by Darren Craig, Jonathan Craven and Jeff Nicholas from the Uprising Creative.[18] In the video, Shakira emerges as a beautiful bride in white about to walk down the aisle in a flower-decked church. But in a dreamy twist, Shakira has a change of heart and is seen picking up her skirts and running away across a green sunlit field. Later, she's seen standing on the church steps with her ruffled train catching fire.[19]

The Empire music video filmed in the city of Esparreguera (Spain), near an abandoned suburb.

Live performances[edit]

On 25 March 2014, Shakira held an iHeartRadio album release party which was presented by Target, live from the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles. During the release party, Shakira performed four songs from the album, which included "Empire".[20] The following day, Shakira performed the song, during a promotional interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[21] The same day, Shakira performed "Hips Don't Lie" and "Empire" during a live set on The Today Show at the Rockerfella stadium.[22] On 29 March 2014, Shakira performed "Empire" live on The Voice UK. On 22 April 2014, she performed the song on The Voice, on which she is a judge. On 1 May 2014, she performed the song at the first annual iHeartRadio Music Awards. On 10 May 2014, she performed the song at the Wango Tango. On 18 May 2014, she performed at the Billboard Music Awards.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[23] 15
Bulgaria (IFPI)[24] 27
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 92
France (SNEP)[26] 82
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[27] 17
Ireland (IRMA)[28] 60
Lebanon (The Official Lebanese Top 20)[29] 8
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[30] 21
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[31] 55
South Korea (Gaon International Digital Chart)[32] 97
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[33] 29
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 25
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 58
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[36] 26


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[37] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Austria[38] 22 February 2014 Digital download Sony
United States[53] 25 February 2014
New Zealand[54] 26 February 2014 Sony
United States[55] 22 April 2014 Hot AC radio
  • RCA
  • Sony Latin Iberia
Germany[56] 28 November 2014 CD single Sony


  1. ^ Cobo, Leila (4 November 2011). "Shakira Needs to Record: 'My Body Is Asking for It'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Shakira filma em Lisboa". MTV (in Portuguese). 2 July 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Cobo, Leila (7 March 2014). "Shakira Returns With New Album, Steamy Rihanna Video, Country Duet: Cover Story". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Navas, Judy Cantor (17 December 2013). "New Shakira Single Set for January". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (6 January 2014). "Shakira & Rihanna's 'Can't Remember To Forget You' Single Out Next Monday". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  6. ^ O'Mance, Brad (24 February 2014). "Shakira's next single is called 'Empire' and might be online quite soon". Popjustice. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Wass, Mike (24 February 2014). "Shakira Rocks Out On "Empire": Listen To Her Kooky New Single". Idolator. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d Lipshut, Jason (25 February 2014). "Shakira Releases 'Empire' Track From New Album: Listen". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Watch the new lyric video for Shak's next single, Empire". Facebook. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "#NowPlaying: Shakira – Empire". So So Gay. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Shakira abandona ritmos caribenhos e aposta em guitarra e piano na nova música; ouça "Empire"". Rolling Stone (in Portuguese). 25 February 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Cobo, Leila (7 March 2014). "Shakira Returns With New Album, Steamy Rihanna Video, Country Duet: Cover Story (Pt. 2)". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Pannacione, Maggie (26 February 2014). "Listen to Shakira's New Song "Empire"". ArtistDirect. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Mackay, Emily (24 March 2014). "Shakira's new album reviewed: A deft shimmy over a tightrope of integrity". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Cox, Jamieson (25 February 2014). "Shakira Ups the Grandeur on New Single "Empire": Listen". TIME. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Wass, Mike (10 March 2014). "Shakira Is A Beautiful Bride In New Pics From Her "Empire" Video". Idolator. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Wass, Mike (13 March 2014). "Shakira Achieves The Impossible, Delivers An Interesting Lyric Video: Watch "Empire"". Idolator. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Garibalda, Christina (25 March 2014). "Shakira's Marriage Goes Up In Flames In 'Empire' Video: Watch Now". MTV News. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Williot, Carl (25 March 2014). "Shakira's "Empire" Video: Shak Is A Runaway Bride On Fire". Idolator. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  20. ^ http://www.kfyr.com/articles/entertainment-news-104658/shakira-rocks-the-stage-at-her-12185524
  21. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2589577/Shakira-performs-fishnets-bra-Jimmy-Fallon-revealing-Piqu-bans-working-hot-male-models.html
  22. ^ http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/03/26/shakira-today-show-performance-black-outfit-new-album/
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Shakira – Empire" (in French). Ultratip.
  24. ^ "WEEK33 16.8–22 August 2010" Airplay Top 5. Bulgarian Association of Music Producers.
  25. ^ "Shakira – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Shakira. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  26. ^ "Lescharts.com – Shakira – Empire" (in French). Les classement single.
  27. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége.
  28. ^ "Chart Track: Week 15, 2014". Irish Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Shakira – Empire – Lebanese Charts". Billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "Archive Chart: April 12, 2014". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  31. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201415 into search.
  32. ^ "Gaon Weekly International Digital Chart". Gaon, Korea Music Content Industry Association. 2–8 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Shakira – Empire" Canciones Top 50.
  34. ^ "12, 2014/ Archive Chart: April 12, 2014" UK Singles Chart.
  35. ^ "Shakira – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Shakira. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  36. ^ "Shakira – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Shakira. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  37. ^ "American single certifications – Shakira – Empire". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 1 December 2014.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  38. ^ http://at.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  39. ^ http://fr-be.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  40. ^ http://ca.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  41. ^ http://fi.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  42. ^ http://fr.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  43. ^ http://de.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  44. ^ http://ie.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  45. ^ http://it.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  46. ^ http://lu.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  47. ^ http://nl.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  48. ^ http://no.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  49. ^ http://pt.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  50. ^ http://es.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  51. ^ http://se.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  52. ^ http://de-ch.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  53. ^ http://us.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  54. ^ http://nz.7digital.com/artist/shakira/release/empire
  55. ^ http://gfa.radioandrecords.com/publishGFA/GFANextPage.asp?sDate=04/22/2014&Format=10
  56. ^ http://www.amazon.de/Empire-Shakira/dp/B00NYDFHC6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413108663&sr=8-2&keywords=shakira+empire

External links[edit]