Shakira walks into a luxurious upstairs suite at Miami Beach’s Villa Casa Casuarina — the former Versace mansion — wearing high-waisted jeans, a loose T-shirt and a baseball cap pushed low over her forehead, her hair pulled back in a tangle of dirty-blonde braids. Far from cameras, her face is practically devoid of makeup save for mascara, and her eyes are wide over prominent cheekbones. Clear-skinned, barely over 5 feet tall in her sneakers, she looks young and almost fragile — a far cry from the powerful, wrathful woman she has played in her recent, hugely successful songs and music videos.

“I’m still in a reflective period,” she says pensively. “I’m still exorcising some demons. The last I have left,” she adds with a hearty laugh.

One of the most recognizable and celebrated stars on the planet, Shakira is also notoriously meticulous, a perfectionist known for leaving little to chance. But in the past 14 months, the 46-year-old has thrown convention, expectations and her own personal brand of allure-driven celebrity to the wind following her infamous split from Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué, her partner of over a decade and the father of her two children, Milán, 10, and Sasha, 8. Covered ruthlessly by Spanish tabloids, the separation amid allegations of infidelity on Piqué’s part was immortalized when Shakira recorded “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” with Argentine DJ Bizarrap, an incendiary track in which she made a proclamation that became a global feminist mantra: “Women don’t cry; we make money.” The song hit No. 2 on the Billboard Global 200.

But lost amid the tabloid coverage, the four Guinness World Records that “Sessions” set and multiple Billboard milestones (including becoming the first female vocalist to debut in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with a Spanish-language track) was the fact that between motherhood and marital bliss in Barcelona, it had been nearly a decade since Shakira had achieved anywhere near the success she has had in the past year; her last No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart was “Chantaje,” with Maluma, back in 2016.

This year, she has already landed two No. 1s on the ranking: “Sessions” and “TQG,” with Karol G. (Both also reached the Hot 100’s top 10, and “TQG” topped the Billboard Global 200.) And in the past 12 months, she has placed six hits on the chart, all of them alluding to her separation and the range of emotions it has generated, from intense rage to deep sorrow to faint hope.

However torturous the process of setting those emotions to music has been, the result is that the now-single mother of two is once again one of the world’s hottest artists in any language, with 2024 plans for a new album and a global tour, respectively her first since 2017’s El Dorado and its corresponding 2018 trek.

The irony of the most tumultuous period of her personal life fueling a mid-career renaissance isn’t lost on Shakira.

“I feel like a cat with more than nine lives; whenever I think I can’t get any better, I suddenly get a second wind,” she says. “I’ve gone through several stages: denial, anger, pain, frustration, anger again, pain again. Now I’m in a survival stage. Like, just get your head above water. And it’s a reflection stage. And a stage of working very hard and when I have time with my children, really spend it with them.”