Ricky Martin - biography
Enrique "Ricky" Martín Morales (born December 24, 1971), better known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican pop singer and actor who achieved prominence, first as a member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1991. Throughout his career, he has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. He is the founder of the Ricky Martin Foundation (in Spanish Fundación Ricky Martin), a non-profit charity organization aimed at human trafficking.
Martin got his start at age twelve with the all-boy pop group Menudo; after five years with the group, he released his Spanish-language solo album, Ricky Martin, in 1991. He also acted on stage and on TV in Mexico, becoming a modest star in the country. In 1994 he starred on the American TV soap opera General Hospital, playing a Puerto Rican singer. In 1999, after several albums in Spanish, he released his first English-language album (also titled Ricky Martin), which included "Livin' la Vida Loca". The album sold 22 million copies and brought Martin international fame. His other studio albums include: Me Amarás (1993), A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000), Almas del Silencio (2003), Life (2005), and Música + Alma + Sexo (2011).
On the edge of the new millennium, Martin—almost by himself—gave Latino music an international face. An acclaimed performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards launched Martin into worldwide super-stardom. As Entertainment Weekly's Andrew Essex reported, "his leather-pants, electro-pelvis version of 'La Copa de la Vida' single-handedly goosed a very dull [Grammy] telecast, earning him a standing ovation." In 2010, Martin announced that he was a "fortunate homosexual man", ending years of fan speculation on the topic. His twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born via a surrogate mother in 2008. Martin also co-owns a Miami restaurant, Casa Salsa, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. On November 4, 2011, Ricky Martin was granted Spanish citizenship for his artistic merits and for his grandmother being Iberian born. Martin currently stars as Che in the Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita.
Martin was born on December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Nereida Morales, an accountant, and Enrique Martín Negroni, a psychologist. His parents divorced when he was two; his father remarried. Martin has two maternal half-brothers, Fernando and Ángel Fernández, and two paternal half-brothers, Eric and Daniel Martín, and a paternal half-sister Vanessa Martín. Martin grew up in a Roman Catholic home and was an altar boy until he joined Menudo. Martin has Catalan ancestry through his grandmother who was born in Spain and some Corsican ancestry as his paternal fourth great-grandfathers were born in Rogliano, Cap Corse, Corsica, and Vilanova i la Geltrú, Catalonia (Spain).
Ricky Martin was a member of Puerto Rican boy band Menudo between 1984 and 1989. After completing high school, Martin left San Juan and moved to New York City. Later, Martin moved to Mexico City where he attended the national school of space. He played lead role in a 1989 musical-theatre release named Mis Tennis Rojos (My Red Tennis Shoes) next to Angélica Vale and then followed another theater production Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock).
Career Early solo work: 1991–1994
In 1991, Ricky Martin participated in a telenovela titled Alcanzar una estrella II next to Sasha Sokol. Out of this soap opera a musical group was formed named Muñecos de Papel in which he was one of the six members; they toured several cities in Mexico and recorded two albums. His main single was "Juego de Ajedrez". A film based on the TV series was also produced in which Martin played Pablo, earning a Heraldo Award in 1993.
While acting in Mexico, Martin was signed to Sony Discos, the Sony Music Entertainment's Latin imprint, in 1990. He released his first solo album, the Spanish-language Ricky Martin, in November 1991, which included the hit singles: "Fuego Contra Fuego" and "El Amor de Mi Vida". Later, Ricky Martin performed a string of sold-out concert dates across South America.
Martin moved to Los Angeles, California in 1994 and landed a role as bartender and singer Miguel Morez in the American soap opera General Hospital.
In 1995, Martin refocused on his music career, and his third album, A Medio Vivir, became an international breakthrough. With this album, Martin made a shift from formulaic hit ballads to a more risky fusion of music centered around traditional Latin sounds, epitomized by the hit "Maria". The song broke Martin into Europe via Spain. "Maria" went to number one in France, Belgium Wallonia and Australia, and reached the top ten in most European countries; it even charted on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number eighty-eight. With the ballad "Te Extraño, Te Olvido, Te Amo", Martin furthered his expansion from Latin American and Spanish-speaking audiences to the European and Asian markets. The album has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
After the conclusion of a worldwide tour, Martin returned to New York to appear in a Broadway theatre production for the first time, joining the cast of the hit musical Les Misérables to play the romantic lead, Marius Pontmercy.
While on Broadway, Martin returned to the studio and recorded his fourth album, Vuelve (1998). The title track and the ballad "Perdido Sin Tí" both hit number one on the Hot Latin Songs. The album's pinnacle, however, was "La Copa de la Vida", which Martin made a major hit in an English version when he was chosen to sing the anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. "La Copa de la Vida" reached number one on the charts around the world and went gold and platinum in various countries. It was awarded Pop Song of the Year at the 1999 Lo Nuestro Awards. Further singles included: "La Bomba", "Por Arriba, Por Abajo" and "Corazonado". Vuelve spent twenty-six weeks at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. It became Martin's first top forty album on the Billboard 200 in the United States, where it was certified platinum by the RIAA. The album also went to number one in Spain and Norway, and sold over eight million copies worldwide.
Martin was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album for Vuelve, and was booked to sing on the 41st Grammy Awards live TV broadcast. The now-legendary performance of "The Cup of Life" stopped the show, earning Martin an unexpected standing ovation and introducing the star to the mainstream American audience. Martin capped off the evening by winning the Grammy Award.
Crossover to English: 1999–2002
After several years as a major star in Spanish-speaking countries, Martin prepared his first English album in 1999. The self-titled album contained material by writers and producers such as Desmond Child, Diane Warren, William Orbit, George Noriega and his longtime childhood friend Draco Rosa. The album also featured special guests: Madonna on the Spanish-English duet "Be Careful (Cuidado con mi Corazón)" and Meja on "Private Emotion".
The first and most prominent single was "Livin' la Vida Loca", which reached number one in many countries around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. It was followed by "She's All I Ever Had" which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Both tracks peaked at number one on the Hot Latin Songs. "Livin' la Vida Loca" is generally seen as the song that began the Latin pop explosion of 1999 and made the transition of other Latin artists (first Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias, then later Shakira) into the English-speaking market easier. Ricky Martin became one of the top-selling albums of 1999, and was certified 7× platinum in the United States, selling over 22 million copies worldwide. In October 1999, Martin embarked on a very successful year-long Livin' la Vida Loca Tour.
After this success, a new English-language album, Sound Loaded, was released in November 2000. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and was certified 2× platinum by the RIAA. "She Bangs" and "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" (duet with Christina Aguilera) peaked at number twelve and thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. Both singles reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs. Sound Loaded has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
In February 2001, Martin released a Spanish greatest hits album entitled La Historia, which went to number one for five weeks on the Billboard Top Latin Albums and debuted at number eighty-three on the Billboard 200. It also topped the chart in Sweden for three weeks. The album contained reworkings of two of his early songs "Fuego Contra Fuego" and "El Amor de Mi Vida". In November 2001, an English-language greatest hits album, The Best of Ricky Martin was released outside North America. It contained two new remixes of "Amor".
Almas del Silencio and Life: 2003–2006
In May 2003, Martin released a new Spanish album Almas del Silencio. The first single, "Tal Vez", debuted at number one on the Hot Latin Songs and stayed there for eleven weeks. Martin said of the new album: "I really needed to go back to focus, to my center, to the beginning. I had the need to search within, and really dig deep, and find those emotions that, because of the adrenaline and the euphoria that I lived for a couple of years, were probably sabotaged." Almas del Silencio debuted at number twelve on the Billboard 200 and reached number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums where it stayed for six weeks. The album sold more than one million copies worldwide. The next singles, "Jaleo" and "Y Todo Queda en Nada", reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs. "Jaleo" also topped the chart in Spain for four weeks.
In October 2005, Martin released his first English-language album since 2000's Sound Loaded and the tenth album of his career. Most of the songs on the album, called Life, were co-written by Martin. He commented on the album: "I was really in touch with my emotions. I think this album is very multi-layered, just like life is. It's about feeling anger. It's about feeling joy. It's about feeling uncertainty. It's about feeling. And all my emotions are part of this production." The album debuted at number six on the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, "I Don't Care", featured guest appearances by Fat Joe and Amerie. It peaked at number three on the Hot Dance Club Songs and number sixty-five on the Billboard Hot 100. Another song from the album, "It's Alright" was re-recorded as a duet with French singer M. Pokora. It was successful in French-speaking countries, reaching number four in France.
Soon after, Martin announced his One Night Only with Ricky Martin tour. Starting in Mexico City, the tour premiered on November 15, 2005. After finishing the first leg which included Latin America and the United States, Martin performed at the 2006 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Turin. A few days later, he announced the second leg of his world tour, which included Europe and Africa. The second leg started on April 21, 2006 in Manchester, UK, and ended on June 3, 2006 in