Livin’ la Vida Loca
“Sexuality and sensuality are completely different things. Sensuality is something that you're born with, but sexuality is something I leave for my own mirror.” Ricky Martin
Multiple award-winning musician Ricky Martin established a reputation for himself as a worldwide superstar by selling more than 32 million albums and 8 million singles internationally. A Latin sensation, Martin received wide recognition and appreciation with the massive success of his English language debut album Ricky Martin (1999). Thanks to the monster hit ”Livin’ la Vida Loca,” Martin was handed several awards, including three MTV Video Music Awards, a World Music Award, a Billboard Music Award, an ALMA Award and a People’s Choice Award. A year before, he attracted attention with the release of 1998’s Vuelve. Spawning the international hit “La Copa de la Vida” (“The Cup of Life”), Martin took home a Grammy Award and Billboard Latin Music Awards. Another booming song, “She Bangs” (which was taken from 2000’s Sound Loaded), garnered Martin a 2001 Latin Grammy Music Video Award, as well as earned him a nomination at the Grammys.
“I believe this album is global. My dream is to unite lifestyles with my music. That's why I went from rock to Middle Eastern sounds, from Asian to hip-hop, from pop to Reggaeton, making it easy for people all over the world to relate.” Ricky Martin
After a few years away from the music industry, the Puerto Rico-born singer recently launched his much anticipated album called Life (2005).
Off screen, 6’ ½” inch tall Martin is a philanthropist. He actively supports several charitable organizations like the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Carousel of Hope, and the Rainforest Foundation. He is also known as the founder of The Ricky Martin Foundation. With the purpose of reducing the industry for sexual exploitation and trafficking of children worldwide, the foundation created a project called People For Children. Martin’s children foundation has reportedly signed a deal with house-building charity Habitat For Humanity in order to build 600 homes for 600 Thai families who remain homeless after the December 2004 tsunami. Commenting about the project, he said, “I have to thank the government of Thailand because they donated the land. They got the land ready for us to start building on.”
As for his romantic life, Martin was romantically linked with ex-General Hospital co-star Lilly Melgar. He also had an on and off relationship with his girlfriend of 10 years, Rebecca de Alba, a Mexican TV journalist.
Childhood and Family:
Born Enrique Jose Martin Morales IV, on December 24, 1971, Ricky Martin was raised by his parents, Enrique Martin III, a psychologist, and Nereida Morales, an accountant, before they filed for divorce when Ricky was 3. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ricky attended Colegio Sagrado Corazon grade school, in which he sang in the choir and performed in school plays. Ricky began appearing in commercials on local television when he was 6 years old.
Encouraged by his parents, Ricky Martin, whose nickname is Kiki, took professional acting and singing classes. By the age of 13, he had become one of the members of Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. After five-year extensively traveling, touring and studying with the group, Ricky left Menudo and moved back to his hometown to finish high school. He later relocated to New York, then headed back south to Mexico City and again moved to Los Angeles to pursue a solo music and acting career.
After his professional singing and acting training, 13-year-old Ricky Martin began his singing career as the lead vocal for the Latino boy band Menudo. With other members of the group, Martin became a Latin sensation and enjoyed worldwide success until he grew bored and decided to leave the band in 1989. Moving back to his hometown to complete high school, Martin soon headed for New York to pursue a solo career following high school graduation. However, idleness made him bored, so after a while, the young performer headed back south to Mexico City. During his time in the city, Martin had the chance to perfect his acting skills by performing in various plays like “Mamá ama el rock,” “Atrapada en los 60s” and “Los tenis Rojos” (with Angelica María and Angélica Vale). He also appeared on Spanish TV. He also continued his singing career and scored a contract with Sony’s Latin division in 1990.
A year after penning the deal, Martin finally launched his self-titled debut album. Co-writing with fellow Menudo alumni Robi Rosa, the album was a sizable hit on the Latin charts. Its follow-up, the 1993’s Me Amaras, which was produced by Juan Carlos Calderon, received even bigger victory than the first, selling one million copies internationally. Me Amaras was certified gold, but the singer was still only popular among the Latin community.
Giving international stardom another try, Martin made his way to Los Angeles in 1994. Shortly after, he joined the cast of the daytime soap “General Hospital,” where he was cast as a bartender named Miguel Morez. He also worked on his third Spanish album titled A Medio Vivir, which hit the music stores in 1995. Showcasing a heavy rock-influence, based on his enjoyment of David Bowie and Cheap Trick, blended with Latin beats, the album sold over half a million copies in 6 months and seven million internationally. Martin’s star continued to ascend with his involvement on a Broadway production of “Les Miserables” (1996), starring as Marius. That same year, he also played Sandoval in the television series “Barefoot in Paradise” (1996).
Returning to his recording studio after a three-year absence, Martin experienced a big break with the release of his next studio album, the 1998’s Vuelve, which broke the U.S charts and landed at No. 40. Spawning the international hit “La Copa de la Vida” (“The Cup of Life”), which became the anthem of 1998’s World Cup, the album earned positive feedback, and took home a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance and a Billboard Latin Music for Album of The Year. Its titled track also won Martin another Billboard Latin Music for Hot Latin Track of The Year, in 1999.
Already a global pop sensation, Martin further established a reputation for himself as an international superstar following the release of his first English-language album, Ricky Martin. Hitting the music shelves in the spring of 1999, the album was a huge success, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and No. 2 on the U.K chart. Its lead single, ”Livin’ la Vida Loca,” became the single with the highest sales figure in Columbia Records’ history. As a result, the track handed Martin a MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video, as well as an International Viewer’s Choice. Ricky Martin also won a World Music Award for World’s Best Selling Latin Male. In addition to”Livin’ la Vida Loca,” the album also produced such hits as “She’s All I Ever Had” and “Shake Your Bon-Bon.” Due to the phenomenal victory, Martin was named 1999’s Male Artist of the Year by Billboard Music, the 2000’s Favorite Male Musical Performer by People’s Choice and was honored with an ALMA for Male Entertainer of the Year. His handsome looks soon graced the covers of many major international magazines, including Tiger Beat and Time.
In November 2000, Martin launched his next English album, Sound Loaded, which peaked at No. 4 in the U.S and No. 14 in the U.K. Its hit single, “She Bangs,” picked up a 2001 Latin Grammy Music Video Award, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The same year, Martin was awarded with a World Music for Best Latin Male and Best Pop Male Artist. Also in 2001, Martin released a collection of his biggest Spanish language hits in La Historia. Following his Spanish album, Almas del Silencio (2003), Martin took a hiatus from the entertainment industry. The album premiered at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, with the largest first week’s sales (65,063) of any, all-Spanish language album in the SoundScan era, in May 2003.
“I took three years of my life just to do music, which was great. It was so great for me to do that, very healthy. I went to Brazil. I went to Egypt, India, Japan, just looking for sounds. I'm very happy.” Ricky Martin
Recently, Martin returned with his first English language album in five years, since 2000’s Sound Loaded. Martin co-wrote most of the songs on this deeply personal album named Life (2005). The album tore apart the charts, landing at No. 6 in the U.S.
“It was not something that I was planning on doing when I started recording my music. Everything turned out to be so organic. I started recording my album. It was all about my emotions. It was about daring to write about them and turn them into music. Then one day I was working with Scott Stewart, for example, one of the producers and Fat Joe walks into the studio. 'What’s this? I like this. Can I be part of it?’ And that's what the creative process was about, to be open with no limitations. And it was very healthy.” Ricky Martin on Life
- ALMA: National Council of La Raza Vanguard Award, 2002
- Latin Grammy Music Video: “She Bangs (Spanish),” 2001
- World Music: Best Latin Male, Best Pop Male Artist, and World’s Best-Selling Dance Artist, 2001
- People’s Choice: Favorite Male Musical Performer, 2000
- ALMA: Special Achievement, Male Entertainer of the Year, 2000
- Billboard Music: Male Artist of the Year, 1999
- MTV Video Music: Best Dance Video, Livin’ La Vida Loca, 1999
- MTV Video Music: Best Pop Video, Livin’ La Vida Loca, 1999
- MTV Video Music: International Viewer’s Choice (Latin America North, Latin America South and Russia), Livin’ La Vida Loca, 1999
- Billboard Latin Music: Album of the Year and Hot Latin Track of the Year, Vuelve, 1999
- Grammy: Best Latin Pop Performance, Vuelve, 1999