Martin -- an international superstar and native of Puerto Rico
sold more than 15 million records worldwide appears to be conquering
the US as well, thanks in large part to an electrifying performance
worldwide smash hit (and 1998 World Cup theme song), "La
Copa de la
Vida," at the Grammy Awards show in February 1999. Martin
is being hailed as
the forerunner in a vanguard of Latin pop guards - a 'Latin fever'
spreading worldwide. His 1998 Spanish-language album, Vuelve,
1999 Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance and Martin's debut
("Livin' La Vida Loca") from his first English-language
album has become the biggest
selling No.1 single in the history of Columbia Records.Born
in San Juan, Puerto Rico, onDecember 24th 1971, Martin got his
taste of performing in grade school, where he acted in school
plays and sang
in the choir. As a small child, he appeared in a number of television
commercials and immersed himself in singing lessons. Unusually,
influences included David Bowie and Cheap Trick until his mother
Martin and his brothers to a Celia Cruz concert, an event that
profound influence. "One day our mother got tired of rock,"
he recalls with
a smile. "She said, 'I can't stand it anymore!' and grabbed
us by the ears
and took us to a Celia Cruz concert. It really affected me."
says, "I listen to everything. I'm like a sponge. I'm in
moment that feels like, 'Let's get it out!'"
landed a spot with the Latin boy group Menudo in 1984 at the tender
age of 12, and for the next five years he maintained a grueling
recording work and tours. In 1989, when Menudo was at the peak
success, Martin opted out and moved to New York, hoping to achieve
success. After a year of unemployment, frustration led the aspiring
entertainer to Mexico. Soon after being cast as a regular in the
soap opera Alcanzar una Estrella II, Martin began dividing his
acting and music. His first two Spanish albums, 'Ricky Martin'
'Me Amaras' (1993), achieved gold status in several countries.
led Martin to move once again, this time to Los Angeles in 1994
divided his time between his third Spanish album, 'A Medio Vivir'
bartender Miguel Morez on the US soap, General Hospital.
in 1995, A Medio Vivir constituted a turning point in Martin's
recording career. The album combined Latin styling with a rock
Worldwide sales reached 600,000 within six months, and in October
release was certified gold. Martin was awarded the prestigious
Marius in the Broadway production of Les Miserables and also found
dub the Spanish version of the popular animated Disney film Hercules.
soon as his year-long stint on Broadway was completed, Martin
on his fourth Spanish album titled 'Vuelve', the album which sported
smash hit, "La Copa de la Vida". It experienced spectacular
to date selling 6 million copies. Following Martin's 1999 Grammy
Vuelve was named Best Latin Pop Album - and his much talked-about
performance at the awards ceremony, sales of Vuelve jumped six-fold,
creating the perfect atmosphere for the May release of Martin's
English-language album, 'Ricky Martin', which has been two years
making. "It's all about communicating," Ricky says by
way of explaining his
decision to record in English. "I will never stop singing
in Spanish --
that's who I am -- but this was always part of the plan."
had the dream team!," he enthuses about his producers: Robi
whom he's been working for years); Emilio Estefan, Jr. (the pioneer
the "Miami sound"); songwriter Desmond Child (best-known
for his work with
Bon Jovi and Aerosmith but, as Ricky points out, is Cuban-born
much in touch with the Latin sounds"); and, through Madonna,
titan William Orbit. The production values on Ricky Martin draw
enhance, the roots of his music. "Technology is great and
it works so you
use it," Ricky admits, "but I also try to keep things
very simple. When it
comes to music, you cannot pull a whip on yourself. I don't want
my voice to
sound too technical, I want it to sound like me. The way I feel
is, I don't
have to sound perfect, but my emotion has to nail it. There's
scientific about it, it's all about emotion. I let it flow. If
it's real, it stays."
far Martin appears to be handling his success well, turning down
to star opposite Jennifer Lopez in a film remake of West Side
Story, on the
grounds that the movie helps perpetuate Puerto Rican stereotypes;
consummate professional and painstaking artist'. He also continues
maintain a relationship with his longtime girlfriend, Rebecca
de Alba (who
hosts a TV show in Mexico), and in regard to his singing career
he said toUSA
"I want to do this forever. I don't want to be the hit of
the summer, and,
hopefully, with a lot of humility, we can talk in 10 years and
I'll still be here."