Enrique Martín Morales (born December 24, 1971),better known by his stage name Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican pop singer and actor who achieved prominence, first as a member of the Latin boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist after 1991.
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 Catholic home and was an altar boy until he joined Menudo. Martin has Italian and Catalan-Spanish ancestry as his paternal fourth great-grandfathers were born (Rogliano, Cap Corse, Corsica) and Vilanova i la Geltrú, Catalonia, Spain.
Ricky Martin rose to fame as a member of the Latin American boy band Menudo, after which he became a solo artist in 1990. He is considered a major star in the world of Latin pop and is considered to have opened the doors for some of his fellow Latin American singers.
Martin has been nominated one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine and its sister magazine People en Español in 2000 and 2006.
After completing high school, Martin left San Juan and moved to New York City. Later, Martin moved to Mexico city where he started acting. He first in a musical-theater in 1989 named Mis Tennis Rojos (My red tennis shoes) next to Angelica Vale and then followed another theater productions Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock). He then participated in a telenovela (soap opera) titled Alcanzar Una Estrella II (Reach for a Star 2) next to Sasha Sökol. Out of this soap opera a musical group was formed named Muñecos de Papel in which he was one of the 6 members; they toured several cities in Mexico and recorded 2 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 company's Latin imprint, in 1990. He released his first solo album, the Spanish-language Ricky Martin, in 1991, which included the single "Fuego Contra Fuego." The hit release earned Gold records in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Puerto Rico, and he performed a string of sold-out concert dates across South America.
In 1993, Martin released his second solo album, Me Amarás, which featured a Spanish-language cover of the Laura Branigan hit "Self Control", as "Que Día Es Hoy", and sold more than a million copies worldwide.
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, would be a major 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". "Maria" broke Martin into Europe via Spain. The single went to number one and became one of the biggest hits of the year in France and Belgium, hitting the Top 10 throughout Europe and even making its way into the lower reaches of the U.S. Hot 100. 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, and several other tracks hit the Latin Pop Airplay charts. The album went Gold in the U.S., Switzerland and Finland, Platinum in France, and 4X Platinum in Spain.
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 Miserables to play the romantic lead, Marius Pontmercy.
While on Broadway, Martin returned to the studio and recorded his fourth album, Vuelve. The title track and the ballad "Perdido Sin Ti" both hit number one on the Hot Latin Tracks and Latin Pop Airplay charts, with further hits including "La Bomba" and "Corazonado". 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. "The Cup of Life"/"La Copa de la Vida" reached number one on the charts in 60 countries. The song went Platinum in France, Sweden and in Australia, where it ultimately became the number one single of the year. The song was awarded "Pop Song of the Year" at the 1999 Premio Lo Nuestro awards. Martin was nominated for a Grammy Award for the album, and was booked to sing on the show's 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 award for Best Latin Pop Performance. Vuelve became Martin's first Top 40 album on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart in the U.S., where it was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album notably went to #1 in Norway for three weeks, going on to sell eight million copies worldwide.
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 producers such as Desmond Child, Diane Warren, William Orbit, George Noriega and his longtime childhood friend (producer/singer) Robi Draco Rosa. The album also featured special guests Madonna (on the Spanish-English duet "Be Careful (Cuidado con mi Corazón)") and Meja (Private Emotion). As Turkey was one of the countries where Martin's popularity was at its peak, he sang the song with Sertab Erener, Turkish winner of the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, instead of Meja in Turkish versions of the album.
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, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and South Africa. He followed up with the hit "She's All I Ever Had" which peaked at #2 on The Billboard Hot 100. This album became one of the top-selling albums of 1999, and was certified 7 times platinum, selling over 22 million copies worldwide to date.
After the success of Ricky Martin, a new English-language album, Sound Loaded, was released in November 2000. Though the album did debut in the top ten (number four), it failed to reach number one. Three singles were released from Sound Loaded: the first was "She Bangs," which was followed by a duet with Christina Aguilera called "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely". Unlike the first two singles released from Ricky Martin, neither of the first two singles from this album reached the U.S. Top Ten on Billboard's Hot 100; they reached twelve and thirteen respectively. The third single, "Loaded" reached ninety-seven on Billboard's Hot 100. Sound Loaded eventually sold two million copies in the U.S.
In 2001, Martin released a Spanish Greatest Hits album entitled La Historia, which went to number one in the Latin Charts and stayed there for five weeks. The album contained reworkings of two of his early songs Fuego contra fuego and El amor de mi vida. In the same year, he released his English greatest hits album, The Best of Ricky Martin, which went on to sell over one million copies. The album contained no new material save for two remixes of the track Amor. Both remixes were released to radio in some European countries and a single was also released.
In 2003, Martin released a new Spanish album "Almas del Silencio" ("Souls of Silence"). The first single, "Tal Vez", went to number one on the Latin Charts and stayed there for twelve weeks. He 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, reached number one on the Latin Albums charts and stayed there for six weeks. The next singles, "Jaleo" and "Y Todo Queda en Nada", reached number one on the Latin Charts, and the album sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.
On October 11, 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 Top 200 Albums chart. The first single from the album was "I Don't Care"/"Qué Más Da", featuring guest appearances by Fat Joe, Amerie and drummer Joseph Quevedo "Joey Q".
Another single was released "Drop It on Me", which did not chart. Soon after, Martin announced his Latin American tour called Una Noche con Ricky Martin/One Night Only, promoting his latest album Life. Starting in Latin America, the tour premiered on November 15 in Mexico City. After finishing the first leg of the tour (which included Latin America and the U.S.), he released his next single, "It's Alright" (Spanish version: "Déjate Llevar"). A different version appeared in France, which included additional vocals by French R&B singer M. Pokora. The song went to number 4 in France.
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) called One Night Only/Una Noche Con Ricky Martin World Tour. The second leg started on April 21 in Manchester, U.K., and ended on June 3 in Tel Aviv, Israel, including shows that sold-out in two hours (Italy and Finland). In addition, he performed at the World Cup Fan Party in Berlin (Brandenburger Tor) on June 7, 2006, and at Lebanon's Beiteddine Festival on May 27 at the BIEL seafront hall in Beirut and on May 28 in Egypt , his first concerts in the Arab world following a promise to Queen Noor on his 2005 visit to the Arab Conference in Jordan. During this visit, he recorded an Arabic/Spanglish version of "Drop It on Me" and "Enta Omri" with Arabic pop star Cheb Mami. An anticipated 8 month tour ended early due to a lack of advertising.
In 2007, Martin began a international promotional tour titled Blanco y Negrowhich included a performance at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum and concluded with a presentation at the Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2007[ In 2008, Martin released a greatest hits album entitled Ricky Martin 17.
In June 2009, the singer announced he was working on a new studio album, the first since 2005's Life. The album will feature tracks in both English and Spanish. His collaborators include producer Lester Mendez. It would be his 9th studio album and his 11th album overall.
MTV aired "MTV Diary: Ricky Martin" in November 2006, showcasing scenes from the "One Night Only" tour, on the road and onstage. MTV Latin America and MTV Tr3´s co-produced the "Ricky Martin MTV Unplugged" show to be taped in Miami on August 17, 2006 and premiered on MTV Latin America, MTV Tr3´s and MTV Puerto Rico in October 2006.
"Ricky Martin MTV Unplugged" was released by Sony BMG on November 7, 2006 in both separate CD and DVD formats, and in May 2007, was re-released together in a CD/DVD combo-package. Available exclusively at Wal-Mart with the original CD purchase is a separate Ricky Martin DVD titled "Making of Ricky Martin MTV Unplugged", which includes a 40 minute behind the scenes documentary and the music video to "Tu Recuerdo". (It should be noted the music video for "Tu Recuerdo" is just an extracted live performance of the song from MTV Unplugged.)
The first single of the album, "Tu Recuerdo", featuring La Mari from Chambao, reached number one on the U.S. Latin Charts. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Latin Charts and number thirty-eight on Billboard 200.
This album includes Puerto Rican influences, particularly "Tu Recuerdo" (based mainly on a Puerto Rican "aguinaldo jíbaro", and finishing with an "aguinaldo orocoveño") and "Pégate", a Puerto Rican plena. Christian Nieves plays the Puerto Rican cuatro on both tracks. Viento de agua and Joseph Quevedo played the plena drums in "Pégate".
In the past Martin stated he was in love with Mexican TV host Rebecca de Alba, with whom he had an off-and-on-again relationship for over 14 years. They even talked of starting a family together, and at one point Martin planned on proposing. However with the release of Life, Martin confirmed he and De Alba had parted ways.
In August 2008, Martin became the father of twin boys, named Matteo and Valentino. The babies were delivered via gestational surrogacy.
After the success of Livin' la Vida Loca, Martin's personal life became a subject of interest due to his large gay following, and he was questioned about his sexual orientation. In a December 2000 interview wih The Mirror, Martin was asked to comment on the rumors surrounding his sexuality. He replied that "I don't think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I've slept with or not."
On March 29, 2010, Martin publicly acknowledged his homosexuality in a post on his official web site by stating, "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am." Martin said that "these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed." In 2010, prior to Ricky Martin coming out, Barbara Walters expressed some regret for pushing Martin—in a 2000 interview—to admit if he was gay. The Toronto Star quoted her as saying, "When I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question.
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