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More than a billion viewers in 187 countries across the globe felt the power and energy of Ricky Martin's electrifying performance of "The Cup Of Life" at the 1999 Grammy Awards ceremony; "La Copa de la Vida," the official song of the World Cup France '98, has been a #1 single in more than 30 countries. That same night, Ricky's latest full-length Latin recording, Vuelve, won the Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance. With his magical career-defining performance, Ricky Martin -- an international superstar who has sold more than 15 million records worldwide and packs stadiums from Buenos Aires to Beijing to New Delhi and beyond-- was suddenly a recognizable name and presence in more than 24 million U.S. households. Ricky Martin, his first English language album, is the next step in the evolution of this remarkable talent.

"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." A labor of love and passion, Ricky Martin has been two years in the making. "I was not going to release this album until I was completely content with what I'd be presenting," admits Ricky, the consummate professional and painstaking artist. "I want to listen to my music in 30 years and say, 'Great album!' The time for this album is now, not because I'm ready now and I wasn't before, but because now the music is ready." 

The first track off Ricky Martin is "Livin' La Vida Loca," a sensuous celebration of life driven by a loaded rock bass line, sexy-smart lyrics, raw vocals and pulsating rhythms. According to Ricky, "that's the single because I want to say, 'Hey! Boom! I'm here! Check this out!' The song has a little bit of Latin, a little bit of ska, a little bit of rock, there's even a little bit of the '60s, sort of a James Bond sound." 

Like the single, Ricky Martin explores an eclectic musical range. "Yes, I come from Puerto Rico," he says, "I grew up listening to Boston, Cheap Trick, Journey, David Bowie. When I was a kid, my brothers and I were all into rock, rock, rock." 

Ultimately, however, Ricky got a lesson in Latin music he couldn't ignore. "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." 

Today, Ricky says, "I listen to everything. I'm like a sponge. I'm in this creative moment that feels like, 'Let's get it out!'" On one end of the spectrum, Ricky delivers the stripped-down, yet impassioned, sitar-laced "She's All I Ever Had," while on the other there's "Shake Your Bon-Bon," a tantalizing Latinized funk-rock-confection with hyper-horns, sly female background vocals, and vocal hook that's absolutely irresistible. Far less libidinous, yet still sensual, is the soaring and imploring "I Am Made of You," Ricky's favorite cut because it "describes perfectly where I'm at today in my spiritual search." 

One track that's bound to attract attention is "Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón)," a true summit meeting of musical superpowers: Ricky Martin and Madonna. "People said, 'It won't match! You're Latin and the sound she's working in at the moment is very English-techno,' but we felt we had to do it," Ricky says. "We didn't want to think about deadlines or why we were doing it. If it works for my album, great. If it winds up on a soundtrack or something else, great. If it's just for us to go into the studio and have fun, great." As it turned out, the track blended the worlds of Latin music and electronica in a groundbreaking techno-acoustic ballad and wound up fitting in perfectly with the rest of Ricky Martin. 

One of the unexpected stand-out surprises on Ricky Martin is the sensuous "Private Emotion," another duet, this one pairing Ricky with the Swedish songstress Meja. 

"I had the dream team!," he enthuses about his producers: Robi Rosa (with whom he's been working for years); Emilio Estefan, Jr. (the pioneer behind the "Miami sound"); songwriter Desmond Child (best-known for his work with Bon Jovi and Aerosmith but, as Ricky points out, is Cuban-born and "very much in touch with the Latin sounds"); and, through Madonna, electronica titan William Orbit. Other writers and producers on the album include Jon Secada, George Noriega, Juan Zambrano, and Walter Afanasieff. 

The production values on Ricky Martin draw from, and 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 nothing scientific about it, it's all about emotion. I let it flow. If it's real, it stays." 

Ricky Martin was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he first revealed his love of performing in school plays and choir. At the age of six, he had already begun to appear in television commercials, becoming comfortable with the camera and maturing in his craft through acting and singing lessons. When he discovered the Latin music sensation Menudo, Ricky began to audition, but was at first rejected as being too young. When he was finally selected to join the group, in 1984, Ricky Martin was 12 years old. 

After five years of nonstop work, tours, recording, and rehearsing with the group, Ricky left in 1989, traveling first to New York, to study and reflect, and then to México, where he worked as an actor and a singer. His first solo album earned him eight gold records in México, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and the United States. After releasing his second album, Me Amaras, Ricky moved to Los Angeles, where he became an American television heartthrob in his role as "Miguel" on "General Hospital." He went on to appear as "Marius" in the Broadway production of "Les Misérables." His third album, A Medio Vivir, was produced by Robi Rosa and KC Porter (Bon Jovi, Boyz II Men, Richard Marx, Patti LaBelle), sold more than 600,000 in six months, and was certified gold by the RIAA on October 27, 1997. Vuelve repeated that success and was RIAA-certified gold on July 7, 1998; to date, Vuelve has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. Most recently, Ricky Martin can be seen on television commercials as the spokesperson for Puerto Rican tourism. 

Which brings things up to the Grammy performance that rocked the planet. "I was more excited when I learned I'd be performing than when I was nominated," he confesses. "It was the most difficult audience I've ever been in front of! Sting! Madonna! Pavorotti! To get the acceptance of your peers really means a lot." 

Not surprisingly, Ricky's philosophy for making music is akin to the effect he hopes to have on his listeners: "I want them to feel free, liberated. I want them to be who they are with my music." 

Ricky Martin marks the arrival of a superstar while signaling a brand new era in Latin music, a time when the whole world is "Livin' La Vida Loca"!

Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin
Birth name: Enrique José Martín Morales

- Singer
Date of Birth
- 24 December 1971
Birth Place
San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

Mailing Address
Ricky Martin
International Fan Club
P.O.BOX 13345, Santurce
Station, San Juan,
Puerto Rico 00908-3345


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