Ricky Martin's Biography
Ricky Martin is a pop singer from Puerto Rico, one of the key popularisers of Latin American music globally. His hits "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "The Cup of Life" continue to resonate on dance floors years after their release.
Fans appreciate not only his work but also his openness to all philosophical currents. He is a homosexual, vegetarian, philanthropist, and outspoken against discrimination and racial prejudices. His charity foundation actively fights against human trafficking worldwide.
Childhood and Career Beginnings
Enrique Martin Morales was born to psychologist Enrique Martin Negroni and accountant Nereida Morales. His parents divorced when he was two years old. Both his parents found new love, giving Ricky a large extended family that included brothers Daniel, Eric, Fernando, and Ángel, and sister Vanessa.
Raised in a deeply religious environment, Ricky served as an altar boy and attended Sunday school. Despite the strict upbringing typical of Catholics, his parents encouraged his vocal talent. From a young age, he would dance in front of the mirror with a comb as a microphone. At nine, his father took him to an advertising audition, leading to several years of appearing in commercials for toothpaste, lemonade, and hamburgers.
As a musically gifted teenager, Ricky auditioned several times for the boy band Menudo to replace Ricky Melendez. Initially rejected due to his short height, his persistence paid off on the third try when the producers, impressed by his determination, welcomed him into the group. Ricky, then still known as Enrique, performed with Menudo from 1984 to 1989. He contributed to 11 albums including "Evolución," "Menudo," "Explosion," "Ayer Y Hoy," "A Festa Vai Começar," "Viva! Bravo!," and "Refrescante." In July 1989, at the age of 17, he left the group to pursue a solo career.
Leaving Menudo was not an easy decision for him. He owed much to the band, having recorded 11 albums and learned almost everything about show business with them. However, the restrictive contract, constant oversight by managers, and limited opportunities to express his true self led to the end of their collaboration. After leaving Menudo, he returned to Puerto Rico, finished school, and celebrated his 18th birthday. Upon becoming an adult, he opened his own bank account and moved to New York to embrace new opportunities.
After school, the young artist planned to become a student at the New York School of Arts. However, life had other plans - before he could start his studies, Ricky was invited to the Mexican musical Mama Ama el Rock ("Mama Loves Rock"). He was spotted on stage by a Mexican television producer and was cast in the soap opera "Alcanzar una estrella" ("Reach for a Star").
In 1990, Ricky Martin signed a contract with Sony Discos, and his first album, simply titled "Ricky Martin," was soon released. Unfortunately, the young singer hadn't read the contract terms carefully, according to which Ricky only earned one cent from each sold album.
Ricky Martin's debut album, featuring a charming long-haired young man on the cover, sold 500,000 copies. The singer only received $5,000, but this modest compensation did not kill his enthusiasm. The album's first single "Fuego Contra Fuego" was certified gold in Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. When Ricky embarked on a tour of South America, he was met with ovations everywhere. "I felt at home," the singer later described his first solo tour.
In 1993, Ricky Martin presented another album to the world, "Me Amaras" ("You Will Love Me"), which was warmly received but did not break through. He also starred in two seasons of the sitcom "Getting By" and landed a role as a singing bartender in the soap opera "General Hospital," subsequently recognized as one of the longest-running series in television history. During this time, Ricky Martin had his first intimate experience with a man, but he concealed his orientation for the next 15 years.
In 1995, the English-speaking world's perception of Latin American music fundamentally changed, all thanks to Ricky Martin's new album "A Medio Vivir". Nearly half of the three million copies sold were purchased in Europe, where the title song of the album - "Maria" - was particularly beloved. This track became Ricky Martin's first international hit. In France alone, 1.4 million copies of the single were bought.
Following his phenomenal success in music, Ricky Martin was recognized as an actor. He participated in the Broadway production of "Les Misérables" right after publicly expressing his dream of performing on Broadway. He was entrusted to play the role of Marius - the main character of the production.
After 11 weeks of the show, Ricky went into the studio and recorded his fourth album - "Vuelve". 8 million copies of the album were sold worldwide. However, the artist didn't consider the new album or his role in the Broadway musical as his main achievement of those years. His performance at the World Cup in France in 1998, for which he specifically wrote the song "La Copa de la Vida" ("The Cup of Life"), which became the unofficial anthem of the championship, was what he valued the most.
After performing at the 1998 World Cup, Ricky decided it was time to sing in English. So, in 1999, his first album "Ricky Martin" was re-released in English, featuring new hits. The album, purchased by 22 million listeners worldwide, also included duets with Madonna and Meja, the hit "Private Emotion" recorded with Turkish star Sertab Erener, and of course, "Livin' La Vida Loca" which became Ricky Martin's signature song for many years. This song is widely credited with sparking an international boom in Latin music and paving the way for Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, and Thalia on the global stage.
His second English album appeared at the end of 2000. "Sound Loaded" debuted at third place in the U.S., but never reached first. Singles from the album included "She Bangs," "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" (a duet with Christina Aguilera), and "Loaded."
In early 2001, he released a compilation of Spanish songs, "La Historia," which topped the Latin charts, followed by a collection of English songs, "The Best Of Ricky Martin," consisting entirely of remixes of Ricky Martin's best hits.
In 2003, he released another Spanish album titled "Almas Del Silencio" ("The Strength of Silence"). Ricky himself said he wanted to revisit his past self, full of emotions and adrenaline, with this album.
Two years later, he released an English album with the succinct and profound title "Life." According to the artist himself, this album finally allowed him to connect with his emotions. "This record is as multifaceted as our lives. It's about the anger we feel, the joy we experience. It includes uncertainty and love - all the emotions that are inherent to people."
However, the album received a rather cold reception, selling only 700,000 copies worldwide. Perhaps the trend for Latin music had passed, or new, brighter stars had emerged in the Spanish-speaking sky. Either way, Ricky Martin took a long break from recording new songs, dedicating himself to other areas of activity.
Ricky Martin's next album was released six years later. The record "Musica + Alma + Sexo" ("Music + Soul + Sex") was recorded from Miami to Golden Beach, Florida. During his years of hiatus, Ricky amassed over 60 songs, which had to be carefully sifted to delight fans, who had long given up hope of hearing something new from their idol, with the highest quality material.
Another single from the artist, "Vente Pa’ Ca" ("Come Here"), was released back in 2016. The music video amassed 150 million views in less than two months.
Ricky Martin's Personal Life
Ricky Martin was twice included in People's list of the most beautiful people in the world, in 2000 and 2006.
From the early 1990s, Ricky Martin maintained a public relationship with Mexican TV host Rebecca de Alba. Their romance flared up and faded intermittently. Even five years after their final breakup in 2005, she tearfully expressed that being with him was the best thing in her life.
In 1999, Ricky Martin's personal life became the subject of numerous rumors after he refused to comment on his sexual orientation in an interview with The Mirror. "I won't comment on whether I'm gay or not. It's none of your business who I'm in bed with: a woman, a cow, or even a broom."
In 2008, Ricky Martin became a proud father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, born through a surrogate mother.
From an early age, the twins displayed diametrically opposite personalities. Valentino, Ricky described, is a natural observer who enjoys tranquility, nature, and all living things. Matteo is a born leader who loves to command others, telling his brother what to do and what not to.
In 2010, Ricky Martin came out as gay. "I'm proud to tell you that I'm gay, and very happy to be who I am," he wrote on his official website. Later, he expressed a desire to marry his boyfriend, Carlos Gonzalez Abella, a stockbroker whose business suit and tie Ricky found very attractive. The couple split in 2014.
In 2016, Ricky Martin started dating Syrian Jwan Yosef, an artist. Initially, the singer fell in love with the artist's works and began collecting them, then he met the artist himself, and in November of the same year, he proposed.
Ricky proposed to Jwan by getting down on one knee and asking the loving words, "Will you marry me?" Jwan accepted and they were married on January 11, 2018. Later that year, their daughter Lucia Martin-Yosef was born via a surrogate mother.
In 2019, another joyful event occurred in Ricky Martin's life – he welcomed another son. He showed his son's face to his fans in April 2020. He also expressed that he doesn't plan to stop at four children, dreaming of raising eight twins.
In July 2023, Ricky Martin announced his divorce from Jwan. He did not elaborate on the reasons for ending their six-year marriage.
Charity and Political Views
In 2002, the artist visited India, where he was shocked to learn about the slave trade. He personally saved three girls from being sold into slavery, and upon returning to the United States, he founded the "Ricky Martin Foundation." The main focus of the organization is to raise awareness of human trafficking on an international level and to assist victims of slave traders.
In 2001, Ricky Martin was invited to the inauguration of George Bush as the musician initially supported the Republican. During the performance, Martin invited the newly sworn-in president to dance with him – these moments made history. In his song "Asignatura Pendiente" ("Unfinished Business"), there is a line: "I have a photo with Bush". The photo was mentioned as a symbol of luxury along with an army of servants and a luxury hotel suite. However, Martin's attitude towards Bush changed over time – since then, on this line at his concerts, he would show his middle finger, and this gesture invariably received applause from the audience.
In 2010, Ricky Martin criticized a discriminatory law that allowed the police to demand documents from people if they looked like immigrants. Subsequently, the musician supported the re-election of Barack Obama to a second presidential term and warmly welcomed the legalization of same-sex marriages. In the 2016 presidential elections, he passionately supported Hillary Clinton.
Ricky Martin Now
Because Ricky Martin has been so engrossed in his family and domestic responsibilities, he has less time for his artistic work. However, in 2020, he planned to release a new solo album "Movimiento" and go on tour to support it. Unfortunately, most of the concerts had to be cancelled because the tour began in February 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic started. The album was released in two parts: "Pausa" and "Play," two years apart.
Deprived of the opportunity to perform and travel, Martin, in his own words, went crazy and wanted to invent something useful for society. So, he created Martin Music Lab to introduce the Orbital Audio immersive music listening technology, with which his new albums were released. Ricky emphasizes that the technology is accessible on any level of equipment, be it headphones that cost 5, 100 or 1000 dollars.
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