Рікі Мартін (фото + текст англ.м.)

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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 Corazon),” 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

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 Mexico, where he

worked as an actor and a singer. His first solo album earned

him eight gold records in Mexico, 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 Miserables.” 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


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”!



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