Ricky Martin

Enrique Mart?­n Morales (born December 24, 1971), better known by his stage name Ricky Martin, is a Grammy Award- and Latin Grammy Award- winning, Puerto Rican pop singer who rose to fame, first as a member of the Latin boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1991.


His career has spanned over three decades and has sold more than 55 million albums worldwide. He is the founder of Ricky Mart?­n Foundation (in Spanish Fundaci??n Ricky Martin) a non-profit charity organization.


In 2008, he became a single father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino.


Early life


Martin was born on 24 December 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to his mother, Nereida Morales, who was an accountant and his father Enrique Mart?­n Negroni who was a psychologist. His parents divorced when he was two; his father remarried. Martin grew up in a Catholic home and was an altar boy until he joined Menudo. His paternal great*4 grandfather Antonio Francisco Negroni Mattei born Rogliano, Cap Corse, Corsica, emigrated to Puerto Rico in 1822 and died 1861 in Yauco, Puerto Rico.


Career


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.


Solo work

After completing high school, Martin left San Juan and moved to New York. Later, Martin moved to Canc??n where he started acting, first in theater productions, and then in a soap opera ("telenovela") titled Alcanzar Una Estrella II (Reach for a Star 2). A film based on the series was 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, Puerto Rico, and the United States, and he performed a string of sold-out concert dates across South America.


In 1993, Martin released his second solo album, Me Amar??s, which sold more than a million copies worldwide.


In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles, California. He received a role as bartender (Miguel Morez) in the American soap opera General Hospital.


In 1995, Martin refocused on his music career through his third album, A Medio Vivir. With this album, Martin made a shift from formulaic hit ballads to a more risky fusion of music centered around traditional Latin sounds. With the hit "Maria", which epitomizes this new sound. "Maria" broke Martin into Europe through Spain. With the ballad "Te Extra?±o, Te Olvido, Te Amo", Martin began his expansion from Latin American and Spanish-speaking audiences to the European and Asian markets.


Broadway

After the conclusion of a worldwide tour, Martin returned to New York to appear in a Broadway production for the first time. He played the romantic lead, Marius Pontmercy, in Les Miserables.


While on Broadway, Martin returned to the studio and recorded his fourth album, Vuelve, which was certified platinum by the RIAA and went on to sell eight million copies worldwide. He was chosen to sing the anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the famous hit "The Cup of Life"/"La Copa de la Vida", that reached number one on the charts in 60 countries.


Crossover to English

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 Coraz??n)") 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 U.S., the U.K., 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 USA.


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"/"Qu?© M??s 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: "D?©jate 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", "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 Negro which included a performance at the Jos?© 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.


2009???present: Forthcoming 11th album and first book
This section requires expansion.

On June 2009, the singer announced he was working on a new studio album, the first since 2005's 'Life'. The album, which will feature tracks in both English and Spanish, is expected to be ready for spring of 2010, with a first single releasing near the beginning of the year. His collaborators include producer Lester Mendez, who has penned hits for everyone from Nelly Furtado to Carlos Santana. It would be his 9th studio album and his 11th album overall.


The singer also announced through his Twitter account that he's currently penning a book, although the content of said book is still unknown.


MTV Diary and MTV Unplugged


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 17th, 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 j?­baro", and finishing with an "aguinaldo orocove?±o") and "P?©gate", 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 "P?©gate".


Personal life


Martin has been nominated one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine and its sister magazine People en Espa?±ol in 2000 and 2006 respectively.


In the past Ricky 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 Ricky Martin planned on proposing. However with the release of "Life", Martin confirmed he and De Alba had parted ways.


During the Livin' la Vida Loca era, Martin's personal life went under the microscope due to his large gay following and he was constantly questioned about his sexual orientation. Neither avoiding the questions nor answering that he is straight stopped the gay rumors. In the magazine Plus 7 Days he said: "I am a modern man, live a full life, do not feel any barriers inside myself," Ricky says. "I perceive the contemporary world as an open forum, where nothing is taboo except criminal activity. If I were gay, why not admit it? ... I am a normal man. I love women and sex. I am a real hot-blooded Puerto Rican, but I have never been attracted by sex with a man."


In The Sunday Express on the gay rumors Martin said: "What are you going to do? I don't have a problem with homosexuality. I'm gay-friendly???I'm not gay."


In August 2008, Ricky became the father of twin boys. The babies were delivered via gestational surrogacy and were already a few weeks old. At the time of the press release, the children were already under Ricky's full-time care. On December 10, 2008, Martin told People magazine that the boys are named Matteo and Valentino. Martin's rep released a statement after the twins' birth, saying, "Ricky is elated to begin this new chapter in his life as a parent and will be spending the remainder of the year out of the public spotlight in order to spend time with his children."


In June 2009, Martin spoke about his sexuality in an interview with Hispanic magazine TV Aqui, reportedly hinting that he was bisexual. He stated that his "heart could belong to a woman or a man". Later reports refuted this as a publicity stunt by TV Aqui. The reliable gay publication The Advocate revealed in an article "Ricky Martin Coming Out A Lie": "Last week, via a leaked cover line and a vague Twitter post, Puerto Rican magazine TV Aqui suggested that Ricky Martin had inched toward the closet door in its latest issue by saying his heart ???could belong to a man or a woman. Now, with the issue on newsstands, it turns out the magazine cover text and Twitter post were nothing more than a ploy to get people to buy the magazine -- because that isn???t what he said at all. In translated text of the video footage, Martin says: "Eh, the heart of Ricky Martin? Look, whether it has or doesn't have a male owner or a female owner, I have never spoken about that topic, so don't??¦" Furthermore, a reporter from the Los Angeles???based Examiner.com reached out to TV Aqui editor Saudy Rivera to ask if Martin himself had actually said that he is bisexual. Rivera said that he hadn???t.


Humanitarian work


Main article: Ricky Mart?­n Foundation

Martin is the founder of Fundaci??n Ricky Martin, (English: ) a non-profit organization. Among the events promoted by the foundation was a summer camp, which included Martin's personal participation.


Martin has been honored with many accolades for his humanitarian efforts including


The Leadership in the Arts Award
Billboard's Spirit of Hope Award
The Alma Award
Vanguard Award
International Humanitarian Award by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.
Hispanic Heritage Award for his humanitarian work through the Sabera Foundation in rescuing three orphan girls from the streets of Calcutta (September 2002)

Ricky Martin has also collaborated with the International Organization for Migration on the "Llama y Vive" (Call and Live), a campaign which is aimed to facilitate prevention of human trafficking, protection of the youngest victims of child trafficking, and prosecution of the traffickers. For his work against human trafficking, the U.S. State Department named Martin one of its "Heroes in Ending Modern-Day Slavery" in 2005.


Politics


Ricky Martin in Congress. Luis Fortu?±o (far left) and Tom Lantos.

Martin was a headliner in the 2001 inauguration ball for President George W. Bush; he even invited the newly elected president to join him on stage to dance. This image was captured by photographers and broadcast in various media throughout the world. Martin would even go so far as to reference it in a later song, Asignatura Pendiente.


Martin has since changed his position on the President. In a concert in Puerto Rico during the song Asignatura Pendiente Martin thrust his middle finger disapprovingly in the air while singing the line "photo with Bush". The gesture met with audience approval but caused a minor controversy with the media. Martin said in an e-mail statement sent to the Associated Press via a spokesman: "My convictions of peace and life go beyond any government and political agenda and as long as I have a voice onstage and offstage, I will always condemn war and those who promulgate it".


Ricky Martin supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the landslide Clinton victory in the Puerto Rican Democratic primary on June 3, 2008.


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