Ricky Martin (born Enrique Martín Morales on December 24, 1971) 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 since 1991.
During his career he has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. He is the founder of Ricky Martin Foundation (in Spanish Fundación Ricky Martin), a non-profit charity organization. Ricky Martin's exuberant 1999 single "Livin' la Vida Loca" made him a prominent figure of Latin dance-pop. Martin got his start with the all-boy pop group Menudo; after five years with the group, he released his Spanish-language solo album, Ricky Martin, in 1991. He also acted on stage and on TV in Mexico, becoming a modest star there. In 1994 he starred on the American TV soap opera General Hospital, playing a Puerto Rican singer. In 1999, after several albums in Spanish, he released his first English-language album (also titled Ricky Martin), which included the salsa-style "Livin' la Vida Loca". The album sold 17 million copies and brought Martin international fame. His other albums include A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000, with the hit "She Bangs"), Life (2005), and the compilation album Ricky Martin 17 (2008). In 2010 Martin announced that he was a "fortunate homosexual man", ending years of fan speculation on the topic.
On the edge of the new millennium, Martin—almost by himself—gave Latino music an international face. An acclaimed performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards launched Martin into worldwide super-stardom. As Entertainment Weekly's Andrew Essex reported, "his leather-pants, electro-pelvis version of 'La Copa de la Vida' single-handedly goosed a very dull [Grammy] telecast, earning him a standing ovation."
Martin's twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born via a surrogate mother in 2008. Martin also co-owns a Miami restaurant, Casa Salsa, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
The more interviews Ricky Martin gives, the more I come to truly like and admire this openly gay superstar. He’s a man who isn’t saying, “I’m gay but please don’t try and define me by it and try not to mention it all the time.” Or the annoying: “I was never in” quotes we seem to be hearing from others.
Ricky is being real, he is telling it like it is.
It’s obviously hard to come out for a lot of us for a multitude of reasons. Once someone in the public eye does officially come out, it can make a world of difference for the youngsters out there if the famous individual is comfortable in their skin and is through living in shame.
Ricky has done a new interview with ‘Parade’ and I am providing these excerpts that show what a wonderful place he is in right now and what a great asset he is to us all:
What 2011 has in store for Ricky Martin.
“A very intense tour. I just can’t wait to be back on stage. It’s also gonna be a time to relax, believe it or not, because after writing the book and releasing this album and spending years in the studio, I have the time to actually see the reaction of the audience. For the last two years it’s been about the output, so now it’s about the beauty of the stage and going around the world and performing. It will be great.”
On his new music video for “The Best Thing About Me Is You.”
“It’s about the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the husband, the wife, the kids, the mother, the uncle, the dog! A lot of people thought that I was going to come out with a very powerful Latin song, crazy danceable stuff or maybe a power ballad like ‘She’s All I Ever Had.’ But I decided to come out with a little reggae. Something fresh.”
His message to anyone struggling with their identity.
“We all have to go through our own spiritual process. It is very difficult. Some people are struggling and they are in their teens. Some people are in their 50s and they’re struggling. Some people go through life and die not being able to accept themselves. Tragic. But it’s very individual. And it’s about self-esteem.”
On being a voice in the gay community.
“There’s no pressure from anybody. It’s something I feel really good about doing. I have been an activist for human rights for many years. Today, I’m in touch with who I am and I have the opportunity to be in front of a camera and talk to millions of people. After I wrote the book and went on Oprah Winfrey, so many people have come to me, telling me, ‘Ricky, thank you because I understand what acceptance is today.’ ‘Ricky, thank you. I feel better about myself because you have a very beautiful family and the words ‘dysfunctional family’ don’t exist in your life.’”