Enrique Martín Morales
December 24, 1971
Enrique Martín Morales (Spanish pronunciation: [enˈɾike maɾˈtin moˈɾales]; born December 24, 1971), better known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, actor, author, record producer, and humanitarian who is known as the "King of Latin Pop" and the "Latin Music King". He began his career at age 12 with the all-boy pop group Menudo. After five years with the group, he released several Spanish-language solo albums throughout the 1990s. Since the beginning of his solo career in 1991, Martin has become one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time with over 70 million records worldwide. He also ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all time and the greatest music video artists of all time.
In early 1999, after releasing several albums in Spanish, Martin performed "The Cup of Life" at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards show, which became a catalyst in bringing Latin pop to the forefront of the U.S. music scene. Following its success, Martin released "Livin' la Vida Loca", which helped him attain success worldwide. It is generally seen as the song that began the Latin pop explosion of 1999 and made the transition easier for other Spanish-speaking artists to move into the English-speaking market. His first English-language album (titled Ricky Martin) sold 15 million copies and is his best-selling album to date. His other studio albums include Ricky Martin (1991), Me Amaras (1993), A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000), Almas del Silencio (2003), Life (2005), Música + Alma + Sexo (2011), and A Quien Quiera Escuchar (2015).
He also acted on stage and TV in Mexico, where he achieved modest fame in the early 1990s. In 1994, he appeared on the US TV soap opera General Hospital as a Puerto Rican singer. In 2018, he portrayed Antonio D'Amico in the miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which earned him a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
Martin was born on December 24, 1971 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Nereida Morales, an accountant, and Enrique Martín Negroni (son of Enrique Martín and Iraida Negroni Arizmendi), a psychologist. The youngest of three boys on his mother's side and oldest of four children on his father's side, he has four brothers and one sister. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and Martin spent much of his childhood shifting between his father's home in the suburbs of University Gardens, a suburban middle-class neighborhood of San Juan, and his paternal grandmother's house nearby. Martin has two older maternal half-brothers, Fernando and Ángel Fernández, two younger paternal half-brothers, Eric and Daniel Martín, and a younger paternal half-sister, Vanessa Martín. Martin, in an interview with newspaper ABC, described his origins as Spanish, of Basque and Canarian descent and that the Martíns left Spain for Puerto Rico in 1779. He also has some Corsican heritage through his paternal grandmother.
Martin grew up in a Roman Catholic home and was an altar boy throughout his childhood. He began singing at age 6, using wooden kitchen spoons as make-believe microphones; he often sang songs by Menudo as well as English-language rock groups such as Led Zeppelin, Journey, and REO Speedwagon. His mother's side of the family was musically inclined, and his maternal grandfather was a poet, which inspired young Martin to write songs. Martin later reflected on his time spent with his family as a child: "Every time I find myself in front of an audience, be it twenty people or one hundred thousand, once again I feel the energy that consumed me back at the family gatherings of my youth." After discovering, with his father, a newspaper advertisement about auditions for commercials, 9-year-old Martin began appearing in Puerto Rican television commercials for products such as soft drinks, toothpaste, and restaurants. In a year and a half, he starred in 11 commercials.
After achieving modest fame in Puerto Rico for his work in television commercials, Martin auditioned for membership in the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. Although the executives enjoyed his dancing and singing at his first two auditions, Martin was rejected because he was too short. By the third audition, his persistence impressed executives, and in 1984, 12-year-old Martin became a member. A month after joining Menudo, he made his debut performance with the group at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan. During this performance, he inadvertently disobeyed the choreography by walking around the stage, when it was planned that he would stay still, and was chastised by the band manager after the show: "The mistake was such a big deal that from that moment on, never again did I move when I wasn't supposed to move. That was the discipline of Menudo: You either did things the way you were told or you were not part of the group." The song "Asignatura Pendiente" from Almas del Silencio (2003) was inspired by the first time Martin left Puerto Rico to tour with Menudo.
Although Martin enjoyed traveling and performing onstage with Menudo, he found the band's busy schedule and strict management exhausting, and later reflected that the experience "cost" him his childhood. He considered leaving the group while on tour in Brazil, but ultimately decided to stay out of fear of media backlash and being sued for breach of contract. Martin also began struggling with his sexuality, noting the stark contrast between his status as a sex symbol and his own emotions. Despite this, Martin acknowledged his "opportunity to have so many amazing experiences with so many amazing people" during his time with the group.
He developed an interest in philanthropy when the group became UNICEF ambassadors, often working with impoverished children in third world countries. His experiences as an ambassador affected him greatly and inspired him to continue working with charities later in life.
By 1987, Menudo's record sales began to decline, and the group changed its image, adopting an edgier look and performing more rock-influenced songs. The band released the album Somos Los Hijos del Rock in Spanish, and to appeal to their Filipino fanbase, the group released In Action, recording songs in both English and Tagalog.
After recording 11 albums with the group, Martin left Menudo in July 1989, at age 17, hoping to rest and evaluate his career path. He performed his final show with the group at the same venue where he had performed his first performance as a member. Martin returned to Puerto Rico to graduate from high school, and 13 days after turning 18, he moved to New York City to celebrate his financial independence (since he was a minor during his time with Menudo, Martin was not allowed to access his own bank accounts). He was accepted into New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, but months before classes began, Martin dropped out and moved to Mexico City to perform in the play Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock).
While he was performing onstage in Mama Ama el Rock, a producer in the audience took notice of Martin's acting and offered him a role in the Mexican telenovela Alcanzar una estrella after the show. He also joined the cast for the second season of the show, titled Alcanzar una estrella II. A film based on the TV series, titled Más que alcanzar una estrella, was also produced in which Martin starred and in 1993 earned an El Heraldo Award for his role. The show centered around a fictional musical group called Muñecos de Papel, in which Martin played Pablo Loredo, one of the six members; the group toured several cities in Mexico and recorded two albums. Although he had hoped to take a break from touring after Menudo, Martin enjoyed the experience as he got along well with the other members.
I was so excited about getting back into the music world that I didn't care what the conditions were. All of the hard work and passion I had exerted was finally now starting to come to fruition, and music came back to my life powerfully and definitively.
– Martin, on recording his debut album.
In 1990, Martin was signed to Sony Discos, Sony Music Entertainment's Latin imprint. Eager to make his first solo album, Martin signed the contract without reading it and inadvertently signed a deal in which he would only be awarded one cent of royalties for each album sold. Despite viewing the contract as unfair, Martin referred to the record as "the start of something phenomenal" for him. After working "around the clock" to finish filming Alcanzar una estrella II and recording music, Martin released his debut solo album, the Spanish-language Ricky Martin, in November 1991. Ricky Martin included the singles "Fuego Contra Fuego" and "El Amor de Mi Vida". "Fuego Contra Fuego" was certified Gold in Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and the United States. To promote the album, Martin toured throughout Latin America, which the singer referred to as "an indescribable feeling, almost like coming home."
After the success of Ricky Martin and its subsequent tour, Martin's record company met him with acclaimed producer Juan Carlos Calderón on his second solo album Me Amaras. Although Martin felt "very grateful" for the opportunity to work with Calderón, he noted, "I always felt that that record was more his than mine." Released in May 1993, Me Amaras features a Spanish-language cover of the Laura Branigan song "Self Control", titled "Que Dia Es Hoy". In his review, Alex Henderson of AllMusic wrote, "The CD isn't without its pleasures ... but on the whole, Me Amaras is too glossy, too calculated, and much too contrived for its own good."
In 1994, Martin's agent encouraged him to move to Los Angeles to act in an American sitcom called Getting By. The show was canceled after two seasons, but soon afterward, Martin was given the role of singer/bartender Miguel Morez on the soap opera General Hospital. Martin felt he lacked chemistry with the rest of the General Hospital cast and observed that people treated him differently because of his Puerto Rican accent. At the time, it was relatively uncommon for Hispanic people to appear on American television, and people suggested that he take accent reduction classes, which he refused. It was during this time, however, that Martin began his first committed relationship with a man. He "stopped fearing his sexuality", and soon came out to his mother, who was supportive of him. However, after the relationship ended, Martin "locked [his] feelings even deeper inside", and began dating women again. He recalled, "I already felt it was hard to be a Latino in Hollywood; what could have been more difficult than being Latino and gay?"
In 1995, Martin refocused on his music career, and began work on his third album, A Medio Vivir. The first single, the ballad "Te Extraño, Te Olvido, Te Amo", written by the producer of Lynda Thomas, Carlos Lara, was reminiscent of his earlier work. With the song, Martin furthered his expansion from Latin American and Spanish-speaking audiences to the European and Asian markets. However, the record also made a shift from his traditional ballad-style compositions to a more risky fusion of music centered around traditional Latin sounds, epitomized by the song "Maria". Taken aback by the starkly different musical style, record label executives felt that the song would ruin Martin's career. Despite this, "Maria" was chosen as the album's second single, and became a breakthrough hit, reaching number one in France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Finland, Italy, Turkey, and the entire continent of South America. With A Medio Vivir, Martin was credited, along with singers Chayanne and Marc Anthony, for popularizing the music of Puerto Rico in Spain. The album has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
In a 1996 interview with The Miami Herald, Martin expressed an interest in performing on Broadway. Days after the interview was released Martin received a phone call from producer Richard Jay-Alexander, offering him the role of Marius Pontmercy in the play Les Misérables. After the conclusion of a worldwide tour in support of A Medio Vivir, Martin returned to New York to appear in the play in an eleven-week run. He greatly enjoyed the experience, calling his time in the play an "honor" and "the role of [his] life". Martin continued to tour after the conclusion of the show's run, and noted that his audiences were growing in both size and enthusiasm. In 1997, Martin was invited to the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival in Sanremo, Italy. After landing in Milan, Martin's scheduled helicopter trip to Sanremo had to be postponed due to poor weather conditions. Hoping to arrive at the festival on time, Martin and his crew drove through the mountainous terrain at over 120 miles per hour. The car then turned too quickly and flipped over. However, "none of us had more than a couple of scratches and bruises" and he arrived at the festival on time by taxi later that day. In the summer of 1997, Martin embarked on a tour of Spain, performing 45 shows in 36 cities.
While on tour, Martin returned to the studio to record his fourth album Vuelve (1998). He called the experience of touring and recording at the same time "brutal and incredibly intense". As he was finishing the record, the singer was contacted by FIFA to write a song for the 1998 World Cup; Martin subsequently wrote "La copa de la vida" with K. C. Porter and Draco Rosa. He performed the song at the World Cup final in the Stade de France on July 12, 1998. The performance, which was broadcast to over a billion viewers in 187 countries, was described as a "global moment for Latin pop". "La copa de la vida" reached No. 1 on the charts around the world and went gold and platinum in various countries. It was awarded Pop Song of the Year at the 1999 Lo Nuestro Awards. The title track and the ballad "Perdido Sin Tí" both hit number one on the Hot Latin Songs. Further singles included: "La Bomba", "Por Arriba, Por Abajo" and "Corazonado". Vuelve spent twenty-six weeks at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. It became Martin's first top forty album on the Billboard 200 in the United States, where it was certified platinum by the RIAA. The album also went to number one in Spain and Norway, and sold over eight million copies worldwide.
Martin was nominated for his first Grammy Award for Vuelve in the category of Best Latin Pop Album, and was booked to sing on the 41st Annual Grammy Awards live TV broadcast. His acclaimed performance of "La copa de la vida" earned Martin an unexpected standing ovation and introduced him to the mainstream American audience. Being aware of performing on the Grammys, he said that:"The excitement is more than being nominated for the award. The audience in front of me are people who are hard to please. Sting! Madonna! Luciano Pavarotti! To get the acceptance of your peers really means a lot." Martin won the Grammy Award later that evening, and even superstars Madonna and Sting went backstage to congratulate him. His appearance sparked nationwide interest in Latin music. Writing for Billboard on April 24, 1999, Michael Paoletta noted, "In the weeks since [the performance], it seems like every record label exec has been in a heated search for the next Latin hottie."
After receiving commercial success throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America, Martin prepared his first English album in 1999 in an attempt to cross over to the United States market. The self-titled album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 661,000 copies in its first week of release, became the most successful album debut on the Billboard charts by a Hispanic artist. It contained material by writers and producers such as Desmond Child, Diane Warren, William Orbit, George Noriega and his longtime childhood friend Draco Rosa. The album also featured special guests Madonna on the Spanish-English duet "Be Careful (Cuidado con mi Corazón)" and Sertab Erener on "Private Emotion". Two weeks after the album's release, Martin was featured on the cover of Time with the title "Latin Music Goes Pop!". Before the album's release, Janet Jackson collaborated with Martin for the Latin American version of "Ask for More", a promotional single and commercial released as part of an advertising campaign for soft drink company Pepsi.
The first and most prominent single was "Livin' la Vida Loca", which reached number one in many countries around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. "Livin' la Vida Loca" is Martin's biggest hit. The video for "Livin 'La Vida Loca" was directed by Wayne Isham and starring model Nina Moric. It was followed by "She's All I Ever Had" which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Both tracks peaked at number one on the Hot Latin Songs. "Livin' la Vida Loca" is generally seen as the song that began the Latin pop explosion of 1999 and made the transition of other Latin artists (first Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias, then later Shakira) into the English-speaking market easier. Ricky Martin became one of the top-selling albums of 1999, and was certified 7× platinum in the United States, selling over 15 million copies worldwide. In October 1999, Martin embarked on a very successful year-long Livin' la Vida Loca Tour.
After this success, a new English-language album, Sound Loaded, was released in November 2000. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and was certified 2× platinum by the RIAA. "She Bangs" and "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" (duet with Christina Aguilera) peaked at number twelve and thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. Both singles reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs. Sound Loaded has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
In February 2001, Martin released a Spanish greatest hits album entitled La Historia, which went to number one for five weeks on the Billboard Top Latin Albums and debuted at number eighty-three on the Billboard 200. It also topped the chart in Sweden for three weeks. The album contained reworkings of two of his early songs "Fuego Contra Fuego" and "El Amor de Mi Vida". In November 2001, an English-language greatest hits album, The Best of Ricky Martin, was released outside North America. It contained two new remixes of "Amor".
In May 2003, Martin released a new Spanish album titled Almas del Silencio. The first single "Tal Vez" debuted at number one on the Hot Latin Songs and stayed there for eleven weeks becoming the best performing Latin single of the year. Martin 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 and reached number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums where it stayed for six weeks. The album sold more than one million copies worldwide. The next singles, "Jaleo" and "Y Todo Queda en Nada", reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs. "Jaleo" also topped the chart in Spain for four weeks.
In October 2005, he released his album Life. 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 200. The first single from the album "I Don't Care" featured rap verses by Fat Joe and Amerie. It peaked at number three on the Hot Dance Club Songs and number sixty-five on the Billboard Hot 100. Another song from the album "It's Alright" was re-recorded as a duet with French singer M. Pokora. It was successful in French-speaking countries and reached #4 in France.
On August 17, 2006, Martin taped his MTV Unplugged concert in Miami. It premiered on MTV Latin America, MTV Tr3s and MTV Puerto Rico in October 2006 and was released on CD and DVD in November 2006. The album was a critical and commercial success. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums and number thirty-eight on the Billboard 200. At the Latin Grammy Awards of 2008, MTV Unplugged received Latin Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Album and for Best Long Form Music Video. The first single, "Tu Recuerdo" which featured La Mari of Chambao, reached number one for three weeks on the Hot Latin Songs. The next single, "Pégate", peaked at number six on the Hot Dance Club Songs.
On February 19, 2007, Martin began his worldwide Black and White Tour which started with a performance at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in Puerto Rico and concluded with a presentation at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 14, 2007. He also recorded a duet with Eros Ramazzotti, "Non siamo soli" which topped the Italian chart for eleven consecutive weeks.
After finishing his worldwide tour, Martin took a break from the music industry and focused on his private life. In November 2007, Sony BMG Norte released Ricky Martin Live: Black and White Tour on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc. One year later, a Spanish-language greatest hits album was released, titled 17. It was a summary of 17 years of Martin's musical career, which included mostly Spanish-language songs.
Martin's single, "Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tú" featuring Natalia Jimenez, premiered on November 2, 2010, and peaked at number seventy-four on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot Latin Songs for two weeks. It was followed by a new studio album, Música + Alma + Sexo, released on January 31, 2011. It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and became the highest charting, primarily-Spanish language album in the United States, since Dreaming of You by Selena. Música + Alma + Sexo also represents the highest ever chart debut on the Billboard 200 for a Sony Music Latin release. It spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. On March 25, 2011, Martin started his Música + Alma + Sexo World Tour, which ended on November 12, 2011. The second single from the album, "Más", was released on April 5, 2011, and peaked at number seven on the Hot Dance Club Songs. "Frío" featuring Wisin & Yandel was chosen as the third single.
17: Greatest Hits was released on July 11, 2011, exclusively in the United Kingdom. Martin was playing Ché in the Broadway revival of the show Evita, scheduled to begin previews on Broadway in March 2012, ahead of an opening in April 2012. He received mixed reviews.
Martin guest-starred as a Spanish teacher on the Fox TV show Glee episode "The Spanish Teacher" on February 7, 2012. Martin premiered his "Ricky's Lip Conditioner" lip balm in April 2012 as part of the M.A.C Cosmetics "Ricky and Nicki for Viva Glam" campaign. The advertisements for the range paired him with rapper Nicki Minaj. Martin's signature is featured on the lip balm packaging.
In November 2012, Martin was announced as a coach on The Voice Australia, and debuted in the first episode of season two on April 7, 2013. The finale aired on June 17. His finalist was former Ten Tenors singer Luke Kennedy. He became runner-up losing to eventual winner Harrison Craig.
In April 2013, Martin released his Greatest Hits: Souvenir Edition album in Australia, where it reached number two on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified Gold. In June 2013, he released a new English single titled "Come with Me". He also embarked on the 2013 Australian Tour in October 2013. In February 2014, he appeared with Jennifer Lopez & Wisin on the single and video "Adrenalina" taken from Wisin's album El Regreso del Sobreviviente. The album version contains Spanish lyrics but the single was also made available in a Spanglish version. In April 2014, the single & video were released for "Vida", from the FIFA compilation album One Love, One Rhythm – The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album. Here, the album version contains Spanglish lyrics, but the digital EP contained versions in Spanish & Portuguese as well as various dance remixes.
In July 2014, Martin was announced as a coach on The Voice Mexico. The first episode of season four was aired on September 9, 2014. On October 3, 2014, Martin started his Mexican One World Tour on Mexico City, followed by Guadalajara, Monterrey and Ensenada. In November 2014, he was the closing act of the opening ceremony for the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games "Veracruz 2014".
Since Martin's debut as a coach on The Voice Australia in 2013, he continued as a coach in Season 3 in 2014 alongside will.i.am, Kylie Minogue and Joel Madden. He returned to the panel alongside Delta Goodrem, Benji Madden (teamed up with his brother Joel Madden), and newcomer Jessie J in 2015; before leaving the show before the fifth series to focus on music commitments.
Martin released his tenth studio album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar, in February 2015. The album debuted at number twenty on the Billboard 200, reached number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums, and won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album, making this Martin's second Grammy win to date.
The third single from A Quien Quiera Escuchar, "La Mordidita", became a successful hit, topped the charts in multiple countries and received several awards. Its music video has over 1.2 billion views on YouTube as of February 2021.
It was announced on December 24, 2015, that he would not return to The Voice Australia in 2016 and would be replaced by Ronan Keating.
In 2018, Martin portrayed Antonio D'Amico, partner of fashion designer Gianni Versace, in the second season of the true crime television series American Crime Story, subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. The show was praised and Martin's performance and characterization of D'Amico received positive reception, thus he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, his first ever nomination.
In May 2019, Martin collaborated on Maluma's single "No Se Me Quita". The song peaked at number one on Mexico charts, where it was certified 4×Platinum. Its music video has over 100 million views on YouTube as of February 2020.
Martin announced his new album would be released in 2020 and he started his world tour, Movimiento Tour, on February 7, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent personal experiences, Martin decided to split the tour's associated album in two extended plays, Pausa and Play; the former was released in May 2020, won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album and has been nominated for Best Latin Pop or Urban Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.
The second single from Pausa, "Tiburones", received positive reception, nominated for "Song of the Year" at the 21st Annual Latin Grammy Awards, and became a hit in Latin America. It peaked in the top 10 of ten Latin American countries, reaching number one in Puerto Rico for three consecutive weeks and becoming the first solo song ever to top Puerto Rico Year-End chart. The song also made Martin the first act ever to chart on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart in five different decades.
Later that year, he starred as the voice of Don Juan Diego in Netflix's Christmas musical fantasy film, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, written and directed by David E. Talbert. The film was released on Netflix on November 13, 2020. On Metacritic, it received "generally favorable reviews". In 2021, Martin released his smash hit "Canción Bonita" with Colombian singer Carlos Vives, which reached number one in 12 countries, and has been nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Song at the 22nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards. He later released "Qué Rico Fuera" as the lead single from Play. His first co-headlining tour, the Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin Live in Concert began at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 25, 2021.
Martin possesses a tenor vocal range. His music is primarily Latin pop. His songs and musical style have also been described as pop, Latin ballad, pop ballad, dance-pop, reggaeton, pop rock, salsa, flamenco, cumbia, samba, merengue, rumba, and Latin funk. "I don't ride the waves that are in fashion at the moment," Martin said about his music in an interview with Metro Puerto Rico. He describes making music as a "medicine" for his anxiety that he experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also told L'Officiel Hommes about his music: "The reality is that my music will always make you dance, but that doesn't mean my lyrics have to be meaningless".
He often sings in Spanish, while he has also three studio albums primarily in English and several Portuguese songs. Besides, he has an Italian song "Non siamo soli", a duet with Eros Ramazzotti, and in 2014, he released a single titled "Adiós" which includes a Pre-chorus in French.
Martin cites a variety of the Latin music genres as influences, including salsa, merengue, and bolero. He also is inspired by artists such as the Fania All-Stars, Celia Cruz, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, and Gilberto Santa Rosa, some of which his mother played for him as a child. Martin credits these musicians with helping him "appreciate the richness of [his] island's culture."
Martin's fashion and style evolution, from "as ’80s as you’d expect" to "style groove, often opting for sharp, tailored suits with clean lines," has been noticed by the media. Natalia Trejo from ¡Hola! magazine described Martin as "one of the most stylish Latin men in the entertainment industry."
In 1997, he was on the cover of People en Español 25 Most Beautiful's first edition and has been a constant presence on their 50 Most Beautiful People list. In 2012, he was voted the sexiest man alive by website Broadway.com and in 2013, VH1 listed him at number 28 on its 100 Sexiest Artists of all time List: "Ricky looks like the model in the magazine ads you stare at in awe thinking, 'There's no way he's that perfect in person.'"
Martin is regarded by the media as a pop and video icon, and ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all time. The Hollywood Reporter describes him as "one of the most acclaimed and admired creative artists ever".
According to Billboard, Martin effectively opened the door to the "Latin Explosion" and, after Ricky Martin's success and his game-changer Grammy performance of "The Cup of Life", he opened the gates for many Latin artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Marc Anthony, Santana, and Enrique Iglesias who released their crossover albums and followed him onto the top of the charts, thus many sources such as PopSugar and Rolling Stone have called him the "Original Latin Crossover King". An author of Rolling Stone wrote: "Ricky Martin's phenomenal success opened the door for a string of Latin artists who waved the flags of their heritage, but who sang in English." In 2005, Paste named Shakira as the female Ricky Martin.
In 2020, SPIN named Martin as the 27th most influential artist of the past 35 years, mentioning that he led the way for other Latin music superstars to make their marks beyond the Spanish-speaking markets. He was the only Latin artist on this list.
Martin's first international hit, "María" (Pablo Flores Remix), is ranked as one of the greatest Latin pop songs of all time by Rolling Stone. On the authority of Billboard, this remix launched the Latin and dance music crossover of the '90s. According to Entertainment Tonight, Martin's megahit, "Livin' la Vida Loca", paved the way for a large number of other Latin artists. The song was ranked at number 28 on the list of 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s by VH1, and also ranks among the Best Latin Songs of All Time, according to Billboard.
His Grammy performance of "The Cup of Life" is known as the greatest award show performance of all time by a Latin artist, while the song itself is ranked as the best World Cup anthem of all time.
He also risked his career when he came out as gay in 2010, becoming the first mainstream Latin music star to come out. Rolling Stone argues "Martin arguably set the scene for Bad Bunny to be free in many ways that, during his own breakthrough moment, he could not."
Brazilian singer and songwriter Anitta explained to The Guardian that some Latin stars such as Maluma and Bad Bunny sing in their native language as a marker of authenticity, but because Brazil hasn't had a major international pop star before, she'll use whatever language will get the market's attention: "They didn’t need [to sing in English] because they already had representatives like Shakira, like Ricky Martin, like J-Lo, There’s no person in Brazil that did it."
Many artists have cited Martin as their inspiration and/or have been influenced by him and learned from him, such as Maluma, Enrique Iglesias, Bad Bunny, Luis Fonsi, Sebastián Yatra, Prince Royce, Rauw Alejandro, Abraham Mateo, and Carla Morrison.
Maluma told Billboard after his collaboration with Martin on "Vente Pa' Ca" that "Ricky Martin is one of the artists I wanted to be growing up. He's my idol in the industry". Also in an interview with Complex in 2020, he credits Ricky Martin for opening doors for him.
In an interview with E!, Enrique Iglesias said about Martin: "I love his music. I'm a huge fan, I've seen him multiple times live and he's an incredible performer." He has also stated that he is "going to sit back watch and learn" from Martin during their upcoming joint tour.
Rauw Alejandro told Billboard that "I want to be a showman like Ricky Martin and Michael Jackson." During an episode of Behind the Music, Bad Bunny talked about Martin's legacy for Latin music and Latin artists, and how Martin changed the music landscape for future Latin artists: "There's no doubt that he opened the door for an entire generation of Latin artists. I am doing great things today in the music industry thanks to those doors that he opened." Additionally, Bad Bunny stated that he was inspired by Martin since he "was a kid and one of the reasons was that passion and energy he has". He also said that he is inspired by Martin's coming out as gay: "You don't have to be gay to be inspired by that action of honesty and freedom, of being yourself against the world despite everything you deserve. I look at it like a very inspiring moment for anybody. At least for me, it's very inspirational."
Martin has received more than 200 awards, including 2 Grammy Awards, 5 Latin Grammy Awards, 5 MTV Video Music Awards, 3 Billboard Music Awards, 9 Billboard Latin Music Awards, 2 American Music Awards, 2 Latin American Music Awards, 8 World Music Awards, a Guinness World Record, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been Emmy-nominated. He has sold more than 70 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time. Martin's global hit, "Livin' la Vida Loca", was the first number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart to be recorded, mixed and mastered entirely in Pro Tools. It also became the second song after Mariah Carey's "One Sweet Day" that hit Number one on the Pop Songs, Rhythmic Songs and Adult Pop Songs airplay charts.
Martin was chosen along with Félix Trinidad in 1999, to lead Puerto Rico's worldwide tourism campaign, both exemplifying Puerto Rico's youthfulness, enthusiasm and indefatigable character.
In February 2004, Martin received the Excellence Award at the Lo Nuestro Awards in Miami. Martin was honored as the 2006 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year by the Latin Recording Academy on November 1, 2006. He was chosen for his accomplishments as a world-renowned entertainer, consummate performer and passionate humanitarian. A portion of the proceeds from the evening's tribute dinner was used for benefitting Martin's charitable efforts. On October 16, 2007, Martin received the 2351st Hollywood Walk of Fame star, shortly after receiving the key to the city of Miami Beach, Florida on October 11. The star is located beside the Hollywood and Highland complex. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Rita Moreno were invited to the unveiling ceremony.
In 2011, Martin was awarded Spanish citizenship by the Council of Ministers to honor his contributions to the arts. In 2018, in recognition of his dedication to the island and people of Puerto Rico, his philanthropic work to eliminate human trafficking across the Caribbean, and his commitment to the arts, Martin received a proclamation naming June 7 as Ricky Martin Day in New York City.
Martin's autobiography, Me, was published on November 2, 2010. The book became part of The New York Times Best Seller list, debuting at number five on the Hardcover Nonfiction list. A Spanish-language edition entitled Yo was published simultaneously.
Martin's first children's book, Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars, was published in November 2013 with its Spanish-language edition, Santiago El Soñador en Entre Las Estrellas, released simultaneously. The book was illustrated by Patricia Castelao.
On October 8, 2020, Martin announced that he is launching his company, Martin Music Lab in partnership with music engineers Jaycen Joshua and Michael Seaberg. The company will expand the Orbital Audio technology for mental wellness and any type of audio entertainment, including music, movies, gaming and sports.
Martin was raised Catholic but says he is open to all sorts of religious beliefs, especially Buddhist philosophy. He feels that subscribing to a specific religion can "limit" an individual in certain aspects, and noted in 2006, "I really like the Buddhist philosophy but that doesn't mean that I am of the religion. If I subscribe to Buddhism, I can't be of anything else ... I am not going to follow those rules." Martin began practicing yoga after a trip to Thailand in 1997.
In November 2011, he acquired Spanish nationality in recognition of his artistic talents and for having roots in the country – Martin's grandmother is Spanish, and he owns a residence in Madrid. In September 2011, he sold his home in Miami. In a public statement, written in Spanish, Martin explicitly stated that he has not abandoned his Puerto Rican identity: "I was born in Puerto Rico, I am a Puerto Rican, and Puerto Rico is my homeland. I made the request for Spanish citizenship some time ago, I was just waiting for a response. This step is part of planning for the future within a global community of whom I am part. Spain is a country with which I share many memories and strong ties born of my roots and the love they have given me since I first visited." In January 2013, he relocated to Sydney, Australia, to accommodate his position on The Voice Australia. In 2018, he relocated to Los Angeles, California. Martin also owns a private island in Brazil.
Martin was in an on-off platonic relationship with Mexican TV host Rebecca de Alba for more than 14 years. The pair had spoken of starting a family together, and Martin had at one point considered proposing to her. In August 2008, Martin became the father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, born to a gestational surrogate mother.
After the success of "Livin' la Vida Loca", Martin's personal life became a subject of interest due to his large gay following, and he was questioned about his sexual orientation. In a December 2000 interview with The Mirror, he was asked to comment on the rumors surrounding his sexuality. He replied: "I don't think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I've slept with or not." In 2010, Barbara Walters expressed some regret for pushing Martin in a 2000 interview to admit if he was gay. The Toronto Star quoted her as saying, "When I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question." On March 29, 2010, Martin publicly came out as gay in a post on his official website, stating: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am." Martin said that "these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed." In June 2021, Martin said he suffered PTSD as a result of his conversation with Barbara Walters where she pressured him to speak clearly about his sexuality.
Also in 2010, Martin said that for many years he thought he was bisexual, telling Oprah Winfrey that "I felt it with a woman, I felt passion and it felt good. And I'm sure I'm not the only gay man that felt attraction towards women ... Sometimes I really did fall in love with women, for many years I did." He announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show that he was in a relationship. In 2011, during his acceptance speech of the Vito Russo Award at the 22nd GLAAD Media Awards, Martin publicly thanked his boyfriend, Carlos González Abella, an economist. His relationship with González Abella ended in January 2014.
In 2012, during an interview with Spanish Vanity Fair, Martin stated, "I don't regret anything, any of the relationships I've lived. They taught me a lot, both men and women equally." In 2016, he stated that he is attracted to both men and women, but, because he is only interested in romantic relationships with men, he does not identify as bisexual. "I know that I like both men and women, I'm against sexual labels, we are simply human beings with emotional and sexual needs," he stated in an interview with the Mexican magazine Fama! He added that "I am gay, men fascinate me, but I like to enjoy sex in total freedom, so I'm open to having sex with a woman if I feel desire."
Martin recalled being on his Livin' la Vida Loca Tour during an appearance on Proud Radio on Apple Music in July 2020, stating: "My music was being heard all over the world, regardless of the language, I could high five God, but I wasn't living to the fullest. I was sad. I was depressed ... I said, 'We need to stop. We need to stop the tour ... I can't do this. I need to go home. I need silence. I need to cry. I need to be angry. I need to forgive myself for allowing myself to reach this level, to get to where I'm at.' And I took some time and I took a sabbatical." After taking time off to learn about himself and his sexuality, Martin still was not ready to publicly come out — his friends and family knew, but other people still did not. Only until he began working on his memoir, Me, did he finally summon the courage to publicly come out to his fans.
In April 2016, he began dating Jwan Yosef, a Syrian-Swedish painter of Kurdish and Armenian descent. The two announced their engagement on November 16, 2016, while on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In January 2018, Martin announced that he and Yosef are married. On December 31, 2018, Martin and Yosef announced, via Instagram, the birth of their daughter Lucía Martin-Yosef.
In 2019, while accepting an award during a human rights dinner in Washington DC, Martin announced he and his husband are expecting their second child together, and on October 29, 2019, Martin and Yosef announced via Instagram the birth of their son Renn Martin-Yosef.
Martin is the founder of Fundación Ricky Martin (Ricky Martin Foundation), 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 accolades including: Leadership in the Arts Award, Billboard's Spirit of Hope Award, ALMA Award, Vanguard Award, International Humanitarian Award by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, Hispanic Heritage Award for his humanitarian work in rescuing children from from the streets of Kolkata (September 2002).
In December 2003, Martin was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In his role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Martin has supported UNICEF's efforts in fighting for children's rights, especially in the area of child trafficking.
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 United States Department of State named Martin one of its Heroes in Ending Modern-Day Slavery in 2005.
The Ricky Martin Foundation was founded by Martin with the mission to advocate for the well-being of children around the world. After Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, the organization helped people and handed over homes that were rebuilt after the losses; Martin launched a viral campaign of selling a black shirt with the Puerto Rican flag stamped on it and thus the funds raised. The black shirts were designed by Martin's twins Valentino and Matteo. Many celebrities such as Maluma, Luis Fonsi, Bad Bunny, Will Smith and Marc Anthony supported this campaign. In November 2017, Martin received iHeartRadio Premio Corazon Latino Award for his support following Hurricane Maria and his constant work throughout the years with human trafficking.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin created a campaign to help health care workers through the nonprofit organization Project Hope. "As you know, health care professionals are extremely vulnerable and professionals around the world don’t have personal protection equipment they need to prevent them getting infected," he said in an Instagram video. In February 2021, Martin collaborated to launch mass vaccination events in Puerto Rico.
During Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, Martin and stars such as Rihanna and Katy Perry honored an effort called "Black Out Tuesday". He also created a hashtag #knowthestruggle, giving his social media to voices of the community that are looking for justice, to learn more about what is happening.
Martin was a headliner in the 2001 inauguration celebration for President George W. Bush; he even invited the newly elected president to join him on stage to dance. Photographs of this moment were broadcast throughout the world, and Martin wrote about it in his song "Asignatura Pendiente". Martin's view of President Bush changed over the Iraq War, as expressed in his declaration to the Associated Press that he will "always condemn war and those who promulgate it."
During his appearance at the Billboard Latin Music Awards on April 29, 2010, Martin expressed his disagreement with the Arizona SB 1070 bill, a proposed law that would have required police officers to request documents from individuals whom they suspected to be illegal immigrants.
On July 22, 2019, Martin joined artists such as Residente, Bad Bunny, and more than half a million Puerto Ricans in shutting down a major highway, PR-52, more commonly known as Expreso Las Américas or Autopista Luis A. Ferré, in the days-long protests against government corruption and demanding Ricardo Rosselló's resignation.
On September 15, 2020, Martin, Eva Longoria and Luis Fonsi attended a campaign event in Kissimmee, Florida to support Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee for the 2020 election. "I’ve been supporting Biden forever, I think he is the only option we have and he is great and he has been in politics all his life. This is the moment. We all need to get together and be loud about the course of this nation." Martin stated in an interview with Variety.
In May 2021, Martin expressed support for the NiUnaMenos movement and condemned recent femicides and violence against women in his native Puerto Rico, while calling authorities to protect women. He further stated that no woman should fear for her safety and urged authorities to take steps in order to prevent these acts.
Martin's coming out was a game-changer for Latin Pride as he was the first mainstream Latin music artist to come out. Billboard wrote that "with Martin's announcement, gay artists, who had long kept their sexual identities a secret, finally had a beacon of hope. If Martin could come out with his career unscathed, there was hope for other artists in Latin music to start doing the same." Since that, a growing number of Latin stars have also come out after years in the spotlight, or many have simply started their careers without hiding their sexual identities.
On March 5, 2016, Martin met with Chilean LGBT rights group Fundación Iguales to learn about the challenges LGBT citizens face there. "I want equal marriage rights for Chile," he said at the meeting and added that he wants his sons to grow up in a world where "there are no second-class citizens."
When Colombia's highest court voted against a proposal that said marriage only applied to unions between men and women in April 2016, Martin tweeted: "Love and equality win, Colombia says YES to same-sex marriage."
In February 2018, in an interview with E. Alex Jung of Vulture, Martin discussed working on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as Antonio D'Amico and how he wanted his portrayal to help normalize open relationships.
On June 2019, Martin published an open letter slamming the "religious liberty bill", a bill that allowed government employees to avoid serving certain constituents, saying: "As a defender of human rights and a member of the LGBTT community, I am vehemently opposed to the proposed measure imposed upon us under the guise of religious freedom, that projects us to the world as a backwards country." Puerto Rico's governor backed down and withdrew his support of the bill after Martin's statement.
On June 25, 2020, Martin joined artists such as Katy Perry and Adam Lambert in Can't Cancel Pride: Helping LGBTQ+ People in Need, a virtual event to raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities, held by P&G and iHeartMedia.
|1985||The Love Boat||Ricky|
|1987||Por siempre amigos (Argentine TV series)||Ricky|
|1991||Alcanzar una estrella II||Pablo Loredo|
|1993||Getting By||Martin||Guest Star|
|1994-95||General Hospital||Miguel Morez|
|1996||Barefoot in Paradise||Sandoval|
|1999||Saturday Night Live||Musical Guest|
|2006||Sos mi vida||Himself|
|2012||Glee||David Martínez||Episode: "The Spanish Teacher"|
|2013||The Voice Australia||Coach||Season 2|
|2014||Dancing with the Stars||Judge|
|2014||The Voice Australia||Coach||Season 3|
|2014||La Voz... México||Coach|
|2014||The Voice Arabia||Guest Judge|
|2015||The Voice Australia||Coach||Season 4|
|2015||La Banda||Judge and executive producer|
|2015||Nuestra Belleza Latina||Guest||Season 9, 2 Episodes|
|2015||Britain's Got Talent||Guest Performer||Series 9|
|2017||Lip Sync Battle||Himself||winner vs. Kate Upton|
|2018||The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story||Antonio D'Amico||5 episodes|
|2019||Amici di Maria De Filippi||Coach||Season 18|
|2019||20th Annual Latin Grammy Awards||Host||Television special|
|2020||RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars||Guest Judge||Season 5, Episode 1|
|2020||Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino||Host||Television special|
|2021||Behind the Music||Himself||Documentary|
|1992||Más que alcanzar una estrella||Enrique|
|1997||Hercules||Hercules||Voice role (Latin American dub)|
|1999||Idle Hands||Man in Car Park|
|2015||Minions||Herb Overkill||Voice role (Latin American dub)|
|2020||Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey||Don Juan Diego|
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