Listen Up, Ricky Martin is speaking!
Photography by Niño Muñoz
Ricky Martin has been a household name for years now. Once you hear it, many songs pop into your head. New Mexico got to witness the power of his talent back in 2011 when he made a stop during his Música + Alma + Sexo World Tour. As Martin prepares to wow audiences with his current tour, One World, Martin took a moment to talk about his love of music, life as a father of two twin boys, and the inspiration behind his new album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar.
Music has been in Martin’s life since he was a child. When asked where that passion comes from, Martin looked to his roots. “Passion for music definitely comes from the environment I was surrounded by when I grew up,” shared Martin. “In Puerto Rico, music is such a deep-rooted part of the culture. It’s everywhere. Every festivity has music. Even during Christmas, we go from house to house with percussion instruments celebrating.”
That love and joy of music became ingrained and there was no doubt of the talent he had. Martin, after auditioning multiple times landed a coveted spot in the all-boy Puerto Rican pop group Menudo. The experience led to whirlwind travel and an extremely busy schedule. From what the world has witnessed with other child performers, dealing with the loss of childhood for stardom, Martin knew why he didn’t fall into the pit. He knew how to stay grounded during these overwhelming times of fame, promoting himself and creating music. “My family and a great team around me has always been the reason for me to stay grounded back then and for the last seven years. I now have two beautiful Children that are my priority. All my decisions are based on their well-being.” Although Martin was well-known for his music, he began as an actor. “I enjoyed my time acting," Martin shared. "But music is my first love.” After his time in Menudo, Martin, experiencing his new-found independence, went back to the stage in a play called Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock). That performance led to him joining the cast of Alcazar tuna Estrella, which led to the second season, a feature-length movie, and an El Heraldo Award. After recording three more albums (Ricky Martin (Spanish language), Me Amarás and A Medio Vivir), and a stint on two more television shows, Martin had the opportunity to play the role of Marius Pontmercy in the play Les Misérables. Martin shared the experience of going from a concert stage to the theater stage. “I loved my time on Broadway,” expressed Martin. “It was a moment in my life where I wanted to be surrounded by amazing actors and musicians and have that immediate reaction. I wanted to go back to what I loved when I was doing Les Miserables.
Martin returned to the studio to record Vuelve. At that time, he was contacted to record the song that would put him on the map, La Copa de la Vida (Cup of Life), and reaching #1 on music charts all around the world and rocketed Vuelve up the charts as well. The boost led to the Puerto Rican native becoming an international sensation with his crossover album, Ricky Martin. The self-titled album became one of the top-selling albums of 1999, selling over 22 million copies and being certified platinum seven times in the United States. In 2007, after the release of four more albums and countless tour dates, Martin made the decision to focus on his private life and becoming a father. Martin’s twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born in 2008 and forever changed his life. He spoke blissfully of the experience. “My children are amazing - healthy, strong, powerful, witty, really cool,” boosted Martin. They teach me lessons of simplicity and unconditional love every day. My priority is them and the rest comes afterward, but it has never hurt my career.” The birth of his children also led to the decision of being honest and truthful, coming out about his sexuality in 2010 on his official website. While writing his memoir, titled Me, Martin got "very close to my truth" and hiding his sexuality any longer would "indirectly diminish the glow that my kids here born with.” With the recent Supreme Court decision of the LGBTQ community now having the right to marriage, Martin shared his excitement in the decision. “It was amazing to see same-sex marriage being embraced. It’s no longer marriage equality, but simply marriage.”
Martin is currently on tour with his new album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar, which has some amazing gems. One of them being La Mordidita - a hot single. Martin shared the inspiration behind this album, “I was inspired to create a vulnerable, transparent album,” says Martin. “It’s very raw, romantic music fused with Latin and global sounds. The songs reveal my cultural influences and share the experiences of my life.” Fans in Albuquerque will get to experience Martin’s raw, romantic power on September 24th when he performs at Sandia Resort Amphitheater. This will be his second appearance here in the Land of Enchantment and he is very excited to share this new tour in New Mexico. “I remember the amazing audience and the beautiful stage from my 2011 Tour. The energy was amazing and I’m hoping it will be the same. I’m bringing the best music of my career and the latest hits with an amazing band and great dancers. Get ready to dance for two hours!”
Martin has gained major success with his English-speaking records. For some artists, they could have stuck with what was the most successful. For Martin, that could never be an option. “Spanish is my mother tongue, but I have been traveling the world since I was 12 years old,” expressed Martin. “I recorded in so many different languages during my career. Music is a universal language. To me, the language is not as important as the message that comes across.” Not only is Martin staying busy with his music and this current tour, but has some amazing projects he’s also working on. “I just came back from Australia where I was a coach on the 4th season of the Voice Australia. I am an executive producer and judge on Univision’s new musical competition La Banda in search of the next Latin Super Group. The show will be air in September.”
Martin has made his mark as a pioneer in the Latin pop explosion that this country has experienced, but he’s not ready to stop any time soon. If this latest album, with its hot rhythmic, pulse-thumping beats, is any indication of what Martin has coming up in music, it's safe to say that he will have much more to say in the future.