Today, City Connect celebrates the birthday of Latino pop star Ricky Martin who was born on 24 December 1971. Ricky Martin’s exuberant 1999 single “Livin’ la Vida Loca” made him a prominent figure of Latin dance-pop. In 2010 Martin announced that he was a “fortunate homosexual man”, ending years of speculation on the topic. Ricky Martin will be 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.
Ricky Martin is a Puerto Rican and Spanish 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 album copies 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. Ricky 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 22 million copies and brought Ricky Martin international fame. His other studio albums include: Me Amarás (1993), A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000), Almas del Silencio (2003), Life (2005), and Música + Alma + Sexo (2011).
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.”
Ricky Martin’s twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born via a surrogate mother in 2008. Ricky Martin also co-owns a Miami restaurant, Casa Salsa, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
On March 29, 2010, Ricky Martin publicly acknowledged his homosexuality in a post on his official web site by stating, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” Ricky 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.”
Ricky Martin announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show that he is in a relationship. He has also expressed support for same-sex marriage in an interview on Larry King Live, and commented on his experience of being closeted and coming out. “Everything about saying that I am gay feels right…”, Ricky Martin stated, adding “if I’d known how good it was going to feel, I would have done it ten years ago.”
On November 2011, he acquired Spanish nationality in recognition of his artistic talents and for having roots in the country, Ricky Martin’s grandmother is Spanish, and he owns a residence in Madrid. As a Spanish citizen he can now marry his boyfriend in Spain. He said he could marry in some states of the United States, but he wanted to marry in Spain to recognize the efforts of Zapatero in defense of LGBT rights.
Ricky Martin is the founder of Fundación Ricky Martin (English: Ricky Martin Foundation), a non-profit organization. Among the events promoted by the foundation was a summer camp, which included Martin’s personal participation.
Ricky Martin has been honored with many accolades for his humanitarian efforts 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 through the Sabera Foundation in rescuing three orphan girls from the streets of Kolkata (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 United States Department of State named Ricky Martin one of its Heroes in Ending Modern-Day Slavery in 2005.
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