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 boyband 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 Martín Foundation a non-profit charity organization.
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 and Puerto Rico.
In 1993, Martin released his second solo album, “Me Amarás,” which featured a Spanish-language cover of the Laura Branigan hit "Self Control," as "Que Día Es Hoy," and sold more than a million copies worldwide.
In 1995, Martin refocused on his music career, and his third album, “A Medio Vivir,” would be a major international breakthrough. With this album, Martin made a shift from formulaic hit ballads to a more risky fusion of music centered around traditional Latin sounds, epitomized by the hit "Maria.” The single went to number one and became one of the biggest hits of the year in France and Belgium, hitting the Top 10 throughout Europe and even making its way into the lower reaches of the U.S. Hot 100. The album went Gold in the U.S., Switzerland and Finland, Platinum in France, and 4X Platinum in Spain.
Martin returned to the studio and recorded his fourth album, “Vuelve.” The title track and the ballad "Perdido Sin Ti" both hit number one on the Hot Latin Tracks and Latin Pop Airplay charts, with further hits including "La Bomba" and "Corazonado.” The album's pinnacle, however, was "La Copa de la Vida," which Martin made a major hit in an English version when he was chosen to sing the anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
"The Cup of Life"/"La Copa de la Vida" reached number one on the charts in various countries. The song went Platinum in France, Sweden and in Australia, where it ultimately became the number one single of the year. The song was awarded "Pop Song of the Year" at the 1999 Premio Lo Nuestro awards. Martin was nominated for a Grammy Award for the album, and was booked to sing on the show's live TV broadcast. The now-legendary performance of "The Cup of Life" stopped the show, earning Martin an unexpected standing ovation and introducing the star to the mainstream American audience. Martin capped off the evening by winning the award for Best Latin Pop Performance.
“Vuelve” became Martin's first Top 40 album on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart in the U.S., where it was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album notably went to #1 in Norway for three weeks, going on to sell eight million copies worldwide.
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 first and most prominent single was "Livin' la Vida Loca", which reached number one in many countries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, 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". They reached twelve and thirteen on U.S. Top Ten on Billboard's Hot 100 respectively.
“Sound Loaded” eventually sold two million copies in the U.S. 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.
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. The album debuted at number six on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.