Selected by Dan
More than a year after rocketing to
international stardom with "Livin' la Vida Loca," crossover Latin heartthrob
Ricky Martin will finally tour Japan. As this article went to press, tickets were still
available for his four Tokyo dates.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1971, Ricky Martin became one of the most successful teen idols in
Latin America as lead singer for the group Menudo. After leaving the band in 1989, he
returned to Puerto Rico to complete high school.
Upon graduation, Martin relocated to New York, where he released his self-titled debut
album, co-written with former Menudo mate Robi Rosa, a frequent collaborator over the
years. That album, along with Me Amaras in 1993, vaulted the hunky singer to
superstar status in Latin America.
Meanwhile, Martin was laying the groundwork for future crossover success by appearing on
American soap opera General Hospital. He acquainted himself with a non-Latin audience by
playing the role of Miguel Morez, a bartender who sings on the weekend. The role lead to a
stint playing Marlo in Les Miserables, with which he toured for nearly a year.
Two more Spanish albums, A Medio Vivir in 1995 and Vuelve in 1998,
cemented Martin's position atop the charts in Latin America. His English-language debut,
also titled Ricky Martin, appeared in 1999 with the assistance of Madonna and
producers Emilio Estafan Jr and William Orbit among other luminaries. The rest, as they
say, is history.
While Ricky Martin inspires oohs and aahs among legions, a quick surf on the Web shows
that he has also inspired a good number of detractors. Two websites opposed to Ricky
Martin, "Ricky Martin Sucks" and "Ricky Martin Will Burn In Rock and Roll
Hell," decry Martin"s role in popularizing the "formulated, marketed,
prefabricated" music typified by acts like the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, which
seized the world's imagination in the late '90s.
plays Yoyogi Kyogijo Number 1 Gymnasium on 9/30 & 10/1, and Nihon Budokan on 10/4-5
See listings for details.