We watched the dynamic Ricky Martin grow up before our very eyes. And they’ve been eyes we couldn’t quite take off of the heartthrob from Puerto Rico. He captivated everyone on the sexuality spectrum with dance moves that nearly ignited sparks. His songs exuded a youthful energy that spoke to teenagers and made their parents and grandparents feel like teens again. His was a sound that infused rock and soul with a uniquely Latin sensibility. And it was explosive.
But it wasn’t just the irresistible strains of Livin’ La Vida Loca that sold us on Ricky Martin. When we got to know the man behind the music, we liked him even more. There was a warmth in his eyes, an accessibility in his smile. And the soft, gentlemanly quality of his voice made the international superstar feel like a neighbour, someone you could chat with over coffee at the local diner.
Martin’s particular appeal to the LGBT community was instantaneous. Years before he came out, fans sensed that Martin embraced them no matter their own identity.
Today, Martin—whose One World concert tour brings him to Canada this fall (see sidebar)—has leveraged his fame to fight for exploited children around the world. As for his own children, don’t be surprised if his twin boys gain a sibling or two. As the singer says, “I want to have a big family…I love the noise and chaos in my house.”
Martin—family man and superstar–chats with IN.
IN MAGAZINE Your dance moves have always been popular. What can ticket-holders expect to see vis-à-vis your dancing on the current concert tour?
RICKY MARTIN This concert tour is staged in various acts with intensive dance sequences. It is full of high energy, so expect to do a lot of dancing!
IN Do you have a new CD coming out—details, please?
RM Early this year, I released my 10th studio album A Quien Quiera Escuchar (To Whomever Wants to Listen). it’s a very romantic, honest and transparent record. The songs are filled with cultural influences, and they reveal my emotions and the experiences I’ve had over the course of my life.
IN You’ve been a father for several years now. What has been the biggest surprise about fatherhood?
RM The first year as a single father with twins was insanity. I had eye bags down to my knees. But it was the most beautiful year of my life.
IN You’ve said you’re just getting started with fatherhood; are you still planning on more children?
RM I want to have a big family because kids are wonderful. I’m all about a large family, and I love the noise and chaos in my house.
IN You’re well-known for your charity work, particularly on behalf of exploited children. Please share a bit about that.
RM It’s about the children. It’s about their voice. For many years now, I’ve been working to raise awareness about human trafficking, and being a defender of human rights is something that I’m passionate about. But, unfortunately, there are many children around the world who are forced into prostitution and pornography. My commitment to the cause of stopping the exploitation was born from a humbling experience. I witnessed the horrors of human trafficking as we rescued three trembling girls living on the impoverished streets of India. It was a rude awakening into the reality of human trafficking.
IN And you’ve taken action.
RM We’ve created a powerful alliance with UNICEF and with companies that want to make positive changes in the world. Right now, we’re building a centre in my hometown island in Puerto Rico, which is a safe haven to protect children. We know what it takes to help end trafficking, and with a collective will, there is a way to make it happen. As a father, I want my children to be safe from harm, and I want that very same thing for their children. We owe it to them—and we owe it to our families. It’s hard work and it involves fighting organized crime. But it’s all about saving one life today and another one tomorrow.
IN You’ve been a regular on The Voice Australia. What qualities attract you to an aspiring singer?
RM Vulnerability. Being in touch with your emotions and defending your own identity.
IN What have you learned about yourself in being a part of The Voice?
RM It’s been very healthy for me to be a part of this show, because it has reminded me of the importance of being in touch with the child inside of you.
IN Do you have a favourite destination in Canada or some memory of a visit “north”?
RM I have very vivid memories of the beautiful north. One of my tours took me all the way through Canada, from east to west, for about three weeks. I remember spending a lot of hours in the front of the tour bus and seeing first-hand how beautiful the country is. My Canadian fans are just amazing and follow me everywhere. I see the flags across the world in the audience. I’m very excited to bring my music back to Montreal and Toronto this year and I already asked my team to look into other cities for 2016.
IN Is there anything else coming up for you in your very busy career—another CD, etc.— later this year that you would like to draw our attention to?
RM My North American One World Tour kicks off this month. Then I will make my way into Montreal and Toronto in October. I am also a judge and executive producer for [TV reality singing competition] La Banda, which will have its premiere this month.
HELP RICKY HELP
Besides making his mark on the music scene, Ricky Martin has carved out a niche in philanthropy.
For several years, he has made the plight of exploited children his cause. To help society’s most vulnerable, he has not only worked in conjunction with UNICEF but has created his own foundation. For more information, visit www.rickymartinfoundation.org.
RICKY TAKES CANADA
Ricky Martin brings his One World Tour to Canada this fall, with concert dates in Montreal and Toronto:
Wednesday, October 14, Bell Centre, Montreal, www.centrebell.ca/en
Thursday, October 15, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, www.theaircanadacentre.com
For more information on Martin, visit his website, www.rickymartinmusic.com