I just learned more about Ricky Martin by reading his life story, Me.
Until very recently, I couldn’t be counted among Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin’s many fans. It’s not that I didn’t like his music as much as I was unfamiliar with it. Thanks to my obsession with all things nostalgic, especially when it comes to music, I started watching old Menudo videos on YouTube. I found one of Ricky Martin’s debut with the group.
Ricky is the one in the green on the end. Isn’t he cute?
I got such a kick out of watching 12 year old Ricky singing and dancing in this old video that I started reading up on his career. I noticed he had kind eyes and good dance moves. And hey, he’s six months older than I am, too, born on Christmas Eve 1971! In the course of reading about Martin’s career in music, I discovered that he is very involved in stopping human trafficking. I wanted to learn more about that, so I downloaded his book from 2010, Me.
Ricky Martin on an early Menudo hit.
In his surprisingly candid and honest autobiography, Martin describes his upbringing in Puerto Rico and how he came to be a member of Menudo. The audition process took several attempts, mainly because he was too short. Then, once he got into the band, he got in trouble once for not following stage directions precisely. Martin credits his time in Menudo as very educational as he learned the ins and outs of show business. He was a natural performer and the fact that he could perform helped him cope with the pain of his parents’ divorce and a subsequent custody battle over where he would live when he wasn’t on the road with the band.
Not surprisingly, Martin writes about his sexuality and the fact that he is a homosexual. Actually, it seems more to me that he’s bisexual, since he writes of having and enjoying relationships with women. I was moved by how he described realizing his sexual orientation, especially since he comes across as if he’s speaking to readers as friends. I also enjoyed reading about his pathway to parenthood via the use of a surrogate. It’s clear that he loves being a father to his twin sons and I was touched by his dedication to becoming a parent.
Ricky Martin in a much later performance… 1999 Grammys!
Aside from being a world renowned singer and dancer, Ricky Martin has also been an actor. In fact, he got his start in show business on Puerto Rican commercials and as a model. After Martin finished his stint with Menudo, he moved to New York City intent on attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, but ended up in Mexico, where he refined his acting chops by starring in the play, Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock). He went on to appear on General Hospital in the mid 1990s, then refocused on music in the late 90s. His return to music paid off with the monster hit, “Livin’ La Vida Loca”.
I have to admit, this was the only song I was familiar with by him until very recently…
While I can’t say I yet very familiar with Ricky Martin’s music, Me has inspired me to learn more about Martin’s career. It’s not so much because I like him as a musician, but more because he comes across as a really decent human being. In Me, he writes earnestly and passionately about his desire to end human trafficking, especially of young girls. He also writes about his exploration of Buddhism and karma.
Although I still don’t know enough about Ricky Martin’s music to count myself one of his devotees, I will say that I very much enjoyed his autobiography. He comes across as a very likable, genuine, and interesting person, someone I would like to get to know. I love that he writes about his family and friends and how they call him “Kiki”, which I think is an endearing nickname. And yes, he is still very cute, too! I may have to broaden my horizons and delve into dance music. I highly recommend Me.