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Ricky Martin: 1971—: Singer, Actor

Joined Latin Boy Band Menudo

In 1984, after three auditions, the 12-year old landed a spot in the Latin boy-band Menudo. The band's manager, Edgardo Diaz, said of Martin in Time, "He was small, not a big singer, and his voice was not so good then. But we thought he could learn a lot by being with the group." Martin toured with Menudo as a lead singer over the next five years, performing across the globe, singing in various languages, and learning much about the music industry. He told Gloria Estefan in Interview magazine, "It was five years of discipline … That band definitely helped me keep my feet on the ground." It also made him a teenage millionaire.

Throughout his early teen years, Martin spent most of his time rehearsing, reportedly up to 16 hours a day, and recorded and toured nine months out of the year. Although the band itself was very popular, some of Menudo's former members publicly complained about their experience. In a 1998 interview with Entertainment Weekly, an ex-member described his time with the band as "abusive, exploitative, and unsavory." Although Martin himself did not claim such, he did complain that the members' own musical compositions were rejected by management. "Our creativity was stifled," he told People magazine. "We were told [the songs we wrote] were no good."

At a Glance . . .

Born Enrique Jose Martin Morales IV on December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico; son of Enrique Martin (a psychologist) and Nereida Morales Martin (an accountant).

Career: Singer. Began professional acting at age eight; joined Latin pop band, Menudo, 1983-88; released numerous albums, including Ricky Martin, 1992; Me Amaras, 1993; A Medio Vivir, 1995; and Vuelve, 1998; acted in ABC soap opera General Hospital and on Broadway in Les Miserables, 1994; provided voice for Hercules in the Spanish language version of the Disney film Hercules, 1997; performed at 1999 Grammy Awards; released his first English-language album, Ricky Martin, 1999.

Awards: Billboard Video Award for Best New Latin Artist, 1993; Heraldo Award (Mexico) for best actor, 1993; Billboard Award for best debut of the year, 1999; Grammy Award for best Latin pop performance, 1999; MTV Video Award, 1999; Male Pop Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Video of the Year, Ritmo Latino Music Awards, 1999; Best Selling Latin Artist, World Music Awards, 1999; Billboard Spirit of Hope Award, 2002.

Addresses: Record Company—C2 Records/Columbia Records; Management Angelo Medina Enterprises, 1406 Georgetti Street, Santurce, Puerto Rico, 00910; Fan Club—Ricky Martin International Fan Club, P.O. Box 13345, Santurce Station, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Constant touring with Menudo also strained Martin's relationship with his family. Although his parents had joint custody, they clashed over the little time each had to spend with him. Martin said in People, "When my dreams started coming true, my parents started fighting. I had everything I ever wanted, but my family was falling apart." Martin added that his father "wanted me to choose between him and my mother. How do you ask a child that?" According to People, in 1985 Martin "so resented his father that they became estranged and he changed his name from Enrique [to Ricky]." Nearly a decade later in 1994, father and son reconciled.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - PersonalRicky Martin: 1971—: Singer, Actor Biography - Joined Latin Boy Band Menudo, Released First Solo Album, Unforgettable Grammy Performance, Released English-language Album