A Puerto Rico native, the young Ricky Martin sang in his school choir and plays. At the tender age of six, he also found his way into acting via television commercials. Professional singing and acting lessons followed, leading him into an audition for the immensly popular Latin American pop band Menudo.
After joining in 1984, a 12-year-old Martin enjoyed teen idol status as one of the group's lead singers. His voice and looks helped catapult Menudo onto the international stage. Martin's time with the band came to an and after five years. Returning to Puerto Rico, he graduated from high school before relocating to New York.
A few months of down time in the Big Apple preceded a move to Mexico in pursuit of his acting and singing careers. Martin spent about a year acting in theatre productions before releasing his eponymous solo debut. His main collaborator on the project was former Menudo band-mate Robi Rosa.
Martin's Latin fans made the record a hit and he followed it up with Me Amarás two years later. The sophomore outing was even more successful and a genuine Latin star was born.
At the beginning of 1994, Martin signed on to the cast the soap opera General Hospital. His turn as the singing bartender Miguel Morez helped earn his a role on Broadway playing Marius in Les Miserables.
Ricky's third studio album, A Medio Vivir, dropped in 1995. It featured an edgier rock sound flanked by traditional Latin styles including as flamenco and cumbia. Three years later, his fourth album, Vuelve, was released.
With his first English-language production in 1999, Martin shot to international stardom. Smash hits like "Livin' la Vida Loca," “The Cup of Life,” “Maria,” and "Shake Your Bon Bon" led the charge. The album went on to sell more than 22 million units worldwide. His performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards has since become the stuff of legends. That night, he also brought home a statue for Best Latin Pop Performance.
In 2000, Ricky scored yet again with Sound Loaded. Though it didn't match the success of its predecessor, the record did yield hits in “She Bangs” and the Christina Aguilera duet "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely."
A Spanish-language greatest hits collection came in 2001's La Historia; its English counterpart was The Best of Ricky Martin in the same year. Those were followed by 2003's Almas del Silencio, a set of all-new Spanish material.
Two years later, Life brought Martin back to English-speaking fans with his career's tenth album. The supporting world tour, Una Noche con Ricky Martin/One Night Only, started in Latin America then moved on to Europe and Africa, while including stops in Israel, Egypt, Beirut, and Jordan.
Ricky's MTV Unplugged performance was released in 2006 in both CD and DVD formats. For 2008, another greatest hits set, Ricky Martin 17, followed up his 2007 Blanco y Negro tour.
Early 2011 brought a bilingual effort from Martin in Música + Alma + Sexo. Guests on the record include Joss Stone and Natalia Jimenez. Martin is also on tap to appear on Broadway in the revival of Evita in 2012. He'll portray Ché.