Birthplace: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Latin singer who burst onto the U.S. music scene after his hip-shaking performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards. At age 12 Martin joined the Latin boy band Menudo. Five years later, when the band had achieved superstardom, he was kicked out for being too old. Graduating from high school and dabbling in acting occupied Martin for the next few years before he released two solo albums (Ricky Martin and Me Amaras) that became hits on the Latin pop charts. In 1994 he landed a regular role on the soap opera General Hospital, which led to a year-long stint on Broadway in Les Miserables. In 1995, Martin released A Medio Vivir, a rock album with Latin stylings. Vuelve (1998) contained the international hit “La Copa de la Vida/The Cup of Life,” which became an anthem for the 1998 World Cup and won Martin a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance. He followed it up in 1999 with Ricky Martin, his English-language debut, which included another smash hit “Livin' La Vida Loca,” and received three Grammy nominations. Sound Loaded was released in November 2000.