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La Vida Loca - Spotlight on Ricky Martin

By Melinda Newman
Published in M life Magazine
Last Edited: December 26, 2017

Ricky Martin Gives Everything He’s Got In All He Does

Ricky Martin keeps a full schedule (a very full schedule), but the Latin superstar makes it clear he wouldn’t have it any other way. He admits he has “no idea” how he juggles his singing and acting career with his philanthropic and parenting duties, but quickly adds, “I can do it. I tell my managers, ‘you deal with the schedule and I’ll deal with the art and the emotions,’ and it hasn’t been challenging at all. It’s amazing how things are flowing. My life is so crazy,” Martin declared with a joyous laugh.

His calendar got fuller this year when he added extended engagements at Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas and The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland to his already crowded schedule. The resorts are the exclusive home to Martin’s live U.S. performances this year.

Martin’s enthusiasm is infectious as he talks about “All In,” his high-energy show that opened to rave reviews in Las Vegas and Maryland. The concert’s title connects to Martin’s philosophy of leaving nothing on the table. “If you’re going to Vegas, you’re going to make bets. And if you’re going to make a bet, just make sure you go all in,” Martin said.

That’s precisely what Martin did when he and Jamie King (known for his stunning work with Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE) designed the extravaganza. “It’s an hour and forty minutes of  intense adrenaline,” Martin said. “It’s one of my favorite productions of any in my career and every night the audience’s reaction tells me we did something right.” 

When planning the show, Martin simply plucked his favorites from among his many hits over a 30-year career and figured, if he liked them, his fans would too. “All I did was look back and choose the songs that moved me, and I did specific arrangements for the crowd to enjoy,” he said.

In addition to his own smash hits, including “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “She Bangs” and “Shake Your Bon Bon,” All In pays homage to Las Vegas, replete with showgirls and a salute to the classic 1960s era, when the Rat Pack ruled The Strip. “I thought, if I’m going to Vegas, I have to make reference to the people who have influenced my life, like Elvis and Frank Sinatra,” said Martin, who performs a  medley of Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady” and “The Lady is a Tramp” as well as The King’s “That’s All Right.” “With respect, I try to do justice to the history of music and entertainment in Las Vegas and to what they have done.”

Martin has a word of advice to fans coming to see him: bring your dancing shoes. “I want people to go to the shows as comfortable as they can because they’re going to dance like crazy. We only sing four ballads. Dance, go crazy, sweat. Sing if you can sing and if you cannot sing, go ahead and sing anyway and have fun.” In other words, leave your troubles at the door. “I love that people can forget about all their issues in life. At the beginning of the show, I say, ‘Are you ready to have a good time,’ and to see people jump into that mindset, it’s very satisfying.”

Martin, 45, first came to Vegas when he was 12 while on tour as a member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. He parlayed his five years with the group into a platform for his solo career, which he launched in 1991. Though a successful artist from the start, it was Martin’s third album, A Medio Vivir, which catapulted him to superstardom with Spanish-language audiences. His exhilarating performance of “The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida)” at the 41st GRAMMY Awards in 1999 introduced him to English-speaking audiences and thrust him into international stardom overnight. His English-language debut hit at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart later that year and since then, Martin has continued to release albums in both English and Spanish, selling more than 85 million albums worldwide. His most recent studio album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar, received the GRAMMY for Best Latin Pop Album in 2016.

His success hasn’t been confined to the concert stage. He also has made his mark as an actor: starring on Broadway and, most recently, playing Antonio D’Amico, in Versace: American Crime Story. The mini-series airs in July.

Martin’s favorite role to play, however, is dad to his nine-year-old twin sons, Matteo and Valentino. Their arrival changed the way Martin views life. “Everything is different: the way I drive is different,” he said. “Every decision that I make is based on their well being.”

Even the way he measures success changed once his children arrived. “Am I a successful man? Hell yeah! I am very successful. I have two incredible kids. They’re healthy, they’re fun, incredible personalities,” he said. “To me, that is all that really matters. After that, we can do great music.”

His sons travel everywhere with him. “A lot of people say, ‘But Rick your kids need stability.’ I say, ‘I am their stability.’ They have fun when I’m around,” he said. “When I’m not around, they feel unstable, unsettled, so for me it’s important that my kids are always with me.” Though his schedule has not yet permitted him to explore much of Las Vegas, Martin said that when time allows, he looks forward to checking out some of the other entertainers on The Strip, as well as exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding region. “I’m delighted with the amount of things you can enjoy. There’s the Grand Canyon, the desert. There are so many things to do.”

However, no matter what he discovers during his explorations, Martin already knows he’ll find no place as thrilling as playing live in front of an adoring audience. “When I walk on, I’m ready to leave my soul on stage.”

MGM Resorts International