Monday, July 12, 1999 Published at 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Going 'loco' for Ricky
Ricky Martin: Sending the world 'loco' for Latin
Puerto Rican pop sensation Ricky Martin has gone straight to the top of the UK charts with his raunchy new track Livin' La Vida Loca.
He is already a huge star in the US but it has taken an English language album, a hip-swivelling performance at this year's Grammy Music awards and a helping hand from Madonna to capture the attention of British audiences.
The 27-year-old heart-throb's rendition of La Copa De La Vida at the Grammys so impressed Madonna that she signed up to do a duet with him.
"My song with Madonna is the first duet single she has ever recorded - I'm not sure why she chose me," says Martin.
"But when Madonna asks you to do something you don't really think twice. She is a legend."
Although still only in his twenties, Ricky Martin has been performing since he was a child.
His showbiz career began at the age of six, and by the age of 12 he had appeared in more than 50 TV commercials.
He then graduated to Latin American boy band Menudo, touring with the group for five years.
"Being in the band helped me to keep my feet firmly on the ground," says Martin.
"Because when you start in this business at such a young age you can end up going crazy."
When Martin was pensioned off from the band at the age of 17, he turned to acting and landed a part in American soap General Hospital, as a singing barman.
He then made it to Broadway, playing Marius in Les Miserables before signing up for a solo music career with Sony.
Four Spanish hit albums later and Ricky released his first salsa-infused English language album which has sold fifteen million copies in the US and has made him a multimillionaire.
Going loco for Latin
But this isn't the first time the music scene has gone "loco" for Latin.
Puerto Rican actress-turned pop star Jennifer Lopez recently went to the top of the US charts with If You Had My Love.
Her debut English-language album, featuring hot Latin vocalist Marc Anthony, also made the top 10.
But Ricky Martin is keen to break down the stereotypes surrounding the latest Latino explosion and put Puerto Rico firmly on the map.
He recently turned down the chance to appear opposite Jennifer Lopez in a remake of West Side Story as he feels it only perpetuates stereotypes about his own culture.
"It's all about breaking stereotypes," said the star in a recent interview.
"For me, the fact that people think Puerto Rico is Scarface, that we ride donkeys to school - that has to change."
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