By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Boyish good looks, a charming personality, and a tender voice made the character of Miguel Morez an overwhelming favorite among female soap opera aficionados in the mid-Nineties. The charismatic and flirty Hispanic bartender developed quite a fan base among followers of General Hospital. It was the kind of role for which Ricky Martin seemed to be born.
He was already a teen idol all over Latin America, thanks to his turn in the boy band Menudo. But Martin's 1994 U.S. acting debut allowed him to parlay his attractive traits into a successful recording career that netted him international status. After moderate success with his first two solo albums, and a stint in Broadway's Les Misérables, the Puerto Rican poster boy let loose in 1995 with A Medio Vivir. The record showed Martin experimenting with a hard rock edge in addition to traditional Latin rhythms like flamenco and cumbia. But it was nothing like Ricky Martin, his first English-language album, which featured the catchy, albeit bubble-gum, anthem "Livin' La Vida Loca" and the ballad "She's All I Ever Had."
Still, Martin has proven in recent years he's more than just charm and muscles, with the grown-up vibes of Life and last year's acoustically driven MTV Unplugged production. Once driven by the squeals and tears of teenyboppers, he has matured vocally and these days offers much more than a few bon-bon shakes and hip gyrations.