Ricky's Way Of Life

rinoa
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Postby rinoa » Sat Aug 06, 2005 5:47 pm

HE spoke of Shake Your Bon-Bon as a "ridiculous" phase, and how he recorded his latest tunes in his underwear (which should be motivation enough for his fans to get his forthcoming album) and how he would turn down another Grammy for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Ricky Martin is such an icon that the most seasoned of regional entertainment journalists quivered at the mere sight of the six-feet Latino hunk gliding in for a short interview.

In Bangkok for only a day before he continues his work for tsunami victims, Ricky had little time to spend in idle chat.

Not in an arrogant way, mind you. His priorities are his charitable causes rather than indulging in media rounds.

Still, the scheduled 15 minutes granted runs for just below an hour, with no question too insignificant.

Even when a Singaporean journalist snorts at his charity work and asks what his answer would be to sceptics who brand it as a mere PR exercise, Ricky kept his cool.

"You know what, I have no time for those people. People like that - seriously, I will pray for their souls."

While the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with Ricky Martin is supposedly to focus on his upcoming tentatively-titled Life album - the heart-throb is more animated in speaking of his work with children.

"I'm not doing this to promote music or because I'm releasing my album. I've been doing this for years and I never talked about it because I feared people will think it was something I was doing to get media attention.

'I've been doing this in silence until I ventured to Washington to lobby for laws to be changed on child trafficking, when my encounter with some activists opened my eyes," explains Ricky.

"They explained how a person like me was needed to promote and create awareness about important issues in life, especially relating to children."

And talk he did from then on.

After the tsunami struck the region, Ricky was one of a handful of artistes from the other side of the world who rushed to the aid of many of its victims.

In fact, with his foundation in tow, he pledged to build 600 homes for children who had lost theirs due to the tsunami.

And when he spoke, did they listen!

Appearing on the Oprah show, he raised awareness on issues in this part of the world her audience were ignorant of.

"Oprah Winfrey in America alone is seen by 40 million people a day and I was able to talk about issues like child trafficking."

"When I came here in January, I was already on the plane to Thailand and Oprah wanted to find out what the artistes were doing."

"Her people immediately hopped on the plane and got here before I did. It was very beautiful to have someone like her be so interested in what was really happening in the region."

"When I first met Oprah in the studio and told her what my mission was, to build 600 houses, she said 'You gave your word, you're going back there and I'm going there with you'," he laughs quietly.

Martin stressed the need for houses was imminent after speaking to the victims and learning their circumstances were such that child trafficking was a very real threat.

"I talked to the victims, and they said we have medicine, we have clothes, we have food, but we don't have shelter."

"And that's why I thought it was so important to build houses, because the children were unfortunately in the streets. And when the children are in the streets, they are too vulnerable to the traffickers."

When asked if his actions raised awareness about what was happening on this side of the world, Ricky paused for a while.

"We are connected, we all are. We all feel the same way in a moment of such vulnerability."

"I don't like to think about 'the other side of the world'.

"I see it as a global issue as we're all together in this. What happens in Puerto Rico will affect the children of Asia as well and vice versa. You understand where I'm coming from? This is a global issue!"

But he admits that the reaction to his speaking out has been amazing.

"We are dealing with ignorance... these are issues that are so dark that people don't know about it."

"First of all, child trafficking is part of organised crime that generates US$10 billion every year... you know... there are so many issues that we don't want to talk about."

Ricky rues about how more of his colleagues should take more of their time to analyse what's going on around them.

"While I was recording my music, I was educating myself. So my album, Life, happened while I was learning the issues about this world. You will find, in my album, lyrics that are inspiring without being preachy."

"It tells of starting off with, this is where I've been, this is where I am, and this is what I've done to feel better."

"That's what I think is so important about this album. It's a statement. Life is not just about having fun, it's more than that... open a channel in your brain where you can, of course, have fun... responsibly."

He talks about his album almost reluctantly, perhaps apprehensive it was the only reason why the media came.

"I happened to be in Thailand for this, and I just thought, we have to get together with the media and start talking about it (the new album). That doesn't mean this is the only time I'm coming to the region to promote the album, but I think it's a good start to share my musical experience."

"You guys are going to be the first to get a good chance to listen to the music, and feel it... and have a better understanding where we're at."

He adds with a smirk: "The lyrics of I Don't Care, however, don't represent what I am at this point."

"The album is about me being open, taking advantage of every moment of my life. I talk about things I've seen, places I've been and go back to all that and share how people react to certain situations. And then of course there's the rhythm..."

Of course there's the rhythm. What would Ricky's brand of pure aural pleasure be without it?

Try the recording process for size.

"I would walk over to my studios in my pyjamas... or more like my underwear. Sometimes you get an idea, and you grab an idea and record it..."

The room breaks into sighs... even moans from some who seem to be having a mental picture of the stimulating creative process.

Ricky laughs and explains, "I built my recording studio in my house, and that has allowed me to write and co-write about 90 per cent of the album, and produce and co-produce about 70 per cent of the album. The ease of access simply allowed me more involvement without limitations on the creative process."

He's very proud of the effort, and distances it from fluff like Shake Your Bon Bon.

"That was ridiculous," he bursts out in a loud guffaw.

So how seriously does he take his art now? "Very seriously!"

Between a Grammy for his music, and a Nobel for his charity work, which would he prefer?

"Mmm... forget the Grammys and gimme the Nobel! I already got two Grammys! Seriously... I don't want people to think that I'm doing this for anything but belief in the cause though," he backtracks.

"I ask myself every day, why me? Some days I have an answer... some days I don't.

"I ask why me, for this success, why me to travel around the world, why not my neighbour, why not my brother?"

He pauses, before answering what must be the rare solution that offers itself.

"It's God's will... and I just thank him everyday for it."


RICKY MARTIN'S "LIFE"


SIX songs were previewed for the media.


The session kicked off with Till I Get – which is essential pop fodder with Middle Eastern influences. Strangely enough, it's reminiscent of the New Romantics with a pinch of rock thrown in for good measure.

Add that with a touch of sauciness in the lyrics, (Till I touch you... till I taste you... I'll never stop till I get you) minus the cheesiness of it all, and you've got quite an interesting number that may open new listeners to Ricky's music.

Won't Desert You is strangely remindful of Truth Hurts with Indian influences (do we hear a sitar?) which is not exactly new, but offers a mellow, subtle transition to the kind of Latin pop popularised by Sting.

I Don't Care is staple hip-hop/R&B for the American charts and it figures why it's the first single as it's definitely chart material. Not exactly the pick of the lot though.

Stop Time Tonight is one of the only ballads offered for our review and it shows a certain maturity while still remaining the true essence of Ricky's sound.

It's Alright may start off as a smooth, seductive number that grows to a boyband production, but it's a rockin' tune for a road trip with "Summer Hit" written all over it.

However, the party among the regional Press was kickstarted as droopy eyelids were soon replaced by bopping heads and some serious bootylicious action when Drop It On Me oozed out of the speakers.

Featuring the golden touch of Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas, the tune is Latin pop at its best.

Will's trademark beats and grooves, coupled with hip-swaying mood music complete with whistles, have resulted in an irresistible foot-stomping ditty.

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