5 Things You Didn't Know About Ricky Martin

Downtown Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena is blessed to present two of the biggest pop concerts of the year in the span of one week, hosting Puerto Rican sensation Ricky Martin on Saturday, and sweet, humble hit machine Taylor Swift on Tuesday.

And while everyone knows that Ricky is Mr. “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and Taylor loves to “Shake It Off,” we thought fans might like to dig a little deeper before catching their shows at the AAA.

Below, then, are five things you might not have known about Ricky. For five things about Taylor, click here.

RICKY MARTIN

1. Although it’s well-known that Martin got his musical start in the boy band Menudo (for which he was originally rejected because he was too short), that wasn’t his show-biz beginning. At the tender age of 9, little Ricky starred in a handful of TV commercials in Puerto Rico, using his fresh face to hawk products including toothpaste, soda and fast food.

2. Latin rhythms are commonplace on pop radio today, and for that you can mainly thank Martin: His groundbreaking crossover to the American Top 40 charts back in 1999 helped paved the way for future Latin superstar artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and Shakira.

3. Although he’s lived in several places including Sydney, Madrid and Los Angeles, Miami holds a special place in Martin’s heart: He’s owned several mansions in the Miami area, including a gorgeous Golden Beach pad and two breathtaking North Bay Road spreads; his 2006 “MTV Unplugged” album was recorded at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center; and a year later, his three-night “Black & White Tour” date helped open the renovated Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater.

4. Martin may be renowned for his lively vocals and hip-swiveling dance moves, but he’s also an accomplished actor, both on stage and TV. In addition to his aforementioned commercial work plus gigs on Mexican telenovelas, Martin found work in the mid-‘90s on a short-lived sitcom called “Getting By” before landing a role on the soap opera “General Hospital.” Then, a week after revealing in a 1996 interview with The Miami Herald that he’d love to perform on Broadway, he was offered the role of Marius Pontmercy in the play “Les Miserables,” and later portrayed Che Guevara in “Evita.”

5. Ricky loves giving back, and especially to the kids: Not only has the singer published a children’s book (“Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars”), but his many humanitarian efforts – including the Ricky Martin Foundation, whose People For Children project targets child trafficking – focus on young people and families in need. Martin has also visited the families of victims of Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian tsunami of 2004.

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