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Ricky Martin: It feels amazing to share where I’m at through music

RICKY MARTIN

◆ 8 tonight

◆ Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mann­heim, Rosemont

◆ $39.50-$125.50

◆ ticketmaster.com

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Ricky Martin wants more. More freedom to be himself. More support for those marginalized by society. And more respect for all cultures in general.

His latest disc, “Musica + Alma + Sexo” (Sony Latin), released in February, addresses those themes, which moved to the forefront last year when Martin declared himself “a proud gay man.” Life has been full of change and reflection for the Puerto Rican-born superstar, who first found fame in the boy band Menudo and then launched the Latin music explosion with his smash hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

Taking a sabbatical after his 2007 live disc and tour, Martin opened up in his 2010 autobiography Me and became the parent of twin sons, now 21/2 years old, in 2008.

“At this point in my life, I feel really comfortable about my emotions and talking about them,” said Martin, in an interview Friday, between shows on his “Musica + Alma + Sexo” tour, which stops Tuesday at the Allstate Arena. “It took me 21/2 years of being silent and analyzing where I’ve been and what I wanted with my life. And now, it’s oh, my God, no one can stop me now!”

More from Martin:

Q. What does it mean for you to be performing again after the events of the last few years?

A. It’s about letting people know where I’m at today. To be back onstage after so many years and being able to see the reaction of the audience after two very beautiful years where I released an album, I became a father, I came out, and from the fans and the media, the reaction has been so positive, so warm and loving to me. I really can’t complain. I know it sounds like I’m being self-serving here but I’m being very honest. It’s been my favorite tour — ever.

Q. The album reunites you with producer-composer Desmond Child, who wrote your breakthrough hit, “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

A. Desmond Child’s my maestro. I felt really comfortable with him. [I said,] “Let’s be very specific about the emotions we’re working on as we’re writing the music.” And he said, “OK, let’s bring it on, where are you at?” My life is full of well, gratitude. That’s really what I’m presenting on the album. It’s been a very powerful year for me.

Q. Do you feel you can really be yourself now?

A. To be really honest, 10 years ago, I thought I was being myself. What I would talk about in my music, what I would talk about in my interviews, that was my reality back then. I guess denial is very powerful. You can call it whatever you want, it’s each individual’s natural process of accepting things. Everyone has their own time scheme. What I’m trying to say here is that I wasn’t living a lie, I think it was part of my natural thought process, what I was feeling. And how I was portraying myself. Now definitely I feel liberated — in every way.

And it’s all about my children. I go back to my two kids. What do I want for them? I want to them to be transparent. I want them to be happy and proud of who they are, and I don’t want to have them go through life having to manipulate information, as I call it. For me, that’s success. To be able to look at my kids and say, “Hey, this is me, and this is a very beautiful family, and we are unique in our own way.”

Q. How hard was it for you to open up on this album?

A. Once I allowed myself to really feel and look myself in the mirror and be honest and let go of the fear that sometimes society or religion puts on us, it all clicked. I’ve never been this vulnerable. It’s amazing to not have to carry things that don’t belong to you. As I say in “Sera, Sera,” “This goes out to the people in the world who are looking for a change.” People who have been discriminated against. And when we talk about discrimination, we don’t only talk about sexual orientation, we go back to race and faith — about people who are being hunted down for who they believe in. People are writing to me from places like Iran, India, Colombia, Vietnam, Cambodia [saying], “Rick, you know what? This is what my family is going through because of our god,” or “This is what my family is going through because of my sexual orientation or because of the color of our skin.” People all over the world [have responded] to this process of vulnerability, as I call it, and it makes me feel amazing, and that we’re doing something right.

Q. The title “Musica + Alma + Sexo” also has a double meaning. It’s also an acronym for “mas” or “more.” What does the title signify?

A. You’ve got to ask more of life, that’s what “Mas” the [title] song talks about. And to me, to be grateful about everything but also let’s not be [complacent], and let’s just fight for what we believe in, with a very optimistic kind of vibe.

Of the title “Musica + Alma+ Sexo”: “Musica” [means] what I’m doing and the risks I’m taking with different sounds with this album. “Alma”: on the album and in the show, I talk about the spiritual quest I’ve embarked on and how healthy it has been for me. And “Sexo,” hey, come on [laughs], we’ll have a great time. The majority of people out there can relate to this one way or the other. It’s funny because when I suggested this as the title, people got a little nervous. They said, “Why don’t you just call it “Music + Soul”? Come on, really.

How we bring these themes into the show [is] where the atmosphere of the cabaret comes in. It becomes very sexual onstage, but we do it with class. We don’t want to insult anybody, in any way, shape or form. And I’m not preaching to anybody, I just want to share where I’m at. I did it through a book, and it feels amazing to do it through music.

Q. What’s your reaction to the claim by Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, the Archbishop of San Juan, P.R., that you’re promoting a homosexual agenda?

A. Like I’ve always said, I’m not here to change people’s minds [about religion]. I’m here to grow or to make my own relationship with my own god stronger. I can say I don’t agree with you and still believe my god doesn’t make mistakes. And those gifts and that life that he [the archbishop] talks about, those were given to me by God. So I’m nothing but grateful for the life I have right now because I finally feel the real meaning of love and self-acceptance. When you go to my show, the only thing you will feel once you go back to your car after the show, you will feel better about yourself. Because it’s about equality and daring to feel good and allowing yourself to go there — that’s what my show is about.

Q. Next year, you’ll be taking on a new role, playing Che in a revival of “Evita.”

A. It’s going to be a beautiful phase of my life. I did “Les Miserables” on Broadway years ago, and I always said I wanted to go back. To be surrounded by such amazingly talented people every night, before an audience and very intense critics [laughs]. To revive this classic and to do Che, it’s an honor. And to be [based] in New York City for an entire year, seeing my kids every day and being stable … does it get better?

Q. In December, you’ll turn 40. How has that milestone affected you?

A. I’m onstage now with people who are 21 years old and I feel better than them! They’re complaining, like, “Oh, my back,” and I’m like, “Give me a break! You’re 21!” It’s been an amazing life. And I’ve been onstage since I’m 12, 11, and I feel like it’s only the beginning, I want more.



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