ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story

Latin Music POPS!
We've seen the future. It looks like Ricky Martin, sings like Marc Anthony, dances like Jennifer Lopez. And Asians love it


Outside a Tower Records store in Manhattan, a chorus of screams is going up. Mostly sopranos and altos, a few tenors and no basses. "Riiiiiickyyyyyyyyyyyy! I love you!" Five thousand fans, mainly young women, have gathered to catch a glimpse of the latest heartthrob, their corazón. Those at the front of the line enter the store and stumble out with a signature scrawled across a CD or on a poster or even on their skin. Some leave crying tears of joy. At a multiplex across the street, Fox is holding one of the first screenings of The Phantom Menace. You can see a flicker of hesitation on the faces of a few Phantom ticket holders. I thought I was in the red-hot center, the flicker seems to say. What's going on over there?

Ricky Martin is what's going on. The hip-shaking Latin pop star has the No. 1 song in America, Livin' la Vida Loca. His self-titled new CD has sold half a million copies in Asia since its release a month ago; a repackaged version of his previous disc, Vuelve, sold more than a million copies in the region, not counting Japan. And Martin is at the center of something bigger than himself. A host of other Hispanic performers, including vocalist Marc Anthony and actress-turned-pop diva Jennifer Lopez are releasing high-profile, Latin-tinged CDs around the same time. Martin, in an exclusive interview with TIME, was so euphoric over his success he bordered on the Roberto Benigni-esque. "What are you kidding me?" says Martin. "I'm flying! I'm flying!"

Ricky Martin is a fresh face--but not an entirely new one. For 15 years now the 27-year-old singer has enjoyed a kind of second-tier level of fame: he was a member of the teen group Menudo, he once co-starred in Les Misérables on Broadway, he has appeared on the U.S. TV soap opera General Hospital. The cultural wave Martin is riding--Latin pop--we must admit, is also not an entirely new phenomenon. Salsa, rumba, mambo and other Latin musical forms have made a dent in global pop music--Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Gloria Estefan, Ritchie Valens, Los Lobos, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Machito, Willie Colón, Tito Puente and many, many others have, for decades now, scored hits, excited crowds and pioneered new sounds. TIME's "discovering" Latin pop would be a bit like Columbus discovering Puerto Rico.

Ricky Martin in New Delhi. Saurabh Das--AP Photo

WHAT IS NEW IS THIS: as the century turns to double zero, a new generation of Latin artists, nurtured by Spanish-language radio, schooled in mainstream pop, are lifting their voices in English. Of this group, Martin is the hottest; Lopez, 28, the most alluring; Anthony, 29, the most artistic. Latin-tinged pop is blowing up because it fits the musical times: it has a bit of the street edge of hip-hop (Lopez worked with rapper Sean ["Puffy"] Combs on one track on her CD), some of the bouncy joy of dance-pop (Martin is hunkier than all the Backstreet Boys put together) and the fizzy fresh feel of that ever sought-for thing in modern pop, the Next Big Thing.

"None of this could have happened 15 years ago," says producer Emilio Estefan, husband and manager of crossover trailblazer Gloria Estefan. "Gloria and I went through the hardest part. A dozen years ago, a label threw me out when I tried to use congas on a recording. They said, 'Get rid of that, and take out the horns and the timbales too.' Now people are buying records by Arturo Sandoval and Buena Vista Social Club. The younger generation is now reacting to Latin music."

PAGE 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5



June 28, 1999

Latin Music POPS!
We've seen the future. It looks like Ricky Martin, sings like Marc Anthony, dances like Jennifer Lopez. And Asians love it

Godfather of the Miami Sound
When Emilio Estefan makes a prediction, industry moguls listen

Below links will open in a new window

Photo Essay
El Mundo Loves Ricky

Get Ready for Ricky
Latin pop's hot new star has gone from Menudo to mainstream, with a stop at a soap. What's not to like? (TIME, May 10, 1999)

Spicing The Mix
Latin pop prepares to take on America (TIME, March 15, 1999)

This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.