MTV Bang Bang!
MTV News: Let's get it out there. What's the title of the single, "She Bangs," about?
Ricky Martin: That says it all, man. "She Bangs." [Laughs] What else do you want? Can I be more specific? Take your clothes off! Come on! No, I'm just kidding. It's a song about freedom. It's a song that contains a lot of fantasies in it, as well. It's a song that talks about the joy of not feeling judged and just being who you are. It's a song that describes a woman who can really seduce you without really looking at you. Musically, we have the rock and roll. We have a bit of Latin, and we have a big band playing -- those horns, like it was the end of the world. [RealAudio]
MTV: What do you like so much about "She Bangs"?
Martin: This is this the kind of song that I want to have as part of my repertoire in my concerts for the next 10 years. I think this song will be part of my life for a long time. Once again, it's about freedom, because it's about feeling good with yourself. Because it it's about the joy of life. It's about just feeling.
MTV: Why did you pick it as the first single?
Martin: It was easy, because it had everything. It had the emotion. It had the passion that I need to present. It's just like, you know, "I'm still here," and this is what I'm with. This is what I'm coming up with. It was non-negotiable. It was easy.
MTV: What's going to be different about this new album, compared with what you've done before?
Martin: You know, I don't want to compare my albums. First of all, because they were done in different modes. I am not the same guy who recorded "Livin' la Vida Loca." -- it's been two years. Although the roots are going to be the same in this album, because the Latin sounds will always be there. But I'm another person. I've lived more. I've read more. And what you'll find in this album are my concerns in life, my concerns with society. Love will, of course, always be there. But I have other concerns that I have to talk about.
We should be concerned about things. We're not superheroes or anything. But if, with my music, I have the opportunity to get to the masses of people, and if I can create some sort of a consciousness about life in general -- well, why not do it? That's my goal. We sold almost 18 million copies of the album Ricky Martin. With this one, hopefully 20. Hopefully 25. [Laughs]
With this album, you have a little bit of jazz. With this album, you have a little bit of rock. The Latin sounds, the Brazilian sounds are there. You will definitely hear new stuff that we don't have on the first English album.
The album is pretty diverse. We have "She Bangs," but we also have a blues influence in one of the songs that was produced by George Noriega, called "Loaded." We have the Brazilian sound with a song called "Saint Tropez." We have the Latin sound with a song called "Amor." It's a pretty diverse album with the same roots.
We tried to use a lot of very earthy instruments. Technology can help us a lot when we talk about music, but here, every instrument was recorded with a musician. We started using not only Latin percussion, but we went back to India and we did a little bit of Indian sounds, and a mix of Middle Eastern sounds that are so easy to link with my roots.
MTV: Is it easy or hard -- or neither -- to be recording in different languages?
Martin: Well, it's been pretty intense for the last decade. I'm recording in English, but I'm going to keep working in Spanish, because it's my mother tongue. English, it's been fascinating. It's all about communicating, and if I have to do it in Chinese and Portuguese and French, I'll do it.
English is the international language. It's the language that at the end of the day, every artist wants to record. But it's been wild. Having the opportunity to work with amazing artists such as Madonna, for example. Such as Sting. People that I really respected for many years. And then "Livin' la Vida Loca," which has given me the opportunity to once again go to these countries that I've worked before and perform -- in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. It's been really intense. I'm really happy. I guess it's just that whatever I'm ready to do, God has a plan, and all of a sudden everything happens. [RealAudio]
MTV: The integration of sounds is key for you.
Martin: My success just reassures my belief in my sound and my culture. When you listen to "Livin' La Vida Loca," you have a little bit of Latin sound, but at the same time you have a little bit of the ska and at the same time you have a little bit of rock and roll. It tells me that fusion is very important in my music. But I'm pretty much the same. I take my time to go back to my family as much as I can. It tends to get a little bit intense, with fame and everything. But musically speaking, everything is more intense because of the passion that you have to give. I guess you're more vulnerable toward everything, and it feels good.
MTV: What's it like on the road for you?
Martin: Well, we started doing the American tour last October. It went really good. We did something like 70 concerts. Then we did Europe, and we were there for three weeks. Then we did Latin America, and I'm about to go to Asia right now. My friend, we're all the same. It doesn't matter what part of the world you go to, my attitude is to let people know that it's very important to let go and to just feel free. At least at my concerts, it's all about detaching and letting go of problems in life and problems of society that can disturb us. We want to create a little, beautiful, perfect planet where no one is going to feel judged tonight, and people just let go. It doesn't matter if it's Japan, Mexico City, Buenos Aires or Paris.
We become a soul, and they become part of the stage. I become part of the audience. For me, the immediate contact with the audience is very important. You know a lot of people ask me, "Are you gonna go back to acting?" Well, yes, I can go back to acting, but not for a while. I want to go back to acting, but right now, I need to have this direct contact with the audience, which is so addictive. It's like a little gift that God has given me: to make people happy with my music and my sounds. I don't want to let go of this. I want to keep working on the road. And the production is really intense. Me, going up and down in platforms. The lighting, the screens -- it's a beautiful concert, man. I have a lot of fun with it, and I guess people do the same.
MTV: You're excited about the release of this new album?
Martin: Yes. It's a cathartic process, man. You feel clean. You feel new. I've been working on this album now for almost a year. It's been really intense, because I've been touring, and every time I had a day off I would hop on a plane and jump to the studio. It doesn't matter where I was, especially when I was here in the United States, touring. I would just fly back to Miami and be there when the percussion was recorded, when the piano was being recorded, when those horns were being recorded. It feels great, man. This is what is so beautiful about this career. You think you're done, and you think you did it all. But no, wait a minute-- this is only the beginning, and now I'm listening to "She Bangs" on the radio. It feels really good. [RealAudio]
MTV: When does Sound Loaded drop?
Martin: November 14 is the date. Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere in the world. Ready for the holidays. I'll be presenting it personally to the media, the press, to television. I'll be doing anything that has to be done in order for people to know that I'm here, and that there's a lot of music, and that there's a lot more to come.
MTV Shakin it Live
John Norris: How are you feelin'?
Ricky Martin: That is the question.
John: Minutes away from going on. Are you, like, pumped? Is it nerves?
Ricky: Anxiety will always be there, I guess. Keeps me alive.
John: That's probably good, not to feel overconfident.
Ricky: No, that should never happen. I did my yoga, and we've been rehearsing for a couple of weeks now, and the chemistry you will feel onstage with the band and the dancers is very at ease. A lot of comfort. But it's all about sweating right now.
John: You are no stranger to big-scale tours. You've toured the U.S. many times. You've played [Madison Square] Garden. You've done big shows. And yet I think that there's a different feeling this year. Do you feel it?
Ricky: Well, when it comes to America, it's going to be a little more hectic. I've been able to perform in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, but we're doing 28 concerts before the year is over. So we're talking about lots of back to back, one after [another]. We're here in Miami two nights in a row, then we're doing Tampa one day in the middle, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York...
John: Do you keep your stamina up for this? I mean, is it a challenge?
Ricky: I'm ready. I've been doing so many interviews for the past... maybe since the Grammys, it's been about promoting -- promoting this new album, promoting what I've been doing -- that every time I sit into a chair to do makeup with my makeup artist and so on, [I say] "When are we gonna do the show? Let's just get out there and do the show!" But it's great. I'm not complaining. Once again, the team that I'm working with, it took 120 people, onstage and backstage...
John: Including some pretty amazing dancers. There's dancing like people haven't seen, including acrobatics. Were these your ideas or [choreographer] Tina Landon's?
Ricky: To be quite honest, I'm talking about the team. People like [choreographer] Jamie King, for example, is someone who is so talented, the way he looks at things. Of course I tell him where I am, where I'm coming from, and where I want to go, and how I want to affect the audience, but he just comes with great ideas. And I have to give him a lot of credit.
John: Everywhere I look I think, "Cha-ching! Cha ching!" This is not a cheap show you put on, right? Do you have any idea how much it costs night after night?
Ricky: Yeah, but do we talk about these things? It's the kind of show where you can't go and smoke a cigarette in the middle of the show, 'cause you'll miss something. It's not overwhelming, but I think it's the best! I hope you like it if you see it.
John: I have not been this blown away visually by a show since, like, Michael Jackson toured years ago.
Ricky: Whoa, talking about Mr. Jackson, all my respects. He definitely has a lot to do with my career. He's the legend; El Maestro, you know? From him, we learn a lot, and definitely he will always be a part of my life.
John: Do you think your average Ricky Martin fan comes to see you for the music, or is it the more visual aspect of the show, if you know what I mean?
Ricky: Well, what I'm concerned about is music. It's to teach, to educate -- we've talked about this before -- to let people know, quote-unquote, what "Latin" sounds are. And what I am made of. But we cannot leave without a little bit of that shakin'.... It's part of it.
John: We talked with so many people who've said, "Well, we're here for the booty."
Ricky: Awesome. You know what? It's so beautiful to be able to go out there and see different people from different generations, different sexes, just enjoying the show. That's what I'm up for.
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