The It A-Team
Behind every pop star, there’s a gallery of gifted geniuses. There’s no question Ricky Martin’s combo of hips, lips, and charisma is the main attraction, but here’s a look at the backstage team who helped put his irresistible ”Livin’ La Vida Loca” in motion.
It Mix Master
WHY HIM? You’ve banged your head to the ’80s hits he penned for Bon Jovi (”You Give Love a Bad Name” and ”Livin’ on a Prayer”) and Aerosmith (”Dude [Looks Like a Lady]”), but who knew he could make your hips swivel? Child, who produced ”The Cup of Life” and ”Loca,” brought to Martin’s mixing table the fine-tuned ear of a pop producer.
ON RICKY: ”I made him pee in an Evian bottle. We were under the gun to finish one of his vocals. He was exhausted, and I knew if I let him out of the booth, he’d just leave.”
NEXT: Producing a pop album for Jason Raize (Broadway’s The Lion King); in September, he begins work on Martin’s next album.
Robi Draco Rosa
WHY HIM? Ricky’s former Menudo pal plays secret-agent guitar on ”Loca” and cowrites and coproduces virtually everything Martin does. He even gets to peek inside Ricky’s private journals for lyrical inspiration. Lucky guy.
ON RICKY: ”We don’t talk much — we don’t need to. He’s prepared and ready to go. That’s his thing.”
WORK HABITS: ”Nothing other than making sure I get wherever I need to go.”
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT: ”Julio Iglesias and Sid Vicious. They both played a really important part in my life.”
NEXT: Has an untitled English-language release due out next year; working on Iglesias’ next album.
It Hip Cracker
WHY HIM? As Martin’s artistic director (he created the over-the-top Grammy stage sequence), this former dancer for Prince and Michael Jackson now choreographs the hottest hips in the West.
ON RICKY: ”He taught me how to shake my stuff better than I thought I could. That’s Ricky’s own thing — that Latin soul.”
CREATIVE CRUTCH: ”Chocolate — anything chocolate.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT: ”When I was a dancer for Michael’s Dangerous tour, I once slipped [on stage] in my penny loafers.”
NEXT: Martin’s upcoming Pepsi commercial and Oprah appearance; will also choreograph Mya’s leg of Lilith Fair.
It Clip Man
WHY HIM? This ex-video maker for Michael Jackson is director of choice: ”Loca” is his fourth vid for Martin (though he won’t take credit for the melted wax).
ON RICKY: ”He works constantly. You have a very limited amount of time, so you have to have it together. When we shot ‘Loca,’ he flew in, did the video, did the Grammys that night, and left to headline a festival in Italy the next day.”
WORK HABITS: Cleaned up tiger poop for a Jackson shoot (though, years later, he directed Jacko’s ”You Are Not Alone” video).
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: ”I listen to Fear to get psyched.”
NEXT: Plotting a new clip for Metallica; Ricky’s Pepsi spot.