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Stacey Rene Russell | Photo: Omar Cruz/Corbis Outline | April 22, 2014
Ricky Martin sings the World Cup’s praises.
When the International Federation of Association Football went looking for tracks to include in its Official Album of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they turned to Ricky Martin to spearhead a worldwide competition to find one of those tunes. After all, the singer became an international superstar after his electrifying rendition of “The Cup of Life” (the official song of the 1998 World Cup) at the 1999 Grammys. After thousands of submissions and months of deliberation (a process captured in the Crackle online series SuperSong), they eventually settled on “Vida,” a catchy number by Miami’s own Elijah King that will be recorded by Martin and released as a single as the soccer extravaganza in Brazil nears kick-off on June 12.
You were one of our favorite residents for many years. Do you miss Miami? [Laughs] I do! I was in Golden Beach for a long time, but had to leave for Evita on Broadway. I’m still not used to coming back and staying in a hotel. Any chance of you returning some day? I’ll be back. No concrete plans, but I can feel it. Right now I’m in Sydney for their version of The Voice, on which I’m a judge. Have you enjoyed being on that show? It’s amazing. You’re working with new artists and people who’ve never had an opportunity to show their talent. It’s very rewarding. That’s very similar to what you did on SuperSong with Elijah King, who eventually won the World Cup contest. Do you think he has any idea of what he’s in for? His life is going to be very interesting. You don’t realize the magnitude of what you’re going through until much later. I look back at the “Livin’ La Vida Loca” days and I go, ‘Wow.’ Even before that, you became an overnight sensation after your 1999 performance at the Grammys. What was it like waking up the next morning and realizing the whole world knew your name? Well, when you come from a small island like Puerto Rico and suddenly you’re performing at the Grammys, and then you have Madonna, Sting and The Rolling Stones calling you, it gets overwhelming, but it was beautiful. Now that the Elijah King song has been chosen, what’s next? We’re now going to perform surgery; produce it and take it to the next level. How does it feel to be working with the FIFA organization again? I can’t believe it! When I got the call, I was like, ‘Let me think... absolutely!’ What else can we expect from you going forward? You know, the last few years have been about parenting because I really wanted to [give my boys] all my time. Then I did the theater thing and The Voice. All of that was great, but the rest of 2014 is going to be about locking myself in the studio and just throwing it out in there. We know you have to stay somewhat neutral, but who would you like to see take that World Cup trophy? You know, I’m a Spanish citizen and Spain has that magic, but... I’m Brazil all the way!