Ricky Martin was raised in Puerto Rico. He began his career at the age of 12, as a member of the Puerto Rican music group Menudo. During his time in the group he had the opportunity to travel and record in various languages including Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English. He left the group in 1989 and went to study in New York. During a trip to Mexico his plans changed when he was offered a part in the musical play, "Mama ama el Rock". He went on to portray "Pablo" in the Mexican soap opera Alcanzar una estrella II (1991). He won a Heraldo, the Mexican equivalent of the Academy Award, for his role in Más que alcanzar una estrella (1992), a film loosely based on the soap. In 1991 he began his career as a soloist, with the release of his first album, "Ricky Martin". It sold over 500,000 copies worldwide, becoming one of the highest debuts for a Latin artist under the Sony label in the previous ten years. He followed with another album, "Me Amaras", a more mature compilation of personal and romantic songs which also skyrocketed to the top of the Latin charts and earned him "Best New Latin Artist" at the 1993 Billboard Video Awards. Seeking further opportunities as an actor, he moved to Los Angeles in late 1993. He appeared on two episodes of the NBC sitcom Getting By (1993). In February 1994 he made his debut on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital (1963), as "Miguel Morez". After dedicating two years of his career to acting, Ricky has returned to his first love, music. His release "A Medio Vivir" is a compilation of songs reflecting pop, rock and Latin influences. Ricky Martin is as passionate about helping others as he is about his work. He always finds time to give to drug-addicted and abused children, as well as to educate and inform the youth of the countries he visits about AIDS.