"I'm not the same Ricky that recorded "Livin' La Vida Loca" two years ago," Martin tells Newsweek. "I've changed because of the people that I've met and the lessons that I've learned. Sound Loaded is where I'm emotionally at today."
However, Martin, who launched the Latin music explosion with his show-stopping 1999 Grammy performance, says he's sticking with what he knows. "I definitely want to go back to my roots with this album. I used to work a lot with Anglo influences, because before I started listening to salsa, it was all about rock in my house: Boston, Journey, Cheap Trick and Led Zeppelin. [Finally,] my mother got sick of the electric guitar and said, 'Enough is enough! Do you know salsa or tropical? That's your sound. That's who you are.'"
Martin recorded Sound Loaded while on tour last year to promote his multi-platinum English-language debut album. But the former General Hospital star admits that the frantic pace is catching up with him. "I've been working non-stop since I was 12," he says. "I'll have time to rest eventually. I know I'll find my Sabbath year somewhere along the way, and I'll do nothing for a while.
"But right now, I have the acceptance of the media," he adds. "I have the acceptance of the audience. It would be unthinkable if I didn't do this now. This is what I'm here for. It's my mission."