Ricky Martin Reflects On Pulse Nightclub Shooting Five Years Later: ‘They Just Wanted to Dance’

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Five years after the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub that killed 49 people and left more than 50 wounded, Ricky Martin is reflecting on the attack. He  recalls feeling “very affected, angry, and sad” when the massacre happened on June 12, 2016, at the gay club in Orlando, Fla.

“It took me a minute to really let it all in,” he tells Billboard.

Martin, who became the first spokesperson of the OnePulse Foundation, continues to use his platform to encourage fans to make donations for a memorial where loved ones and visitors can meditate, pray, or pay tribute to the victims.

“At the end of the day, it was a horrible event, and in order for us to give comfort to the survivors and family of the victims, why not build this beautiful shrine so that people can go there and send good thoughts? Beautiful things are going to happen with this project,” Martin says.

The Puerto Rican singer, who also signed Billboard’s open letter to senators for gun control reform in honor of the Pulse anniversary, revealed that a tribute song was actually in the works, but it didn’t come out as he expected.

Instead, his new single, “Que Rico Fuera” in collaboration with Chilean newcomer Paloma Mami, is just that: a song inspired by Pulse.

“Now more than ever, I need to be part of this celebration and, of course, ‘Que Rico Fuera’ has a lot to do with it,” he notes.

“Que Rico Fuera” — co-written by Paloma and Ricky and helmed by producers Wissem Larfaoui, Kevyn Mauricio Cruz and Juan Camilo Vargas — is a rhythmic Caribbean bop with urban-pop fusions and sultry lyrics. They describe the song as “lit,” “sabrosura” (flavorful) or, Martin’s personal favorite, “Freaky Ricky.”

“All [the Pulse victims] wanted was to dance, and that’s why I wanted to release this song as soon as possible because all I want is for people to dance,” he adds. “They were part of the inspiration of this release, to be honest.”

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