Rivera was an undergraduate, studying to be an architect in Canada before his singing talent was accidentally discovered while he was on holiday in the Philippines. In 1989, Musiko Records & BMG Records (Pilipinas) Inc. (now known as Sony Music & BMG Rights Management) signed Rivera to their label. His self-titled debut album was released after two years. The first single, "Sana Kahit Minsan" was a #1 pop-r&b crossover hit. The album went 3x platinum. In 1991, he quickly released his second album, Simple Lang. This album also went 3x platinum.
In 1994, Rivera began recording new material for his next album, Photograph. Photograph was released in 1995. His album reached Gold status in the Philippines
Acting career In 1992, Rivera tried acting. His first starring role in the film Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal earned him a Best Supporting Actor award in the 1992 Metro Manila Film Festival. He landed a lead role opposite Sharon Cuneta in 1993's "Ikaw". He also co-starred in Isang Sulok Ng Mga Pangarap (1994); Anghel Na Walang Langit (1995); Minsan May Pangarap: The Guce Family Story (1995); May Nagmamahal Sa Iyo (1996), Ikaw Pala Ang Mahal Ko (1997) and Bata, bata ... Pa'no Ka Ginawa? (1998).
Albums Main article: Ariel Rivera discography Ariel Rivera 3x platinum (300,000 copies) Simple Lang 3x platinum (300,000 copies) Photograph Gold (50,000 copies) Paskong Walang Katulad Gold (50,000 copies) Paskong Walang Katulad, the special Ariel Rivera Deluxe Christmas album (released in 2009) Getting to Know Platinum (100,000 copies) Aawitin Ko Na Lang Gold (50,000 copies) In My Life 2x platinum (200,000 copies) Platinum Hits 5x platinum (500,000 copies) Once Again (released in 2008)
Personal life Rivera has four siblings and prefers to keep his personal life private. He was the ex-boyfriend of Asia's Songbird, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid. They broke the so-called fairy tale relationship in 1995. He married actress, television presenter, and his true love, Anna Gianelli de Belen, on 22 December 1997 in Santuario de San José, and both did a film released five months before their marriage entitled "Ikaw Pala Ang Mahal Ko". The couple has two sons: Joaquín Andrés (born 29 January 1999) and Julio Alessandro (born 6 November 2000).
Collaborations Ryan Cayabyab Silver Album (Sony BMG Music Philippines, Inc., 1996) Something More (JesCom Foundation, Inc., 2001) Signature Hits OPM's Best Vol. 2 (Viva Records Corp. & Vicor Music Corp., 2009)