Lo's Latin love

PRIOR TO kicking off promotion for her first Spanish-language album, Como Ama Una Mujer, due in stores April 3, Jennifer Lopez spoke from her Los Angeles home about her burgeoning Latin creative side.­

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Published: Thu 1 Feb 2007, 3:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:58 PM

This album is nothing like your English-language fare at all. Why?­

Because I love the music. I love the drama. It must be the actress in me. I love the deep, intense passionate way of expressing yourself in those kinds of songs. And it's really not something that lends itself to English music, and not something Id been able to tap into before.­

Do you feel that there are two completely different aspects of yourself?­

I think so. I think this is the side of me that people don't know, and it is really a big part of who I am. This album is closer to who I am than any album I've ever done.­

You didn't actually write on this album, but you told your writers what you wanted to say?­

I had to really, really express to them the kind of album I wanted to make. But it started to come very naturally to the writers when they got to know me, when I spoke about the things that were important to me. I would say, 'This song needs to be about a person, and when he's leaving,' and they would turn around and write it in Spanish. Like (the single) Que Hiciste. I said, 'I know what this song is about. It's this relationship that he destroys by his own hands.' And it would be in that kind of song.­

Por Arriesgarnos is a duet with your husband, Marc Anthony, but a very subtle duet, with his vocals almost hidden.­

It wasn't supposed to be a duet at all. It was the very first song we recorded, and there was a background male voice, and Marc did the backups. I asked to put his voice up, because I think the harmony parts blended so beautifully.­

What influence has your relationship with Marc had on your music?­

We have a lot of respect for each other and I think we affect each other in a very positive way when it comes to work. We see the best of each other and we're able to reach higher levels. It's the best way I can describe it. To me, he's such a legend. The fact that he produces, he sings, his understanding of music, and the way he expresses himself as a singer. I was able to go to the studio, and have the confidence he in his mind had. He would say, 'These are things you understand, these are things you've always wanted to say, now tell me the story.' It was very natural.­

Your voice sounds much more lyrical than on past albums. Much bigger, too.­

I've matured as a singer. Marc gave me confidence in the studio as well. When someone believes in you so much, you don't want to let them down. And it's also the material. I think this material lent itself to my voice. And it actually made me approach my new English album in a different way. I have a different standard now.­

Are there plans to record English-language versions of any of the songs?­

I would never mess with the integrity of this album. This album is what it is.­

Was it important that Latin audiences not hear you as a translation of J-Lo in English?­

When I started to make music in English I was at a different time, and at a different age. And now, they're going to get me now. When I say this has always been a dream of mine, it's the truth. The first demo I ever made was in Spanish. It was called Vivir Sin Ti. This was 11 years ago. It was actually written by the backup singer of Selena, but it didn't come to me through the movie. I don't even remember how it came to my hands. And I went to [producer] Sergio George, and I said, 'Do you want to do this demo?' We did, and my manager took it to the Work Group in Los Angeles and there was interest. And the head of the record label was Tommy Mottola, and he said, 'You speak English.' And I said, 'Of course.' And he said, 'We ought to do an English record.' And the rest is kind of history.­

The song Tu showcases your voice, and the melody is reminiscent of Italian pop - very uplifting but wistful at the same time. What is the story behind that?­

We were almost over with the album, and we said, 'Let's make believe we don't have any songs, and let's do three or four more.' And one of the first songs we came up with was Tu. It was an emotion I had about wanting to sing that to a child one day. That's where that song was born from. To sing it to my own child. I don't like to say those things because I like people to interpret them for themselves, so they think it's for their husband, or their girlfriend, but for me that's where the idea was born from, and then we went from there.­

You've said you can't take credit for opening the door for Latina actresses playing non-Latin roles in Hollywood, but actually, you have been able to do all kinds of roles, which is unusual.­

That was important to me at one point in my career, because I didn't want to be pigeonholed. Why do we have to define this character in this piece if it doesn't mean anything in this story?­

But being bilingual has been very important to you.­

That's one of the best things. I was born in the Bronx. I speak English and that was my first language. But one of the beautiful things about being in the public eye, because I didn't grow up speaking Spanish in my household, I had to learn to speak it. And it has been one of the best choices in my life.



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