- Jennifer Lopez talking about "On The 6"
Chris Connelly: What does "On the 6" mean?
Jennifer Lopez: I wish I could remember who
it was who came and asked me, "How did you go from being
a Puerto Rican girl who lived in the Bronx to doing
movies and now recording your own album?" And I said,
"I used to get on the 6 [a subway train line] and go
to the city and do my auditions and take my lessons,
voice lessons and dance classes, and all that kind of
Thinking about that, it just became sort of symbolic.
It was a big goal of mine to make a record.... At first
it was to be in videos, and then it was to be in television,
and then it was to do a movie, and then it was, "I want
to make my own album." So this was like that last final
thing that I really wanted to accomplish.
The music is also who I am. And the music is what it
is, it's Latin soul, because of where I'm from. The
fact that I grew up in the Bronx... I was influenced
by R&B and hip-hop, but on the holidays I would listen
to salsa, merengue... that's what my music is. It's
really who I am and where I'm from.
CC: So much about your career has sort of established
you as a pioneer and made you a role model for a lot
of people who look up to you now. Do you feel that burden
JL: It really happened with the movie "Selena"
for me. It was really scary. I remember being very freaked
out, like, "Ohmigod! What if I disappoint somebody?"
I started out just wanting to do good work. And because
of what I do, that inspires people. And so long as I
keep doing what I'm doing, it's not so much a responsibility
as it is something that's sort of a gift that you get...
for actually being able to pursue what you love to do.
If you inspire [people] to go after something that maybe
they wouldn't have done cause they're not used to seeing
people of their culture in that position, that's all
just icing on the cake for me.
CC: Did the "Selena" experience influence your
decision to launch a singing career?
JL: I really, really became inspired, because
I started my career in musical theater on stage. So
doing the movie just reminded me how much I missed singing,
dancing, and like... sharing that love with people,
like, right there with you. You know what I mean?
When you're doing a movie, you're playing different
characters. People don't really get to know you. With
music, you really get a sense of who people are. So
now, when people see me perform, it will be a different
thing. They'll be getting more of who I am, who Jennifer
is. [And] the songs and the music [are] very personal.
It was funny, because this was my first album, [and]
I had never worked in a studio or anything like that.
So coming in, I remember going into the booth, [and
everyone was] like, "Do you want to turn off the lights?"
And I go, "No..." "Do you want some candles burning?"
And I'm like, "No. Why?" "Oh, I don't know. Some people
just like to set the mood." And I'm like, "Well, if
everybody else does it, I'll do it then too! Light the
candles. Burn the incense. Whatever. Bring in the dancing
CC: So how'd you hook up with Rodney Jerkins
for "If You Had My Love?"
JL: It was funny, because Rodney came in, like,
early in the process.... He called up and he played
me something over the phone, [but] he was busy with
other things, and I was busy doing what I was doing,
and we didn't really do it. A month before we finished
the album, he came in... and I played him a few of the
finished tracks that we had. And he came back the next
day with, like, 9 different snippets [Laughs] and he's
like, "You can have whichever ones you want." And I
picked two of them. So that's "If You Had My Love" and
"Not That Serious."
CC: There are a lot of strong tracks on the
record. What made "If You Had My Love" cross the finish
line first? Sounds like it was a big battle.
JL: It was. It's just hard. It's like, "Which
direction do you want to go? How do you want to be perceived?"
There's so many things that go into it. And you have
the record company, you have your managers, and you
have everybody who's like, "I think this, I think this."
And you have like your friends, who are like, "No way!
You can't do that! You gotta go with the other one!"
And every five minutes your mind changes. At the end
of the day, this was the one that we thought would be
right to go out first. I feel good about it. It's doing
CC: There's so many things going on with this
record. It's you crossing over from film to music, and
it's also really at the forefront of this huge explosion
in... what would you call it, Latin soul? Latin pop?
JL: Yeah, Latin pop. I call my music "Latin
soul" because it's not so much dance-oriented...it has
R&B flavors with the Latin and the pop and the dance,
but it definitely has those R&B bass lines and stuff
As [for] the whole Latin pop [explosion]... I just think
people are becoming more exposed to [the music]. It's
always been there. There's always been Latin performers....
Ricky's been around. Ricky Martin, who made the big
splash. I was so proud [at the Grammy Awards]. They
kept cutting to me [in the audience]. I was glad because
I was so proud. He just brought the house down. The
energy in there was incredible. But that's that Latin
flavor, and people, when you feel it, it's undeniable.
It doesn't matter where you're from.
I just think that a few years ago, they might not have
had the nominee for Latin Pop Album on the Grammys,
but this year they did. And this year, it's an explosion.
It was just a matter of time, just like anything else:
I wanted my stuff to have a Latin flavor to it. My favorite
type of music is salsa music... and hip-hop music, so
I wanted to like mesh those elements somehow. I didn't
know how I was going to do it, but I wanted to have
both feels. I wanted it to have the heavy groove, but
then again, I want it to have that Latin flavor - that
passion to it.
CC: You wrote lyrics for a couple of the tracks
including "Should Have Never."
JL: The Trackmasters brought me this [instrumental],
and basically it was just, like, the beat with a Spanish
guitar on top of it. I just loved it. We added the strings
and all that kind of stuff later.
But Corey [executive producer/co-writer Corey Rooney]
was like, "You gotta think of something to write," and
I was like, "You write it! I don't write!" And he's
like, "Just go home and listen to it." And I would listen
to it and listen to it, and then I was like, "I have
an idea of what I want to write about: when you're with
somebody, and somebody else comes into your life, and
even though you love this person, somebody else is there..."
And he's like, "Well, what do you want to say, though?"
And I said, "I just want to say, 'I should have never
touched you, I should have never looked at you, I should
have never held your hand... I didn't think it was gonna
be this bad,' y'know?" And he goes, "Okay. Well, that
will be the chorus." And then we just sat down and wrote
the rest of the song right there.
CC: Do you psych yourself up for a song like
that? Do you place yourself in the mind of the woman
who would be singing that?
JL: Yeah, absolutely. It was funny. I did a
duet on this [album] with Marc Anthony, who is to me
one of the most incredible singers that's out today.
And he said something to me when we were recording together.
He said, "I know when you're singing it, you feel it.
But remember: when I hear it, I have to feel it too."
So it's the same type of thing as with acting. It has
to come from somewhere real. Because if it doesn't,
nobody's going to connect to it. So it was just a real
challenge to learn how to channel it, just through your
voice, and have it come out on the track. [It's one]
thing when somebody sees you singing live. They can
feel you, they can see you. But when they're just listening
on the radio, it's a different story. So that was definitely
challenging for me, and something that I had to learn.
It's just as intense as acting in that way.