MTV News' Kurt Loder: You have a record and a film out, but there's all this legal stuff going on. Is this the worst time of your life, or the best?
Jennifer Lopez: I'm preoccupied about some stuff, but it's still the best time of my life. I'm getting to live my dreams. It's unfortunate that [Combs' legal troubles are] happening right now. But I still feel very grateful to God for everything that I have.
Loder: "J.Lo" is a term of affection your record company uses in talking to you?
Lopez: [laughs] No. It wasn't something that I started, like, "Call me J. Lo." Fans gave me the nickname. It was actually pretty cool.
Loder: Does your family call you J.Lo now?
Lopez: No. But my mother is so taken with the whole thing. She's all "J.Lo, J.Lo."
Loder: You have an executive producer credit on this record. Were you fiddling with the knobs?
Lopez: I don't fiddle with the knobs too much. Executive producing is pretty much bringing the whole album together, overseeing everything, having creative control. I had it on my first album, but I really felt like this time it was even more mine.
Loder: What kinds of ideas do you shoot down?
Lopez: I always want to do new stuff. It's not like I want to stray from this type of music. I love what I do. The pop, Latin, R&B mix, that's really, really me. But it's like, "Let's do a song just like 'Waiting for Tonight.'" It's not about that; it's about doing new stuff.
Loder: Being the executive producer and also co-writing a number of songs on this record, are you trying to express something? Or is it mainly about hits for you?
Lopez: You want them to be hits at the end of the day. But you start off with something to say, an expression of something as an artist, or something you have felt or gone through. Something you can relate to, something that inspires you. And you just go from there.
Loder: Do you hang around the studio while they're working out the beats?
Lopez: I am here all the time. I love the whole process, 'cause I want my input. When I do my album, it's like I live here. I come early.
Loder: What's your favorite track on the album?
Lopez: I have so many. I know it sounds corny, but I do. I'm very close to it.
Loder: Are you playing the instrument on "I'm Real"?
Lopez: No. I want to learn the guitar so bad. I think on my next movie.
Loder: Puffy's on that track. How did that come about?
Lopez: I was just listening to the track over and over, and he called the studio and he was like, "What's that playing in the background?" And I said, "That's the song I just wrote." And he was like, "That is bananas." And I said, "Will you come over and do this part for me babe, please?"
Loder: It's good that you can get him to just come and be on your record. Not everyone can do that.
Lopez: I could tell he liked it because of that. He was like, "I'll be over in five minutes," and he was over in five minutes.
Loder: Is it hard for you to work together?
Lopez: I knew he was going to do stuff on this album, but he really came through with some incredible music. I think if you had to choose the records he did on the album, you wouldn't be able to tell. That's how far he stretched himself this time.
Loder: When he's listening to your tracks, does he ever suggest changes?
Lopez: Yeah. He'll be like, "That's wack." [laughs] We're very honest with each other.
Loder: You never have fights about that stuff?
Lopez: Oh yeah. I'm like, "You're wrong, I love that song." And he says, "You're wrong, 'cause I know." It gets like that, but we respect each other's opinions. Then I go back and I think, "Why did he think that was wack?"
Loder: But he liked the album as it came out.
Lopez: He's very proud. One day he was like, "Wow, I didn't know that you had it in you like that." That was the best compliment I got on the album so far. It was sweet.
Loder: How do you go about writing a song?
Lopez: Cory Rooney, who produced along with me, does play the piano, so we will fool around on that once in a while. I start there sometimes. A lot of times we get tracks first. Then it's about banging it out on the piano or just sitting there listening to the track over and over and starting to write. Usually, we'll listen to it and live with it for a day or two. It's always great when it comes immediately, but sometimes it takes more than that.
[The track for] "Cariño" we had from the beginning, and we loved it. It was like a cha-cha-inspired, Latin-y pop track, and it took forever. I couldn't write it, Cory couldn't write it. We had other people try to write it. No one could write this damn song. Then I go to Europe a few months ago to promote "The Cell" and Cory goes, "I got it, I got it, I wrote it!" We were like, "It has to be sexy, it has to be this and it has to be that," but we couldn't put it into words. He sent it to me and I loved it. I just changed the chorus.
Loder: What does the name mean?
Lopez: Cariño is like love and affection. It's when you touch and it's very affectionate. You can also call someone cariño. It's just a term of affection.
Loder: Must there now be a tour?
Lopez: I definitely want to go on tour. We're planning to go into rehearsals after I do this next movie in March.
Loder: Before you go on tour, do you get into some incredible regimen of vitamins and workouts?
Lopez: Absolutely. I'm going on all of these mini-tours in Europe. It takes so much out of you, I can't even imagine what it'd be like to do it every day 'cause [this tour will] be my first one.
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