Fifteen years after the release of her debut On the 6, Jennifer Lopez continues her epic ride with her 10th album, due June 17. The project marks a return to her roots, with a star-studded guest list that includes Tyga, Big Sean, Robin Thicke, Wiz Khalifa, Maxwell, and French Montana, who appears on the Detail-produced single “I Luh Ya Papi.”
In between her jam-packed schedule as a judge on “American Idol,” executive producing the ABC Family drama “The Fosters,” and putting the finishing touches on her album, the multi-talented megastar and mother of two squeezed in time to speak with Rap-Up.
In our exclusive interview, J.Lo dropped details about her collaborations with R&B crooners Chris Brown, Robin Thicke, and Maxwell, and even revealed plans for a Christmas album produced by David Foster. Plus, could we see J.Lo headlining next year’s Super Bowl halftime show?
Have you finished the album yet?
Pretty much. There’s always that race to the finish line. We’re always doing last-minute things and getting it all finished, but for the most part, the bulk of it’s done.
Have you decided on a title?
Not yet. I have a few things in mind, but I always wait until the whole thing is mastered and then when I listen to it, I kinda decide at the last minute.
This is album number 10 for you. You’ve said that this feels like your first album all over again.
Yeah, it’s funny. It always feels that way. I love music so much and I really love the process of making an album, this one in particular because it took me so long. I came off tour last year, probably in January, and I got right back into the studio and I started working on it and I just took my time with it for the first time. Usually I do an album in a few months, but this one’s taking me a year to really put together and little by little I’ve been letting little pieces of it out and now we’re ready to let it go. Because it’s my 10th album, I think it feels a little more special.
You and Maxwell have a duet called “I Wanna Love.” What does that sound like?
It’s a ballad, kind of a mid-tempoey ballad. It’s just one of those really beautiful songs. I recorded it by myself first and I was like, “Ugh. You know who would be so beautiful on this record? Maxwell.” And Maxwell and I have known each other forever. Almost every album, we say we gotta do something. You have to wait for the right song and I finally got up the nerve to send it to him and said, “You’re gonna like this one.” I sent it to him, he loved it, and he was like, “OK. I’m gonna put my thing on it.” I’m really excited about it.
Robin Thicke is also on the album. What did you do together?
It’s funny. I actually played him a couple of different songs so he could see what I was doing and he was really excited about it. He picked the song he wanted to do. We did a song together called “Love Line” [produced] by Da Internz. It was actually his idea to get Wiz Khalifa on it.
Did you work with Future at all?
We did do some stuff together. I don’t know if that’s gonna be on the album. I might just save it.
How many songs did you record with Chris Brown?
On the album, I think it’s two or three. He wrote some of “Emotions,” “Same Girl,” and one more.
Will there be any duets between you and Chris?
No, we didn’t do any duets. It’s funny. He just came in and did the writer-producer thing. I love what he does. I love the energy he has in his music. We met and we were like we should do something together and he was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” And he just came out to the studio and we listened to tracks and I was like, “I like that,” and he was like, “Yeah, I mess with that one too.” And the way he writes, he just kinda jumps in. We talked for a little while about just life and stuff and then he would just jump into the booth and start writing. It was pretty amazing. He’s very talented.
Have you decided what the next single is going to be?
We have three or four different choices, very, very strong contenders and it’s very hard to choose, but after a fun song like “I Luh Ya Papi,” my instinct is to go the total opposite way. But we’ll see.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
I have a couple that are my favorites. It’s hard. It’s like choosing which is your favorite child. You almost can’t do it. The one I did with Max Martin called “First Love” is one of my favorites. The other one that I did with Detail called “Worry” has such an amazing vibe to it. I did a ballad as well with Harmony that I think is probably gonna be a single. There’s so many, but those are a couple of my favorites.
A year ago, you were thinking about doing a Christmas album. Is that still in the works?
Yes. It’s with David Foster. It’s all about finding the right time to do things. David Foster and I sat down and talked about this over six, seven, eight months ago and we sat down and we just started singing. And then he came back to me and was like, “Hey, look what I did.” He’s such an amazing producer. It’s crazy. Then he played me from just little vocals that I was doing there with him with the piano, almost fully-produced Christmas songs. I was like, “Oh, my God.” He’s like, “We have to finish this album,” and I was like, “We have to do this album.” And so we’ve been talking about it. Actually I just saw him yesterday, so I’m hoping to do it. I don’t know if it’ll be for this year or next year, but I would love to.
Will you be covering classics and doing some original songs as well?
Yeah, I would like to do a couple of originals, but of course it will be classics.
Beyoncé, Madonna, and Janet Jackson have all done the Super Bowl, and we know you would be amazing. Have you been approached to perform at the halftime show?
Yeah, actually we have talked about it a couple times. It hasn’t worked out yet because of the timing, but maybe with this album we’ll be able to do it.