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J.Lo is at peace with juggling act

By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Los Angeles Times
530648899
PEDRO UGARTE - AFP/GETTY
Jennifer Lopez, rapper Pitbull and Brazilian pop singer Claudia Leitte salute the audience during the World Cup opening ceremony in Sao Paulo on June 12.

In the course of one week, Jennifer Lopez was honored with a Billboard Icon Award, her single “First Love” became the most-added song on pop radio, she played to a sold-out crowd in Anaheim, Calif., and wrapped another season as an “American Idol” judge.

In other words, it was business as usual for the multiplatinum singer known as J.Lo, who has multiple films and a TV series in the works, fragrances, countless endorsement deals, a TV and film production company and part ownership in a cable network. It’s an insane juggling act that makes multitasker Jay Z look like a slacker.

“I think because I do a lot of different things, I don’t get credit for being great at one thing like some people are,” said Lopez, 44. “Somebody once told me, ‘One of the best things is when people underestimate you, because then you can always surprise them.’ 

And that she’s done. After a couple of bumpy years in the late aughts that saw her stock in music and films fall, Lopez tried her hand as an “Idol” judge. The payoff was big. Her comeback album – 2011’s “Love?” – had a top 5 debut (a feat she hadn’t done since 2005); its lead single, “On the Floor,” was her highest debut; and the video became one of the most-watched.

“A.K.A.,” her follow-up album, came out Tuesday.

Like previous efforts, the album shows Lopez’s wide-ranging tastes, but “A.K.A.” also showcases a singer better adept at balancing her pop and hip-hop roots. She zips from the dancey title track to the breezy electro-pop of the Max Martin-produced “First Love” to sticky hip-hop offerings such as “Acting Like That” and “I Luh Ya Papi” to torch ballads.

“There’s a different strength to me than there was from my first album. I’m the same girl, I’m the same person, but I’m stronger now. I’ve grown up, and I like to think I’m a little bit better now,” she says before breaking into laughter. “But you don’t have to analyze it. Just enjoy the music.”

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