News Column

Jennifer Lopez is a Star Onstage and at Home

June 17, 2014

By Elysa Gardner, @ElysaGardner, USA TODAY

Jennifer Lopez releases her newest studio album A.K.A. today nationwide. (file photo)
Jennifer Lopez releases her newest studio album A.K.A. today nationwide. (file photo)

In a spacious, stylish apartment across from Chelsea Piers, a 6-year-old girl sits contentedly curled up in a chair, oblivious to the fact that a reporter is in an adjacent office, waiting to interrogate her famous mom.

The girl, whose name is Emme, begins to hum. Her voice is sweet and clear, which shouldn't be terribly surprising, given that both her parents -- Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez -- are professional singers. When Lopez crosses the apartment, a friend's home, into the office, Emme follows and bounces into her mother's lap. Complimented on her performance, the girl smiles shyly.

"She has a very pretty voice, with vibrato," Lopez notes. "But it's funny, she doesn't like to sing in front of anybody. You're lucky."

Emme is off minutes later -- enticed by an offer to have Lopez's makeup artist paint her face -- but motherhood comes up repeatedly in conversation with the singer/songwriter/actress/dancer/producer/American Idol judge.

"It changes your whole life," says Lopez, 44, whose album A.K.A. is out today. "You look at the world differently. You look at love differently."

Emme and her twin brother, Max, have had their own revelations. "They're becoming very aware now" that their amicably divorced parents elicit extraordinary interest. "Just this past week, one of them said to me, 'You're famous.' They've seen me do shows on the road and notice that people like to sing along, take pictures. It's different than being on a movie set, which is closed."

Lopez has two films in post production: The Boy Next Door, a "sexy thriller" that casts her as a teacher who, on the brink of divorce, meets the wrong guy; and Lila & Eve, in which she and Viola Davis play women who have "lost their children in a drive-by, and they both go out for revenge."

For now, though, music is her focus. A.K.A. arrives on the heels of two high-profile concerts: Lopez performed with Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte at Thursday's opening ceremony for the World Cup, after "premature" notices that the appearance had been canceled. ("It was one of those scheduling things that get away from you, and people get nervous," Lopez explains.)

Earlier in June, she returned to her native Bronx for her first-ever concert in the borough. "Everything I am is because of where I grew up, and it was nice to be able to come back and say thank you. My whole family was there; it was very moving."

Asked if she'd want to see Emme or Max follow in her path, Lopez says, "If you're an artist, nobody's going to stop you. If they're like me and their dad that way, nothing will stop them. So I would support them. Would I want it for them? I don't know. It's a tough life."

But not always. Emme re-emerges, as if on cue, her face now streaked in pink with glittering whiskers. "Whooo," Lopez says. "You're a sparkly, rose-gold cat. Very cute."

As Emme runs back into the den, her mother observes, "It's a great time in my life, all around. When you get to a certain age, you think, 'How long will this go on, and what will happen next?' But right now, everything seems limitless."

Original headline: Jennifer Lopez -- aka Mom -- is a star onstage and at home

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Source: Copyright 2014 USA TODAY

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