She's still Jenny from the block
Jennifer Lopez arrives in Melbourne as part of her world tour and says despite all her success she still lives a down-to-earth lifestyle.PT2M39S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2b7lm 620 349 December 11, 2012
Given her rumoured reputation as a ''diva'' and her tabloid ubiquity in the past decade or so, you would expect an interview with Jennifer Lopez - singer, actress, talent-show judge and card-carrying survivor of ''Bennifer'' (see also: Affleck, Ben) - to come with a laundry list of rules. Subjects that can't be broached. Names that can't be mentioned. No talk of her current love life - or else.
I try to stick to the original arrangements. I'm not indulgent in that way.
Incredibly, there's no such list. It quickly becomes clear that if you show a little respect and tact, the 43-year-old superstar will answer almost anything you want (although it probably doesn't hurt our cause that we don't care about her present love life). ''I've done a couple of these [interviews],'' Lopez says with a laugh. ''I kind of know what I'm doing.''
World tour ... Jennifer Lopez will play her first Sydney gig this weekend. Photo: AP
Lopez is currently in Australia for her first world tour, even though she almost certainly has enough money to never need to work again. The problem in 2003-04 was that she was overexposed in the media, coupled with a pair of box-office flops co-starring then-paramour Affleck (Gigli, Jersey Girl). This meant she might never work again anyway, whether she wanted to or not. Yet Lopez denies she ever thought her career was in trouble.''No,'' she says after a pause that seems to last as long as Gigli. (Sorry, cheap shot.)
''No. I mean, I've been in this business - gosh, I don't know, too many years to mention now. Anyone who has sustained a long career has ups and downs. Nobody can say every single thing that they've ever been in or put out was the most successful thing of all time - it just doesn't work that way.''
It seemed a wise idea when she appeared to make the conscious decision to escape the public eye in 2004, enjoying a comparatively private marriage to Latin American singer Marc Anthony from June of that year that continued through to their amicable separation last year.
Jennifer Lopez at Rod Laver Arena. Photo: Getty
''Um, I guess. I don't know, I didn't really - I kinda just got married and wanted to concentrate on my marriage and wanted to have kids and that all happened. I didn't think of it in terms of a career move, you know what I mean?
''I just was kind of following my heart and, you know, not thinking about what was better for my career. It just so happened that I decided to lay low because it felt right.''
Since she scored a gig on the judging panel of American Idol last year and consequently won back public opinion, when ''people got to see kind of my true personality'', Lopez's career curve has swung upwards.
High energy ... J-Lo in action. Photo: AFP
Her name is back above the title of rom-coms such as The Back-Up Plan and What To Expect When You're Expecting and the dance-pop hits have started flowing again (notably last year's chart smash featuring Pitbull, On the Floor). Indeed, she now has enough popular songs over her 13-year musical career to justify the current compilation Dance Again … The Hits and the tour.
''I think that's one of the things that people say about the show,'' Lopez says. ''They're like: 'Oh, I forgot that she - that was her song? Oh, that's right, I love that song.' Like, Waiting for Tonight or Jenny from the Block or even All I Have or any of these songs, Let's Get Loud … you know, they all kind of have that thing that when they come on, everybody gets on their feet and starts jumping up and down.''
She goes on to describe the show as ''very high-energy, lots of dancing, lots of costume changes - you know, things that I think that [the fans] feel are very much 'me' and that they would enjoy,'' before adding, almost as an afterthought, one important detail.
''I try to stick to the original arrangements,'' Lopez says.
''I'm not indulgent in that way. I know that when I go to a concert, if I want to hear my favourite song, I want to hear it the way she sang it the first time.''
Sydney concert details:
December 14 (sold out) and 15, 8pm, Allphones Arena, Olympic Park.
TICKETS ticketek.com.au, 13 28 49, from $89.95.
TRAVEL By train to Olympic Park station, then a 10-minute walk. There are half a dozen car parks at Olympic Park but it sometimes takes a while to get out of them after a show.
LIVE High-energy dance-pop, often with an R&B flavour and/or a nod to Lopez's Hispanic roots.
BEST TRACK If You Had My Love: the sultry mid-tempo ballad that started her singing career in 1999 and took most of us by pleasant surprise.