Jennifer Lopez may play a crime solving psychiatrist in ”The Cell” (opening Aug. 18), but there’s one mystery that only she knows the answer to: What’s next in her dual track career – movies, music, or both? The Bronx born diva tells EW.com that she’s ”halfway done” with her sophomore album, tentatively titled ”The Passionate Journey” – a disk that she’s executive producing herself. According to Epic, Lopez’s label, the follow-up to her 1999 double platinum debut, ”On the 6,” is set for release in November, with the first single scheduled for radio play in late September. ”I had a deadline, but then I went and did three movies,” says Lopez, who stars in ”The Cell,” ”The Wedding Planner,” (a romantic comedy with Matthew McConaughey due in February) and ”Angel Eyes,” (a supernatural drama with Jim Caviezel set for spring).”So I’d been writing it during the movies and getting it together. And now I’m in there recording it.”
Fans of ”On the 6” can look forward to more Top 40 fare produced by Lopez’s boyfriend Sean ”Puffy” Combs, Soulshock & Karlin (Whitney Houston, 98 Degrees), and wunderkind hit maker Rodney Jerkins (Destiny’s Child, Toni Braxton).”It’s the same kind of music. It’s gonna be pop with an R&B base and a Latin flavor to it,” Lopez says. ”That’s who I am, and that’s the kind of music that I make.” But the 30 year old claims her songwriting abilities have matured since last year. ”Hopefully it will be a better album,” she says. And it’ll have to be if Lopez wants critical cred. Her last reviews were mostly mediocre: EW music critic David Browne gave ”6” a C and later put it on his Worst of 1999 list, and her current single, ”Feelin’ so Good,” peaked at No. 51 on the Billboard charts.
With Lopez and Combs’ romance still burning up the gossip pages, it’s no surprise to hear that the new record will feature more love songs. ”It’s going to be about relationships, because when girls get into a room together that’s all we talk about,” Lopez says. ”Guys, relationships, problems, the good stuff, the bad. The album’s gonna be kinda like that, about girl talk.” One song that’s reportedly making the cut definitely fits Lopez’s description: a remake of fellow Bronx songstress Evelyn ”Champagne” King’s ”Love Come Down,” which may also land on the ”Wedding Planner” soundtrack. And by the way, if you’re one of her ”movie but not music” fans who wishes Lopez would stick to the big screen, she has some words for you: ”I’d fight whoever said that.” And we thought Puffy was the brawler in the family.