Surreal. That’s the only word to describe actually physically “being” in Jennifer Lopez’s very own backyard, last Saturday, April 12th. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging with J-Lo before–but always somewhere crowded: her restaurant, a club, the radio station. Always lots of fans and paparazzi. But this time, just me and her, her wonderful family, and a few close friends. It was an experience I will never forget.
I arrived at her sprawling Hidden Hills property, just north of Los Angeles to be greeted by a security guard who walked me through the house to the backyard, where a staff member dressed in all white offered me a glass of the best pink lemonade I have ever tasted in my life. I mean, it was really, really good lemonade. Maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me–I mean, after all, I was standing in Jennifer’s backyard–I’m sure Brussels sprouts would’ve tasted like ice cream in that situation.
There was a gi-normous tree house to my right–the kind you see on Treehouse Masters. J-Lo’s two doggies, greeted me with licks and kisses in front of her pool while my jaw hung, mesmerized at the stunning view of the valley.
Was I in a dream? Was I really at J-Lo’s house??? Or was this just some cruel prank. Was I being Punkd?
And then Jennifer walked out. The world seemed to stop. All I could hear were birds chirping as I watched her approach me. I tried to compose myself. As she said hello and welcomed me to her home, my brain was fighting the battle between not being able to speak at all, and saying something completely stupid. It settled on “Thanks so much for having me over.”
Jennifer’s down to earth demeanor, friendly conversation and warm smile soon calmed my nerves, and before you know it, lunch was being served: a bountiful buffet of BBQ delights from ribs and sliders, fries, hot dogs and berry salad. Waiters came by with endless trays of summer beverages as we sat under the veranda enjoying good weather and great company.
Soon a few other friends showed up, including super producer Benny Medina, Greg Thompson and the heads of Capitol Records, and a handful of the top radio program directors in the country.
One phrase that will always stay with me was her adorable son introducing the two dogs to me. “That’s Roxy, and that’s Bear. And together, they’re unstoppable!” Adorable.
After lunch the fun began. J-Lo was actually going to play tracks from her forthcoming album for us. The record label hadn’t even heard these songs yet!!! I grabbed another long island iced-tea and settled into my wicker chair on the grass–I couldn’t wait to hear the goods.
The next 15 minutes was mind-blowing. To have J-Lo right there in front of me, excitedly talking about each song, how it came about, and what it meant to her–and then being able to hear it, before anyone else…it was amazing! I could tell how proud she was of every piece of music. Each song meant so much to her. And as excited as she was about each of her new tracks–there was also an air of humility about her. She really showed us that she was just someone who loved and lived for music. Genuine.
The music was fantastic. From “My First Love,” to the catchy “Big Booty” (she actually danced a little while that one was playing…wow!)…all the tracks were heat. Superstars liked Chris Brown and Sia contributed to the album. Many more names that I forgot. I took terrible notes. I was too busy soaking up the music. This is gonna be a good one.
But it was the last track she played for us that actually had me trippin’. I can’t remember the last time that a song made the hair on the back of neck stand up. This one did. “Emotions,” not only had stellar production but it was J-Lo’s vocals combined with an absolutely incredible set of lyrics that had me mesmerized for the entire three and a half minutes. “Emotions” is a song that will have you in a trance. How can I even describe it? I’ll tell you this–it is a song that will have you thinking about your deepest love…and then take you even deeper.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the album on June 17th. And you better believe you will hear “Emotions” on Sunday Night Slow Jams first.
I’d like to give a sincere, heartfelt thanks to Jennifer and her family for inviting me into their home. In my 20+ years of radio, this one takes the cake.