meta-script"Selena: The Series" Star Christian Serratos On Playing "La Reina" & The Importance Of Latinx Identity In Hollywood | GRAMMY.com
"Selena: The Series" Star Christian Serratos On Playing "La Reina" & The Importance Of Latinx Identity In Hollywood

Christian Serratos as Selena

Photo: Sara Khalid/Netflix

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"Selena: The Series" Star Christian Serratos On Playing "La Reina" & The Importance Of Latinx Identity In Hollywood

"To have looked up to her for so long and then been given the chance to play her, I mean, I can't even—it's a dream!," Serratos tells GRAMMY.com

GRAMMYs/Dec 5, 2020 - 06:27 am

For countless U.S.-born Latinas, aspiring creatives and Selena admirers alike, the Queen of Tejano music made it possible to dream. A down to earth, unabashed fronteriza (or, border-lander), she represented a new kind of stardom that continues to fuel her enduring legacy—especially one that has resonated fervidly with the Latinx community generation over generation.

Such was the case for the 30-year-old actor Christian Serratos, who's been impacted by the late Tejano icon. So, when the opportunity arrived to play her idol on Netflix's new show "Selena: The Series" (out Dec. 4), it was almost unreal.

"To have looked up to her for so long and then been given the chance to play her, I mean, I can't even—it's a dream!," Serratos tells GRAMMY.com over a Zoom call. She's wearing an off-white sheer blouse decorated with a bow, with her seafoam green nails adding a pop contrast; her hair is black, luscious and in a half ponytail resembling one of Selena's usual 'dos.

Born and raised in Pasadena, Calif. to parents of Mexican and Italian ancestry, the actor mentions that there are "so many things that really connect" her with her character: "Being Mexican-American in this industry, and trying to find yourself at a young age. She experimented a lot with her look. I experimented a lot with my look. She struggled with her language. I struggled with my language."

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Serratos began acting as a teenager in the mid-aughts, landing several supporting roles on TV shows like "7th Heaven" and "Hannah Montana," before moving into film with the Twilight trilogy. More recently, she played Rosita Espinosa on "The Walking Dead." "Selena: The Series" is her first starring role.

Co-executive produced by Selena's father Abraham Quintanilla and her sister Suzette, the series arrives 25 years after the beloved singer's tragic death at just 23 years old. It also marks the first TV show to recount her life and musical journey, over two decades since the eponymous biopic was released, the film that propelled Jennifer Lopez's career to superstardom. The Boricua actress and pop star even took to social media to share her enthusiasm for the upcoming series. "Playing Selena was kind of a landmark moment in my career and I was so excited when I saw the trailer and heard about it. It's a great way for this generation to know Selena," J.Lo wrote.

In our interview, the rising Mexican-American star details what new knowledge on Selena season one imparts and why it's important for her to represent Latin identity in American media. She also reveals that posthumous Selena music is underway!

How did you prepare for the role? Did you take dancing classes and dialect training?

Yeah. As a fan, I had already been watching a lot of her performances and videos my whole adult life. Obviously, I still did much more research now that I was going to be playing this person. I was really comfortable with a lot of the iconic Selena that we know. I felt really confident in the long hair in her early 20s.

What I think makes our first season so special is that we're seeing all the hard work that she put in to get to where she was. And we're going to be seeing so much more of her music that we'd never heard before. She has so many famous songs, "Techno Cumbia," Baila Esta Cumbia" "Amor Prohibido," "No Me Queda Mas," but to hear [older] songs like "Besitos" is going to be really strange for some people and then really exciting. They are just as powerful as her later stuff. I hope that they all become just as loved and played as her other songs.

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We haven't seen Selena played in this magnitude since the 1997 eponymous biopic. How does the series differ?

I think there might be more comparisons with season two, but season one touches on her childhood, from her life as a child to age 19. Those formative years where she's figuring out who she wanted to be in life as a woman, but also creatively as a musician. We haven't gotten to see that anywhere before. Even some of the moments that we show on the show are rare footage. All the awards that she won as a 15-year-old girl we haven't seen before. Copying those speeches perfectly is going to be really fun for the fans. I was so grateful that her family was involved in our production and had these moments for us to watch and study, because I think being as close to accurate as we can is best for the fans.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">it’s the Tejano music for me <a href="https://t.co/bv6PWF3T6d">pic.twitter.com/bv6PWF3T6d</a></p>&mdash; Con Todo (@contodonetflix) <a href="https://twitter.com/contodonetflix/status/1334995904168747009?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 4, 2020</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

What's another thing that you learned about Selena that you were previously unaware of? What stood out to you the most?

Her family life. I didn't know to what extent she, her family, and Los Dinos toured the country and Mexico in a van for many years, and how often she was on the road. It's impressive for those kids to have learned these songs in a Spanish before they were really comfortable with the language. They were children, and they were also really good at what they did—for [her brother] A.B. to have been producing these songs at such a young age. Selena started to write some of the songs too. I think that's just a testament to what incredible artists they were. She became an icon and we love her in our culture. She's an incredible artist, musician and writer. That needs to be talked about more.

Her family was involved in the production of this series. Selena's sister Suzette Quintanilla is one of the executive producers. How was it like to work with her actual family?

It was invaluable to our show. There are things we wouldn't have had access to if it weren't for them in terms of her life at work, like photos and stories. There are many special and intimate moments. And Suzette was nothing but lovely. I'm so grateful they are allowing us to do this, and that they allowed me to have the chance to portray her. For that, I can't thank them enough.

Did you ever contact Jennifer Lopez, who also famously portrayed Selena in the '90s?

I considered it a lot. I am a huge fan of her and what she's done. She's also broken so many barriers being a Latina. I have so much respect for what she did in the movie. I would love to thank her for her portrayal as Selena, because that was also very inspiring to me, and to a lot of young girls. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to do that.

One of the things you have in common with Selena is that you're also Mexican-American. How important is it for you to have Latin representation in Hollywood and in mainstream American media?

So important. Selena straddled what I think is a very special place of [being] Mexican and American. She did such a good job at demanding that she be accepted for both things. There are so many things that I really connect with when it comes to Selena: being Mexican-American in this industry, and trying to find yourself at a young age. She experimented a lot with her look. I experimented a lot with my look. She struggled with her language. I struggled with my language.

I've been in this industry for a very long time, and so often I was [seen as] not enough of either, which became an insecurity of mine. But I'm so proud of being both things. I just want to keep telling stories about Mexican people and my culture. I think the industry is changing and that makes me very happy.

For so long, especially as a teenager, when I asked for equality, most people thought I was asking for a lot. It was hurtful and frustrating that I was being told by the people who were supposed to be on my side that I wasn't allowed to ask for certain opportunities. That's really hurtful for somebody who's very young. To have somebody like Selena to say, "No, this is possible," is incredible for our culture.

Christian Serratos as Selena | Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

In the '80 and '90s, female representation in Tejano music was almost non-existent. Then Selena earned the Queen of Tejano title, thus breaking another barrier.

She was definitely a pioneer. Most industries are male-dominated. But you're right, Tejano music was really male-driven, and there were only a few women who were trying to change the game. She did it in a very unique way because they blended so many different sounds. So yes, she's somebody to be very proud of.

Selena also represented a new kind of beauty standard, embracing her biculturalism, being down to earth, and donning such an iconic look. One of MAC's best-selling collections is inspired by La Reina. How exactly were her beauty ideals woven into the series?

John Stapleton created the Selena look for the show and he's from MAC. It was really cool to be experiencing what she experienced. She was a huge fan of MAC makeup and we were using a lot of the same products that she used, which I think is really important for our show and the story. It was just really cool to feel I was getting closer to her. I think that's why we all love her, because we know that we would have been her friend. She was so authentically herself. She was so powerful on stage, but she was very down to earth. That's what made her so compelling.

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What is your favorite Selena costume?

Her purple jumpsuit [from her final concert at the Astrodome] is what I think people want me to say. And I love the purple jumpsuit. It felt so incredible wearing it. But she actually had that fabric in four or five different colors, and a few different outfits in that fabric—green, blue and another purple-ly color. I thought those were so interesting. I really loved her ruffle-ly big skirt and sleeves. But I also just really loved when she was down-home Selena, and just wore a big t-shirt, jeans, a bun and no makeup. On the show, when I got to do that and wear a big t-shirt, it really felt like I was Selena instead of the icon.

You've previously acted in "The Walking Dead" and "Twilight." They're quite contrasting from your role with "Selena." How did your previous roles help you with this one?

Any project that you do, you should be learning. And I have learned. I always know how I want to conduct myself in the next space. "The Walking Dead" is my family. I grew up there. I learned such great habits there and I'm so appreciative to that cast and crew and network for being there for me, and then allowing me to do "Selena." And in my Selena experience, I learned from that too. I just want to keep taking all these good vibes into the following projects I do. And also these relationships. That's kind of what I do, I go into every set and I find my family and then I keep them with me forever and ever.

Read: J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Anitta & More: 10 Unforgettable Moments From The 2020 Latin GRAMMYs

Some actors have stated that when they play a character, certain traits of their character stick to them off camera. Did you see that happen with Selena?

No. At least not yet. But I did notice that a lot of people said that there were similarities between me and her, which was always so comforting to hear that. She definitely taught me to feel a lot more comfortable with how silly I can be sometimes, because so often to be professional in any industry, if you want to be considered a serious business woman, you have to use your business voice.

Selena was always so herself. So I became a lot more comfortable with not doing the telephone voice or talking to a business person in a different way. I'm just going to always talk the way that I talk, even if it's silly or embarrassing, or if I think I shouldn't. I'm not going to tell myself I shouldn't do something. If I cuss, I won't feel bad for it. I'm going to try to be myself always. And that should be fine.

With the upcoming series, the next generation will learn about who Selena was. What are some of the things that you would like the new fans to know about her?

I just want them to see the hardworking woman that she was, this hardworking Mexican-American family. I want them to see what they accomplished. I think what they did is so powerful, so fresh and very inspiring.

Selena Forever: Remembering The Latin Pop Icon 25 Years Later

Inside Jennifer Lopez's 'This Is Me... Now': The Superstar & Her Team Detail Why The New Album Is Unlike Anything She's Done Before
Jennifer Lopez

Photo: Norman Jean Roy

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Inside Jennifer Lopez's 'This Is Me... Now': The Superstar & Her Team Detail Why The New Album Is Unlike Anything She's Done Before

Ten years after Jennifer Lopez’s last album – and more than 20 after it's prequel — 'This Is Me... Now,' has finally arrived. Lopez and her team discuss the inspiration behind her deeply personal return to music.

GRAMMYs/Feb 16, 2024 - 03:50 pm

Since the 1999 launch of her unstoppable music career, Jennifer Lopez has released eight studio albums and over 60 singles that have racked up billions of streams worldwide. So it's hard to believe there's been a full decade between the multihyphenate's last album, 2014's A.K.A., and her ninth studio LP, This Is Me… Now.

Released on Feb. 16 and described as "an intimate, fantastical and narrative-driven reflection of Lopez's journey to find love," This Is Me… Now is the highly anticipated sequel to Lopez's now-iconic This Is Me… Then. The 2002 project spawned megahits "Jenny From the Block" and "All I Have," but it's the hidden gems like "The One," "Again" and "I've Been Thinkin'" that perfectly capture a special moment in time for Lopez, whose then-budding romance with Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck was beginning to take the world by storm.

Though their widely beloved (and broadcasted) romance fizzled in the early 2000s, "Bennifer" is back together two decades later — and in classic J.Lo fashion, love is inspiring her more than anything else. The 20-year span between losing each other and reconnecting is chronicled in This Is Me… Now, Lopez's self-proclaimed magnum opus.

"In a strange magical twist of fate, I wound up back together with Ben, and it inspired me again to go back in the studio in the same way I did with This Is Me… Then," Lopez tells GRAMMY.com. "I believe true love exists, I believe that some things are forever.

"If you've ever wondered about that, I'm sharing that with you: Don't give up," she continues. "That was a worthy message to put out into the world because I know I needed that a lot in my life. I wasn't sure and it led me down some very questionable roads. What I think a lot of people do is look for love outside themselves instead of inward, so that more than anything was the inspiration for the new album."

The 13-track LP is accompanied by a musical film, This Is Me…Now: A Love Story, which is available on Prime Video now. Self-funded by Lopez and directed by Dave Myers, the film drives home Lopez's journey of self-love, discovery and awareness while finding her happily ever after.

Lopez, along with BMG's A&R Brandon Riester and the album's executive producer Rogét Chahayed, reflected about her career-defining LP and how it all came together.

The Goals

From the start, Lopez was relentless about making the album sound incredible, even converting part of her Los Angeles home into a studio and shutting down everything — including stepping back from making movies in order to maintain focus on the recording sessions for This Is Me… Now. She also shared private love letters from Affleck with the songwriters and producers to convey the narrative she wanted to translate into the music. 

"She said to me, 'Let's make an album that I'm excited about because I'm in love and that's when I make my best music,'" Riester says. "Jennifer is very much an integral part of the vision and the production and the songwriting on this album. This is her story."

Lopez recruited Chahayed after hearing Jack Harlow's GRAMMY-nominated No. 1 hit "First Class," which he co-produced in 2022. Their initial conversations about musical influences led to Lopez giving Chahayed the rundown of her and Affleck's history together, along with the concept for the album itself.

"She actually wanted to start making music the next day," Chahayed recalls. "But I definitely needed a few days to process everything because I had been manifesting for a while to be able to work with an artist that has a legacy and decades of success, and my prayers were answered."

This Is Me… Now sees Lopez fully leaning into being a hopeless romantic — something she's been heavily scrutinized over for decades. In the extravagant film of the same name, she makes light of her three failed marriages, but it's with the intention of inspiring others that true love exists, which has always been at the core of Lopez's music.

"We're living in a society where the value of relationships and marriage has been sort of lost," Chahayed suggests. "Her album will not only give people a new perspective on her music in general, but also give them a chance to believe in love again — and feel like there's someone out there for you, even if it's someone that you broke up with 10, 20 years ago."

This Is Me… Now picks up right where 2002's twice platinum-selling This Is Me… Then left off with some obvious nods to the prequel; the most blatant is "Dear Ben Pt. II," a follow up to "Dear Ben," on which Lopez describes Affleck as "my lust, my love, my man, my child, my friend, and my king." Still, the 54-year-old global icon didn't want to get caught up in trying to chase hits or recreate the past.

"We never listened to This Is Me... Then in the studio, not one time. That record is always going to have such a special place in my heart, but the sequel is just like another level," Lopez says. "People who have been on this journey with me and who have seen me fall down and get back up and make mistakes and get divorced — that journey got me to a place where I can now go, 'I've figured some things out about myself.'"

As much as the 13-track LP seizes the fairytale-like rekindling of Lopez and Affleck's relationship, it's also about something much bigger: how self-love, or lack thereof, plays a role in the relationships we have with others. "Hearts and Flowers" is a testament to Lopez's inner strength, as evidenced by the defiant chorus. ("It ain't all hearts and flowers/ So many nights and hours/ Every day of my life, in the grind faithfully/ Superpowers, we all got superpowers," she sings.)

"I'm a more evolved, healed person. I'm not saying I'm completely healed, or that I got it all figured out. I don't. But This Is Me... Now represents where I am in my journey right now," Lopez says.

"It's me embracing all of it, even the bad decisions," she adds. "I had to learn to be loving and forgiving of yourself, because then you can be loving and forgiving of other people. You can be empathetic toward other people and great for the world. But until you can give that to yourself, you can't do anything for anybody."

The Moments

Celebratory songs like lead single "Can't Get Enough," "This Time Around" and penultimate track "Midnight Trip to Vegas" have the same giddiness heard in 2002's "I'm Glad" and "Baby I Love U!" — the final two singles off This Is Me… Then. The autobiographical title track is a culmination of a lifetime, merging Lopez's working-class upbringing in The Bronx with the feeling of gratitude for a second chance at true love with Affleck. 

"I watched my mother miss out on her life/ All those could-have-beens became her sacrifice/ But here in the darkness, it's not the future nor the past/ And 'cause it's meant to be with you, boy, it will last," she sings in the opening verse. 

Stripped-down ballad "Broken Like Me" unflinchingly stands as Lopez's most personal work to date, as she deconstructs her J.Lo persona into diaristic lyrics that are bound to surprise even longtime fans. "Two babies at home/ Mama had to be strong/ In a battle for love/ In a war of my own/ And I tried to be honest/ But it made me feel weak/ And when I think about it/ It brings me to my knees/ Couldn't look in the mirror/ Afraid what I'd see/ 'Cause I still loved you/ Loved you more than me," Lopez confesses midway through the track, which moved Affleck to tears after hearing it for the first time.

"Ben would come in the studio and spend hours with us and tell us stories to help set the tone," Riester says. "I remember one moment where he said, 'Where's the pain that I went through of not being with the one that I love for so long?' That's how some of the darker songs like 'Rebound' and 'Broken Like Me' were born. It takes the dark to get to the light, and that's a really big theme of this album."

But there were plenty of fun, lighthearted moments, too; like how an Incredible Hulk-themed guitar autographed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was used for "Mad in Love," a lullaby-esque anthem for soulmates everywhere. Or the night before "Midnight Trip to Vegas" was written, which pretty much sums up everything we love about Bennifer 2.0.

"Jennifer texted me and said, 'Hey, what are you doing today?'" Riester recalls. "I responded and then I didn't hear from her. The next thing I notice is all these news alerts that Jen got married, so I'm texting management like, 'Yo, what's going on? Did you guys not want to tell me about this?' They were like, 'We had no idea.'" 

He continued, "The whole team had been with her every single day for months, but we found out about it the way everybody else did. But it was an amazing story, because Ben was like, 'Everyone's so worried about all the different elements of this wedding. Let's just put it all aside.' I think that just shows you how much they love each other, because it wasn't about the wedding that's for everybody else. This is about their love for each other."

The Outcome

Whether you've been bumping J.Lo since her 1999 debut, On the 6, or simply admire her work ethic, This Is Me… Now defies expectations as she reaches the pinnacle of creative freedom.

"This is truly an artist's project because it is her heart and her soul all pushed into a pen and written out for the world to see," Riester says. "I was telling someone the other day, 'When will an album rollout be like this again?' The story really is well-crafted and the music is incredible. Everyone can pull something from it because we've all been through those moments of heartbreak or finding what you think is your true love."

Days before announcing her first tour in five years, Lopez hinted that her ninth studio album, This Is Me... Now, may be her last ("I really feel very fulfilled," she recently told ET). Whatever her musical future looks like, baring her soul and creating a cinematic experience with This Is Me…Now forced her to grow artistically in ways she never expected — which has brought an entirely new purpose to her remarkable career. 

"I've never done anything like this with a record in my life, or felt inspired to do anything like this with an album. This is the most honest record I've ever made," Lopez asserts. "I was able to do that because I was more mature and had done more work on myself to be really open and vulnerable in ways that I've never been. Everything about me is all in here. This is the album that I've been trying to make all my life — and I finally made it."

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New Music Friday: Listen To Songs From Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, Jay-Z & More
Ariana Grande on 'The Voice' set in 2021.

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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New Music Friday: Listen To Songs From Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, Jay-Z & More

The year is already off to a massive start, with Jan. 12 spawning new releases from 21 Savage, ITZY, Jennifer Lopez and many more. Check out some of the hotly anticipated tracks here.

GRAMMYs/Jan 12, 2024 - 04:50 pm

January always marks fresh starts and clean slates as the world collectively turns the page from one year to the next. The world of music is no exception: the second week of 2024 is filled with artists embarking on new eras and album cycles.

On the full-length front, 21 Savage unveiled his third solo LP, american dream, with guest assists from the likes of Summer Walker ("Prove It"), Doja Cat ("N.H.I.E."), Young Thug and Metro Boomin ("Pop Ur S–t") and more while Kali Uchis celebrates her just-announced first pregnancy with longtime boyfriend Don Toliver by delivering her second Spanish-language studio set Orchídeas.

Meanwhile, Reneé Rapp brings the new Mean Girls musical movie to life as Gen Z's Regina George, with a soundtrack that also features Megan Thee Stallion, Auli'i Cravalho, Angourie Rice and more, and K-pop act ITZY makes a statement on their sophomore Korean-language album, Born To Be, which gives all five members a chance to shine with individual solo tracks on top of swaggering bangers like "Untouchable" and the title track.  

In addition to star-studded album drops, Jan. 12 sees several big single releases too. Press play on hotly anticipated musical resets from Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X, lead singles from Jennifer Lopez and Sheryl Crow, and a monumental collaboration between D'Angelo and Jay-Z for the new movie The Book of Clarence below.

Ariana Grande — "yes, and?"

Ariana Grande is officially back and ready to own everything. For "yes, and?" — her first new musical offering since 2020's Positions — the superstar is doling out heavy-hitting words to live by, disguised as a glossy pop confection that takes an irresistible cue from Madonna's "Vogue."

Both an exercise in self-affirmation and a runway-ready Pride anthem, "yes, and?" finds Grande unapologetically sharing her truth in a way she hasn't since 2018's "thank u, next." Her voice dripping with honey, the soon-to-be Wicked star slyly addresses the recent tabloid fodder surrounding her personal life. 

"Now I'm so done with caring/ What you think, no, I won't hide/ Underneath your own projections/ Or change my most authentic life," she vows in between spine-tingling harmonies and plenty of vocal fireworks. Ari only gets more blunt from there, clapping back with her whole chest about the obsession with her body, relationship status, sex life and more. In her words, "Yes…and?" 

Jennifer Lopez — "Can't Get Enough"

Jennifer Lopez's ninth studio album, This Is Me… Now, has been a long time coming. But if lead single "Can't Get Enough" is any indication, the sequel to 2002's This Is Me… Then will be well worth the wait when it arrives Feb. 16. The track, which samples the late Alton Ellis' 1967 release "Still in Love," is a fizzy, funky delight that pops like a blast of champagne straight out the bottle.

On the song's chorus, the multi-hyphenate superstar giddily professes just how much she loves being in love (and back in love with now-husband Ben Affleck). And while the accompanying music video pokes fun at her trio of past marriages, fans can rest assured she's singing the lovestruck lyrics to the same Dunkin'-lovin' guy she was serenading 21 years ago on This Is Me… Then.

Jeymes Samuel x D'Angelo x Jay-Z — "I Want You Forever"

A new D'Angelo single would be a major event. So would a new Jay-Z single. After all, it's quickly coming up on 10 years since the neo-soul star released his last album, 2014's Black Messiah and the rap mogul's last solo single was the title track off 2017's 4:44.

However, director Jeymes Samuel managed to coax both men back into the studio to join forces for the soundtrack of his new biblical film The Book of Clarence starring Lakeith Stanfield. On "I Want You Forever," D'Angelo holds court with a hypnotic, repetitive hook before ceding the mic to Hov for the song's lone, pleading verse. 

Lil Nas X — "J CHRIST"

Nearly three years after giving the devil a lap dance in the hellish music video for his No. 1 hit "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," Lil Nas X is flipping the script and ascending to heaven on his new single "J CHRIST." Well, not for too long — turns out a giant stripper pole connects the celestial realm with the fires of purgatory, and Lil Nas X is equally at home in each.

The track's high-concept, cinematic music video has it all: angelic doppelgängers of everyone from Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey and Oprah to Michael Jackson and Barack Obama; Lil Nas cooking up a cauldron filled with human limbs; and yes, even the rapper pinned to a cross in a visual sure to enrage the critics who were already up in arms before the track was even released. But by song's end, as Lil Nas X takes on the role of Noah emerging from a worldwide flood, the GRAMMY winner makes clear the hip-hop banger isn't just religious cosplay — it's a new beginning.

Sheryl Crow — "Evolution"

Sheryl Crow is uncharacteristically on edge on "Evolution," the lead single and title track of her forthcoming 11th studio album. The queen of bright singer/songwriter jams like "All I Wanna Do" and "Soak Up the Sun" (and newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) takes aim at the encroaching threat of artificial intelligence to the music industry and creativity at large on the spacey track. 

To top it all off, she even recruited Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine to concoct a supercharged guitar solo that ratchets the uneasiness up to 11 as Crow warns, "Where are we headed in this paradise?/ We are passengers and there's no one at the wheel."

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Everything We Know About Jennifer Lopez's New Album 'This Is Me… Now'
Jennifer Lopez

Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Luisaviaroma

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Everything We Know About Jennifer Lopez's New Album 'This Is Me… Now'

After months of buildup, Jennifer Lopez has finally announced the release date for her first album in a decade, 'This Is Me… Now.' Here's everything GRAMMY.com could find about it.

GRAMMYs/Nov 27, 2023 - 04:24 pm

Way back in November 2002, Jennifer Lopez released This Is Me… Then — a highly personal looking-glass into her relationship with Ben Affleck. Twenty-two years later, the two-time GRAMMY nominee is closing the loop with the aptly titled This Is Me… Now.

Not only is there a yawning gap between prequel and sequel, but Lopez hasn't released a new album since 2014's A.K.A. (Unless you count the soundtrack to 2022's Marry Me, which she starred in alongside Owen Wilson and Colombian singer Maluma; therein, she and Maluma performed the music.)

On Nov. 27, Lopez finally revealed the release date for This Is Me… Now, as well as a teaser trailer for a film of the same name — to be released on the same day. Here's a rundown of what we know about Lopez's long-awaited new dispatch to the world — over your speakers, and on your screen.

Both Album And Film Will Release Feb. 16

That's what Lopez revealed on Nov. 27. After you absorb the album, enjoy "an intimate, fantastical and narrative-driven reflection of Lopez's journey to find love" on Prime Video.

The First Single Will Stream On Jan. 10

Said single is titled "Can't Get Enough"; just days into the new year, you can cue it up. On social media, J. Lo also teased This Is Me… Now's title track, with a snippet of the music.

This Is Me… Now Continues Its Predecessor's Love Story

Lopez and Affleck have a long history — much longer than This Is Me… Then could possibly contain. They first dated from 2002 to 2004; they called off their engagement in 2004.

In 2021, they began dating again; in 2022, they wed. All of this, permeated with the pressures of media attention and the growing pains of love, promises to live inside This Is Me… Now's grooves.

"We captured me at this moment in time when I was reunited with the love of my life, and we decided we were going to be together forever. The whole message of the album then is this love exists. This is a real love," she told Zane Lowe last year.

"Now I think what the message of the album is very much if you were wondering if you have, like me at times, lost hope, almost given up, don't," Lopez continued. "Because true love does exist, and some things do last forever, and that's real."

This Is Me… Now Marks A New Label Partnership

Back in September 2023, Lopez announced a new recording and publishing partnership with BMG; This Is Me… Now will mark the first fruitage of this alliance.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her and her team to release her first album in nearly a decade," BMG CEO Thomas Coesfeld said in a statement.

Coesfield also called Lopez a "global superstar artist, entertainer… a phenomenon" — and that's exactly why This Is Me… Now will be such a milestone. Keep checking GRAMMY.com as more information about This Is Me… Now comes to light.

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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