Jennifer Lopez’s ‘This Is Me…Now’ Project Leaned Into Her Multi-Hyphenate Status to Reestablish Her as a Music Star

Just say the name Jennifer Lopez and surely somebody, somewhere, everywhere, will associate her with something: Films, dance, brands, hubby Ben Affleck — and, yes, music. Which is ironic because Lopez has long said music is her first love; it’s what led her to dance and, later, to acting. But as a multi-hyphenate, Lopez has never quite embraced her musicianship as thoroughly as she is now with her current, multi-pronged This Is Me…Now project.

Spearheaded by the album of the same name — her ninth studio album and first in over a decade — the project also includes This is Me…Now, a musical produced by MGM Amazon and streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime; the documentary The Great Love Story Never Told, streaming on Prime Video; and the This Is Me…Now tour, which kicks off June 26 in Orlando and will encompass 30 arena dates in the United States alone. 


“The mindset was, ‘Let’s create a Jennifer Lopez ecosystem that can push out into all the different worlds that she has traversed: her music, her filmmaking, her producing, her acting,” says her longtime manager and business and producing partner Benny Medina. “[What] does a project like that look like and how do you get the attention and placement that you can?”

The album This Is Me…Now, released by Lopez and Medina’s Nuyorican Productions and licensed to BMG, sold 14,000 copies in its debut week last week and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart. This Is Me…Now the musical was also released on Feb. 16 and was followed in quick succession by on-sale tour dates on Feb. 22 and, finally, the release of The Greatest Love Story Never Told, which arrived on Feb. 27. Coming up are more tour dates and multiple private listening sessions with fans — just one of many strategies that Lopez and Medina hope will help spread the gospel of This Is Me…Now. Vinyl, for example, which directly ties into the album’s concept of “then and now,” was a key component of its first-week sales, accounting for nearly a third of all copies sold.

Those little details, contained within such a vast picture, are telling. Medina, who began his career as a Motown artist and later worked at Motown Records under Berry Gordy, approaches every project like the multimedia entrepreneur he is.

But after over 20 years working with Lopez — with whom he’s a partner in every one of her ventures — he admits that this project was particularly challenging. 

“Everybody starts with the concept of, ‘Wait a second, is this a movie, a film, a long-form music video?’” he says. “It’s not anything you’ve seen and produced. And that was what was really interesting. Here she was, along with her team, working harder than she’d ever worked to write, produce and finish an album. And then writing and producing a film while being followed around to make a documentary. The only person who’s really ever going to stick with you during something like that is yourself and the other people who’ve signed up as a result of an incredible amount of belief.” 

Here, Medina — who earns the title of Billboard’s Executive of the Week — breaks down the belief that allowed him and Lopez to pull off This Is Me…Now.


This Is Jennifer Lopez’s first No. 1 in 20 years. How did you do it?

With that amount of time in between a true full studio album release and very few bits of music whatsoever, there was something I found out which was really interesting, and that no record company executives or strategic partners had really thought about: We are not in the current streaming zeitgeist. In reality, her brand doesn’t live in the music world as solidly as it does in the [movie] world because there’s been so much activity on the film side. The very thing that grows you within today’s commerce strategies is the frequency of music; it’s the reason any kid around the block who puts a video on TikTok has a shot. Our goal was to approach this in some ways as a new artist that we were building the algorithm and the relationship with the DSPs and we were going back to radio with the same attitude of, “Listen, give it a shot.”

I think it’s remarkable that such a household name like Jennifer Lopez was willing to do this hard work.

What we’re really trying to do here is start a new journey as to how a legacy artist like Jennifer Lopez can position herself in the marketplace to be able to transact with all the new consumers out in the world who may not have a relationship with her for music, but may only know her as a film superstar. 

In terms of the album, vinyl was a big factor in its success. Can you tell us about that?

The great news is that vinyl was having this resurgence and this whole concept was about “then and now.” At that point, we decided to make multiple covers for vinyl and worked to do some specific A&R for the different records. And from there it was to get as many platforms as you possibly could to push out the messaging of This Is Me…Now, any singles related to it, to support the film that was being launched with six of the songs in it, and to push the documentary which was about the making of the project and the mindset.

When I think of Jennifer Lopez, I think of an artist who does many things at the same time. What was different about this project? 

We’ve done a lot of those things separately and apart with different partners. We’ve never done a project that encapsulated all of this, and certainly not something as personal as this one. It was from point A to point Z, try to get yourself in every place and position you possibly can, cross your fingers and hope the consumer sees you and engages with you and ultimately wants to consume what you want to put in the marketplace. 

You worked with different partners: The documentary is on Amazon, the music via BMG and you worked closely with Apple as a DSP. How did you get everyone to work together? 

By going to each platform, speaking with the really super smart people there [and] being really clear in saying: “We want to work with you with this Jennifer Lopez project and start to build her value algorithm and connection with consumers again.” In a way [it was looking at it] much like a new artist, even though we had this global superstar. 

What did you learn from this project? 

What I learned the most is I’m still so excited about getting down and dirty and in the weeds about creating a new model. It was like taking all of those learnings and putting them all into this modern era. No matter how great or vast the project is, you have to go through certain steps and practices in this era to even put yourself in a position to have a look that turns into consumption and, thus, success. There’s really no way to get around it. I come from an era of, “Let’s get it into the clubs, the streets.” Now, you have to get it out into this massive zeitgeist, and even the biggest artists need to have a program of frequent releases and frequent information.

Today, no matter who you are, from record to record, you have to look at how consumption patterns have changed. How media itself has changed in terms of how much you use it, and thus how engaging your work must be. Our thoughts were, “Let’s make sure we give them a multi-pronged experience.” The musical experience was a trilogy, where every brick was going to be falling forward, but it all emanated from a musical album that was created when Jennifer decided she wanted to speak to her fans again in a voice she hadn’t used for several years.

You have a major tour coming up. In fact, it’s only Jennifer’s third headlining tour ever. Given how successful she is in all realms, why was touring important? 

That’s another world that, believe it or not, we’re building for Jennifer Lopez that people are so shocked about. She loves touring. The entertainer is the entertainer. It’s a different type of energy than being on a film set and making movies. It connects you directly to your fans. She speaks so often about being able to look into the eyes of different people who live in different parts of the world and making the connection. She’s actually an artist that’s okay with the meet-and-greet after. She likes to see for herself. And usually, the people who want to meet you after have a story to tell. So, we don’t look at it as a risk, because the flip side is, all of that movie stardom spin has her name out into the world in enough things that people are used to seeing anyway. The idea of getting up and seeing something live in this era was an absolute natural, as well as the fact that we’re looking at what we’re going to be doing in the next five years. And that’s part of our five-year plan: More music, more touring, more live. 

You’ve worked with her for 20 years. What’s your secret to sticking together?

I greatly admire, respect and appreciate everything that she can do and that she dreams of doing. And I love a challenge. I’m born of a multimedia world. Where I started at Motown, you had to be able to do it all: Write, produce, and sing and dance, and over the years I personally never saw the difference between whatever studio or soundstage I was walking into because the song or the script will only be as great as the talent. And the song and the script still can be great as well. That’s how I show up every day. Thinking I’m meant to produce art, and results. The secret is our belief and trust in each other. And in my case, I’ve always had the greatest relationship with artists I admire.

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