NEW YORK - Jennifer Lopez remembers the days when her record label budgeted $1 million for one of her music videos. Today, she's attempting to create the same magic with one-tenth of the money.
The entrepreneur says being a singer has been "challenging" since she debuted on the pop scene in the late 1990s, dominating the charts with back-to-back hits while becoming a driving force on other entertainment platforms.
"It used to be like this big magical world, almost like Oz, when you'd make a record," the 44-year-old says.
Lopez, who released her eighth album, "A.K.A.," on Tuesday, says the music industry no longer feels like Oz.
"Now, it's like, 'We'll see if we can do that and we can give you this much,' " she says of record label meetings. "And you're like, 'Wow, OK. So how am I gonna do that?' It's a whole different mind-set."
She enjoys the challenge, Lopez says. When coming up with creative concepts, she has thought to herself: "What great idea can I come up with that costs nothing?"
Her last platinum effort was 2002's "This Is Me ... Then." Its follow-up, 2005's "Rebirth," sold 745,000 units. Since then, she's had some successful singles, but she's no longer one of pop's "it" girls, racking up multiple hits, earning Grammy nominations and winning other accolades.
The performer hopes fans can hear the work she's done in the past four years on "A.K.A.," an album filled with pop, R&B and dance sounds.
Lopez recruited white-hot rapper Iggy Azalea for the record: "I was thinking of working with a female rapper because, again, of the strength and subject matter of the album, I wanted some girl to be talking smack with me."
Billboard reported that "A.K.A." - Lopez's first album for Capitol Music Group - would sell about 30,000 units next week, her lowest sales for a debut week.
High-profile guests on the album include Pitbull, Nas, Rick Ross and T.I.; some of the songs were co-written by Chris Brown. However, other tracks featuring Robin Thicke and Wiz Khalifa didn't make the project.
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