Marc Anthony previewed his new album and explained how music and Jennifer Lopez changed his life during an in-depth Q&A Wednesday at the Billboard Latin Music Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Anthony is set to perform at the Billboard Latin Music Awards and receive the Spirit of Hope award tomorrow in recognition of his charitable work on behalf of children. Today (April 28) Anthony introduced his forthcoming album, "Iconos," a set of mostly covers of classic songs that he grew up with and to which he wanted to pay homage.

"They've survived decades and are still important in our musical culture," Anthony said, referring to songs such as first the single "Y Como Es El," made famous by Jose Luis Perales.

"This song, when I would hear it, it would bother me," said the artist, who sat cross-legged in a chair wearing jeans, a white button-down shirt and sunglasses. "I would feel it in my stomach. A lot of people say it's about this or that, but for me it's a story of a simple man who finds himself in a painful situation but confronts it with a lot of dignity."

Anthony, who recorded "Iconos" in single takes over two-and-a-half days, also co-wrote a sequel to the Perales song, titled "A Quien Quiero Mentirle" -- set 10 years after the heartbreak described in "Y Como Es El."

Asked by Billboard's executive director of Latin content and programming Leila Cobo why his songs are so dramatic, Anthony replied that he thinks of his songs as "mini-movies." "I only have four minutes to convince you, no matter what it is," he said.

Drama also literally figures into his career, with a new acting gig as a bad-guy detective in TNT series "Hawthorne." Anthony, who portrayed salsa star Hector Lavoe alongside his wife in the biopic "El Cantante," said Lopez is a big motivator in getting him to the studio on days when he's not in the mood to leave the house. "It's a great working relationship. If you can survive working with your wife, you know that you're going to be OK. I could not be more proud of my little coconut."

Singing helped Anthony get over a stuttering problem as a child, a fact that he said makes him value his art and profession all the more. He decried labels' practice these days of focusing on hit singles rather than artist development.

"They forgot the impact of supporting the artist. If you support the artist, they are the ones who are going to go on tour and spread the gospel," he said.

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