When former Fly Girl Jennifer Lopez decided she wanted to pursue a proper music career, she was just coming off her starring role as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the 1997 musical biopic Selena. But she faced plenty of skeptics -- even after landing a record deal with Sony. “She wasn’t hearing it, though," says longtime manager Benny Medina. "It would be like, wait a minute, don't you understand? This is a girl that popped off In Living Color to become Selena -- why would you ever second guess she couldn't step out there and be J.Lo?"
Although some were wary, there were early believers – and influential ones. Once former Sony Music Entertainment chief executive Tommy Mottola heard her demo, he immediately brought her in to sign a contract. "I didn't know what to ask for," Lopez says now, speaking from a rehearsal in Los Angeles for her upcoming hits-filled It's My Party summer tour (it kicks off at the Forum on June 7). "I was so young and clueless at the time, so I said, 'I want an A-list deal like all the big stars,'" she recalls. "There's something about being that young -- there's a little bit of ignorance that goes with it, because you don't know what's going to happen and so you have all these lofty ideas."