Sony puts Lopez to Work on multi-album contract

Jennifer Lopez, who portrayed Selena in the Warner Bros. film chronicling the young Tejano singer’s life, has inked a multi-album, multimillion-dollar recording pact with Sony Music’s the Work Group.

The pact comes after a spirited bidding war for the services of the actress, which included a multifaceted deal offered by Capitol Records and sister label EMI Latin.

“As great an actress as she is, Jennifer is also a gifted musical performer,” said Thomas Mottola, prexy and chief operating officer of Sony Music Entertainment. “Jennifer is going to surprise a lot of people who have never glimpsed this facet of her artistry.”

Insiders note the inking evokes shades of Mariah Carey, as Mottola also is dating Lopez and the pair’s appearance together at the conglom’s recent post-Grammy party has become tabloid fodder.

The Jeff Ayeroff/Jordan Harris-led Work Group has made considerable strides in the three years its doors have been open, with Grammy Award winners Jamiroquai and Fiona Apple leading the label’s left-of-center charge.

But the Lopez signing portends a new direction for the former Virgin Records co-chiefs’ label. Insiders describe Lopez’s material as pop-oriented.

Lopez was last seen opposite Sean Penn in Oliver Stone’s “U-Turn” and will co-star this summer with George Clooney in “Out of Sight,” the Jersey Films/Universal adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel.

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