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Is salsa star Marc Anthony rejecting his roots?

The singer says his new English-language CD isn’t part of the Latin-music trend

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Marc Anthony
Jerome Albertini

Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin have some new competition in the butt-wiggling department. Salsa singer Marc Anthony, who became a mainstay on the Spanish-language charts with his last three albums, has a new self-titled CD. But this time around, the native New Yorker is singing in English — and he has some strong feelings about Latin stars who are busy crossing over to a mainstream American audience. ”The music being presented in Ricky’s album and Jennifer’s album and my English album is not Latin music,” says the 31-year-old crooner. ”Yeah, there are Latin influences, but it isn’t representative of what Latin music is.”

Anthony, who started his career writing songs for Menudo and recording with Ruben Blades, is proud of his musical heritage, but is tired of the hype surrounding the so-called Latin invasion. ”To stand out because you’re Puerto Rican or because you’re Latin is really weird to me,” he says. ”It’s not mainstream success that decides whether it’s important or not. [What matters is if it affects] people on a daily basis.”

Surprisingly, Anthony says this album will let fans hear him speak for himself for the first time. ”It’s the most personal one I’ve ever recorded,” he says. ”I wrote 80 percent of the songs, and it’s my words and my stories. If you listen to the first single, ‘I Need to Know,’ I think that’s what you would hear if you could peek into my head — the R&B influences, the jazz, the Latin, the classical. ” But even if the album becomes a mainstream hit, Anthony says he won’t be living la vida loca: ”My mom would smack me upside the head if I tried to get cute.” Any chance she could adopt Britney Spears?