“I had given birth and the kids honestly just gave me a new direction,” the singer says in The Jess Cagle Interview with People and Entertainment Weekly‘s editorial director.
“They just made me realize … what was real and what wasn’t real,” says Lopez, wiping away tears. “They just changed everything.”
Watch more of The Jess Cagle Interview with Jennifer Lopez on PEOPLE.com all this week.
The Shades of Blue star (the finale airs March 31) felt invigorated after becoming a mom and “started thinking about life in a different way,” she says. “‘On the Floor’ honestly was me again going, ‘Oh yeah, get back out there! You’re an animal. You’re a beast. Pull up your panties and get back out there.'”
The American Idol judge, 46, wanted to provide her kids a “great” life and found herself examining her own.
“I started asking more questions of myself of love, of what was right, of what was wrong,” she says. “I knew for their life to be great, I had to be great and I needed to fix some things and that is where the music came from.”
For more on Jennifer Lopez’s gritty new show and her happy life now, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
“On the Floor” became the entertainer’s “anthem” and motivated Lopez to make some changes in her life.
“I knew it immediately that that was the song,” she says. “It was everything that I was wrapped into one, and it was also saying, ‘You gotta go hard. You gotta get on the floor. You gotta get yourself together and do this right now.'”