She’s one of the true superstar elite, she teased us with a taste of her new sound last year via the keynote song in one of 2000’s biggest movies, and now Janet Jackson is ready for the world again.
Here’s a sequence to make your mouth water. March: a brand new Janet single. April: her first new album since 1997’s multi-million-selling The Velvet Rope. July: the start of a world tour, with the same spectacular production values that have set the arena benchmark since her famous Rhythm Nation debut tour of 1990.
April 23/24 sees the worldwide release of Janet’s new album All For You, a tip of the hat to timeless soul and dance grooves and a glorious celebration of her 1980’s roots. The set was recorded at Flyte Tyme Studios in Minneapolis with co-production by the mighty Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, her longtime songwriting and studio collaborators, and additional production by hot name on the block Rockwilder. The album’s melodic, upbeat and fresh sound is echoed by the title track, due as a single in March.
Concurrent with her new music, Janet will be honoured at the inaugural mtvICON show March 13 in recognition of her place as one of the most influential and beloved tastemakers in contemporary pop and R&B. The spectacular accompanying show will eloquently demonstrate the impact that Janet has had not only on her multi-million world-wide audience, but also on a generation of fellow performers, as Destiny’s Child, Macy Gray, OutKast and ‘N Sync head the bill paying tribute by covering her songs. Janet herself will perform at the climax of the show.
The new single, album and tour follow Janet’s world-wide smash last summer with “Doesn’t Really Matter” from the soundtrack of Nutty Professor 2, in which she starred with Eddie Murphy and which took $175 million at the world-wide box office. The song was an instant global hit, spending three weeks at No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in August and September to take her total of US chart-toppers to nine, a run stretching back to “When I Think Of You” in 1986.
“Doesn’t Really Matter” is included on All For You, an album of upbeat soul flavours that overflows with pure Janet joie de vivre and will also feature such songs as “Someone To Call My Lover,” “New Beginning,” “Come On Get Up,” “Trust A Try” and the tantalising “When We Ooh.” It’ s the latest landmark in an eclectic, audacious career that has touched audiences in pop, rock, R&B and hip-hop without ever compromising.
Then, in the summer, Janet launches the long-anticipated sequel to the Velvet Rope tour, which packed arenas and knocked out audiences everywhere it went. The album itself produced three top ten singles in the UK alone, all of them co-written by Janet: the genre-busting “Got ‘Til It’s Gone,” the platinum-selling “Together Again” (which spent 19 weeks on the British singles chart) and “I Get Lonely.”
That success took her world-wide career sales total to almost 60 million but it’s never been just about the numbers for Janet Damita Jo Jackson, born May 16, 1966 in the Jackson family hometown of Gary, Indiana. “My parents taught us that you never give up,” she says, and it’s been a personal coda since she made her stage debut at seven.
Janet went on to star in the CBS TV sitcom Good Times, and more high-profile television work soon followed in Different Strokes and Fame. There were two teenage albums, a self-titled 1982 set and Dream Street two years later, but it was 1986’s Control that signalled a new day in her career. Travelling from her Los Angles home to Minneapolis, she began the association with Jam and Lewis that continues to this day, found herself as a songwriter and reinvented herself as a person.
Control exploded showcasing Janet’s supple voice, warm humour and feisty attitude in a series of indelible hit singles and innovative videos shaped by Janet herself. Control was something that Janet extended to her entire life, becoming an astute businesswoman in the process. She makes the final decisions regarding every aspect of her multi-faceted career.
1989 brought the watershed album Rhythm Nation 1814, a record “reflecting real life and my real concerns,” as he put it, wrapped up in a high-voltage funk-dance sound. It spent four weeks at No.1 in America and, a few months later, led to the Rhythm Nation World Tour 1990, which became the most successful debut tour in history, watched by over two million fans.
“ Rhythm Nation contained my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have trying to educate kids,” she says. “The idea was to give them some hope.” Janet remains a passionate spokeswoman on children’s, civil and human rights, education and AIDS research. Indeed last year, she received the Commitment To Life Award from the AIDS Project Los Angeles.
In 1991, in her mid twenties, Jackson negotiated a multi-million dollar record deal with Virgin, and soon after rekindling her acting career in 1993 in John Singleton’s compelling Poetic Justice, unveiled the spectacular janet album, which overflowed with contagious grooves such as “That’s The Way Love Goes” (No.1 for an incredible eight weeks in the US), “If,” “Again” and the sultry ballad “Any Time Any Place,” which logged ten weeks atop Billboard’s R&B chart. The album became her third in a row to sell more than five million copies in America alone.
In 1995 Janet joined brother Michael for the massive hit single “Scream,” featuring a stunning glam sci-fi video clip. The following year brought Janet’s first retrospective, Janet Jackson 1986-1996 Design Of A Decade. It offered up her 16th gold certified single “Runaway” and another memorable video, in which she danced her way around the globe. In 1997, The Velvet Rope took her audience closer to Janet than ever before, as she bared her soul on the most intimate record of her career.
In 2001, to borrow from her famous song titles, we’ve missed her much, but she’s back to take her rhythm nation on a new escapade, fuelled by a familiar passion. “The one thing we all have in common is music,” says Janet, “and music moves me.”