80s Music

Artist Profile: Janet Jackson

Born on May 16, 1966, Janet Damita Jo Jackson or more popularly known as Janet Jackson is a songwriter, singer, dancer, actress, and an icon in the pop culture. Aside from her hit songs, she is also known for her elaborate stage shows and sexually provocative songs. Throughout her career, Janet Jackson has sold over 100 million records worldwide making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She is also known for the hit songs such as That’s the Way Love Goes, Nasty, All For You, Rhythm Nation, and Together Again. Janet Jackson currently holds the record for having consecutive top-ten entries on the Billboard Hot 100. Aside from her music career, she is also known for starring in movies and television shows such as Diff’rent Strokes, Good Times, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Poetic Justice, and Fame. In this article, we are going to know more about Janet Jackson and her contributions to the entertainment industry.

Early Life and Early Career

Janet Jackson was the youngest of ten children to Joseph Walter Jackson and Katherine Esther. She was just a little girl when her brothers, Jermaine Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Marlon Jackson, and Michael Jackson formed the group and began performing as the Jackson 5. After the group signed a record deal with Motown records in 1969 and became successful, the Jackson family moved to the Encino neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.

When she was a young girl, Janet Jackson aspired to be an entertainment lawyer or a horse racing jockey and she used acting to support herself. However, she still pursued a career in the entertainment industry and she considered the idea after she had a recording session in the studio. She started her acting career in 1976 in the variety show entitled The Jacksons. After that, several offers came in and she soon starred in the sitcom and TV shows such as A New Kind of Family, Good Times, and Diff’rent Strokes.

When she reached sixteen years old, Janet’s father, Joseph Jackson arranged a contract for her with A&M Records. And 1982, she released her self-titled debut album which peaked at the 63rd spot of the Billboard 200 charts and made her one of the highest-ranking female singers on the Billboard Year-End Black Album Artists.

Albums

  • Dream Street – This is Janet Jackson’s second studio album which was released in October 1984. The album sold over 22,000 copies in the United States and it featured the songs Don’t Stand Another Chance, Pretty Boy, and Two to the Power of Love. The album received a fair rating from the critics and they called it a small but pleasant surprise. 
  • Control – Released in February 1986, Control was Janet Jackson’s third studio album under A&M Records and the album featured a fusion of funk, R&B, and disco music. Control became Janet Jackson’s commercial breakthrough album and it empowered her to penetrate the popular music market. The album also became one of the leading albums of the ‘80s which featured the hit songs, Let’s Wait Awhile, Nasty, What Have You Done for Me Lately, and Control. All of the songs managed to reach the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and all of the music videos that came with the hit songs also helped showcase Janet Jackson’s dancing ability. The album sold over 10 million copies all over the world and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Album of the Year. Aside from that, Control also made Billboard Hot 100 history because it stayed on the Hot 100 charts for over 65 consecutive weeks. 
  • Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 – This is Janet Jackson’s fourth studio album and it was released on September 1989 under A&M Records. Janet Jackson insisted that she wanted to create a concept album that tackles social issues such as substance abuse, racism, and poverty. For this album, she worked with record producers and songwriters Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam. Even if this album was initially met with mixed reviews, the lyrics and composition of the songs received critical acclaim and it made Janet Jackson a role model of the youth because of the social awareness of her songs. 
  • The album spawned the hit singles Black Cat, Miss You Much, Love Will Never Do (Without You), and Escapade. Rhythm Nation 1814 won three American Music Awards in the categories Favorite Soul R&B Female Artist, Favorite Dance Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.
  • Janet – Stylized as janet., this was Janet Jackson’s fifth studio album which was released on May 1993 under Virgin Records America. Before the release of the album, Janet Jackson was caught in the middle of a high-profile bidding war for her recording contract. Her previous record label, A&M Records was offering her to renew her contract while other record companies such as Capitol Records, Atlantic Records, and Virgin Records all competed to offer her the best deal possible just for her to sign a contract with them. In the end, Virgin Records won with a contract that was worth an estimated 40 million dollars which made Janet Jackson the highest-paid singer during that time.
  • The album janet. became her third consecutive album that reached the top spot of the Billboard 200 in the United States. it sold over 350,000 during its first week in the market which set another record for having the highest first-week sale for a female artist. Overall, the album sold an estimated 14 million copies worldwide and produced six hit singles namely That’s The Way Love Goes, Because of Love, You Want This, Where Are You Now, Again, and Any Time, Any Place. Janet Jackson received two Grammy Awards nomination and five American Music Awards nomination for this album.
  • The Velvet Rope – Released in October 1997 under Virgin Records, The Velvet Rope was Janet Jackson’s sixth studio album. When she was recording this album, Jackson began facing several emotional breakdowns, long-term depression, anorexia, body dysmorphia, and self-harm. That’s why the lyrics of the songs in the album tackles self-worth, depression, domestic violence, and social networking. The Velvet Rope topped the Billboard 200 chart and became a certified triple platinum album that same year. The album spawned six hit singles namely Every Time, Go Deep, Got ‘Til It’s Gone, I Get Lonely, You, and Together Again.  It also managed to sell over three million copies in the United States alone and ten copies worldwide.  
  • All For You – Released in April 2001 under Virgin Records, All For You featured a mix of upbeat dance-pop, funk, slow R&B sounds, rock, and disco. While the lyrics of the songs were mostly focused on romance, passion, and intercourse while tackling the issues of deceit and betrayal. The album received positive reviews from the music critics who loved the upbeat nature of most of the songs. All For You won a Grammy Award in the category Best Dance Recording for the album’s title track. It also featured other hit singles such as Come On Get Up, Someone to Call My Lover, Son of a Gun, and Doesn’t Really Matter. The album sold over 605,000 copies in the United States during its first week.
  • Damita Jo – Damita Jo is Janet Jackson’s eight studio album which was released on March 2004 under Virgin Records. The album featured different musical styles such as hip-hop, electro, pop rock, house, and R&B. Its concept was Janet Jackson’s alternate personalities and how she loved exploring themes such as dance, monogamy, love, and intimacy. The album spawned for hit singles namely Just a Little While, R&B Junkie, I Want You, and All Nite (Don’t Stop). It sold over two million copies all across the globe became a certified platinum album. Janet Jackson earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album.
  • 20 Y.O – Released in September 2006, 20 Y.O was Janet Jackson’s ninth studio album and its title is a tribute for the twentieth anniversary of her third album Control. The album is an R&B and dance album that celebrates a joyful liberation and history-making musical style. Even if the album received mixed reviews from the critics, it still managed to debut at the number two spot of the Billboard 200 charts. 20 Y.O sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. It featured the hit singles Call on Me, So Excited, and With You.
  • Discipline – Released in February 2008, Discipline is Janet Jackson’s tenth studio album and it was released under Island Records. it is the only Janet Jackson album that was released in this record label after her deal with Virgin Records ended. For this album, she worked with different producers such as The-Dream, Shea Taylor, Ne-Yo, Tricky Stewart, and Jermaine Dupri. Discipline featured the hit singles, Can’t B Good, Feedback, Luv, and her cover of her brother’s song, Rock With U. The album received several positive feedbacks and sold over 2 million copies all over the world.
  • Unbreakable – This was Janet Jackson’s eleventh studio album and it was released in October 2015 under her independent label called Rhythm Nation Records. The singer left Island Records because she was dissatisfied with their lack of promotion for her last album. The album featured five singles namely Dammn Baby, No Sleeep, Unbreakable, Burnitup, and The Great Forever. It also featured other hip-hop artists such as Missy Elliot and J.Cole. Unbreakable received positive reviews and it was Janet Jackson’s seventh album that topped the United States charts.

Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show Controversy

The Super Bowl halftime show involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake was broadcasted live on February 1, 2004. What made their performance controversial was because Janet Jackson’s breast, that was adorned with a nipple shield was exposed by Justin Timberlake for half a second. People tagged this incident as the Nipplegate and everybody talked about what happened. In fact, the incident led to an immediate crackdown and sparked an issue regarding the indecency in broadcasting.  People mocked the incident and some critics even said that it was just some publicity stunt to get more people to talk about the Super Bowl halftime show.

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