Birth name: Janet Damita Jo Jackson
Date of birth: 16 May 1966
Place of birth: Gary, Indiana, USA
Nickname: Dunk, J
Height: 5′ 4″ (1.63 m)
Spouse: Rene Elizondo (31 March 1991 – 13 March 2000) (divorced), James DeBarge (7 September 1984 – 18 November 1985) (annulled)
Famous Quote: “Life is a journey, and I’m still walking it. And, like everyone, I’m going to have some days that are better than others, some days that are tougher than others. But I’m in a much happier place, the happiest place I’ve ever been in my life, and that’s why it feels so good to me, finally being able to say I do like who I am.”
Contact Address and Autograph: Addresses and fan mail information
Wright Entertainment Group, LLC.
P.O. Box 590009
Orlando, FL 32859, USA
Biography: Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actress. Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, she is the youngest member of the Jackson family of musicians. Initially performing on stage with her family at the age of seven, Jackson began her career as an actress with the variety television series The Jacksons and went on to star in other television shows including Good Times, A New Kind of Family, Different Strokes, and Fame. After launching her recording career in 1982, Jackson found record breaking success, producing five consecutive number one studio albums, beginning with the release of Control (1986) followed by Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989), janet. (1993), The Velvet Rope (1997), and All for You (2001). Jackson’s tenth studio album, Discipline (2008) became her sixth number one album, tying her in second place with Madonna among female artists with the most number one albums.
Jackson’s Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, and janet. led her to become the only recording artist ever to score five or more top ten singles from three consecutive albums. Rhythm Nation 1814 also enabled Jackson to become the first recording artist to ever achieve seven top five hit singles from a single album. Rolling Stone magazine named Rhythm Nation 1814 and The Velvet Rope as two of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, while Jackson’s Control and janet. were listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as two of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.
Though Jackson is listed by the Recording Industry Association of America as the eleventh top-selling female artist in the United States with 26 million certified albums, according to Billboard magazine, she is one of the top ten selling artists in the history of contemporary music; ranked as the ninth most successful act in the history of rock and roll and the second most successful female artist in pop music history, selling over 100 million albums worldwide. Tyler Perry’s feature film Why Did I Get Married? (2007), for which she won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, became her third consecutive film to open at number one at the box office, following Poetic Justice (1993) and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000).
Janet Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, the daughter of Katherine Esther (née Scruse) and Joseph Walter Jackson, and is the youngest of the nine Jackson children. The family were lower-middle class and devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. By the time she was a toddler, Janet’s older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael—had already started to perform on stage at nightclubs and theaters as the Jackson 5. In March 1969, the group signed a record deal with Motown Records, and by the end of the year they had recorded the first of four consecutive number-one singles. The Jackson 5′s success allowed the entire family to move to the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, California in 1971. The Jacksons settled in a gated mansion that they referred to as “Hayvenhurst.” Although born into a family of musical prodigies, Jackson whose love of horses initially inspired her to become a race-horse jockey had no aspiration to become an entertainer. Her father, however, planned for for her to follow in the family’s footsteps. Jackson commented, “No one ever asked me if I wanted to go into show business…it was expected.”
In 1974, at the age of seven, Jackson appeared on stage in Las Vegas, Nevada alongside her siblings in a routine show at the original MGM Casino. Jackson’s career as an actress began with the debut of the CBS variety show, The Jacksons, in which Janet appeared alongside her siblings Tito, Rebbie, Randy, Michael, Marlon, Latoya and Jackie. At the age of ten in 1977, Jackson was selected by producer Norman Lear to play a recurring role in the sitcom Good Times. From 1979 to 1980, Jackson starred in A New Kind of Family, then joined the cast of Diff’rent Strokes from 1981 to 1982. Jackson played a recurring role on the television series Fame based on the 1980 feature film of the same name as Cleo Hewitt, during the shows fourth season.
Although Jackson was initially apprehensive about starting a music career, she agreed to participate in recording sessions with her family. Her first recording was a duet with her brother Randy on a song titled “Love Song for Kids” in 1978. At the age of fifteen, her father and manager Joseph Jackson launched her recording career by arranging a contract with A&M Records.
Her debut album Janet Jackson was released in 1982 and produced by soul singers Angela Winbush, René Moore and Leon F. Sylvers III, a former member of The Sylvers, who had previously worked with the The Whispers, Lakeside, Shalamar and Dynasty. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot R&B albums chart. In 1984, Jackson’s second album, Dream Street was released. The album peaked at number nineteen on the R&B albums chart, however, sales of Dream Street were less than that of Jackson’s debut album, and its only hit “Don’t Stand Another Chance” peaked at number nine on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. In the same year, Jackson eloped with childhood friend and fellow R&B singer James DeBarge, but they divorced shortly afterwards and the marriage was subsequently annulled.
After the limited successes of her first two albums, A&M Records hired producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to work with Jackson. Within six weeks, Jackson, Jam, and Lewis crafted Jackson’s breakthrough album, Control, released in February 1986. Six major Hot 100 hits were released from the album in the U.S.; “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” “Nasty,” “When I Think of You” (Jackson’s first number one single on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart), “Control,” and “Let’s Wait Awhile” each peaked within the Top 5, and “The Pleasure Principle” reached the Top 20. Most of the Control music videos, were choreographed by a then unknown Paula Abdul. The album earned Jackson three Grammy nominations, six Billboard Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and three Soul Train Awards. Control was nominated for twelve American Music Award nominations, winning four; a record that has yet to be broken.
In 1989, Jackson began recording her fourth album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. 1814 referred to the year “The Star Spangled Banner” was written; in addition, ‘R’ is the 18th letter of the alphabet and ‘N’ the 14th, hence 1814. Though executives at A&M wanted an album similar to Control, Jackson was determined to imbue her music with a socially-conscious message that complemented her songs about love and relationships. Unwilling to compromise her artistic integrity, Jackson shifted from “personal freedom to more universal concerns – injustice, illiteracy, crime, drugs – without missing a beat.” Rhythm Nation 1814 maintained airplay for over two years, eventually becoming a record setting and record breaking album as the only album in history to score number one hits in three separate calendar years “Miss You Much” (1989), “Escapade” and “Black Cat” (1990) and “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” (1991).
Jackson became the first artist to score a number-one hit simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock singles charts with “Black Cat,” and the only artist to have seven top five singles on the Hot 100 from one album. Billboard named Rhythm Nation 1814 the number-one selling album of the year. Jackson went on to win her first Grammy Award, and won fifteen Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, four Soul Train Music Awards, and three MTV Video Music Awards. The Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour had an attendance of more than two million people and remains the most successful debut tour by any artist. In 1991, Jackson secretly entered into her second marriage with dancer, songwriter and director René Elizondo; the couple’s relationship did not become public until Elizondo filed for divorce in 2000.
With the release of the Rhythm Nation 1814 album, Jackson fulfilled her contract with A&M Records, signing a new deal with Virgin Records. In May 1992, Jackson recorded a song with Luther Vandross and featuring Bell Biv Devoe and Ralph Tresvant entitled “The Best Things in Life Are Free” for the Mo’ Money original motion picture soundtrack. The soundtrack single would be the sole recording from Jackson until the following spring when the first single from her fifth studio album would be released. Jackson simply entitled her fifth studio album janet. Released on May 18, 1993 on Virgin Records, the album became the first by a female artist to debut at number one during the Nielsen SoundScan era.
The album reached number one in twenty-two countries, in less than a year it had reached worldwide sales of over ten million copies. In July 1993, Jackson made her big-screen debut in the John Singleton directed, Poetic Justice. Jackson’s ballad, “Again”, was featured on the film’s soundtrack, and garnered a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Song From A Motion Picture.” In addition to “Again,” Jackson’s album produced the number one hit single “That’s the Way Love Goes” and the top ten singles “If,” “Because of Love,” “You Want This” and “Any Time, Any Place.”
In September 1993, Jackson appeared topless on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with the hands of her then-husband René Elizondo covering her breasts. The cover became one of the most celebrated photos ever taken of a rock artist, widely imitated worldwide in entertainment, notably in Bollywood for Stardust magazine; and Rolling Stone named it their ‘Most Popular Cover Ever’ in 2000. Jackson was criticized for the explicitness of the photograph. Janet Jackson collaborated with her brother Michael Jackson on the 1995 single, “Scream,” the lead single from his album HIStory. The song debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart becoming the first song ever to debut in the top 5. “Scream” is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the “Most Expensive Music Video Ever Made” at a cost of $7 million. The single also made the highest debut on the Hot Dance Club Play chart at number twelve. In October 1995, Jackson’s first hits compilation, Design of a Decade 1986/1996, was released via A&M Records. In 1996, Jackson renewed her contract with Virgin Records for a reported $80 million.
During the recording of Jackson’s sixth studio album, she reportedly suffered from depression and anxiety—which fueled the concept behind 1997′s The Velvet Rope. Songs dealing with domestic abuse, depression, self-esteem issues, homophobia, isolation, and S&M, made up the bulk of the album’s design. In August 1997, the album’s lead single, “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” was released to radio and was moderately successful. The single sampled the Joni Mitchell classic, “Big Yellow Taxi” and featured a cameo appearance by rapper Q-Tip. The album’s second single “Together Again”—an homage to a friend Jackson lost to AIDS— topped the charts, while Jackson would have moderate success with the third and fourth singles, “I Get Lonely” and “Go Deep”. “Together Again” became Jackson’s eighth number one hit on the Hot 100 chart, placing her on par with Elton John, Diana Ross and The Rolling Stones.
The single spent a record 46 weeks on the Hot 100, in addition to spending 19 weeks on the UK singles chart. In 1998, Jackson set out on the The Velvet Rope Tour—which took her on an international trek that included: Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Jackson’s HBO special, The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden, was watched by more than 15 million viewers. The two-hour concert crushed the ratings of all four major networks in homes that subscribed to HBO. As her world tour came to a close in 1999, Jackson lent guest vocals to a number of songs by other artists, including: Shaggy’s “Luv Me, Luv Me,” for the soundtrack to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the Grammy-nominated “God’s Stepchild,” from the Down on the Delta soundtrack, “Girlfriend/Boyfriend” with BLACKstreet, and “What’s It Gonna Be?!” with Busta Rhymes. Jackson dueted with Elton John for the song, “I Know The Truth.” As 1999 ended, Billboard Magazine ranked Jackson as the second most successful artist of the decade, behind Mariah Carey.
In July 2000, Jackson returned to the big screen with her second film, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, as professor Denise Gaines opposite Eddie Murphy. She contributed to the film’s soundtrack with the track, “Doesn’t Really Matter”, which became Jackson’s ninth number one U.S. Billboard Hot 100 single. That same year, Jackson’s husband Elizondo filed for divorce, which did not become finalized until October 2003. Jackson’s seventh album, All for You, was released on April 24, 2001. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 605,000 copies, making All For You the highest first-week sales total of Jackson’s career. All For You sold more than three million copies in America.
The album’s title track debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at #14, the highest debut ever for a single that wasn’t commercially available and topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for seven weeks. “All For You” also made radio and chart history when it was added to every pop, rhythmic and urban radio station that reports to the national trade magazine Radio & Records. The video for “All For You”, directed by David Meyers, was a semi-animated setting of Los Angeles. The second single, “Someone to Call My Lover”, which contained a heavy guitar loop of America’s “Ventura Highway”, peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. She would have just moderate success with “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)” featuring Carly Simon (remixed by rapper Missy Elliott) which would become a Top 30 hit. It would be the third and final single from the album. In 2002, Jackson collaborated with reggae singer Beenie Man on the song “Feel It Boy” with moderate success, though Jackson later admitted regret over the collaboration after discovering Beenie Man’s music often contains homophobic lyrics; Jackson issued an apology to her gay following in an article contained in The Voice. Jackson then accepted an invitation to join the 2004 Super Bowl festivities. Jackson also began her relationship with record producer Jermaine Dupri that same year.
During the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004, Jackson’s performance with Justin Timberlake resulted in the exposure of her right breast when Timberlake tore open Jackson’s top while singing the lyric from his single “Rock Your Body”— ‘gonna have you naked by the end of this song.’ Jackson apologized, although not to the network directly, calling it an accident, and saying that Timberlake was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra intact.
Timberlake also issued an apology, calling the accident a wardrobe malfunction. The incident became the most replayed moment in TiVo history and the most-searched event in the history of the Internet surpassing the total number of searches for the September 11, 2001 attacks on America subsequently earning Jackson a place in the Guinness World Records as “Most Searched in Internet History.” CBS, the NFL, and MTV (CBS’s sister network), which produced the halftime show, denied any knowledge and all responsibility of the incident under a hail of criticism but the FCC continued an investigation. Jackson issued a public apology during a video broadcast, in addition to her initial written statement: I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention …MTV, CBS, the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end”
CBS would only let Jackson and Timberlake appear on the 2004 46th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony if they each made a public apology to the network itself and not under the ruse it was a “wardrobe malfunction”; Timberlake issued an apology, Jackson did not. Jermaine Dupri left his post on the Grammy Awards committee after Jackson refused to apologize again for the Super Bowl incident. The controversy surrounding the incident halted plans for Jackson to star in a made-for-TV biopic on the life on singer Lena Horne for ABC-TV. Though Horne was reportedly displeased with the Super Bowl halftime antics and insisted that ABC pull Jackson from the project, according to Jackson’s representatives, she withdrew from the project willingly.
In March 2004, Jackson’s eighth studio album, Damita Jo—described as ‘a portrait of the many personalities living inside her’—was released, debuting at number two. Despite the album’s strong debut, its three singles: “Just a Little While,” “I Want You,” and “All Nite (Don’t Stop),” all failed to become Top 40 hits. Damita Jo would continue a sales slide in Jackson’s album releases. Damita Jo sold 1.5 million worldwide with one million of those in the U.S. Jackson appeared as a host of Saturday Night Live on April 10, 2004, where she performed a skit that parodied the Super Bowl incident. She also appeared in the popular television sitcom Will & Grace playing herself, interacting with sitcom characters Karen Walker and Jack McFarland as Jack was auditioning to be one of her back-up dancers. Lackluster sales of Damita Jo have been speculated to be not only a result of negative publicity from the Super Bowl incident, but also due to MTV’s “blacklisting” of Jackson’s music videos. Jermaine Dupri, then-president of the urban music department at Virgin Records, expressed “sentiments of nonsupport from the label.”
Jackson celebrated her 40th birthday with a party at Shereen Arazms Shag in Los Angeles. In attendance were many of her former female dancers as well as singer Stevie Wonder, who serenaded her. Jackson appeared on the cover of Us Weekly in June 2006. This issue became the magazine’s best selling issue ever. Virgin Records released Jackson’s ninth studio album, 20 Y.O., on September 26, 2006. 20 Years Old, the album title represents “a celebration of the joyful liberation and history-making musical style of her 1986 breakthrough album, Control.” The album debuted at number two on Billboard’s albums charts, selling over 296,000 copies in its first week. Jackson launched a contest, the “Design Me” cover contest, giving fans an opportunity to create the artwork for the album by downloading images of her and creating proposed covers for the album.
Jackson hand-picked dozens of images to be used in the contest. She selected her top four favorites which were used for the first one million pressings of 20 Y.O. The albums first single “Call on Me”, a duet with rapper Nelly, became a moderate hit, hitting #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart; peaking higher than any release from Damita Jo. Debuting at #19 on Billboard Radio Monitor R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, Jackson’s “Call on Me” is the highest debuting single on that chart since TLC’s “No Scrubs” debuted at #13 in February 1999.
The second single “So Excited”, however, failed on the pop charts. It did hit number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart, becoming Jackson’s seventeenth number one on that there. “With U” was the third and final single off the album but because of low album sales and lack of airplay, Virgin Records did not make a music video to support it. 20 Y.O. was eventually certified platinum, but sold less than its predecessor Damita Jo. 20 Y.O. was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album but did not win the award. Jermaine Dupri, who co-produced 20 Y.O., left his position as head of urban music at Virgin following the continued lackluster sales of Jackson’s album. The release of 20 Y.O. satisfied Jackson’s contract with Virgin. Dupri and Jackson later joined the Universal Music Group label Island Records.
Jackson starred opposite Tyler Perry as a psychotherapist named Patrica in the feature film, Why Did I Get Married?. Filming began on March 5, 2007 and the film was released on October 12, 2007. The film opened at number one at the box office, grossing $21.4 million in its first week. In February 2008, Jackson was nominated for and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in Why Did I Get Married?.
In July 2007, Jackson changed labels and signed a new record contract with Island Records- under the same ownership as her first label, A&M Records. Jackson’s tenth studio album, Discipline—an acknowledgement of Jackson’s commitment, focus and dedication to her career was released on February 26, 2008, under the supervision of label head Antonio “L.A.” Reid. Accompanied by record producer Jermaine Dupri, Discipline is Jackson’s first album for the Island Def Jam Music Group. On December 12, 2007, the first single from the album, “Feedback”, was leaked to select radio stations in the United States.
On the Billboard Hot 100, the single originally peaked and remained in the top 50 for over six weeks but after the albums release it climbed to #19 on the Hot 100, her biggest hit single since “Someone To Call My Lover” in 2001. Although sales were less than that of Damita Jo and 20 Y.O., Discipline peaked in America on the Billboard 200 at number one with over 181,000 copies sold, becoming Jackson’s first number one album since All For You (2001). Though Discipline was widely expected to be Jackson’s “comeback” album similar to the The Breakthrough of Mary J. Blige and The Emancipation of Mariah Carey—Jackson has asserted that she has never stopped making music, and therefore, talks of a ‘comeback’ were misguided. Jackson is expected to tour in support of the album, and is planning to visit Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
The baby sister of the “precious Jackson clan” and the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson has strived to distance her professional career from that of her older brother and the rest of the Jackson family. Throughout her recording career, one of her common conditions for interviewers has been that there be no mention of or questions about Michael.Despite being born into a family of entertainers, Janet Jackson has managed to establish her unique impact on the recording industry—rivaling not only several female entertainers including Madonna, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but also her brother—while successfully shifting her image from a strong, independent young woman to a sexy, mature adult. Though it was Michael Jackson’s Thriller which originally synchronized music video with album sales, Janet Jackson, along with Madonna, Whitney Houston, Nirvana, Guns n’ Roses and U2, saw the visualization of her music elevate her to the status of a pop culture icon.Related People: