Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson

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Birth Name: Janet Damita Jo Jackson

Date of Birth: May 16, 1966

Place of Birth: Gary, Indiana, USA

Height: 5' 4"

Measurements: 35C-22½-36

Janet Jackson Biography

Janet Jackson was born on May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana, completing the famous Jackson family. Jackson is the youngest of 9 children born to Joseph Jackson, who worked as a crane operator in a steel mill, and Katherine Jackson, who worked as a store clerk for Sears before becoming a devout Jehovah's Witness. When Jackson was only a toddler, her older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael had begun to perform in nightclubs and theaters as the Jackson 5. In March 1969, the group signed to Motown Records, and by the end of the year, the group recorded their first of their four consecutive number-one singles. By the time the Jackson 5 had achieved success, the entire family was re-located to Southern California.

Initially, Jackson had no intension of entering show business. She had ambitions toward becoming a horse jockey, but, her father would push the young talent into stardom. On April 9, 1974, Jackson made her public debut performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with nearly all nine members of the Jackson family. By 1976, the Jackson family's Vegas act had caught the attention of CBS president Fred Silverman. The network was desperately trying to find a new variety act to replace the Sonny & Cher Show, since ABC had a competing show featuring Donny and Marie Osmond. Debuting on June 16, 1976, The Jacksons show became the first African-American family to have a variety show on TV. The show lasted only two seasons and was canceled in 1977.

In 1977, Norman Lear offered Jackson a job on Good Times on CBS. After that, she began appearing on other TV shows such as Diff'rent Strokes and A New Kind of Family.

Although she was asked by her father to start a singing career, Jackson was uncomfortable being in the recording studio, feeling she was not as vocally talented as her sister Rebbie or her brother Michael, who was becoming a solo pop superstar. But, in 1982, at the age of sixteen, Janet released her first self-titled album. The album reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B album charts, and spent forty-five weeks in the top fifty of that chart. The album yielded three singles, "Young Love," "Say You Do" and "Come Give Your Love to Me." Janet Jackson sold over 250 thousand copies at the time of its release.

She was cast in the musical series Fame in 1983; the following year, she issued her second album, Dream Street, which sold more poorly than its predecessor. Upon turning 18, Jackson eloped with James DeBarge, a member of the Motown family group DeBarge. The marriage was annulled in March 1985, with DeBarge's drug habit often cited as the reason.

Jackson took some time to rethink her musical career and her father hired her a new manager, John McClain, who isolated his young charge to train her as a dancer. McClain hooked Jackson up with producers/writers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, whom she'd seen perform as members of the Minneapolis funk outfit the Time. Jackson collaborated with Jam and Lewis on most of the tracks for her next album, Control, which presented her as a confident, tough-minded young woman (with a soft side and a sense of humor) taking charge of her life for the first time. Control became an out-of-the-box hit, and eventually spun off six singles, the first five of which -- "What Have You Done for Me Lately," the catch phrase-inspiring "Nasty," the number one "When I Think of You," the title track, and the ballad "Let's Wait Awhile" -- hit the Top Five on the pop charts. Jackson was hailed as a role model for young women and Control eventually sold over five million copies.

For the hotly anticipated follow-up, John McClain wanted to push Jackson toward more overtly sexual territory, to which she objected strenuously. Instead, she began collaborating with Jam and Lewis on more socially conscious material, which formed the backbone of 1989's Rhythm Nation 1814 (the "1814" purportedly stood for either the letters "R" and "N" or the year "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written). Actually, save for the title track, most of the record's singles were bright and romantically themed. Four of them hit number one, and three more reached the Top Five, making Jackson the first artist ever to produce seven Top Five hits off of one album (something not even her brother Michael had accomplished). Aside from a greater use of outside samples, Rhythm Nation's sound largely resembled that of Control, but was just as well-crafted, and listeners embraced it enthusiastically, buying over six million copies. Jackson undertook her first real tour in support of the album and it was predictably a smashing success. In 1991, Jackson capitalized on her success by jumping from A&M to Virgin for a reported $32 million, and also secretly married choreographer and longtime boyfriend René Elizondo.

Once with Virgin, Jackson set about revamping her sound and image. Her 1992 duet with Luther Vandross from the Mo' Money soundtrack, "The Best Things in Life Are Free," was a major R&B hit, also reaching the pop Top Ten. The following year, she also resumed her acting career, co-starring in acclaimed director (and former junior high classmate) John Singleton's Poetic Justice, along with rapper Tupac Shakur. But neither really hinted at the sexy, seductive, fully adult persona she unveiled with 1993's janet., her Virgin debut. Jackson trumpeted her new image with a notorious Rolling Stone cover photo, in which her topless form was covered by a pair of hands belonging to an unseen "friend." Musically, Jam and Lewis set aside the synthesized funk of their first two albums with Jackson in favor of warm, inviting, gently undulating grooves. The album's lead single, the slinky "That's the Way Love Goes," became Jackson's biggest hit ever, spending eight weeks at number one. It was followed by a predictably long parade of Top Ten hits -- "If," the number one ballad "Again," "Because of You," "Any Time, Any Place," "You Want This." janet.'s debut showing at number one made it her third straight chart-topping album, and it went on to sell nearly seven million copies.

In 1995, Janet and Michael teamed up for the single "Scream," which was supported by an elaborate, award-winning, space-age video that, upon completion, ranked as the most expensive music video ever made. The single debuted at number five on the pop charts, but gradually slid down from there. In 1996, A&M issued a retrospective of her years at the label, Design of a Decade 1986-1996; it featured the Virgin hit "That's the Way Love Goes" and a few new tracks, one of which, "Runaway," became a Top Five hit. Jackson also signed a new contract with Virgin for a reported $80 million. Yet while working on her next album, Jackson reportedly suffered an emotional breakdown, or at least a severe bout with depression; she later raised eyebrows when she talked in several interviews about the cleansing value of coffee enemas as part of her treatment.

Her next album, The Velvet Rope, appeared in 1997, and was touted as her most personal and intimate work to date. The Velvet Rope sought to combine the sensuality of janet. with the more socially conscious parts of Rhythm Nation, mixing songs about issues like domestic abuse, AIDS, and homophobia with her most sexually explicit songs ever. Critical opinion on the album was divided; some applauded her ambition, while others found the record too bloated. The lead American single "Together Again," an elegy for AIDS victims, was a number one hit; also popular on the radio was "Got 'Til It's Gone," which featured rapper Q-Tip and a sample of Joni Mitchell over a reggae beat. "I Get Lonely," featuring Blackstreet, was another big hit; but on the whole, The Velvet Rope didn't prove to be the blockbuster singles bonanza that its predecessors were, which was probably why its sales stalled at around three million copies.

Jackson toured the world again, and stayed on the charts in 1999 with the Top Five Busta Rhymes duet "What's It Gonna Be?!"; her appearance in the video remade her as a glitzy, artificially costumed, single-name diva. In 2000, she appeared in the Eddie Murphy comedy Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, and her soundtrack contribution, "Doesn't Really Matter," became a number one single. Unfortunately, Jackson's marriage to Elizondo had become strained and the couple divorced in 2000, sparking a court battle over her musical income. Jackson returned with a new album, All For You, in 2001, which largely continued the sensual tone of janet. and The Velvet Rope; it debuted at number one, selling over 600,000 copies in its first week alone. The title track was issued as the album's first single and quickly topped the charts, followed by another sizable hit in "Someone to Call My Lover."

While Jackson spent much of 2001 and 2002 on the road supporting All For You, she also found time for some guest appearances, most notably with Beenie Man on his Tropical Storm LP and Justin Timberlake on Justified, his solo debut. By 2003 she was back in the studio, working once again with Jam and Lewis on tracks for a new album; additional producers included Dallas Austin and Kayne West. Later that year, it was revealed Jackson would take part in an MTV-produced extravaganza during halftime at the Super Bowl. 2004 began with an Internet leak of the upbeat Austin production "Just a Little While." The singer's camp rolled with the punches, offering the track to radio as an authorized digital download, but the buzz this business caused was minuscule in comparison to the nightmare union of free exposure and bad publicity that Jackson's next adventure caused. Appearing at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII as scheduled, Jackson performed "All For You" and "Rhythm Nation" before bringing out surprise guest Timberlake for a duet on his hit "Rock Your Body." But the real surprise came at song's end, when a gesture from Timberlake caused Jackson's costume to tear, exposing her right, pierced breast on live television to hundreds of millions of viewers. The incident caused furious back pedaling and apologizing from Timberlake, Jackson, the NFL, CBS, and MTV, which swore no previous knowledge of the so-called "wardrobe malfunction," and led to speculation over how Damita Jo - Jackson's upcoming album and her first in three years - would be received. But while the controversy gave Jackson both grief and a bit of free advertising, it was also the impetus for a national debate on public indecency. A federal commission was set up to investigate prurience, the FCC enacted tougher crackdowns on TV and radio programs broadcasting questionable content. Later that March, the singer quietly started making the talk show rounds. She was still apologizing for the incident, but she was also promoting Damita Jo, which Virgin issued at the end of the month.

Damita Jo, debuted at number two with opening week sales of nearly 400,000 copies. The songs released from the album, including the Prince-inspired "Just a Little While," the Motown/Supremes-inspired ballad "I Want You," and "All Nite (Don't Stop)," also performed modestly on the charts. Jackson described the album as a portrait of the many personalities living inside her. Damita Jo sold over three million copies world wide and received nominations from the American Music Awards, Billboard Awards, Source Music Awards, BET Music Awards and Grammy Awards including Contemporary R&B Album of the Year.

Jackson is currently preparing to release her ninth album, scheduled for a September 26, 2006 release. Jermaine Dupri, one of the executive producers, said the new album would be titled 20 Years Old, a nod to the 20th anniversary of Control, and references to how old Jackson "currently feels." Janet Jackson officially changed the title of the album to 20 Y.O. after a fans suggestion during the "Design Me" contest to design a cover for a limited release.
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