*The queen of Pop … though many wouldn’t agree with that title, Janet Jackson, has remerged after getting married to her rich beau and allegedly converting to Islam.
The entertainer is recently celebrated her 20th anniversary of album “janet.”
Her groundbreaking fifth album has sold over 7 million copies and spawned six Hot 100 singles. The album was a sexual awakening for both Jackson and American culture. Hits like “That’s The Way Love Goes” and “Any Time, Any Place” were some of the most sexually frank to reach the upper reaches of the charts at the time.
During an interview with Billboard, the singer talks about her career and the next album in the making.
Billboard: May 18 marks the 20th anniversary of “janet.” How would you describe what that album captures about your life at that time?
Janet Jackson: I can’t believe it is already 20 years! I always write my music based on what is going on in my life at the time. I wanted to allow people in… I want my fans to really know me. The ‘janet’ album was sexual and I was beginning to really discover that side of me.
BB: Although you worked primarily with Jimmy and Terry again on “janet.,” you explore a lot of different genres on that album – from dance to soul to rock to opera on “This Time.” Did you have to fight to keep some of the bolder songs on there – was anyone telling you this wasn’t “pop” enough?
JJ: I’ve been exposed to all types of great music. I like to collaborate on my music. The creative process is fun and you get a lot of ideas from having discussions about it. Ultimately, the final decision is mine.
BB: There are musical references and direct samples of janet. songs all over the place now, most notably on Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice.” Have you heard most of these re-interpretations (Moon Boots’ “Sugar,” which samples “If,” How To Dress Well’s cover of “Again,” MNEK’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” etc?) And how does it feel to see your work have such impact on new artists?
JJ: I have listened to the music that is out there and I love Kendrick’s “Poetic Justice.” There are artists, true performers that have come before me who have been a big inspiration to me. I hope I do the same for others.
BB: Several of the songs on “janet” and their accompanying videos were groundbreaking at the time for their overt sexuality. Why was it so important for you to express that part of yourself in your work, and how did you convince others around you at the time to let you take those risks?
JJ: Like I said before, I write about my experiences or things that touch me deeply. I was really beginning to get in tune with my sexual self. This is what I wanted to express so I did. The decision to move forward in an artistic way is mine. I didn’t need to convince anyone.
Check out the full interview here.