Janet Jackson Bio: Life and Career of the Singer and Actress

Born May 16th, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, Janet Jackson got her start in showbiz alongside her famous brothers in The Jackson 5. After doing some acting, her manager father encouraged her to pursue music. But it was only after she started working with a new manager and other producers that her albums became successful: 1986's "Control" began a string of number one records and spawned dozens of top 10 singles. Though her mix of pop, R&B, soul and funk resonated with audiences, Jackson also branched out into acting. She hit a rough spot after her 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction but found herself back on top of the game in 2008 with "Discipline." In this WatchMojo.com video, we take a look at the life and career of Janet Jackson.
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Her first name’s Janet, Miss Jackson if you’re nasty. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re taking a look at the life and career of Janet Jackson.

The Jackson 5


Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born May 16th, 1966 in Gary, Indiana as the youngest of Katherine and Joseph Jackson’s children. Following the massive success of her older brothers in The Jackson 5, she made her stage debut at age seven.

First Television Roles

In 1976, she appeared with her family in “The Jacksons” variety show. This helped her land roles in several television sitcoms during the ‘70-80s, most notably “Diff’rent Strokes.”

First Record


Jackson’s manager/father soon convinced her to start recording music. Following a duet with brother Randy, she signed a deal with A&M Records. Thanks to its disco and funk-flavored pop, her 1982 eponymous debut found success on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Second Album


Jackson continued on the pop path with 1984’s Dream Street. Brother Marlon provided production help, while other brothers, including pop sensation Michael, supplied backing vocals on a top 10 R&B single. Despite this, the album barely cracked Billboard. That same year, small screen audiences saw Jackson in the “Fame” musical series.

Independence


Jackson soon asserted her independence: she eloped, though the marriage was quickly annulled, and worked with a new manager and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Maturity


The teen unveiled a more mature side with her 1986 breakthrough, Control. By seamlessly blending R&B, pop, rap, funk and disco, the well-received effort topped Billboard. It also spawned five top five singles that positioned Jackson as a force in modern music, while its music videos exhibited her smooth dance moves.

Chart-topping Success


Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 became another chart-topper in 1989. As co-writer and co-producer, Jackson used an R&B, electronic and sample-heavy sound to explore socially conscious themes. The multiple platinum-certified effort became the first album to produce seven top five singles, and it was supported by a successful world tour that confirmed Jackson’s live talents.

Multi-Million Dollar Contract


Jackson’s good fortune continued in 1991: Virgin Records offered her a multi-million dollar contract and she married again.

Sexy Side


Following a Luther Vandross duet, Jackson released her third chart-topping disc in 1993. In addition to her signature R&B, pop and rap blend, janet. incorporated hip hop, house and jazz into its sexy tracks. These sensual songs, along with a provocative Rolling Stone cover, showcased the pop star’s more liberated side.

Continued Musical Success and Acting


janet. became the highest-selling album by a female solo artist and generated six top tens, including the Grammy-winning “That’s the Way Love Goes” and the Oscar-nominated “Again.” That ballad also appeared in Jackson’s big screen debut, “Poetic Justice.”

Top Ten Singles


Next was her top five duet with brother Michael and its $7 million, Grammy-winning music video. Jackson then became the first female with a Billboard top ten debut single thanks to “Runaway” off her first greatest hits compilation.

Making History with “The Velvet Rope”


After negotiating a history-making $80 million Virgin contract, Jackson took The Velvet Rope to number one in 1997. The darker and more personal CD had racy lyrics but also tackled serious issues like abuse and discrimination. Meanwhile, “Together Again” became a best-seller.

More Music and Movies


Following a world tour and several collaborations, Jackson appeared in the “Nutty Professor” sequel. Her soundtrack contribution topped Billboard and appeared on 2001’s All For You. That Grammy-winning R&B/dance-pop record and its title track also went to number one.

Wardrobe Malfunction


Jackson continued collaborating and touring. But things went sour in 2004 when a wardrobe malfunction partially exposed her breast during her Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show performance with Justin Timberlake.

More Albums


Despite her apologies, a top two debut and three Grammy nods, that year’s sexually charged Damita Jo failed to recapture her earlier commercial success. Two years later, she had another top two album with 20 Y.O.

Michael Jackson’s Death

After the comedy-drama “Why Did I Get Married?” Jackson was back on top with 2008’s Discipline. Sadly, in 2009 her brother Michael died and her long-term relationship with producer Jermaine Dupri ended.

Keeping Busy


Over the next years, Jackson acted, toured and released two greatest hits compilations, while also undertaking numerous fashion ventures, charity work and marrying a wealthy businessman.

Multi-Talented Artist


Besides singing, dancing and acting, Janet Jackson is a humanitarian and fashionista. But it’s her performing skills and the memorable beats and hooks of her slickly produced tunes that will remain forever ingrained in R&B and pop music.
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