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New Janet Interview with Star Tribune

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To Janet Jackson, Minneapolis will always be her 'home away from home'
Balancing motherhood and megahits, Janet Jackson talks about her return to Minnesota, where she recorded her breakthrough albums.
 
By Jon Bream Star Tribune
September 11, 2019 
 
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Solaiman Fazel
 
 
Janet Jackson performed her “Metamorphosis” show in Las Vegas, which she wrapped up a month ago. Now she’s back on the road and headed to Treasure Island for an outdoor concert Saturday.
 
Janet Jackson sounded like any mom who’d just sent her only child off to preschool for the first time.
 
“It was very sweet, but he’s trying to get his whole schedule set,” she said after Week 1 of school for son Eissa, who turns 3 in January. “He hasn’t figured it out yet. He’s not wanting to get up. He says, ‘I want to stay in bed, Mama.’ ”
 
These days, Jackson is balancing single motherhood and singular superstardom. After completing another leg of her Las Vegas residency and a summer run of European festivals, she’ll perform Saturday at Treasure Island Casino amphitheater in Red Wing, Minn. — her first outdoor appearance in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
“You guys don’t have a lot of bugs now? That’s the one fear: Bugs flying in your mouth,” she said by telephone on Monday. “It won’t be humid and in the 90s. I’ve done that, too. I don’t mind it outdoors.”
 
Jackson knows Minnesota. She recorded her five biggest-selling albums in the Twin Cities— from 1986’s “Control” to 2001’s “All for You” — with producer-songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
 
“It’s home away from home for me,” said the longtime Los Angeles resident. “I spent so many years there. It will always hold a special place in my heart. The people are always nice to me. It’s a part of my life. You can’t talk about my career without talking about Minneapolis.”
 
Over the years, Jackson lived in downtown Minneapolis hotels and stayed at Jam’s mansion on Lake Minnetonka. Despite all her treks here, though, she never considered buying property in the Gopher State.
She reminisces about learning how to drive a car with manual transmission in the Twin Cities, commuting from Jam’s Minnetrista home to Flyte Tyme Studios in Edina in freezing fog on icy streets.
 
“I was so stressed, but I made it there,” she recalled. “What great memories.”
 
She gleefully remembers making snow angels outside the original Flyte Tyme in south Minneapolis in the late 1980s.
 
“I was so excited. Right out in front of the studio on Nicollet. It was fun for me.
 
“I’m a big kid.”
 
Coloring ‘Rhythm Nation’
 
That studio is where she made “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814,” released 30 years ago this month.
 
“Minneapolis colored that album in every way,” she said. “It played a huge part. Even calling out the city in ‘Escapade.’ Minneapolis and the album belong together. They really do.”
 
The landmark album sent an unprecedented seven songs into Billboard’s Top 10 — more than brother Michael Jackson’s mega-smash “Thriller” — including “Miss You Much” and “Black Cat.”
 
As always, she sang about romance, but also addressed racism, poverty, drugs and other social issues on what was something of a protest album.
 
“Those were my concerns ... Wanting to make a difference, make a change, wanting the world to be different, trying to make a stance for, ‘Let’s come together and do something about these issues,’ ” she said, getting warmed up.
 
The album is “still very relevant. I feel ashamed to say that. I wish we would have moved on. But hopefully it will, as it has over the years, inspire another generation to listen and to create change in the world how they want to.”
 
Jackson credits Jam and Lewis for helping her find her voice when she came to Minneapolis in 1985 to make “Control.”
 
After two slow-selling albums, singing songs “about other people’s experience” and being told what to do by label executives, she decided to give recording one more try.
 
“Jimmy and Terry wanted to allow me to have my voice and speak about what is going on in my life,” she said. “That’s how it all began.”
 
Jackson is still tight with the hitmaking producers, who relocated to Los Angeles in 2003.
 
“Jimmy just texted me from Paris 10 days ago; I was actually in London at the time,” Jackson said. “We’re still close. I love that.”
 
No terrible twos
 
Her son Eissa is the big relationship in her life right now. Separated from her third husband since their child was four months old, she said she “absolutely loves” motherhood.
 
“It’s definitely changed me for the better. Everyone always said how patient a person I was. But I found a whole new world within myself when it comes to patience and having someone that relies on me to care for. It’s the first thing on my mind and the last thing on my mind.”
 
Not surprisingly, her son is musical. He fiddles with a violin and sings. Jackson made up a bedtime tune to serenade him.
 
“Sometimes he’ll wake up and sing it to me. But he’ll sing it to me, saying his name,” she said like a verklempt mom. “It’s so cute.”
 
Even though she’s a relatively new mother, Jackson sounds like an old soul when asked if Eissa is experiencing the “terrible twos” that parents whine about.
 
“What’s terrible about it? They’re growing up, they’re exploring, they’re discovering, they’re walking into their independence. There’s nothing terrible to me about that,” she said. “They talk about the tantrums. Eissa hasn’t served me with that. So, I’m thankful.”
 
Named to Rock Hall of Fame
 
This year Jackson, 53, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with singer/actress Janelle Monae talking about her as an icon for black women and a model of fearlessness for all women, especially those in the music business.
 
“I never thought about myself being there, even when my brothers [the Jackson 5 and Michael as a solo artist] were inducted,” she said of the Hall of Fame. “It means a great deal to be in this special place, especially alongside my brothers.”
 
The induction evening in March had a more private but equally otherworldly moment — Jackson met Stevie Nicks, a fellow inductee for her solo career.
 
“I never knew she was such a fan,” Jackson said. “We had a nice conversation. Such a sweet woman. She’s someone I used to listen to as a kid in Fleetwood Mac.”
 
Janet is the ninth and youngest of the Jackson siblings. As the second most famous member of the prominent family, she’s always facing scrutiny — from fans, the media and the industry.
 
“I love what I do. But there’s another side of it that you don’t really sign up for. Some artists handle it well, some don’t. You can get very caught up, and I’m just thankful I never did. It has to do with how you’re raised. It’s not an easy business. Being under that microscope, you always have everyone watching you. And it’s that fine line: you must stay true to yourself. And you have to be very careful how you walk, where you step.”
 
Roller skating with Prince
 
One of the other Jacksons brought Prince into Janet’s life long before she came to Minneapolis in 1985 to meet Jam and Lewis.
 
“Prince used to call my house when I was a kid before he became as famous as he became,” Jackson recalled. “He had a crush on my sister LaToya, and I’d always be the one to answer the phone. He used to come roller skate with our family sometimes. Then I had a couple of encounters with him in Minneapolis. We were never best friends, but we knew each other.”
 
With a couple of her besties, Jackson has recorded a new song for “Jam and Lewis Volume 1,” an all-star album — likely featuring Mary J. Blige, Sounds of Blackness and others — by the hit producers that’s due in 2020.
 
It’s “classic us,” she said of the track.
 
Jackson is not working on any other new music, but she’s “still creating things,” though she did not go into specifics. In 2011, she signed a deal with Lionsgate to produce movies. She starred in a series of movies, including 1993’s “Poetic Justice” and 2010’s “For Colored Girls,” after appearing in the TV series “Good Times” and “Diff’rent Strokes” before launching her recording career.
 
With November concert runs in Australia and Hawaii coming up, she’s concentrating on being a music superstar onstage and a new mom offstage.
 
“I sure do lose a lot of sleep. And I don’t ever nap,” she said without sounding whiny. “He’s such a sweet boy. When we travel together, he has a lot of friends among the [touring] group. They have children, and he gets his play time, for sure.
 
“Where does any mother or father get their energy from? It’s something God gives you. You figure it out. You’re the last on your list; they’re first when it comes to everything.”
 

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I love she cleared things up, not expecting a new album anytime soon (at but that's what's best about no expectations, and if she playin & drops something that's great, but eh again, her lips, Unbreakable), but she recorded a new song with Jam & Lewis, tight!

 I like what she said about Prince, seems accurate, Toya spoke about Prince trying really hard to get with her, but that was when she was prone to lying but Janet confirmed!

But I love her experiences in the city and her getting candid about her time there.

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So new music...:sigh: .so what the hell was Harmony Samuels talking about then..

JtHtDnF.gif

 

 

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So basically all this speculation was over a song?

I’m just letting Janet do her lol

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Ok so  Janet finally confirms no new music or album anytime soon..besides the new track on  Jam and Lewis Album due in 2020..so I'm  guessing New Album/EP was scrapped..dang i really was hoping us Janet fans wasn't  going to have to wait as long as we did for Unbreakable. and its really confusing  to me..why all this touring and no New music to follow? Yes the Touring helps establish  her ..as an Touring act .and bring new fans but i really thought an New Album would follow..smh..well  i guess we'll  have to wait too actually  hear from her lips when an actual New Musical  project is in the works again...

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Knowing Janet and her constant white lies, that probably means she's still working on music (maybe slower). Sevyn recently said she was writing for Janet, and there's no reason she's lying.

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Damita Jo ain't saying shit until she is ready. No new music means mind ya business ho

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Ty Dolla $ign also mentioned working in something with Janet... so I feel like she’s definitely working/creating stuff. We just won’t be hearing it as soon as we’d like...

 

I feel like she said ‘nothing new coming out soon’ or whatever cause she wants it to be a surprise (no surprise album, please) or she just wants to set our expectations so we’ll be more patient. haha

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Again, lol, Janet had been recorded music and has songs recorded. Remember the EP conversation? There was music recorded for that, & enough to actually have a solid EP...despite the fact, some fans thought that would be stupid. That concept & project would have been something fans would have loved if it were released. 

Noooow...things seem to have taken a turn in a different direction like it often does with Janet. She’s decided to get tour money based on past work. RN right after Metamorphosis. 

These producers or writers are not lying and making things up about working with Janet...the music just doesn’t ever hit the streets. 

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Of COURSE Janet is not gonna tell a local newspaper she's working on a new album, lol. Plus, when she says she's not working on new music RIGHT NOW, she's probably being honest. Her focus has been on Metamorphosis and now these RN30 shows. I can totally see Janet return to the studio around December/January, finishing what she already has and then March/April-ish the album. 

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26 minutes ago, Jakob said:

Of COURSE Janet is not gonna tell a local newspaper she's working on a new album, lol. Plus, when she says she's not working on new music RIGHT NOW, she's probably being honest. Her focus has been on Metamorphosis and now these RN30 shows. I can totally see Janet return to the studio around December/January, finishing what she already has and then March/April-ish the album. 

You’re missing the point. Made for Now dropped over a year ago & when it did she had already recorded enough to give you new material. It’s not about telling a local paper...she doesn’t want you to anticipate anything because she’s not dropping. 

For years fans have created their own hope that she’s going to deliver the music and visuals and products they desire...but when she tells you she’s not, she usually means it lol. 

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I don't see any reason why she couldn't tell us if she in fact would be releasing a new album soon. So I believe her when she says there's no new album coming in the near future. She's been living the travel life for years now so I think she hasn't had the time or motivation (?) for a big NEW project. I believe she will just keep on touring as a "nostalgic act" for awhile now, probably add more dates etc. The reason for this I believe is more personal (wants to stay away from London with her baby). But then again, if the baby is in preschool she might have to take a longer break soon which I hope!! She's been on the road a lot!

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Ok, you guys have to take into consideration that “the new music is there, it’s just not being released anytime soon”. Since May of last year, Janet confirmed with Billboard that she was working on new music but plan change like when she was offered the residency this year. Also, remember that Janet is independent now and has to find her own projects as well as record label on her own. Her touring isn’t just to reestablish herself as a touring artist but to rack up as much money to find future projects like an album, tour, etc. Just give Janet and her team time. She was recording from late 2017 to late 2018 for a reason. We just have to wait from her lips as usual. 👍👍👍

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Janet said in the past that she would just release songs here and there....well :unsure:

Unfortunately, ain't no money in releasing albums and unless you got a dick or Taylor Swift...you gonna flop.

 

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6 hours ago, FreelovesJJ said:

You’re missing the point. Made for Now dropped over a year ago & when it did she had already recorded enough to give you new material. It’s not about telling a local paper...she doesn’t want you to anticipate anything because she’s not dropping. 

For years fans have created their own hope that she’s going to deliver the music and visuals and products they desire...but when she tells you she’s not, she usually means it lol. 

Very recently Ty Dolla Sign received a track from Janet to work on. That means she's certainly working on things. Maybe not constantly, but eventually there will be an album. 

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Yall talkin bout the album thing...i was more into her talk about Prince esp cus all of the speculation around Prince so called "not liking her" but her LOVING him as an artist. It was interesting to me that he was close w/ the family BEFORE he became Prince...who would have known. Michael nor Janet had never alluded to that anytime that they had spoke about Prince. Im surprised Michael never did considering how shady he was towards Prince over the years lol Therefore I had never known if Janet and Prince had ever really met ...i always wondered that but i like how she confirmed they had ran into each other a coupe of times and that "they are not best friends but they know each other" .. That gave me my clarity on their relationship. And yeah Prince did shade Janet that one time and yeah he was a lil bitter when "Control" blew up but i juss think that had to do more with ego than anything..he didnt want to see Jimmy and Terry to succeed after his firing of them...and Janet was merely caught in the middle. I feel the Janfam played up the whole "Prince hates Janet" thing. Prince was shady but nature. It was apart of his character but that didnt mean he hates you. Hell, ut was confirmed he didnt hate Janet.that time Tina Landon spoke about working with Prince and how he wanted Tina to go back and relay all the  knowledge abouhow Janet should try to get and own her masters and that to not be a "slave" in the business 

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10 hours ago, FreelovesJJ said:

You’re missing the point. Made for Now dropped over a year ago & when it did she had already recorded enough to give you new material. It’s not about telling a local paper...she doesn’t want you to anticipate anything because she’s not dropping. 

For years fans have created their own hope that she’s going to deliver the music and visuals and products they desire...but when she tells you she’s not, she usually means it lol. 

I mean... she’s being honest and folks are trying to read wayyy too much into it. I think if she was working on releasing she would’ve just said it. She’s a music artist. It wouldn’t have been earth shattering. Some of us sound like Rihanna fans right now. 

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5 hours ago, Angela said:

 

I mean... she’s being honest and folks are trying to read wayyy too much into it. I think if she was working on releasing she would’ve just said it. She’s a music artist. It wouldn’t have been earth shattering. Some of us sound like Rihanna fans right now. 

FACTS! Lol at least Rihanna claimed she’s dropping. Janet said, nah I’m not & they said...maybe she doesn’t want to reveal she is. Lol

10 hours ago, Jakob said:

Very recently Ty Dolla Sign received a track from Janet to work on. That means she's certainly working on things. Maybe not constantly, but eventually there will be an album. 

This could have been a wide range of things. Someone could have wanted to pitch her something with Ty & he excitedly spoke out of turn. I’m not saying he’s lying, he just could be speaking prematurely. 

14 hours ago, Lenzo88 said:

Ok, you guys have to take into consideration that “the new music is there, it’s just not being released anytime soon”. Since May of last year, Janet confirmed with Billboard that she was working on new music but plan change like when she was offered the residency this year. Also, remember that Janet is independent now and has to find her own projects as well as record label on her own. Her touring isn’t just to reestablish herself as a touring artist but to rack up as much money to find future projects like an album, tour, etc. Just give Janet and her team time. She was recording from late 2017 to late 2018 for a reason. We just have to wait from her lips as usual. 👍👍👍

No disrespect but Janet & her team had developed work and music for all the fans to enjoy around Made for Now. It’s not a matter of her not having time because they are independent. She just decided against it. 

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Y’all are so pressed and impatient. Unbreakable still slaps and is still relatively new. You better get back into the queen’s recent modern classic! A new album isn’t coming anytime soon, deal with it!

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