Janet Jackson Covers Billboard / Talks New Music, Bruno Mars, & More
Janet Jackson is back and wasting no time blazing the trail all over again.
The Queen Of Pop is set for another coronation this Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards, where she will be presented with the coveted Icon honor.
Hence, she fittingly covers the latest issue of Billboard Magazine.
Recent years have seen the diva do away with interviews, but she shatters the silence will a full feature chat with the industry publication.
It’s timely, as the singer (who just turned 52) is gearing up for her BBMAs performance, the reboot of her ‘State Of The World Tour,’ and a string of headlining summer festival slots – including Essence and Panorama.
During the insightful chat, the 52-year-old updates on new music – her first since 2015’s chart-topping ‘Unbreakable,’ motherhood, the support of the LGBTQ community and more.
Peep pics and excerpts below…
On Her New Music
“I wish I could [tell you a lot]. I’m not trying to avoid the question and be secretive, but the truth is that I don’t try to analyze the creative process while it’s still ongoing. I’m very intuitive about writing. Anything can inspire me. This morning, I saw this lovely elderly Japanese woman walking down the streets of Hollywood wearing an adorable bonnet with bright red flowers. She might be a song. I remembered an especially painful chapter in my early life last night before going to bed. That might be a song. I woke up this morning and heard a bird chirping in a rhythm that captivated my heart. Maybe that will turn into a new groove. Like everyone else, my feelings are fluid. My ideas are fleeting. I like to keep it that way. I can’t decide in advance what a song or an album concept will be. I have to let those songs and concepts come to me rather than chase them down.
I’m glad I’m not methodical or self-conscious as a writer. It’s important that I maintain a let-it-happen-when-it-happens approach. I don’t want to strain or stress. I want to be a channel for whatever images and emotions are running through my imagination. Spontaneity is so important to me. It allows for surprise, and, for me, surprise is what breaks up the boredom of daily life. When I finally get to the music that genuinely expresses what I’m experiencing in the moment, I feel free. Music does that for me. Its healing properties are extraordinary.
On Whether, As A Socially Conscious Artist She Is Discouraged About The State Of The World:
“No. I’m anxious. I’m angry. I’m certainly concerned, but when I hear new artists finding their voices, just as I found mine, I’m optimistic. Young artists are exhibiting more courage than ever. Music is more alive than ever. And more relevant. We women artists — and women in general — are saying we will not be controlled, manipulated or abused. We’re determined not to fall back to those days of emotional and even physical enslavement. It’s a blessing to be alive today and join in the fight for equality among all human beings.”
On Which Younger Artists Impress Her Most:
“Daniel Caesar is proving that romantic R&B is alive and well. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are proving that brilliantly original storytelling is one of hip-hop’s great gifts to world culture. SZA is proving that young women still possess extraordinary vocal skills and style.
I also have a special place in my heart for Bruno Mars. Bruno was really the first music my son responded to. During and after his birth, I comforted myself with Brazilian jazz, music that always relaxes me. Then when the baby began crawling, Bruno was breaking out big and on the radio all the time. That delighted both of us. Bruno is a throwback to the days when the greatest artists could do it all: write, sing, dance, produce.”
On Being Embraced By The Early Gay Pride Movement:
It’s a loving, all-embracing community that has always inspired me. I don’t often listen to my own work, but when I go back to [1997’s] Velvet Rope, I put on “Together Again” and remember the friends I lost to AIDS. It was important to me to honor them not mournfully but joyously in a celebratory song. Their spirit did so much to bolster mine. Sometimes when people talk about Velvet Rope, they call it my edgiest or sexiest record. Yet the heart of the record is not about sex at all. It’s about how, in defiance of death, we will all be “together again.” It’s an anthem to undying love.
On What Drives Her As A Single Mom – Who’s Touring, Recording, Learning Dance Moves & More:
“The drive is in my DNA. I couldn’t lose it if I wanted to, and I don’t. Motivation is something I treasure. Besides, for all its difficulties, this is the life I love. I’m surrounded with a team of dancers, singers and musicians I love. I’m supported by fans that have stuck by me through thick and thin. They mean the world to me. Now more than ever, performing, whether in the studio or onstage, brings me a satisfaction I find nowhere else.
Like millions of other women, I’ve struggled with low self-esteem my whole life. I’m doing better in that regard. My inclination toward harsh self-criticism and even self-negation has dramatically eased up. I believe in all the different methods of help — smart psychology, vigorous exercise and sincere spirituality.
God is the greatest healer of all and the most potent force in the universe. In my world, though, God is so often expressed through music, and it’s music that beats back the negative forces. It’s music that drowns out those voices that say I’m not enough. It’s music, and its divine source, that gifts me with the knowledge that harmony is still possible.
And while we’re talking about positivity, let me also say that my son, even in his short 17 months on the planet, has showed me that love, no matter how deeply you believe you have experienced that emotion, can always go deeper. Love is limitless. And for someone like me, raised in show business where self-concern is always a priority, how fortunate I am now to be concerned, first and foremost, with the welfare of someone else. Day after day and night after night, holding my baby in my arms, I am at peace. I am blessed. I feel bliss. In those moments, all is right with the world.”
We’re ecstatic to hear that new music is coming and even more ecstatic that she’s talking about it (and talking at all).
In so many ways, welcome back Ms. Jackson!