Janet, the youngest member of the famous Jackson family of musicians, was born on the 16th day of May, 1966, in her native Gary, Indiana. Her full names are Janet Damita Jo Jackson. And, she was the very last of the nine children born to Joseph and Kathrin Jackson.
Janet was exposed to music so early in life that she cannot even remember when it all began. In fact, she was still an infant when her older siblings (Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, and Michael) were grooving around nightclubs and other discotheques: as Jackson Five. The Jackson 5 signed their first contract with Motown before Janet was three; and went ahead to release four consecutive chart-toppers. So, it could be rightly said that Janet was born and nursed in music.
With her brothers becoming both rich and famous before the little girl could even pronounce her first name, it was a forgone conclusion that she would join the Jackson's bandwagon. But Janet proved to be in no hurry to do that. She developed soft-spot for horses, and hoped to become a professional race jockey when she grow-up. However, an equally determined dad, Joe, would have none of that. He assiduously coerced the little Janet into ‘opening' her eyes. In an interview several years later, Janet Jackson would summarize all these thus: "No one ever asked me if I wanted to go into show-business. It was expected."
Her father's will triumphed, and in 1974 little Miss Jackson made her stage debut. She accompanied her already famous brothers onto an MGM Casino groove in Las Vegas, Nevada. With exposure gained and success achieved, it was natural that proposals began to trickle-in. Both Janet and dad accepted to give acting a try. So, starting from 1976, the lass appeared in various TV-series (like the Good Times). She did this from the mid 1970s to early ‘80s, before deciding to pursue serious musical career. Name recognition did the rest!
1982 ushered in an agreement with Universal Music Group's A&M Records; and Janet promptly recorded her self-titled LP. She continued to carve a niche for herself, and succeeded in creating a distinct self image in the late ‘80s: which was almost devoid of fraternal realms and influences.
Rewards were quick in coming, and in 1991, the twenty-five year-old signed an undisclosed multimillion dollar contract with the Virgin Records. Just overnight, Janet Jackson had eclipsed everyone else, (including her own brothers), and briefly held the title of ‘the most expensive artiste' around. Virgin Records used all sorts of marketing ploys and strategies to propagate their new Mona Lisa. Hits and chart-toppers streamed in, and fans began to notice tantalizing foot-works and torso-movements from their pop sensation.
With that initial momentum sustained, foresight and diligence further capped their partnership. Both Janet and the Virgin Records basked in the ensuing glory, as well as financial rewards. As the Millennium appeared in the horizon, the now well-established and highly-acknowledged Janet Jackson was named the second most successful artiste of the 1990s.
The year 2001 saw her unleash the popular ‘All for You'. This quickly completed the tradition, which has seen her produce five straight Number One hits at Billboard 200.
If not for any other thing, the dame has proved that she is not just Michael Jackson's sister or Jackson 5's protégé: rather, an iconic entertainer in her own right. Her album sales ran into several million copies; and her concert-tickets always sold-out in advance.
Janet Jackson has since showcased her evergreen pedigree. Even her worst critics acknowledge that she ranks among the most successful female singers of all time. Her album sales have since exceeded the much-emphasized 100 million-copy mark. And in the United States alone, her sales estimate topped the 25 million-copy mark. She is a well-respected solo diva, who has partnered with many others in duets, trios, and so on. She is also credited as the first artiste who gave (the now famous) Jennifer Lopez the much-needed exposure, which helped her cut her teeth as a professional singer and dancer.
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