Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years. She is ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the richest women in entertainment. The youngest child of the Jackson family, she began her career with the variety television series “The Jacksons” in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including “Good Times” and “Fame.”
At age sixteen in 1982, she signed a recording contract with A&M, releasing her self-titled debut album the same year. “Janet Jackson” debuted at #6 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and its single "Young Love" peaked at #6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
She followed in 1984 with “Dream Street” featuring more pop than her debut album's bubblegum soul feel. The album reached #147 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and the lead single, "Don't Stand Another Chance" reached the Top 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Beginning with her third studio album 1986’s ''Control,” she began a long-term collaboration with record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Her music with Jam and Lewis incorporated elements of rhythm and blues, disco, funk, and rap with sample loop, triplet swing and industrial beats, which led to crossover appeal in popular music. “Control” is widely regarded as the breakthrough album of Jackson's career. It became her first album to top the Billboard 200 and five of its commercial singles, "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "Control," "When I Think of You" and "Let's Wait Awhile" peaked within the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The album went on to receive several accolades, including a nomination for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and winning Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for Jam and Lewis in 1987. It has been certified 5x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and has sold over 14 million copies worldwide.
Her fourth studio album, “Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814” peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was later certified 6x platinum and eventually sold over 14 million copies worldwide. The release became the only album in history to produce #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in three separate calendar years with"Miss You Much" in 1989, "Escapade" and "Black Cat" in 1990, and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" in 1991 and the only album in the history of the Hot 100 to have seven Top 5 hit singles. The corresponding music video for "Rhythm Nation" won the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video.
In 1991, she signed the first of two record-breaking, multi-million dollar recording contracts with Virgin Records, which established her as one of the highest paid artists in the music industry. Her debut album under the Virgin label, 1993’s ''janet.'' saw Jackson develop a public image as a sex symbol as she began to explore sexuality in her work. The album again peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 6x platinum after having the largest first week sales in history for a female artist at the time. It produced 5 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "That's the Way Love Goes," "If," "Because of Love," "You Want This" and "Any Time, Any Place.” The #1 hit, "That's the Way Love Goes" won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and "Again," which also reached #1 was featured in Jackson's debut feature film “Poetic Justice” and garnered nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song.
In July 1993, Jackson made her film debut in “Poetic Justice,” which reached #1 in the box office for one week. In December 1994, she collaborated with her brother Michael on "Scream," the lead single from his 1995 album “HIStory,” which was written by both siblings as a response to the media scrutiny he suffered from being accused of child sexual abuse. The song debuted at #5 on the Hot 100, becoming the first song ever to debut in the Top 5. Jackson and her brother won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video for "Scream."
In October 1995, Jackson's first compilation album, “Design of a Decade 1986/1996,” was released via A&M Records. It debuted at number four and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. The lead single "Runaway" became the first song by a female artist to debut within the Top 10 of the Hot 100, which eventually peaked at #3. “Design of a Decade 1986/1996” was certified 2x platinum by the RIAA and has sold over four million copies worldwide.
Released in October 1997, “The Velvet Rope” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 becoming Jackson's fourth consecutive album to top the chart. In August, 1997 the album's lead single, "Got 'til It's Gone," was released to radio, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Rhythmic Airplay chart. The single sampled the Joni Mitchell song "Big Yellow Taxi," and featured a cameo appearance by rapper Q-Tip. "Got 'til It's Gone" won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. The album's second single "Together Again," became her eighth #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, placing her on par with Elton John, Diana Ross, and The Rolling Stones. The single spent a record 46 weeks on the Hot 100. "I Get Lonely" peaked at #3 on the Hot 100. “The Velvet Rope” sold over ten million albums worldwide and was certified 3x platinum by the RIAA.
In July 2000, Jackson appeared in her second film, “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps,” as Professor Denise Gaines, opposite Eddie Murphy. The film became her second to open at #1 at the box office. Her contribution to the film's soundtrack, "Doesn't Really Matter," became her ninth #1 Billboard Hot 100 single.
Jackson's seventh album, “All for You,” was released in April 2001, and was her fifth consecutive debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. The album's title-track peaked at #1, where it topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks. It received the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. The second single, "Someone to Call My Lover," peaked at #3 on the Hot 100. “All for You” was certified 2x platinum by the RIAA and has sold more than nine million copies worldwide.
In March 2004, Jackson's eighth studio album, “Damita Jo” (Jackson's middle name), was released debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200. Despite the fact that the singles released were virtually ignored by pop radio, as none of its singles reached the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, Jackson found success mostly on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play charts, reaching #18 on the R&B chart with the Motown/Supremes-inspired, Kanye West-assisted ballad "I Want You" while the Prince-influenced "Just a Little While" and the funk danceable number "All Nite (Don't Stop)" topped the dance chart. " The album earned Jackson two nominations at the 2005 Grammy Awards, for Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "I Want You."
2006’s “20 Y.O.” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, making it Jackson's eighth consecutive Top 3 debut and second consecutive #2 album debut. It is also Jackson's eighth consecutive platinum album. In December 2006 the album earned Jackson a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The album's lead single "Call on Me," a duet with rapper Nelly, peaked at #25 on the Hot 100. “20 Y.O.” was certified platinum by the RIAA.
Jackson’s tenth studio album, “Discipline” was released in 2008 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, becoming her sixth to top the chart and it was her first album to reach #1 since 2001's "All for You." The first single, "Feedback,” reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Jackson's best-charting single since 2001's, "Someone to Call My Lover."
Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, she is ranked as one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music. The RIAA lists her as the eleventh best-selling female artist in the United States, with 26 million certified albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine released its list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, ranking her at #7. In 2010, the magazine announced the "Top 50 R&B / Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years," ranking her at #5.