Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born in 1966 in Gary, Indiana. She was the youngest of nine children to Katherine Esther and Joseph Walter Jackson and was raised in Encino, California. Her brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael performed as The Jackson 5 and were successful enough with their signing to Motown in 1969, that the family was able to move to Encino in 1971.
Before ever pursuing a music career, Janet did a variety of television shows. She started in 1976 on The Jacksons alongside her siblings. This career continued with Good Times in 1977 and A New Kind of Family in 1979-1980. She rounded out her early acting work with Diff'rent Strokes in 1981-1982 and a season of the show Fame.
When Janet began her music career in the early 1980s, it seemed unlikely she would follow her siblings success. Her first release in 1982, the self-titled Janet Jackson, featured production from Angela Winbush and Leon Sylvers III but did not do very well. Its singles "Young Love," "Come Give Your Love to Me," and "Say You Do" reached #6, #17 and #15 on the R&B charts respectively. However, the singles had limited cross-over appeal.
A similar story followed with her album Dream Street released in 1984. While the album's singles "Don't Stand Another Chance" and "Fast Girls" reached #9 and #40 on the R&B tracks, the album's success was limited. That same year, she married James DeBarge.
After her second album's poor performance, Janet made the career-altering decision to cut her father off from her music career and take charge of her own career. She teamed up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and together, they released Janet Jackson's hit album, Control, in 1986. Jackson hit the ground running with her third album, topping the Hot 200 and going 5X platinum. The album was driven by several successful singles. "When I Think of You" reached #1 on the Hot 100, and the singles "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "Control," "Let's Wait Awhile," and "The Pleasure Principle" all topped the R&B charts and the first four were all top 5 hits on the Hot 100.
Janet Jackson moved her career forward with her fourth album, Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989. The album spoke about social issues, including illiteracy, crime and drugs. It expanded the success of Janet's earlier work, going 6X platinum. The album featured 4 #1 hits on the Hot 100, with "Miss You So Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat," and "Love Will Never Do" topping the charts and making Rhythm Nation 1814 the only album to have singles top the chart in three consecutive years. The album's other singles "Rhythm Nation," "Alright," "Come Back To Me," and "State of the World" all were top 5 hits on the Hot 100.
In 1993, Janet Jackson released her fifth album janet. The album was Janet's attempt to show she was more than just a Jackson as the album did not include her last name. It also was far more sexual than Janet's earlier work. The album went 6X platinum, and featured a slew of singles. "Again" and "That's The Way Love Goes" were the album's only #1 hits on the Hot 100. However, "If," "Because of Love," "Any Time, Any Place," and "You Want This" all were top 10 hits.
After suffering from depression, Janet Jackson's 1997 album, The Velvet Rope, reflected a lot of the struggles she had been going through. The album was a self-examination and its title represented the velvet ropes separating VIPs from the crowds, as well as the internal rope which separates a person's feelings from those around them. The album went 3X platinum and featured the #1 Hot 100 single "Together Again," and the #3 hit "I Get Lonely."
Janet Jackson's next album, All for You, came out in 2001. It featured the #1 hit single "Doesn't Really Matter," from the Nutty Professor II soundtrack. Janet also starred in the movie alongside Eddie Murphy. The album's second single, "All for You" also reached #1 on the Hot 100, becoming Janet's tenth, and last single to do so. The album featured one more top 5 single on the Hot 100, with "Someone to Call My Lover" reaching #3. The album went 2X platinum.
As an aside on Janet's career, she appeared in the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004. This appearance would typically not be worth mentioning, however, Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the performance caused such a stir of controversy that it can't go without notice. In the performance, Janet was singing alongside Justin Timberlake to his song "Rock Your Body." At one point during the track, Justin pulled off Janet's right breastplate, exposing her right breast to the audience and millions of television viewers. The event caused a stir, becoming the most replayed moment in TiVo history, and caused Janet to become the most searched in Internet history. Due to the occurrence, Janet was not allowed to appear in the 46th Grammy Awards.
That same year, Janet released her album, Damita Jo. The album went platinum, but showed dropping success of Janet's releases. The album's singles failed to achieve the chart topping success of her earlier work, with only "Just A Little Wihle" and "I Want You" breaking onto the Hot 100 and neither broke into the Top 40.
2006 saw the release of 20 Y.O. which commemorated twenty years since Janet's first hit album Control. The album's highest charting single "Call on Me" was a duet with Nelly that reached #25 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B charts. The album went platinum.
Janet's most recent release to date was her 2008 release Discipline. The album was on Island Def Jam Music Group and saw Janet and Jermaine Dupri as the executive producers. The album's most successful single was "Feedback" which reached #19 on the Hot 100.
In addition to her role in the 2000 film Nutty Professor 2, Janet Jackson also appeared in the 1993 film Poetic Justice and the 2007 film, Why Did I Get Married?