Janet Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 into a well known musical family. She was the youngest of nine children. Janet, not wanting to grow up in the shadow of her siblings, got some help from creative and professional advisors outside the family. Janet was seen as the pop funk diva of the late Eighties and early Nineties. Janet's live performances revealed a crisp, athletic dance technique not unlike her brother's. Singing wasn't the point. Janet's beats, and impeccable production values were perfectly suited together, and through her music she reveled her social and sexual independence.
In 1976 Janet made her first appearence on the popular sitcoms Good Times and Different Strokes. In 1982, her career took a turn when she secured a contract with A&M Records. Her father guided and managed her. The debut album, Janet Jackson, did yield a #6 R&B single, Young Love. From there another TV role, on the series Fame, followed, as did another unremarkable album, 1984's Dream Street, and another R&B hit, Don't Stand Another Chance. Also in 1984, Jackson defied her family by marrying singer James DeBarge, whose R&B sibling act DeBarge was being hyped as a successor to the Jacksons. The marriage was annulled after less than a year, but the damage was done and it led to her independence.
Janets real success came from her breakthrough album, 1986's Control, which topped the pop and R&B album charts and spawned numerous hits, What Have You Done For Me Lately, Nasty, When I Think of You and in 1987, Control, Let's Wait Awhile and The Pleasure Principle. In 1987 Janet dismissed her father as manager. Her next album Rhythm Nation came in 1989 and generated many more hit singles. To promote the album, Janet embarked on her first major tour.In 1991 Virgin Records lured Janet away from A&M with a contract worth more than $30 million. Her final A&M project was a 1992 duet with Luther Vandross, The Best Things in Life Are Free, recorded for the soundtrack to the film Mo Money.
In 1993 Janet made her own movie debut as the heroine (opposite rapper Tupac Shakur) of director/screenwriter John Singleton's Poetic Justice, for which she received lukewarm reviews. That same year, her Virgin album, janet, shot to the top of the pop and R&B charts.