Janet is back in control

  • Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2011 - 3:41 PM

After years of staging arena spectacles, Janet Jackson gets intimate in a concert tour that brings her back to the city where she recorded most of her hits.

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Janet Jackson

Photo: Benjamin Kuerstein, Associated Press

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Janet Jackson has spent her entire performing career in arenas. Such is the life of Michael's little sister, who scored 10 No. 1 pop singles, sold 100 million records and became the only artist to place seven songs from one album ("Rhythm Nation 1814") in Billboard's top 10.

A couple of years ago, when Jackson was performing a private concert at 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall in New York, she appreciated the relative intimacy of singing in a smaller venue. So she decided to undertake the Janet Jackson No. Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour, which brings her to the Orpheum Theatre Friday. It's her first tour since Michael's death in 2009.

She knows her way around the Twin Cities, since she recorded most of her hits here with producer/songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. However, she hasn't been here lately; Jam and Lewis moved to Los Angeles several years ago and she hasn't worked with them since her "20 Y.O." album in 2006.

Jackson, 45, agreed to answer some questions via email. Her answers were short and sweet, punctuated with emoticons. She didn't give direct or in-depth responses about such controversies as her lip-syncing in concert and her infamous 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction but she did address them.

Q: What will it be like to perform all your hits in Minneapolis, where so many were written and recorded?

A: It is going to be fun for me! I can't wait to get back to Minneapolis and see all my fans there.

Q: What one thing must you do while you're in Minneapolis?

A: Get some apple pie pizza from Sidney's, if they still exist. :oD. [Editor's note: Janet Sidney's restaurant chain closed in 2006. ].

Q: What's your favorite memory of Minneapolis?

A: I have so many, but being in Minneapolis to record "Control" stands out. It was the first time I was recording a CD without my family. It was a great.

Q: What's your worst memory of Minneapolis?

A: The winters!!! :0(

Q: I heard some guys stalked you by your hotel when you were recording "Control" in 1985. What's that story?

A: "Nasty" is the story for that question. That song came out of that experience.

Q: What did Kevin Garnett say to you later after you brought him onstage at Target Center for the seductive "Rope Burn" in 1998?

A: Kevin Garnett wanted to hook up. :0)

Q: What do you like most about this tour? The least?

A: I am having so much fun on this tour. It is the largest ever world tour for me. Whenever possible, I am choosing more intimate venues. I love being able to see everyone's face in the audience.

Q: What is it like to perform "Scream" without your brother Michael?

A: It is amazing. It's very therapeutic. The energy of the song is fierce but it makes me smile inside when I hear him, when I hear his voice.

Q: What goes through your mind onstage on this tour vs. what went through your mind onstage during your arena tours?

A: All I can think about during the show is how much fun I am having and how grateful I am to all the fans who have supported me all these years.

Q: Why do you end the show with "Together Again"?

A: I love what the song says... I am letting the audience know that we will be together again... hopefully soon!

Q: Over the years, some people have said that Janet lip-syncs in concert. What's the situation on this tour? Is all your singing live?

A: Yes, I am singing live.

Q: What did you learn about yourself from writing your self-help book "True You" that landed on the New York Times bestseller list this year?

A: I learned so much! One thing is that there were several issues that I thought I had grown past. It turns out, that I still had some work to do on them. I also learned that it was a long road, but I am happy with my life and who I am. That is not to say that I am not still working to better myself, but I am happy.

Q: What's the hardest thing about being Janet Jackson?

A: Answering that question. LOL

Q: How has Michael's death changed you?

A: I appreciate life even more.

Q: Now that Nicki Minaj and others have had wardrobe malfunctions on TV, how do you feel about what happened to you because of your wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl?

A: Well, I am sorry that it has happened to others. It is not a great feeling and I sympathize with them. I find it interesting in my case that I am the only person who it seems to still come up for.

Q: Talk about the challenges of being a pop star today vs what things were like for you in the '80s and '90s. What kind of things in this 24/7 media world do Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna and the new breed of pop divas have to deal with that you, Madonna, Whitney and Mariah didn't?

A: The business today is very different. The Internet plays an important role in music today. You can have an unknown artist become popular by posting their music on the web. Record labels are all looking for new ways to promote their artist and, in a lot of ways; the artist must take a more involved role. In the past, the label did that for you.

Q: What can you tell us about your movie plas?

A: I am excited to have partnered with Lionsgate to produce my first film. I am reading a lot of scripts and really enjoying the process. I am also reading scripts to act in as well.

Q: How 'bout recording plans?

A: I will go back into the studio later this year or early next. I am not sure what I will be doing yet. I like to be inspired by what is going on in my life at that time.

Q: What are your thoughts about working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis again?

A: I love those guys. It would be fun to work with them again at some point.

  • JANET JACKSON

    When: 8 p.m. Fri.

    Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

    Tickets: $67.50-$97.50; ticketmaster.com

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