The Janet Jackson InterviewNathan Hale Williams | Posted February 28, 2008 12:16 PM
This week Janet Jackson released her new album Discipline, which we reviewed on this site a few weeks ago when our Arts & Entertainment editor interviewed her. Today, Nathan Hale Williams posts his full interview with the pop icon herself.
Nathan Hale Williams is a Film/TV producer and the Arts & Entertainment editor for The Daily Voice.
Nathan Hale Williams: What was the process for this album?
Nathan Hale Williams: How do you pick songs?
Janet Jackson: I never really picked songs before. I have also written things that were on the album. It has to relate to me. I had to have experienced it. Or, there has to be some sort of a connection. It has to sound like me. It has to be like a classic me. And, I think that's what this album is. It's a classic Janet album, but it has a modern twist to it.
Nathan Hale Williams: How did you come up with Discipline?
Janet Jackson: It kinda picked me. Is the way that I really see it. It just stood out. It has several different meanings to me. And one that is really prominent in life is my discipline in work. So, that's really what it's about. Being so focused at such a young age. Doing what I've done for so long and having that discipline and seeing that focus and discipline and seeing it gets you at such a young age...through my brothers. They were successful when I was two years old they had their success. So, I grew up around that. Whether it was learned or in the genes. That stayed with me and is still with me to this day. And, not just in my work. In several different ways. Whether it's putting an album out or whether it's putting a tour together or whether it's writing music and creating all of the melodies together and the harmonies and the background parts. There's a lot of work that goes into every aspect of it. Even with the tour. The lighting design. Set design. Any of the visuals that people see on monitors. Granted I don't do it all myself, but I get involved with every thing that is seen on the stage with performance. Even from wardrobe. And, oversee it. I am there with the designer. Or, with the set designer. Even the set list. Even the sequence of the album the way you heard it, that's my responsibility. You can put it together however you want, but this is the way I see it flowing. And, with the interludes in the spot that they are in. And, which interludes go where.
Nathan Hale Williams: Is Kiyoko a real person?
Janet Jackson: Kiyoko is not a person. Kiyoko is a robot. Is she a real robot? Of course. (laughs).
Nathan Hale Williams: What inspired you to create the Matrix theme for the intro and interludes?
Janet Jackson: I love anything that relates to the future. I love watching things on the History channel about the universe. And the planets. I love Sci Fi films. I love stuff like the Matrix. That was one of the hardest things for me to do. When I was getting ready to start...um, what was it? The Janet tour. The brothers came to me and they wanted me to do the Matrix. I was so torn. Cuz I love that whole world. We were already set for it [the tour]. So, I couldn't turn back and say no I have to make [the tour] wait and do this film. I've always that.
Nathan Hale Williams: Noticing the trends in your career, right before your biggest albums you've gone through major overhauls. Whether it be record labels, producers or whatever? Whether it be Control or Janet. And, you're at that point now. Have you felt that this is a change to have another big moment in your career?
Janet Jackson: I've never sat back and thought about it in that way. And, now that you bring it up you're absolutely right. It's definitely a huge change. And, a great change. I love the change. I love what I am feeling from the new label. I love the love and excitement and the energy that I am getting from the new label. It feels like family already for me. It feels like what I had in the beginning when I was with Virgin. That's what it feels like. And, that's such a wonderful feeling. You put so much hard work into what it is that you do. And, you just want to have the support that every artist really does deserve. Hopefully, it will be a big album that will bring happiness to peoples lives. And obviously, I will know that from the record sales if they like it or not.
Nathan Hale Williams: How do you maintain your humility?
Janet Jackson: It really stems from how I was raised. How we were all raised. I think that's really key for me. And, the people that I surround myself with as an adult. Not kiss ass people. My friends have been friends from school for years since I was young. 12 years old. 11 years old. Friends from when I was in my early 20s. And granted, I have a couple of new friends, but I don't have a lot of friends. And, whether it's my friends or the people that I work with I always tell them that I want to know the truth. Always tell me the truth whether you think it's going to hurt me or not. Don't try to soften anything up for me. Or, you have a fear that we might lose our friendship. In other words, don't kiss my ass. Just let me know that if you're upset with me about something just let me know. Let me know. I think that's really important. It helps me to stay grounded. Plus, Jermaine wouldn't have it. Nor would my brothers and sisters. They'd call me up and call me out so quickly. They'd be on the phone so fast. And, that's one of the things that I fell so completely in love with Jermaine about. When we first started hanging out. There was something that I did, I can't remember exactly what it was, but he told me right off the bat: "that's not cool...that wasn't cool for you to do." And, I listened to what he had to say and I said, "thank you so much and please don't ever stop that."
Nathan Hale Williams: Describe your feeling for this album.
Janet Jackson: It's fun. It's a fun album. I want people to dance. I think it's thought provoking and not in a socially conscious way obviously, but I think with relationships. There's something that everybody can related to. If they haven't approached that moment in their lives, they will. Whether it's "Greatest Ex" or "Never Letchu Go" or "Can't Be Good." But, for the most part it's a fun album. I just want people to enjoy it. Just have a good time. When the dance numbers come on...dance. When the more slow grooves come on...just sit back and enjoy the groove and listen to what's being said to see if it relates to you. Or, if it doesn't to you then, to someone that you know. And, when the sensual stuff comes on...you know what to do with that so.
Nathan Hale Williams: What's your favorite song? What's on repeat on your Ipod?
Janet Jackson: I don't have just one. I am going to sit here and name 'em all because I really don't have one. I'm not just saying that either. They really are all my favorites. And, for different reasons. Like I love listening to "The One" when I am with the kids (the dancers) and "So Much Betta" and we just wanna...when we come back from lunch...coming back into rehearsals, we'll put it on and everyone will just groove off it while we're warming up. It's like the night club kinda feel for me. Then, another night club feel for me in a different way is "Rock With U" and "Tonite" where I just wanna kinda space out and feel like I'm in a house club. Then, there's the even happier stuff like "Rollercoaster" and "Luv." And then the sensual stuff like, "Curtains" makes me reminisce of tour and brining someone from the audience up every night. I just really enjoy this album a lot.
Nathan Hale Williams: Any plans for a tour?
Janet Jackson: Yes. Mid to late summer. I've been telling everybody this and I am really not supposed to be saying anything. They wanted to wait until we really announced it. It's gonna be around mid to late summer that we'll tour with this project. We were actually in full blown tour mode with the last project until the label asked me to consider going back into the studio and making another album because they wanted to have something out at the end or beginning of the year before going back on tour. So, I was full blown tour head. We had been learning stuff. The band was in the other room. We were working together back and forth doing numbers while I was doing the film (Why Did I Get Married). I just kinda had to stop and switch gears, which was a little difficult because I like to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Nathan Hale Williams: In another interview, the interviewer said, "you've done so much what is there left to do?" And you said, "I have so much left to do?" What do you have to do? What do you want to do? What's next?
Janet Jackson: I've always loved behind the scenes. And, I knew at a point in my life it would come. Producing films. Producing things for television. Creating things for television and film. More acting. More music. And, I want to get more involved, and you can never do enough, with certain organizations. I have this real connection with helping children and not just here, but also in
Nathan Hale Williams: What do you want your legacy to be?
Janet Jackson: Oh my God! I'd have to really think about it.
Nathan Hale Williams: Is success now sweeter than it was? Do you still get the same feelings?
Janet Jackson: Of course I do. I am not jaded by it in any way. I don't take it for granted. I still get the same feeling. I still get excited going to the studio and recording. I still get excited about making videos and all those long hours. And, how tired you get. I think the ride is sweeter when you get a little older, you know a little bit more and you're able to sit back and really enjoy it the way your family always told you to when you were younger. And you say, "ok, ok," but you never really do it. So you can really look at everything that is truly going on around you.
Nathan Hale Williams: Is there anything else you wanted to add or say?
Janet Jackson: They've been so supportive. And, it hasn't been an easy road at times. Just to thank them for that support and the love. That's helped to get me through along with my family...that got me through. And, I thank them for that love and it will never be forgotten.
Jason commented on The Janet Jackson Interview:
I don't spend my time reading sites of people I don't like. I come here because I like what I see. ...
who,me? commented on The Janet Jackson Interview:
Hey James Radcliffe, you incorrectly spelled my name - no caps, there's a comma, and a question mark...
James Radcliffe commented on The Janet Jackson Interview:
Ken and Who Me? You're haters. Post your interview with Janet. Oops sorry, you don't have one. N...
Ken commented on The Janet Jackson Interview:
An interview with Janet Jackson should be more compelling than this. I was disappointed with the qu...
who,me? commented on The Janet Jackson Interview:
Nathan, were you awake during this interview? Those questions were the most pedestrian I've seen in...