It’s been nearly seven years since Janet Jackson released her last album, Unbreakable, and many fans fear it might be her final album. Janet, 56, reassured her followers that new music is indeed on its way, but it may be a while before it arrives. “Sometimes things happen that you don’t expect to happen, and you have to figure things out—or you’re in a space in your life when you have to take a step back and take a break for a minute. Even though it’s something that I absolutely love, it still is my work, my job,” she tells Essence in the June/July issue.
“There will be music at some point,” she added. “Exactly when? I can’t say just yet, but there will be. I love it too much not to do it. This is all I know. There’s so much that I want to do — but my number one job is being a mama.”
Janet and her ex-husband, Wissam Al Mana, welcomed their son, Eissa, in January 2017. Her focus has shifted to raising her 5-year-old son and not being a famous music icon from one of the most legendary music families in history. Janet said she doesn’t put much thought into recognition, including how her work earned her a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. “That’s not important to me, whether I did or didn’t [receive her proper recognition], to be quite honest,” she tells Essence. “It’s really the body of music touching people and how it impacts their lives that matters to me. It’s not the accolades. I honestly don’t think about that stuff.”
Though she hasn’t released new music this year, Janet has been all over 2022. Her documentary premiered in January, and it detailed the fallout of her and Justin Timberlake‘s infamous Super Bowl scandal. Janet made a rare public appearance in March, her first in over a year. She followed that with a rare performance at the Kentucky Derby, of all places. At a Deby pre-party, Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, wore the exact outfit that Janet donned for the 2003 Derby pre-party. If that wasn’t enough, Janet made an unannounced appearance at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards to present Mary J. Blige with the Icon Award.
Unbreakable was the first album released under Janet’s independent label, Rhythm Nation, which partnered with BMG for distribution. The release was Janet’s seventh No. 1 album, debuting atop the Billboard 200. It also arrived on the 30th anniversary of her Control album. Unbreakable reunited Janet with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the producer/songwriter duo behind Control and most of Janet’s unforgettable hits.