In its 75th birthday year, the Santa Barbara Bowl is all about starting strong. Case in point: Janet Jackson’s season-opening two-night stay, which kicks off this Saturday, April 9. At 44 years old, Jackson is unarguably one of music’s biggest stars, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide and spawned numerous hits (like “Nasty,” “Rhythm Nation,” and “All For You”) that stretch back to her 1986 breakthrough album, Control. The youngest of the Jackson family, Janet began performing at the age of 7 and signed her first solo recording contract at 16. Today, she’s a bona fide quadruple threat, having conquered music, film (with Poetic Justice and For Colored Girls), television (Diff’rent Strokes, Fame), and now writing (this year’s True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself). On her first tour since 2008’s Rock Witchu outing, Jackson is opening up and reflecting on her legacy. This weekend’s dates, in support of last year’s Number Ones release, are just two on a lengthy list of stops for Jackson that will consist solely of hits, stretching back to the start of her career. I recently spoke with Jackson via email about the tour, her new book, and what the future holds.
Your fans have been awaiting a tour for years now—what can they look forward to this time out? This tour is a thank-you to all the fans who have supported me over the years. This is the first time that I have only performed songs that the fans have made a number-one song. It’s just me, onstage, performing for my fans. I love to dance, so I have a few dancers with me, as well.
I’m curious to know a bit about True You. What prompted you to write the book? I wrote True You because I want the readers to know that they are perfect just the way they are. When I was a kid, I didn’t know of any book like this. If I had, I would have read it. I felt so alone. It’s not an autobiography, but it does have anecdotes from my life. In addition to my story, I have included information from my friend and trainer Tony Martinez, recipes from Chef Andre, and stories from my fans.