Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Miss Jackson’s ‘Multidimensional Boogie!’


The date: October 1978. The venue: The Brighton Conference Centre, England. The booking: The Jacksons and their celebrated ‘Destiny Tour.’ And it was something I shall never forget. And along with 10 thousand other fans, learned to move like a ‘Dancing, Dancing, Dancing - She’s a Dancing Machineeen!’

The groove struck like lightening. It is was the beginning of my youthful days of entering (and winning) some quite prestigious club dance competitions. However, it was years before I discovered that the now classic gold dance track was inspired by the Jackson Brother’s youngest sister; a wee small girl named Janet Damita Jo Jackson. An astonishingly uber-talented lady, who has risen to stardom and fortune far beyond expectations. Even beyond that of her late brother Michael.

Today, and after over 40 years in the business, ‘Miss Jackson’ is a burgeoning billionaire middle-octave R&B singer, composer, lyricist, poet, choreographer, dancer, fashion designer, brand innovator, movie actress and supreme stage artist: a true multitalented innovator.

According to Variety magazine, Miss Jackson has danced a total of $260 million in album sales; $81 million in music and publishing fees; sell-out global gigs earning $458 million; with an addition of $81.5 million from tour sponsorships and licensing fees. Then there is Janet’s acting exploits too; banking a whopping $304 million.

Her voyage really got going when she crossed-over from African American Club Goer markets to creating music that would be in every black home in America; or ‘the black album of all time.’ The result, the album, ‘Control.’ An innovative mix of genres, counting R&B, soul, disco, hip hop, pop, rock and dance, extensively broadening her listening appeal; raising her above niche status.

During the mid 90s, Miss Jackson was at the center of one of the premier bidding battles of the century, in pursuit of her name on a Walt Disney Company recording contract. Disney woefully lost, when the prolifically persistent Virgin Records succeeded to renegotiated. In turn, Miss Jackson received an historic $80 million bond; making her the world's highest paid musical act in 1998. Then, at the turn of the millennium, having sold over 100 million records, she was ranked as one of the best-selling artists in the history of music. And all of this mostly unnoticed, camouflaged by the storm of tabloid entangled brother Michael.

For me, one of the defining performance innovations for Miss Jackson was set in 1998. And when I say ‘performance,’ I do not solely mean her on-stage craft. I mean the n-innovation of The Vevet Rope Word Tour; an international symposium across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. There was so much of the desire and glamour of a Broadway musical in the Velvet project, that it is swimming with the creative imagination and clear direction. Velvet, had such an international resounding impact that HBO put on a one off Saturday special, Live in Madison Square Garden, looked-on by more than 15 million fans; beating the ratings of all four major networks. A feat I can tell you.

No one perhaps forget Miss Jackson's boobylicious performance with Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl halftime show setting new standards for raunch in an entertainment industry. Gone are the days when a powerful performance is all that's needed to deliver a watercooler moment. Nowadays, a barely there outfit, same-sex smooching or foul language and now, a flash of nudityare what's required to get America talking. When Timberlake snatched off part of Jackson's bustier, revealing a breast clad only in a sun-shaped "nipple shield," the barrier was not broken, it was shattered before 89 million viewers. "Hey man, we love giving you all something to talk about," he said, laughing. Jackson's official Web site was bombarded with angry postings.

But what has Miss Jackson done for us lattly? Miss Jackson’s collaboration with Blackglama, the luxury-premium fashion brand, recently launched a collection of coats, jackets, vests, scarves, gloves and other accessories under the ‘Janet Jackson Blackglama Collection.’ The art of fashion is one of Miss Jackson’s great passions; being instremental in the design process here. Creating an Uberbrand, where you do not only ‘Look like a million dollars;’ but in fact ‘Don a million dollars!’

Endurance and resolve, or lack of it, is often a personality trait. It can often come from nurture, life-experience and circumstance. But the big one; the permanent one, is a passion and love for what you do. And Miss Jackson has plenty of that. Build what Miss Jackson has and one can learning, adapt, and innovate to the edge of chaos, even challenges beyond one’s own control.

By firing up her exceptional individuality in her artistic and commercial ventures, she is esteemed as the ‘Queen of Pop.’ ‘Multidimensional Boogie!’

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