The day after her 52nd birthday, Billboard shared its June cover featuring the legendary Janet Jackson. During her long interview, Janet talked about everything from motherhood to music, covering various ground of her career that has spanned over 30 years. On Sunday, Jackson will receive the Icon Award during the 28th annual Billboard Music Awards where she’ll also perform a montage of hits from the past three decades.
In her Billboard interview, Jackson takes a moment to share a “precious memory” she has of working with her brother Michael Jackson on his track “P.Y.T.” “I was 16 and in between my first two records. Michael was recording [1982’s] Thriller. He invited me to the studio where he was about to sing ‘P.Y.T.’ and asked me to help out on background vocals,” she said. “Since we had been singing together forever, I knew it’d be easy. I jumped at the chance. I loved being one of the P.Y.T.’s and was especially proud—I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging—that when the record was mixed, my single background voice was the one featured. I can’t tell you how good that made me feel.”
Jackson also talked about how her new role as a mother has changed her perspective on life, after giving birth to her son Eissa in January 2017. “My son, even in his short 17 months on the planet, has showed me that love, no matter how deeply you believe you have experienced that emotion, can always go deeper,” she said. “Love is limitless. And for someone like me, raised in show business where self-concern is always a priority, how fortunate I am now to be concerned, first and foremost, with the welfare of someone else. Day after day and night after night, holding my baby in my arms, I am at peace. I am blessed. I feel bliss. In those moments, all is right with the world."
Toward the end of the interview, the singer revealed some current artists who are inspiring her lately, including J. Cole, SZA, and Bruno Mars. "Daniel Caesar is proving that romantic R&B is alive and well. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are proving that brilliantly original storytelling is one of hip-hop's great gifts to world culture. SZA is proving that young women still possess extraordinary vocal skills and style. I also have a special place in my heart for Bruno Mars,” she said. “Bruno was really the first music my son responded to. During and after his birth, I comforted myself with Brazilian jazz, music that always relaxes me. Then when the baby began crawling, Bruno was breaking out big and on the radio all the time. That delighted both of us. Bruno is a throwback to the days when the greatest artists could do it all: write, sing, dance, produce."
Read Janet’s full interview here.