Janet Jackson Remembers Making ‘Velvet Rope’ at Her Reissue Party: ‘This Album Is So Personal to Me.’


On Friday, Janet Jackson surprised friends and fans by attending a party in London to celebrate the 25th anniversary reissue of her 1997 album The Velvet Rope (Oct. 7).


“This album is so, so close to me,” Jackson told the audience via Instagram Live. “I would say that it was the most difficult album for me to create, out of all the albums that I’ve created, especially with Jimmy [Jam] and Terry [Lewis].”

Jimmy Jam, who produced the album with his longtime creative partner Terry Lewis and Jackson, joined her via live video. (While Lewis was unable to attend the event, Jimmy Jam joked, “I brought my partner Terry Lewis,” holding up a bobblehead figure of Lewis on camera. “He’s only a bobblehead, but he’s here.”)


When The Velvet Rope was released, it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and spawned Billboard chart hits such as “Got ‘Til It’s Gone,” the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Together Again,” the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart-topper “I Get Lonely,” and the Dance Club Songs No. 1 “Go Deep.”

“I was going through so much in my life,” Jackson said at the event, “and it was so deep, in trying to figure out who I am and where I stand.” And at the end of the day, just writing it down, never keeping a journal, as I did with the other albums. I’m sure many of you are already aware of this. And I wasn’t sure if my fans would enjoy it.


“However, one of the… I guess one of the best days of my life was associated with this album [on] the day it was released. I was in traffic on the 405 freeway, heading toward the Valley from Malibu, when someone honked their horn. We already had CDs at the time. [Laughter from the audience.] And this person kept honking their horn, and when I looked over, there was a girl in the car holding up The Velvet Rope CD. And she just nodded and smiled at me. It made me feel fantastic. That was the first person to say to me, ‘Yeah, you did something I really appreciate.’ And it’s still No. 1 after 25 years?” (After its reissue, the album topped the R&B/Soul top sellers list on the Apple iTunes Store in the United States.)

“Thank you so much,” Jackson added. “I am so grateful to God and to all of you.” I am truly blessed, you guys. God truly has blessed me. Thank you very much for doing this. Thank you for always being my two fathers, Jimmy and Terry. Always there for me through thick and thin, as well as the worst.”

“I agree that it was probably the most difficult album to do,” Jimmy Jam added, “but I knew you had a lot you needed to get off your chest.” Because we used to do the music and then you’d do the lyrics for the music when we did the albums. But for this album, you had the lyrics before we even started working on the music. A lot of it was you giving us the lyrics and then we creating the music around them. So it’s almost as if we did it backwards. But that’s why it’s so personal to you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jackson said to Jimmy. It was, it was, it was a difficult one. Then when I write the melodies… it’s close to my heart. It’ll be the most personal project I’ve ever undertaken.”

Finally, Jackson thanked the audience again, motioned to the DJ, and said, “Now can we get a drink and just dance?” The audience agreed with a roar. What was the next song played by the DJ? “Once Again.”

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