Q: Are there "baby making" songs on the album? I used to call them ballads, but you call them "baby making" songs.
J: They are, and there is a difference. You have your ballads, which are really sweet. Then you have your 'baby making songs,' which go beyond the sweetness. They get a little dirty in a good way. I think it's definitely a 'baby making song' that you put on repeat, to make babies all night. They're definitely on this album.
Q: You've been honoured by MTV with their new series "MTV: Icon." Stars come and go, but icons remain forever. That's quite a compliment. How does that make you feel at a young age, so accomplished, to be considered an icon?
Q: "Icon" must make you feel particularly wonderful.
J: I am truly honoured. When I heard that MTV wanted to honour me with the show "Icon," I was speechless. I really was. It is an awesome thing. I feel young. There's still so much more that I want to do, need to do, for myself in this business. And I was just so surprised. But what a wonderful surprise.
Q: There are a lot of other artists on this show who will be singing your songs. That's quite a compliment in itself. Are you fans of these artists? Do you anticipate any interesting moments?
J: Absolutely! From Outkast to N'Sync to Pink--I love Pink! There are so many. And I was so excited! I thought I get to sit back and watch all of this, how fun it'll be. Then they said we'd like for you to perform, and I said 'damn, almost.' 'Almost could relax.' Now there's a little something I need to think about.
Q: Regarding artists of this day... I respect your ability to be the best at what you do, to be a role model that you are, an icon. I consider you the most successful female recording artist of this day. There are the Britney's, the Christina Aguilera's, the Destiny's Child's coming along. How do you assist them? Give them advice. What do you say to those who have become successful so quickly?
J: To 'stop and enjoy it' is what I'd say to them. Don't just keep going full steam ahead. I feel that's what kids are doing today. They're constantly on the go-one thing after the next, one album after the next, one show after the next. They need to sit back and enjoy what they've accomplished. It's nothing to sneeze at. It's not easy what we do. And that's the advice one of my brothers gave me--Mike actually. He saw me doing the same thing with my life that he did with his career a few years back--constantly going and going. Not that he stopped, but that made me really think about things: how important life is, what you want to do, where you want to go, where do you see yourself in so many years. Just sit back and enjoy it. So many of them have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. They need time to enjoy it, they really do. And stay grounded. Keep their feet on the ground.
Q: You had every opportunity not to...
J: Well, you learn from watching your brothers and sisters grow up in the industry. But mainly my parents wouldn't have it--an ego getting out of place--and they made sure we stayed grounded. My friends also always let me know if I was getting out of place. And those are the people I always want to keep around me. Those to me are the real friends. Not the ones who always 'yes.' Not the ones who always say everything I do is great or awesome. I'm not saying everything I do is great, but you know what I'm talking about. To say 'that's ugly, that stinks' and it came from you, that's ok. I am not perfect. Those are the people I want around. That's real. That's how I've done it thus far.
Q: Have you thought about touring?
J: I will start touring in the summer. I start rehearsals around May, something like that, I believe. I'm really looking forward to it. As always, it's always gruelling, always tough. But I can't wait.
Q: Touring, back on the road again. How do you gear up this time?
J: It's going to be different. It's going to have different dancers. It won't be the same band I've had for the past 2 tours. The show is going to be completely different. It will be fun though. I can feel that. I'm having a great time already creating the show.
Q: Is this a world tour?
J: I hope I will get to go to Latin America. I've been dying to go there. Hopefully I can get to Africa once again. I was first there with the last tour. We had the best time. We were just talking about it. It will be a world tour. It'll be fun for us...a lot of fun.
Q: What can you say about Janet Jackson today that you could't say about Janet Jackson after Velvet Rope was done?
J: We used this once before, but it's the truth. I feel free. I really do and it's a good thing. I think it's where I should be right now, where I want to be.
Q: Do you think that this work is your finest work to date, or one more piece in the tapestry of your career?
J: I would honestly say I enjoyed making this album. I love the album. It's another piece of the tapestry for me. And I feel as if there's still more to come.
Q: I hope so. What CD's do you keep on your turntable?
J: Let's see... Jill Scott, Outkast, St. Germain, Thievery Corporation. Who else? What I've been listening to the most--and this is an old CD, but I have to pop it in--Buena Vista Social Club. It relaxes me.
Q: What was the first album you bought?
J: Oh yes! The first album was 101 Dalmatians--the book with all the pictures. It followed the book and used to read "Dalmatian Plantation." And then the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." I remember those songs! The Archies, right?