How Old Is Janet Jackson, and How Many Albums Has She Released in Her Career?

It’s safe to say Janet Jackson is almost as iconic as her late brother, Michael, if maybe even more respected. Outside of one messy scandal at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004, Jackson has led a reasonably clean life and won the admiration of her fellow music industry peers.

In comparison to her brother’s stellar musical output in life (and even after life), have you ever wondered how many albums Janet Jackson’s released in her career so far? You’ll be surprised at her age now, even though she still looks years younger.

Janet Jackson’s first foray into music

Janet Jackson performs in Dubai

Singer Janet Jackson performs during the Dubai World Cup horse racing event | Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

Anyone old enough to remember back to the 1970s may remember Jackson’s first entertainment industry roles, something she was destined to do. After all, when you’re the younger sister of The Jacksons, you’re likely not going to branch off into a humble livelihood.

Her family goaded her into performing in Las Vegas already by the age of seven. Within a couple of years, she was appearing on the short-lived 1977 CBS variety show The Jacksons.

Fans of Good Times will also remember Jackson appearing in a recurring role as Penny Woods. Her original intention was to act on the side, though acting became a central focus up until the early 1980s. Yet, appearances on Diff’rent Strokes and the memorable series Fame didn’t help her stand out from her superstar brother(s).

Competing with brother Michael

By 1982, Jackson was thinking more seriously about a singing career. It was arranged through her powerful father and manager, Joe. This arrangement involved a contract with A&M Records, owned by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss at the time.

A self-titled debut album in 1982 did well, but not gangbusters. Of course, 1982 was the watershed year for Michael Jackson once Thriller hit stores. You have to give Janet Jackson credit for having the guts to compete with her brother’s musical tidal wave.

Fortunately, she was almost an equal with him four years later.

Breakthrough in the music industry

You can argue that the reason behind Jackson’s middling success in her first two albums was because she was focusing on bubblegum pop. With so many other pop stars doing the same at the time, it was necessary for her to find her own niche.

In 1986 (and following a second album called Dream Street), Jackson teamed up with legendary music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to create a more urban sound.

When Control was released, Jackson was off to the races in music superstardom. It received rave reviews and praise for having more edge when more emotional pop balladry was in then.

For the next couple of years, Jackson toured and placed herself as an equal with her older bro.

Follow-up album and later career

It’s still astonishing Janet Jackson managed to become a major music star before she even turned 25. Sustaining a career beyond such a point isn’t easy for anyone, though she’s continued to.

Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989 took her to even further heights in the music industry. Some might say this album truly defined her style outside of a second new wave by the 1990s when moving to Virgin Records.

Her Virgin career brought Janet (debuting at #1 in 1993), Poetic Justice, and The Velvet Rope. All sold in the millions, despite controversy within the family name as Michael Jackson faced serious child sex abuse scandals.

All for You, Damita Jo, and 20 Y.O. followed into the 2000s, the latter of which celebrated 20 years of her music success.

Signing up with Island Records in 2008 brought a whole other level to her ensuing albums, including mixing up musical genres. She even started her own label called Rhythm Nation in 2015. This places Jackson as one of the few African-American women who’ve managed to start their own label.

In total, Jackson’s managed to create 11 powerful albums so far, not including singles.

Jackson’s current age

At 52, Jackson doesn’t look anywhere near her age. Her youthful appearance belies some personal troubles she’s had over the years, including volatility in her most recent marriage.

Along with past bad relations with her late father, Jackson hasn’t always had it easy. Regardless, she can take full credit for defining her own career and bringing iconic hits that will stand the test of time alongside MJ.