Janet Jackson’s hit single Nothing — the theme song from Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? — is generating much Oscar buzz, but it feels riddled with grief. Jackson learned of her brother Michael’s death while filming the movie in Atlanta, before she had recorded the song.Even though Jackson says Nothing is not about her brother, whom she won’t talk about much these days, the song’s melancholy and emotional grit leads one to wonder. It’s easy to believe Jackson, who’s known for having a particularly strong work ethic and occasionally losing herself in creative projects during turbulent times, was channeling personal tragedy into her music. Which may be why Nothing, her third film song to date, is resonating so deeply with fans. “Even though it sounds like a sad song, it’s hopeful,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. “When you really listen to it, it’s really hopeful. I didn’t know if I wanted to call the song Trust in Me or Nothing. It’s really about the characters (in the movie) and pulling as much as I could from each relationship.” Fresh off a junket for another Perry movie, For Colored Girls, in which she stars, Jackson is surprisingly relaxed. At 44, she is a bit reflective; Icons, and especially her earlier 2009 release, the double-disc album Number Ones, collect almost all of her 35 hit singles spanning more than two decades, from 1986 to 2010. “I don’t normally go back and listen to my music unless I’m working on a project or it’s a tour. But it made me really smile and reminisce a great deal, so it was nice.” There’s more reminiscing, this time tapping into earlier, childhood memories, in her first book, True You, due out on Feb. 8. Jackson struggled with weight and body issues over the years, and the book is her attempt to help readers learn from her experiences. “It’s a self-help book, not an autobiography,” she says. As if film junkets and book tours weren’t enough, Jackson is also preparing for her biggest world tour yet — 35 cities to celebrate 35 hit singles — and, for the first time, she’ll be appearing exclusively at smaller, intimate venues chosen by fans who voted on her website, janetjackson.com. Next up, time permitting, is a new album to work on in 2011. “I’ll just have to fit it in while on tour,” she says. “No rush, no deadlines, just create, see what I’m feeling, see where the music goes. I want to see where I am in my life at that moment.” — LOS ANGELES TIMES
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