Janet Jackson celebrates birthday by announcing comeback

Janet Jackson performs at the Greek Theater in September 2011.

Janet Jackson performs at the Greek Theater in September 2011.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Janet Jackson is returning to music.

The iconic pop diva surprised fans late Friday night by announcing comeback plans, which include a new album and a world tour.

“I promised you’d hear it from my lips and now you will. This year: new music, new world tour, new movement,” Jackson said in a video that she tweeted out at midnight to coincide with her 49th birthday.

“I’ve been listening,” she continued. “Let’s keep the conversation going.”


Jackson’s message was accompanied with the hashtag #ConversationsInACafé, which is widely presumed to be the title of the forthcoming album or single.

Days before the announcement, her longtime collaborator Jimmy Jam had been using the hashtag online, with one post seeming to be handwritten lyrics: “Just can’t feel casual about casualties.”

The announcement sent her fans into overdrive on social media, but especially eagle-eyed ones had pieced together the clues long ago.

Rumors of a comeback from Jackson have swirled for the last few years, but have intensified in recent months.

An uncredited photo of upcoming releases claimed the singer would issue a new release on July 10 via Atlantic Records, but the label confirmed that was false (it’s uncertain whether she’s even signed).

Adding to the summer comeback rumors, the singer’s Spotify artist page has her listed for a July 28 tour date at Comerica Theatre, a 5,000-seat venue in Phoenix.

The venue’s site doesn’t have an event listed for that date, but its size is similar to the intimate aura she reached for with her last outing, 2011’s Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour.

Last month the typically quiet singer responded to a fan’s cheeky “missing” poster – “Last seen looking like she hopped right out of 1997 into 2015” – which made its way to Jimmy Jam, who posted it on Twitter. Jackson responded coyly: “LOL. Too funny, too sweet.”

Jackson’s last studio album was 2008’s “Discipline,” via Island Def Jam, before she asked to be released from her contract, having only done the one album.

Late last year marked the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking “Rhythm Nation 1814”; this album will be the first new material from Jackson since the 2009 death of her brother Michael and her quiet marriage to Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana in 2012.

No date was given on when new music would be released.

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