The promotion of the greatest hits project ‘Number Ones’ was over in 2011, having launched a successful tour that visited multiple countries. The period was of intense readjustment for Janet, who had, not long before, lost her brother, and had just met someone special. Janet and Wissam Al Mana, a young entrepreneur from Qatar, were dating.
Despite plans of releasing “world-flavored” music with producer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins, Jackson retreated from the public eye and lived a private life in the Middle East, where she ended up marrying Al Mana in 2012 in a private ceremony. After less successful albums in the 00’s, particularly ‘Discipline’, in which she was not involved with the writing, Janet seemed unwilling to release music until she had anything to say.
That was also the motto of longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who always felt Janet flourished best when she had a message. And, apparently, after 7 years, the time had come for Jackson to record.
With new production techniques that allowed Janet, Jimmy and Terry to work separately around the globe, ‘Unbreakable’ began to take form around 2013. She wrote about family issues, world issues about the way the media treated her relationship with Wissam, about the love from the fans and so on – a much more personal tackle.
Unattached to any record company, ‘Unbreakable’ was Janet’s first experience going independent. While BMG was distributing her work, her new label ‘Rhythm Nation’ was not affiliated to anyone – giving Janet the power to decide, but limiting the budget and the infrastructure to promote the music.
Despite limitations and driven by her absence from the music industry, a successful first single – ‘No Sleeep’, which dominated Urban Adult charts for weeks – and a mysterious aura that had developed around her around the time, ‘Unbreakable’ hit #1 on the Billboard 200, making Janet part of the exclusive club of artists that had #1 albums in 4 different decades.