In Splash Magazines Worldwide in July 2012, a featured article was written by Rebecca Henlan Jones reviewing Michael Jackson Immortal Cirque Du Soleil World Tour. The same issue featured my article, Jacksons Unity Tour 2012 Review-Can You Feel It? In it, I stated proudly “everyone that knows me will always link me to the biggest selling musical family of all times”. Well, August 2012, features another dynamic, energetic Jackson member, Ms. Tanay (not artist Tanya) Jackson. She is a songwriter, director, producer, reality show cast member, dancer and a beautiful singer whose voice is very similar to Janet Jackson. She is also the daughter of the legendary guitar player Mr. Tito Jackson of the Jacksons, formerly known as the Jackson 5.
Tanay, was born and raised in the New York area. Now, Tanay is making her big splash, even though she has been gradually climbing the ladder of success for years, on her own. Presently, she is the CEO & President at ROTH Entertainment and Luna, which is a great accomplishment for Tanay. However, she’s hoping to partner with a major record company that she can trust and work with closely to move her business to the next level.
I had the special privilege of interviewing Ms. Tanay and I was really impressed as I learned where she came from, where she is now, and where she is hoping to go. I believe her future will be brighter than her past. Seeing an artist working hard, and struggling to make it to the top, one feels like getting behind them and pushing them on. I was very intrigued with her story and where it all began, remembering the line from the Jacksons tune 2300 Jackson Street, “raised us to be the best that we could be”.
Her father, Tito is the Jackson brother who would sneak and play his father’s guitar. Joseph Jackson owned a guitar because he played with a group “The Falcons”. At the age of 8, Tito broke his father’s guitar string. Instead of punishing Tito, Daddy Joe forced Tito to pluck those strings to show him how they worked. Joe realized Tito had talent and the Jackson brothers were on their way to stardom.
Tanay, can you please tell us your age when your great talent was discovered and who discovered it?
“I was discovered at age 4 when I looked in the mirror with my brush”. Then, in the 4th grade while coming out of the restroom my teacher heard me singing. She asked, “Did that come out of you”? Next thing I knew, I was in a school play and we were singing We Are Family.” That song was sung by Sister Sledge and I smiled when she said that because I had a flash back how Sister Sledge use to open for the Jacksons' concerts, two of which I attended in the late 70’s.
Did you compete in any of the New York school talent shows and if so, who did you imitate?
“I was never in any New York talent shows, I started professionally. I attended Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center in Jamaica Queens, New York. This is the same school where Ben Vereen, Michael Peters and other famous dancers were trained, and they became successful dancers. Michael Peters is known for directing and starring in my uncle Michael’s (Jackson) video “Beat It.” When Tanay said this, I knew Mr. Peters had won a 1993 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for the Jackson’s movie The Jacksons: An American Dream. Ms. Bernice Johnson who saw so many successful students pass through her school will not see how successful Tanay becomes since she passed in 2005 at age 93.
What advice would you give a child when their talent is discovered at a young age and they want a part of a show biz life?
“To make sure your parents discuss this business with you because this business is not a Christian thing but can be a devil thing. It’s hard when there is no one to love you because others can try to give you drugs and that could be dangerous. If you don’t have any money, they will come and take your money when the money starts to flow. Overall, it is important to have an extraordinary talent.”
I understand you have earned a college degree. What is this degree and how has it prepared you for this entertainment business?
“I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and Minor in Music. The degree taught me how to be a business manager and the structure of an organization. This led me to continue my college and I encourage others to stay in school. Something that helped motivated me is when we had a special project where we would visit the elder’s homes. We would go there to help move their bodies and minds. And just to see them come alive with excitement, that was great.”
Musically, what advice has your father or any other Jackson family member given you about the entertainment business?
“My father said I should never give up on my dream even when people have done you wrong. Even for people who have already made it in this business it is hard but you can’t give up on your other dreams”. Then she gave the advice of the Jackson clan’s patriarch, Mr. Joseph. He said “Don’t care what people say about you because you know who you are and that’s all what matters”. I felt that was great advice coming from two strong fathers similar to my own father.
How many singles have you released so far and what is your favorite?
Honey, Contagious, Blemish, Mathematics and In The Spotlight but my favorite song is In The Spotlight because it’s telling my life story and now I’m living in the spotlight. As a matter of fact, we were filming the video yesterday and it will be released at the end of August. People can download it for $.99 on iTune and I really want them to please check it out.” I was excited when Tanay said this because I’ve seen a video clip and I really love that song and I can’t wait for the full-length video version to be released.
If you had a choice, which one would you prefer to do? Sing, dance, write, produce, be a video director or be a reality show cast member?
“A reality cast member which I’m working on now”. “I feel I’m ready because I shared a small part in Michael’s video, Remember The Times (1992) which gave me that platform and desire to be a cast member years later.
What are your other latest projects?
“I will be featured on the cover of Allezom International Fashion Magazine, September 2012 issue and in the near future I shall write a book on the struggle of being a Jackson. Also, I would like to perform on military bases for our troops”.
Who would you like to direct your next video?
“Hype Williams”. After Tanay said that, I smiled and could understand why she said Hype. I know he is a music video and film director who has helped defined Hip Hop and has directed a music video featuring Tanay’s Aunt Janet (Jackson) with Busta Rhymes.
Who is your favorite artist?
“I don’t have one, I have so many”.
Do you think you and your father will ever perform together?
“I can’t see it at the moment because we are doing different projects with him just finishing the Jacksons tour stateside and me traveling across the country”. After Tanay mentioned that, we couldn’t help but laugh at the fact both of us were at the Apollo Theatre, in New York to see the Jacksons Unity Tour of 2012 on June 28, 2012. She told me she had a black jacket on and she went to the front of the stage. The more I thought about it, I do remember seeing someone at the edge of the stage and I was wondering why she was there by herself. Now, I know she was bonding with her father, Tito who was still plucking that guitar even after 51 years. He smiled at her. We shared a laugh when I told her I was really impressed by how good the Jacksons looked. Her comment was funny because those are her uncles and father and she doesn’t look at them that way.
The whole world knows what happen on Thursday, June 25, 2009. Literally, the world stood still. What was your reaction when you found out your uncle, the great Michael Jackson had passed away?
“I was in New Hampshire and I was not watching TV. Friends started calling saying they are sorry about my uncle. I didn’t know what they were talking about. I turned the TV on and Jermaine was crying. I fell to my knees and I knew he was gone. I felt for my family. I knew I could not fix this situation. I was heartbroken. That Michael was such a loving person is what I remember the most of all. However, he did give me some great advice that I will always remember as long as I am in this business. He told me “You sound real good and your talent is singing in the front and not in the background”. After Tanay made that statement, we both had to share an emotional crying moment. Yes, we had to share tears for Michael what he stood for and the advice he had given his niece. Even though Tanay knew Michael as an uncle, and artist I only knew him as an artist. He still touched both of our lives as well as the world with his God given talent that he shared with us. We shall never forget the greatest entertainer of all time in my opinion. On August 29, 2012, the world and we will remember Michael Joseph Jackson’s “would have been” 54th birthday. Learn from Michael passing not to take life for granted but to do what God has put you on this earth to do and do it with excellence.
When your fans read this first article about you here in Splash magazine, what do you want to tell them?
“That I love them and thank you for the support and just hit me on Twitter, Instant Gram and check out my iTunes and YouTube”.
Most of all, when your parents read your first article here in Splash magazine what do you want to tell them?
“I hope they are proud of me because I have struggled a long time. I’m doing it all on my own and I just want them to be proud of me”. Tanay may not be my daughter but I’m proud of what she has accomplished thus far in her career.
Once I finished the interview, I had to tell Tanay “you have really impressed me with your great intelligence and how you are going to continue to light up this generation with your many great talents. I am proud to see you carrying on the Jackson’s musical torch. It’s good to know the Jackson family will be around for many more years and we are so glad you are part of it. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to allow Splash Magazine to interview you. I guarantee you are ready to conquer and reach greater heights.”
Ms. Tanay Jackson’s songs are available online at iTunes, YouTube, and Twitter. Photos are courtesy of Tanay Jackson's facebook and website.
Copyright © 2012.AUG This story was written by Renee Sudderth for Splash Magazine. It is not to be sold or reproduce without written permission of Renee Sudderth