Rodney Jerkins Talks Janet Jackson’s VMA Performance, New LP

Producer says new songs like 'Make Me' will please fans of her older hits.

Sunday night, on the red carpet of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Grammy-winning super-producer Rodney Jerkins spoke fondly of his late friend Michael Jackson and how MJ once beat him at pool. Jerkins also revealed that he and the King of Pop’s baby sis, Janet Jackson, have been collaborating a lot lately. The first record from their sessions, “Make Me,” dropped just a few hours later.

“It’s about dancing,” Jerkins said. “It’s all about her. It’s about [saying], ‘Listen, if you really want to get with me, you gotta make me feel a certain way.’ ”

Jerkins, who produced several tracks on Janet’s 2008 album, Discipline, said he and Ms. Jackson have a lot more songs to come.

“I’m working heavily with Janet,” Jerkins said, adding that her new album will have a throwback feel. “We’ve been in the studio for the last month. We’ve been getting it in. We’re going back to basics and fundamental sounds of Janet. We’re trying to target her fans [by making] the records that her fans will embrace. A lot of uptempo stuff makes you feel good. There’s so many different colors of Janet. I’m a fan, I’ve always been a fan of Janet. The Rhythm Nation, the Control, the Janet. record … those make you feel a certain way. It’s been fun. I’m excited about it.”

Jerkins was also excited about Jackson’s performance in the tribute to her brother on Sunday. “I came to support Janet,” he said. “I love what MTV does, but I’m here for Janet. It’s a special moment, because I worked for years with Michael and became real close friends with him. For her to do a tribute for him, it’s gonna be an amazing thing. It’s one thing to get up and perform and get accolades for yourself, but this is not what this is about. It’s about brotherly love.”

The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards may have wrapped, but the party is far from over. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes updates, party reports and much more.