Janet Jackson says the first time anyone showed appreciation for her music was when a fan waved a CD of her seminal sixth album at her in traffic.

The 56-year-old singer – born Janet Damita Jo Jackson – made the admission during a surprise appearance at a party to mark the 25th anniversary of her globally acclaimed record ‘The Velvet Rope’.

She said at the event in Shoreditch House, London, on Friday night (07.10.22): “This album is so, so close to me. It would be the closest project to my heart that I’ve ever done.

“I would say out of all the albums that I created, and especially with Jimmy (Jam) and Terry (Lewis – the record’s producers), it was the most difficult album for me.

“I was going through so much in my life and it was so deep, trying to figure out who I am and where I stand.

“I didn’t know if my fans would like it but one of the best moments in my life connected to this album?

“The day that it was released, I was in traffic coming from Malibu and someone honked their horn, and I happened to look over and there was a girl in the car and she held up ‘The Velvet Rope’ CD and she smiled at me.

“It made me feel so good. That was the first person to acknowledge to me that, ‘Yeah, you did something that I really do appreciate’, and 25 years later it being No1 again today?

“Thank you so, so much for this. Thank you Jimmy and Terry for always being my two dads. You were always there for me through thick, thin and the worst.”

Along with fans, Janet was joined at the Shoreditch House party by musicians and friends including MNEK and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall from Little Mix.

Five-time Grammy winner Janet released a deluxe edition of her sixth studio album ‘The Velvet Rope’ on Friday that included 10 bonus tracks and remixes.

It’s said Janet broke new ground with the deeply personal and experimental album, with her writing confronted themes of female sexuality through a black woman’s lens as well as domestic violence and mental health.

‘The Velvet Rope’ had a massive global impact, debuting at No1 on the Billboard 200, and yielding No1 hits ‘Together Again’, ‘I Get Lonely’ and ‘Every Time’ – helping make it one of Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’.

Earlier on Friday, Janet posted a rare photo of her alongside niece Paris, one of her late brother Michael’s three children, who also include Prince and Prince II.