La Toya Yvonne Jackson (born May 29, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, television personality and actress. She is the fifth child of the famous Jackson family. She had a career as a singer throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and returned to music in 2004 with her Billboard charting songs "Just Wanna Dance" and "Free The World". A forthcoming album entitled Startin' Over has yet to be released.
La Toya Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, the fifth of nine children born to Joseph and Katherine Jackson. After her mother became one of Jehovah's Witnesses in 1966, La Toya, along with her brother Michael, followed. She would spend some of her time (alongside her mother) evangelizing door-to-door. "Every morning, Michael and I witnessed, knocking on doors around Los Angeles, spreading the word of Jehovah." La Toya would later be disfellowshipped by the Witnesses. By 1974, La Toya was brought into the spotlight with her family after her father arranged for them to perform shows in Las Vegas and in other cities. By 1979, La Toya and her sisters Rebbie and Janet formed a short-lived group. However, they never performed live and soon separated due to differences about the future direction the act should take. As a consequence no related material was ever released by the trio. The next year she began work on her first solo album.
In 1981, Jackson released her self-titled debut. The first single "If You Feel The Funk", became a minor hit, climbing into the Top 40 of the R&B chart, but the single and album failed to generate commercial interest. She also provided the opening scream on the Jacksons 1980 hit, "This Place Hotel" and backing vocals on her brother Michael's hit single "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" off his groundbreaking Thriller album. Her three subsequent albums also met limited success, although she scored a minor Billboard Hot 100 hit with 1984's "Heart Don't Lie", which peaked at #56. Her 1985 single "Baby Sister" is also notable as a moderate success, as it received one of three Outstanding Song Awards at the 1986 World Popular Song Festival in Japan.
In 1987, Jackson released the album La Toya, which featured the single, "You're Gonna Get Rocked!". The album also included a track titled "Just Say No", which was written for the Reagan administration's anti-drug campaign. The album was produced by Full Force. The album is notable for being the first one Jackson released after changing her management. Jack Gordon became Jackson's new manager following the departure of her father. The pair later married in 1989, into a relationship which, Jackson claims, was an abusive one. The marriage ended in 1996, after Gordon reportedly beat Jackson for refusing to perform.
In 1989, the Bad Girl album was first released. The album is one of the few in her back catalogue that remains in print, and can be found under various titles and covers.
Jackson later released two cover albums, one of country music and another of Motown hits, in the mid-1990s. She plans to release her first album in over a decade with Startin' Over. The album has been delayed several times: Jackson's record label, Ja-Tail Records (distributed through Universal Music Group) has stated that extenuating circumstances have prevented the release. Jackson's most recent single "I Don't Play That" was released to radio in January of 2007. The single will not, according to Jackson's management, appear on the forthcoming Startin' Over album.
Jackson came to the public eye most recently upon the death of her brother, Michael.