Twenty-four years after La Toya Jackson cracked the top 20 of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, she’s back — albeit with a slight name change.
“If You Feel the Funk,” culled from the singer’s self-titled debut, peaked at No. 17 in 1980. This week, the buoyant “Just Wanna Dance” (JaTail Records) by Toy climbs two notches on the chart to No. 14.
“It feels good to be back,” “Toy” Jackson told Billboard. “With this single, I wanted people to judge the song on its own merit.”
Jackson fully understands that her name comes with much baggage, good and bad. “People weren’t giving me the chance to do my thing, which is to sing,” she said. “So, I altered my name for this single to see what would happen.”
Jackson, the fifth of nine children, says she has slowly but surely been making DJs aware of the fact that she is indeed Toy.
“I’ve called many of the Billboard DJs to let them know about Toy’s background,” she said with a giggle. “One phone call at a time, I am letting them know all about Toy. While some of them knew that Toy was me, others were surprised. The overall response has been rewarding and encouraging.”
“Just Wanna Dance” is one of 17 tracks on “Startin’ Over,” the new album by Jackson. Scheduled to arrive in the fall, the set is a mix of dance, pop and R&B/hip-hop.
“This album reflects where I’ve been and where I’m at,” she said. “It’s also the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I couldn’t have called it anything else.”