Jermaine Jackson Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

As the original lead singer of The Jackson Five, he famously belted out the despairing vocals on I Want You Back, the first of countless number-one hit singles that the band of brothers would have. Now, 42 years since that shining moment, and almost two decades since his last visit to the recording studios, Jermaine Jackson is set to release a new solo album that he succinctly describes as being "full of emotion."

Speaking exclusively to tabloid! at Meydan, where he was a guest of the iconic venue's CEO and Chairman Saeed Al Tayer, Jackson in brief talked about the importance of making music, life in general and his responsibility as a philanthropist.

As flashbulbs popped at him from every corner of the Meydan parade ring, Jackson cut an imposing figure in his dark-blue Kandura, as his wife of seven years Halima Rasheed stood affectionately by his side, and a few friends.

Looking very much at ease as he surveyed the equine superstars Jackson responded to a question about the atmosphere on the night and if he could feel it by saying, "Can you feel it? Yes I can it's the title of the song we had and it means so much.

"It's a great feeling to feel the crowd here, similarly as the crowd has a lot to do with our performances on stage, they have a role to play here," Jackson, 57, added.

"I think the horses are focused on giving their best but at the same time the crowd connects with what's going on here, and that's fantastic."

Finishing touches

Jackson revealed that he is in Dubai to provide the finishing touches to a new album, his first since 1992's You Said, which was produced by Grammy Award-winning L.A. Reid and Babyface.

Asked if he would like to offer some insight into what genre of music the album would contain, Jackson said that it would have Middle Eastern and Asian influences, while retaining its R&B core.

"It's called fusion in some places but we call it marrying the two styles and influences," he said. "It's like using the best of both worlds, but it still has to be melodic."

The star also revealed that he has collaborated with a selection of artists in the UAE.

"There are some great percussionists here who have contributed to a couple of the tracks while I have also worked with Adnan Sami and Sonu Nigam in India," he revealed. "Music is great no matter where it comes from, but like I said, it has got to be melodic.

"I hope people will enjoy listening to my new songs just as much as I have enjoyed recording them."

Taken on its own merit, Jackson's 1979 album Let's Get Serious, which featured Stevie Wonder's brilliant songs and production, stands out as the best solo work post-The Jackson Five. His eponymous 1982 release, which saw him mix variants of R&B and pop that his famous brother Michael was effortlessly making at the time with the visionary Off the Wall and massively successful Thriller, was another highlight of a career that was punctuated by highs and lows and infrequent hit songs.

But that has not stopped him from returning to the studios even after a prolonged absence.

"Music is in our blood, it bleeds in our veins," he says, philosophically. "Music is always there albeit you are involved or not. I'm really enjoying my life and what I have been doing in Turkey, France, India, Africa and Switzerland."

Jackson has reportedly collaborated with guitarist Paul Sutin, who has previously worked with legendary Genesis and Yes axeman Steve Howe, in Switzerland.

"Hopefully it will all come to fruition on the album which we hope to release this summer," said Jackson. "I'm in no hurry, but it has to be perfect."

Can Jackson match the celebrated comebacks of the likes of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison? Only time will tell.