The Country Janet Jackson

We recently told you that R&B crooner Brian McKnight will sing a duet of his hit song “Back at One” with country star Mark Wills, who covered the tune for the country market on the Miss USA Pageant, to be televised Feb. 4 on CBS. Now Billboard reports that McKnight is working with another country star, producing LeAnn Rimes’ next album. “She wanted to work with me, and she’s doing a pop record,” McKnight told the magazine. “She’s sort of breaking out, not working with her family anymore as far as these records are concerned, and I liken it to Janet Jackson’s Control situation, where she’s breaking out from the mold [in which] people have thought of her.” Breaking management ties with her father, Rimes will now be managed by Tom Ross, the former head of Creative Artist Agency’s music division. Of course, the 17-year-old star is no stranger to the pop charts: “Blue,” “How Do I Live” and other Rimes recordings have been big crossover successes.