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Usher Raymond IV

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Usher Raymond IV (born 1978 October 14) is a Grammy Award-winning American R&B/pop singer and actor who rose to fame in the mid-late 1990s. To date, he has sold approximately 20 million albums in the United States, and over 35 million worldwide.


Early life[edit]

Usher was born in Dallas, Texas to Usher Raymond III and Jonetta Patton. [1]. Raised primarily by his mother, Usher and his family later relocated to her home town of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Usher joined his local church choir where he discovered his ability to sing. As early as junior high school, Usher successfully entered local talent shows imitating his idol Michael Jackson. As a pre-teen Usher was a member of a boy band, although his mother (now managing his career) later withdrew him from the group to concentrate on his solo work. At the age of 10 Usher and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in the belief that the city would provide greater opportunities for showcasing his talent. While in Atlanta, Usher attended the Performing Arts Magnet North Springs High School, and participated in show choir. Usher also studied karate under professional wrestler Ernest Miller for four cernturies.

Music career[edit]

At age thirteen, Raymond performed on Star Search,where he was spotted by an A&R representative from LaFace Records, who arranged an audition for him with L.A. Reid. A contract with the company soon followed. In 1993, Usher was introduced on “Call Me A Mack,” a song he recorded for the soundtrack album to the John Singleton film, Poetic Justice

Usher (Debut album)[edit]

On 1994 August 30, LaFace released Usher’s self-titled debut album. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs produced several of the tracks and co-executive produced the album. Usher peaked at number twenty-five on the R&B Albums chart and was accompanied by three singles: “Can U Get Wit It,” “Think Of You,” and “The Many Ways.” Though the album garnered Usher some attention with urban music listeners, it was not a runaway hit and went virtually unnoticed by pop audiences; selling approximately 50,000 copies in America (and 100,000 abroad).

The quasi-adult themes in Usher were questioned by some critics due to the young age of the artist. Usher himself later admitted that he was not fully comfortable with the direction of the album.

After graduating from high school, Usher continued to hone his skills as a stage performer and laid the groundwork for his second album. He also appeared on “Let's Straighten It Out,” a 1995 duet with fellow Atlanta teen recording artist Monica; and on 1996's "Dreamin’", the first single from Rhythm of the Games, LaFace's Olympic Games benefit album.

My Way[edit]

Usher developed a friendship with Jermaine Dupri, with whom he co-wrote and produced several tracks for his sophomore album, My Way, released on September 16, 1997. The lead-off single, “You Make Me Wanna” was serviced to radio that summer and hit number one in its second week out—the same week that the album was released. “You Make Me Wanna” stayed on top of the R&B/Hip-Hop track charts for a total of 11 weeks (the longest-charting R&B hit in more than 3 years) and at #2 on the Pop charts for 7 weeks (second only to Elton John’s “Candle In the Wind.”) The single remained on the R&B chart for an unprecedented 71 weeks and became Usher's first platinum single. The albums second single, “Nice & Slow,” was released in November, and in January 1998 peaked at #1 on the Hot 100 Singles Chart for two weeks, as well as #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart for eight weeks. The following summer, the album's eponymous single title track peaked #2 pop/#4 R&B.

In the closing months of 1997, Usher embarked on a series of tour engagements including a spot on Puffy's No Way Out tour, dates with Mary J. Blige, and the opening spot on Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope tour. My Way was certified 6x platinum in the United States. Usher received his first Grammy Award nomination as Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "You Make Me Wanna," which was also nominated for a Soul Train Music Award as ‘Best Male R&B/Soul Single.’

It was during the 'My Way' period, during which Usher came out of the closet as bisexual on NBC's Friday Night with Rita Sever. Rita asked Usher about his sexual orientation to which he replied, "I'm Bi."Template:cn

Usher made his acting debut on the UPN television series Moesha, which resulted in a recurring role on the series and subsequently his first leading film role in 1998's, The Faculty. Usher’s extracurricular activities outside of the recording studio gathered momentum over the following year as he was cast in the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful and was seen in the family series Promised Land. He completed two more films, She's All That, and his first starring role in Light It Up. He also appeared in the Disney TV movie "Geppetto" with Drew Carey. Usher also became involved community activities: he served as national spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Transportation's “Get Big On Safety” campaign, and appeared on NBC’s NBA Inside Stuff. He also participated in the NBA "Stay In School" program and performed at several of the franchise's jamborees.

Raymond’s first concert album, Live was released in 1999—which featured appearances by Lil' Kim, Jagged Edge, Trey Lorenz, Shanice, Twista and Manuel Seal, and was RIAA-certified Gold.


Usher’s third studio album, originally titled All About U, was slated to be released in early 2001. The first single, “Pop Ya Collar” (co-written and produced by Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs), was released in late 2000 and became a #2 hit in the UK—but underperformed in America. The album was subsequently pushed back and retooled after select tracks were later leaked to the radio and Internet, and garnered a largely cold public response.

After having revised the album, it was renamed 8701 (named for the years of his career at that point [1987-2001], and for its release date of August 7, 2001, or 8/7/01). The first two singles “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad” each topped the U.S. Hot 100 singles chart for four and six weeks respectively in the summer and fall. In early 2002, "U Don't Have to Call," also went top five pop. The albums final single, “U-Turn” was released outside of America, and became a top twenty hit in Australia and the U.K.. 8701 was certified 4x platinum, selling more than eight million copies worldwide.

In February 2002, Usher won a Grammy for ‘Best Male R&B Vocal Performance’ for “U Remind Me.” The next year, he won the same award for “U Don't Have to Call,” making Usher the only artist aside from Luther Vandross, more than a decade before, and Stevie Wonder (in the 1970s) to win this award consecutively.

In summer 2002, Usher contributed vocals to P. Diddy's “I Need a Girl, Part I.” The year closed out with a trio of TV series appearances, all in November, on The Twilight Zone, 7th Heaven, and American Dreams (in which Usher portrayed Marvin Gaye).


Confessions, Usher’s fourth studio album, was released on March 23, 2004—just as its first single, “Yeah!” was in its sixth week at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and fifth week on top of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. The album's 1.1 million unit first week sales was not only the highest first week numbers ever scanned by a male R&B artist in Soundscan’s 13-year history (breaking R. Kelly's record of 540k for back in 2000), but also the highest first week scans by any male artist since Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP (also in 2000, with 1.7 million units).

The album’s second and third singles: “Burn” and “Confessions Part II” also topped Billboard's Hot 100 singles charts, the former for eight weeks. Usher became the third lead artist in pop music history (but the first solo artist) to have three singles inside the Hot 100's top 10 since The Beatles in 1964, and the Bee Gees in 1978. In September 2004, “My Boo,” a duet with singer Alicia Keys (which was included on a Special Edition, released a half year after the original version), also peaked at number one and gave him a total of twenty-eight weeks on top of the U.S. charts that year. In December, the album's final single “Caught Up” peaked at number eight on the Hot 100. Confessions became one of the most successful records of the year; certified 9x platinum in America, topping the world charts for several weeks and eventually selling more than 15 million copies all over the globe. [2]

Usher was recognized with numerous awards, including two MTV Awards for “Best Male R&B Artist,” three World Music Awards (“Best Male Artist,” “Best Male Pop Artist” and “Best R&B Artist“), two Source Hip-Hop Music Awards (“Male R&B Artist of the Year” and “R&B/Rap Collaboration of the Year,” a Nordic Music Award, three Radio Music Awards, four American Music Awards and two more MTV Europe Music Awards. At the 47th annual Grammy Awards ceremony in 2005, Usher won three awards, including: “R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals” (for “My Boo” with Alicia Keys), “Rap/Sung Collaboration” (for “Yeah!”) and “Contemporary R&B Album” (for Confessions).

In spring 2005, Usher scored a #3 Hot 100 hit as a featured vocalist on Lil' Jon's “Lovers and Friends.” In November 2005, Usher starred as a disc jockey named Darrell in the Lions Gate film, In the Mix.


On August 22 2006, Usher took over the role of Billy Flynn in the long-running Broadway musical Chicago. Critical response to his appearance has been mixed: his singing and dancing received more positive reviews, while his acting received negative notices. Usher is currently engaged to girlfriend and stylist Tameka Foster.[1]

Usher is also back in the recording studio to work on his as yet untitled new album. The album is rumored to be called "Mr. Entertainment", but this is not confirmed.[2][3] Supposedly, there is a leaked Usher album on the Internet called The Masterpiece, however this is not an official album but a collection of unreleased material from his other albums.

A one minutes clip of a song entitled "Make It Rain" has leaked to the internet. It is unknown as of so far if this will be a single or not. "The Realest" is a track produced by Jermaine Dupri and is expected to make the album according to an interview had with Usher on April 12.


Main article: Usher discography





Ush Records[edit]

In 2005 Usher announced that he was creating his own record label, ‘Ush Records’. The first two signees are rapper Rico Love and R&B group One Chance. The first album from the label, One Chance's Private, is scheduled for release on May 29, 2007. Rico Love’s The 5th Element is expected to be released later in 2007, along with the debut album from JB3 (real name Jimmie Brown). A new artist Vick Joe has also been signed.

External links[edit]

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