Usher Biography: Life and Career of the R and B Singer
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Born October 14th, 1978 in Dallas, Texas, Usher began singing in a church choir when he was a little boy. After his family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, he joined a local group and was soon discovered by a record label after appearing on "Star Search." Usher was 16 when he released his self-titled debut but really found success with his top five record, "My Way," in 1997. While beefing up his acting career, Usher showed off his dance moves on tour and continued to rack up hit singles, albums and awards. In this http://www.WatchMojo.com video, we take a look at the life and career of Usher.
Usher Terry Raymond IV was born October 14th, 1978 and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he sang in a church choir.
After his family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia to help him pursue a singing career, Usher joined the R&B group NuBeginnings. But, his stint with them was short: by age 13, he landed a contract with LaFace Records after performing on “Star Search” in the early 1990s. His first single, “Call Me a Mack,” appeared on the movie soundtrack for “Poetic Justice.”
Usher’s eponymous debut dropped in 1994. The R&B album cracked the Billboard 200 and featured production from Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.
Sophomore Effort Success
After finishing high school, he continued recording. 1997’s My Way was the first of his many successful records: in its first week, it charted within the Billboard top five and eventually sold over three million copies. The effort also spawned his first top ten single, and his first number one hit.
Touring and Acting
Riding high on the record’s success, Usher took his smooth dance moves on tour with artists like Puff Daddy and Janet Jackson. He also proved he was a true triple threat by acting in sitcoms and soap operas, as well as films like “The Faculty” and “She’s All That.”
Number One Singles and Grammys
After a few delays due to leaked tracks, Usher released the instant R&B hit 8701 in 2001. That album reached the Billboard top five, sold over eight million copies and generated two number one smashes: the Grammy-winning “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad.” The top three track “U Don’t Have to Call” also won him the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy, and with that he joined an elite group of artists who nabbed that award two years in a row.
More Acting and Collaborations
Usher then beefed up his acting resume by appearing in the western “Texas Rangers,” and television shows like “The Twilight Zone.” The singer also collaborated with P. Diddy on the successful single “I Need a Girl (Part One).”
Even More Number Ones
In 2004, Usher sold over one million units of his fourth album Confessions within its first week of release. The Grammy-winning effort yielded four number one singles: the slow jam “Burn,” the R&B track “Confessions Part II,” the Alicia Keys duet “My Boo,” and “Yeah,” which sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for twelve weeks.
A “New” Usher
Following collaborations with other artists and more acting, the artist came out with Here I Stand in 2008. The number one album featured a “new” and more mature Usher, whose personal life had recently undergone several changes: he had started a family with his new wife and his estranged father had passed away. Here I Stand did give Usher his eighth number one single, but the effort did not sell as well as his previous record.
A few months after filing for divorce from his wife, Usher unveiled Raymond v. Raymond in 2010. That year, he became the first male artist since Eminem to have three consecutive albums debut at number one. The Grammy-winning record showcased Usher’s vulnerable side and produced a number one smash that found success around the world.
Sixteen Number One Singles
Later that year, Usher released Versus as a companion piece to that album, and that EP gave the singer his sixteenth top ten hit.
“Looking For Myself”
After he surprised fans at 2011’s Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show, Usher released music from his next album the following year. “Climax” was the lead single off Looking For Myself.
Outside of Music
Outside his performing career, Usher was co-owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and founder of the non-profit charity New Look. He also established the Raymond Braun Media Group with talent manager Scooter Braun, and it was this company that discovered Justin Bieber. Usher became a mentor and close friend to the Canadian pop sensation.
A Best-Selling Artist
With millions of albums sold, awards by the dozens and an acting career, there is really nothing Usher cannot do. Thanks to his passionate, heartfelt and danceable music, Usher Raymond has become one of the best-selling artists of all time by doing it his way, and doing it well.