|Who is it?||Soundtrack, Actor, Producer|
|Birth Day||October 14, 1978|
|Birth Place||Dallas, Texas, United States|
|Age||42 YEARS OLD|
|Occupation||Singer songwriter dancer actor|
|Spouse(s)||Tameka Foster (m. 2007; div. 2009) Grace Miguel (m. 2015)|
|Partner(s)||Rozonda Thomas (2001–2003)|
|Parent(s)||Usher Raymond III Jonetta Patton|
|Instruments||Vocals drums bass guitar|
|Labels||LaFace Arista Jive RCA Sony Legacy RBMG|
|Associated acts||Diddy Jermaine Dupri Pharrell Williams Ludacris Rico Love Justin Bieber|
The boy band New Edition, and its solo member Bobby Brown were childhood influences. Usher told ABC News, "I can remember as a kid attending a New Edition Concert", and called it "one of the greatest moments in my performance history" years later when he was invited on stage with the group to perform "N.E. Heartbreak" at a concert in Washington D.C.. On Bobby Brown, Usher told CNN, "the first record that I ever bought was Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel", and that he admired him "Just for being an edgy Artist, being a true representative of R&B and rhythmic music". Usher's Live album would feature a medley performance of Brown's original singles - "Don't Be Cruel", "Every Little Step", "Rock Wit'cha", and "Roni". Usher was inspired by Frank Sinatra's My Way album released in 1969 so much that he decided to name his second album My Way. Prince would inspire "Nice & Slow" while giving him his first number-one single on the Hot 100 chart. Usher's third album 8701 would be inspired by love and heartache, containing influences from Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. His fourth album was inspired by Rapper Eminem, who he credited for being transparent. Usher said in an interview with Sway Calloway; "the honesty of hip-hop and what Eminem was saying on his records it motivated me [...] there'd been other story tellers but never quite as vivid as his".
Usher was born in Dallas, Texas, the son of Jonetta Patton (née O'Neal), from Tennessee, and Usher Raymond III. Usher spent the majority of his young life in Chattanooga: his father left the family when Usher was a year old. Usher grew up with his mother, then-stepfather, and half-brother, James Lackey (born 1984). Directed by his mother, Usher joined the local church youth choir in Chattanooga, when he was nine years old. There, his grandmother discovered his ability to sing, although it was not until Usher joined a singing group that she considered he could sing professionally. In the belief that a bigger city would provide greater opportunities for showcasing his talent, Usher's family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where there was a more conducive environment for beginning Singers. While in Atlanta, Usher attended North Springs High School.
At age 10, Usher joined an R&B local quintet called the NuBeginnings, which was organized by local music svengali, Darryl Wheeler. Usher recorded 10 songs with the group in 1991, and the ensuing album, Nubeginning Featuring Usher Raymond IV, was only made available regionally and by mail order. However, Patton took him out because, according to her, it was a "bad experience". The album was re-released nationally in April 2002 by Hip-O Records.
On August 30, 1994, LaFace released Usher's self-titled debut album behind the co-executive production of Sean "P Diddy" Combs. Usher peaked at number twenty-five on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and was accompanied by three singles: "Can U Get wit It", "Think of You", and "The Many Ways". The album has sold over 500,000 copies, to date. The album received backlash because Usher was singing about sex which the public had a hard time believing coming out of a 14-year-old's mouth. Again the LaFace had their reservations about signing Usher because the album wasn't as successful as they anticipated. At this time Jonetta Patton, Usher's mother took control of his career and put him in more talent shows the summer of 1995 building Usher a larger fan base and ultimately putting more confidence in L.A. Reid.
After graduating from high school, Usher continued to develop his skills as a stage performer and laid the groundwork for his second album. He also appeared on their version of "Let's Straighten It Out", a 1995 duet with fellow Atlanta teen recording Artist Monica; and on "Dreamin'", from LaFace's 1996 Olympic Games benefit album Rhythm of the Games. He was also featured on "I Swear I'm In Love" off the 1996 Kazaam Soundtrack.
Usher developed a friendship with American record Producer, Jermaine Dupri, with whom he co-wrote and produced several tracks for his second album, My Way, released on September 16, 1997. The album's lead single, "You Make Me Wanna...", reached number one in the United Kingdom, becoming Usher's first record to be top single; the record led to his popularity reaching in the country. It also became Usher's first gold- and platinum-certified single in the United States. The album's second single, "Nice & Slow", peaked in January 1998 at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Usher his first US number-one single. In February of the same year, the single was certified platinum by the RIAA. My Way has been certified six-time platinum in the United States.
Usher made his acting debut on the UPN television series Moesha, which resulted in a recurring role on the series and subsequently his first film role in 1998's The Faculty. Usher's extracurricular activities outside of the recording industry gathered momentum over the following year as he was cast in the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful. 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.
In 1999, Usher participated in "Challenge for the Children", a benefit basketball game hosted by American boy band NSYNC. The event, which was held on the campus of Georgia State University, had raised an estimated $50,000 for several local charities. In 2005, Usher is one among the artists who signed on for a Hurricane Katrina relief concert. He has also performed a public Service announcement to promote Do Something's campaign for civic engagement.
Recognised as an icon, Billboard placed him number 14 on their "Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists" list, and 31 on their "35 Greatest R&B Artists of All Time" list. Confessions is placed at number 16 on their "Greatest of All Time 200 Albums" list, and 10 on Vibe magazine's "Greatest 50 Albums since '93". "Yeah!" is placed at number 14 in their "Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs" list, and 15 on VH1's "Greatest Songs of the 2000s". Los Angeles Times critic Randall Roberts marks dance singles "Yeah!", "Caught Up" and "OMG" to have influenced contemporary dance-pop, stating the former two also "helped define the 00s". Time magazine's pop stardom ranking metric, ranked Usher 3rd in history, based on all-time chart performance and contemporary significance.
In 2001, Usher began dating TLC member Chilli Thomas, and their relationship lasted for two years. In 2003, Usher started working on the album which would become Confessions, which contained songs inspired by the personal lives of Usher and his collaborators. The songs about infidelity and pregnant mistresses were inspired not by Usher's private life, but by Jermaine Dupri's own personal challenges at the time. Dupri deliberately intended to create an air of mystery about Usher, and arouse fans' curiosity about how much of the infidelity story was Usher's own confession. The unintended result of this was to arouse Thomas's suspicions about Usher. They broke up in December 2003.
In 2004 it was reported that Usher briefly dated British supermodel Naomi Campbell for a few months, together the pair attended the MTV Europe Music Awards and it was reported that Naomi jumped out of a pop out cake to surprise him for his birthday. Then the following year he was linked to model, Eishia Brightwell for sometime in 2005. They were seen together at different events including the Grammys, the Vanity Fair Oscar party and the NAACP Awards.
Usher founded New Look, a non-profit charity organization which aims to "provide young people with a new look on life through education and real-world experience". Its flagship project, camp New Look, ran from July 11 to July 23, 2005, in Clark Atlanta University. In 2006, the charity started an initiative called Our Block, for which it helped rebuild and revitalize city blocks in New Orleans. The project went on one street at a time, and the funding was helped through part of the proceeds of Usher's team-up with Armani Exchange in creating "Love 4 Life" dog tags, which were made available at the company's stores and Web site. Since then, Usher has launched chapters of New Look in such cities as Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, and Washington D.C. New Look has for basic pillars; Talent, Education, Service, and Career. New Look program begins in the 8th grade and progresses through a student's high school and post-secondary education. Education is the center focus, Usher and his program ensures this. Students who participate in Usher's New Look achieve 100% graduation rates and all of New Look participants go on to Higher Education or Job Placement.
On August 22, 2006, Usher took over the role of Billy Flynn in the long-running Broadway revival of the musical Chicago. Usher's opening night brought out stars Penélope Cruz, Gabrielle Union, Clive Davis, and Rosie Perez, and others. Usher played the role of Flynn for two months but a case of strep throat brought an abrupt ending to Usher's run in Chicago, which saw a spike in ticket sales after he joined the cast. The New York Post reports that Usher's absence cost the production an estimated $400,000 in refunds to disappointed ticket buyers. Producer of Chicago, Barry Weissler issued a statement sending his "thoughts and best wishes to Usher for a quick and speedy recovery. Usher made a spectacular Broadway debut, bringing a great dedication, work ethic and his amazing talent to the show. We all hope that he might return at some point for the many fans that were unable to see his wonderful performance as Billy Flynn. Usher has found a new home on Broadway and is welcomed back anytime."
Upon his marriage to Foster, Usher became a stepfather to Foster's three sons from previous relationships, one born when she was a teenager and two from her first marriage, to Atlanta clothier Ryan Glover. Usher and Foster also have two sons together: Usher "Cinco" Raymond V, born in November 2007, and Naviyd Ely Raymond, born in December 2008.
Usher's father, Usher Raymond III, died of a heart attack on January 21, 2008. For a short period of time shortly after the death of his father, Usher adopted a vegan diet. After several years, Usher dropped all egg and dairy products, embracing an entirely vegan diet for health reasons. Usher years later told reporters that he stopped his vegan diet saying that maintaining the lifestyle was expensive.
Usher filed for divorce from Foster in June 2009 in Atlanta. The divorce was legally finalized in Fulton County Court on November 4, 2009. This preceded a highly publicized child custody dispute spanning three years, which ultimately culminated on August 24, 2012, with a judge awarding Usher primary custody of his two sons with Foster.
Usher founded Vanity record label US Records, in 2002. The label is a subsidiary of Clive Davis's J Records, which is distributed by Sony BMG. The first album released by US Records was the Soundtrack to In the Mix in late 2005, which was used to introduce the label's acts, such as Rapper Rico Love, Canadian teen R&B Artist Justin Bieber, and R&B vocal quartet composed of Jon A. Gordon, Michael A. Gordon, Courtney Vantrease, and Robert Brent p/k/a One Chance, and singer Rayan. Usher served as songwriter-producer in the project. The Raymond Braun Media Group, which Justin Bieber is signed up to, is a joint venture between Usher and Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun. Usher served as the contestant mentor for the Top 10 Week of Season 9 of the television show American Idol. He appeared on the ITV1 show Britain's Got Talent on June 5, 2010. Usher joined as a new coach on the NBC American reality talent show The Voice, alongside Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Shakira in season 4, which premiered on March 25, 2013. Usher reached the finale with contestant Michelle Chamuel on June June 13, 2013. Usher returned with Shakira to in season 6 of The Voice, which premiered on February 24, 2014. Usher reached the finale again, and won with contestant Josh Kaufman on May 20, 2014.
Forbes magazine placed Usher at number 32 on its Celebrity 100, and reported his earnings after the OMG Tour to stand at $46 million, ranking him at number 12 on "The World's 25 Highest-Paid Musicians" list in 2011.
Foster's 11-year-old son Kile Glover, Usher's former stepson, was declared brain dead on July 8, 2012, after being struck by a personal water craft on Lake Lanier the previous day. Glover died on July 21, 2012, after being removed from life support. Just over a year later, on August 5, 2013, Usher's eldest son, Usher V, was hospitalized in the ICU after he became stuck in a drain while swimming in a pool at Usher's home. The next day, Foster filed a request for an emergency custody hearing in Fulton County Superior Court, seeking temporary primary custody and citing Usher V's "near-death accident" as evidence of a lack of supervision of the children. At the hearing on August 9, 2013, the case was dismissed and Usher retained primary custody of their two sons.
Usher was selected among a 33-member delegate for the Presidential Committee for Arts and Humanities of the United States of America to Cuba seeking to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries. Less than a month after the historic visit by President Barack Obama, a U.S. government cultural mission to Cuba that took place from April 18–21, 2016. The President described his trip as extending the hand of friendship to the Cuban people, and this delegation, including some of America's most distinguished Writers, artists, Musicians, as well as arts and cultural Leaders, will continue this historic collaboration with the Cuban people.
On September 13, 2014, Usher and Bill Clinton held a special campaign event for Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn. Dunn was honored for her work with the Points of Light Foundation at a charity event in 2010 and has been a semiregular attendee at Clinton Foundation events since 2009. Usher's New Look Foundation also awarded Clinton its Service Legacy Award in 2010.
On September 2015, Usher quietly married his long time girlfriend and manager Grace Miguel while vacationing in Cuba. There was speculation of the two being married when Miguel's Instagram post showed a picture of a gold wedding band on Usher's finger. He confirmed the marriage during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Three more claimants sued him on allegations of fraud, sexual battery, infliction of emotional distress and more, alleging that he was positive for the herpes virus and didn't tell them in advance. All three are represented by attorney Lisa Bloom who said on 8 August 2017, that one of her three clients had contracted genital herpes allegedly from him. One of the accusers, Quantasia Sharpton, said she had unprotected sex with him after a concert she attended. The other two accusers, one male, one female, preferred to remain anonymous plaintiffs. Sharpton admitted she tested negative and Bloom stated she didn't know if the singer had the disease.
On March 6, 2018, Usher and wife Grace Miguel informed Us Weekly of their separation in a statement declaring "After much thought and consideration we have mutually decided to separate as a couple [...] We remain deeply connected, loving friends who will continue supporting each other through the next phases of our lives".
Usher possesses a leggiero tenor vocal range of 3 octaves and 2 notes, and is considered to be "one of the most soothing in R&B". At the age of 13, he set the record for the longest note ever held by a child on Star Search, with 12 seconds. Usher's vocal coach since My Way, Jan Smith, cites him as "the single most gifted singer I’ve ever worked with in 26 years". On the dynamic 8701, Rolling Stone's Kathryn McGuire describes his vocals as "velvety" and "impressively adaptable" as it won him his first two Grammys as Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. With Confessions, Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker notes him as "long on control and short on texture". He received another Grammy Award nomination in 2006 through a cover of Luther Vandross's "Superstar" he performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005. Here I Stand displayed his vocals as "agile" and "balletic", as well as his ability to "easily drift from wavering tenor to fine-tuned falsetto" that create emotions of urgency and burning according to Clover Hope of The Village Voice. On his One Night Stand: Ladies Only Tour in 2008, Lee Hildebrand of San Francisco Chronicle stated that "Usher's chest tones have a ringing, Gaye-like quality, and his high head tones suggest Prince's falsetto, but his frequent use of syllable-splitting curlicues owes much to Wonder. Usher is a stronger, more assured singer than he was a decade ago, though the melismas in his lower range sometimes meander off pitch. His falsetto tonality is more on target." Looking For Myself exemplified his vocal craft earning him positive acclaim as Gawker's Rick Juzwiak states "his vocal range is even more impressive than his emotional one" with emphasis on his falsetto being "something that sounds as natural as a speaking voice...he's the picture of grace against shrieking synths [...] His emotional range is vast enough to sell tenderness, lechery and wistfulness within minutes of each other". Regarding "Climax", his performance was lauded as "blistering" by Maura Johnston, and "hair-raising" by Jody Rosen, as he won Best R&B Performance in 2013. "There Goes My Baby" and "Dive" are also commended as showcase standouts of his "superior R&B vocal range" by Consequence of Sound's Ryan Hadfield, and MadameNoire's Brande Victorian. For Hard II Love, Jon Pareles of The New York Times commented "a genuinely expressive voice that encompasses an ardent croon, a melting falsetto and quick, singsong declamation".