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Usher (born Usher Jamie Raymond, IV on October 14, 1978 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States) is an American singer and actor. He has been a popular R&B and pop music performer since the early 1990s. By the 2000s, Raymond was among the most popular performers in his genre, and achieved significant sales and chart success from his albums and singles.

After a reasonably successful self-titled debut, Raymond stormed the charts with My Way, which featured the hit singles "You Make Me Wanna", "Nice and Slow", and the title track. Its follow-up, 8701, included hits such as "U Remind Me", "U Got It Bad", and "U Don't Have to Call". His 2004 album Confessions sold over a million copies in the United States in its first week of release, selling the greatest amount of records in one week for any R&B artist, and has topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The first single from the album "Yeah!" featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon has topped the US Billboard Hot 100, European, Australian, World, US and World R&B charts, World Adult, Norwegian, Swiss, Dutch and the UK charts in 2004, it also reached number 2 in Canada and number 3 in Italy. Usher won a Grammy Award for "Best Male R&B Vocal" in the Grammy Awards of 2001 for "U Remind Me" off his 8701 album. Confessions shipped 9 million copies making it the best selling CD in the United States for the year 2004.

Professional music career

Usher Raymond IV was born to Usher Raymond III and Jonetta Patton, who is now his manager. The family lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee until 1990 when his mother moved him and his brother to Atlanta, Georgia. He started singing in a church choir and soon his singing talents became obvious. L. A. Reid signed him to La Face Records after seeing him at a Star Search audition.

Usher: the debut album (1994)

His self-titled debut record was executive produced by (Diddy), then known as Puff Daddy and was released in 1994. It made a modest impact on the charts peaking at number 167 on the Billboard 200 Album charts although it did reach number 4 on the Heatseeker charts for prospective stars. There were three singles released in the US from the album:

  • "I Think Of You" Number 8 Hot R&B/Hip Hop Charts, Number 58 Billboard Hot 100;
  • "Can U Get Wit It" Number 13 Hot R&B/Hip Hop Charts, Number 59 Billboard Hot 100;
  • "The Many Ways" Number 42 Hot R&B/Hip Hop Charts.

Usher continued to create a national profile by recording jingles for Coca-Cola and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He also formed a vocal group with other vocalists called Black Men United which recorded a song called "U Will Know" for the Jason's Lyric soundtrack. This song proved to be his most successful to date reaching number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1994 and reaching number 5 of the Hot R&B/hip Hop Charts.

My Way (1997)

After working with Jermaine Dupri, Usher,on the move... produced his second album My Way after graduating from high school and dating his high school love whom are still reported to be together, Danielle Daley.Usher co-wrote 6 out of the 9 tracks on the album and recruited leading producers Jermaine Dupri, Babyface and P. Diddy to ensure its success. When released in 1997, My Way was the breakthrough album for Usher, reaching number 4 on the Billboard 200, number 1 on the R&B album charts, and number 13 on the Canadian charts. The album would eventually go multi-platinum on the back of the hit singles from the album:

  • "You Make Me Wanna" (1997) Number 2 Billboard Hot 100, number 1 US R&B (11 weeks), Rhythmic Top 40 and Dance charts number 6 Canada, Number 1 in the UK Top 40 (1998 release);
  • "My Way" (1998) Number 2 Billboard Hot 100, number 4 R&B, number 5 Rhythmic Top 40, number 20 Canada;
  • "Nice & Slow" (1998) Number 1 Billboard Hot 100, R&B and Rhythmic Top 40, number 2 dance number 6, UK Top 40 number 24;

Usher also commenced an acting career appearing in TV series The Bold and the Beautiful and Moesha and movies The Faculty and She's All That. Usher released a live album that failed to achieve the success of My Way, only reaching number 73 on the Billboard 200 and number 30 on the R&B/Hip Hop Charts. The live album was widely perceived as a stopgap measure while he recorded his follow-up album, scheduled for release in early 2001. However, this album to be called All About U was extensively leaked on Napster, leading to new material being recorded for release later in the year.

8701 (2001)

The 8701 album, named because of his career until that point (1987-2001), and was also released on August 7, 2001 (8/7/01) proved to be another success. It reached number 1 in the UK and Canada, number 4 on the Billboard 200 and number 3 on the R&B charts. This album started to build a market for Usher outside his traditional markets in Canada and the US. 8701 contained a number of hit singles including:

  • "Pop Ya Collar" reached number 2 in the UK, and top 30 in Australia;
  • "U Remind Me" reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip Hop charts, number 2 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart, number 3 in Canada and the UK, and number 4 in Australia;
  • "U Got It Bad" reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip Hop charts, number 3 in Australia and number 5 in the UK;
  • "U Don't Have To Call" reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the US R&B chart; and
  • "U Turn" reached the top 10 in Australia and top 20 in the UK.

He won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his work on "U Remind Me" in 2002, and won the same award in 2003 for "U Don't Have To Call"

Usher continued in his acting career, appearing in Texas Rangers in 2001 and in Geppetto in 2000.

Confessions (2004)

Usher released the Confessions album on March 23, 2004. Confessions sold 1.1 million records in the first week of release, the most first-week sales by any R&B artist and the highest sales by any artist in three years. Along with the success of the Norah Jones album Feels Like Home, it was seen as a sign that record sales were slowly recovering after three straight years of decline in the US. The album topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic as well as topping US R&B charts and Internet albums charts and reaching number 2 in Australia. "Yeah!" features contributions by Ludacris and Lil Jon and was released as the first single. Confessions has so far spawned the following hits:

  • "Yeah!" has topped the Billboard Hot 100, European, World, US and World R&B charts, World Adult, Australian, Norwegian, Swiss and the UK charts and reached number 2 in Canada;
  • "Burn" has reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and US R&B/Hip Hop charts as well as the Rhythmic Top 40 charts, and also topping the UK charts;
  • "Confessions Part II" has topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the US and World R&B Charts, and reached number 5 in the UK and Australia (as a double A-side with "My Boo", see below). It is Usher's 6th number 1 single since 1998; and
  • "My Boo" featuring R&B artist Alicia Keys, has reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured on a re-release/repackaged version of Confessions, giving him a total of 7 number 1 singles in the US.
  • "Caught Up" peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 9 in the UK.

Confessions was certified 9x platinum in the US by July 2005 according to Soundscan. It has sold almost 15 million worldwide.

Usher is the only artist to have spent over half of a year (28 weeks) atop the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart in one year with "Yeah!" (12 weeks), "Burn" (8 weeks), "Confessions Part II" (2 weeks), and "My Boo" (6 weeks). 2004 has been the most successful year in Usher's career.

In 2005, Usher finalized a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers to purchase partial ownership of the team and set up a residence in Solon, Ohio, one of the more affluent suburbs of Cleveland.

In February 2005, Usher won 3 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("My Boo" with Alicia Keys), Best Contemporary R&B Album (Confessions), and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Yeah" with Ludacris and Lil Jon) making his total tally of grammy awards to 5.

In July 2005, Usher was voted the most powerful artist in the pop industry, the singer beat Alicia Keys, Coldplay and Eminem to claim the top spot in the Los Angeles Times 2005 Pop Power List, reports The Sun. The list was compiled by 21 industry bigwigs including producers Jermaine Dupri, Rick Rubin and rap mogul Russell Simmons.

The Top 10 included: 1. Usher 2. Alicia Keys 3. Coldplay 4. Eminem 5. Beyonce Knowles 6. Justin Timberlake 7. Outkast 8. 50 Cent 9. Kanye West 10. Dr Dre.

Discography

Albums

  • Usher (1994) #167 US
  • My Way (1997) #4 US, #16 UK, 6x Platinum - 7 million worldwide
  • Live (1999) #73 US, Gold
  • 8701 (2001) #4 US, #1 UK, 4x Platinum - 8 million worldwide
  • Confessions (2004) #1 US, #1 UK, 9x Platinum - 15 million worldwide
  • Confessions II (2006)

Singles

Year Title Album
1994 "Think of You" Usher
1994 "Can U Get Wit It" Usher
1994 "The Many Ways" Usher
1997 "You Make Me Wanna" (feat. Manuel Seal, Jr.) My Way
1998 "Nice & Slow" My Way
1998 "My Way" My Way
1998 "Bedtime" My Way
2001 "Pop Ya Collar" All About U
2001 "U Remind Me" 8701
2001 "U Got It Bad" 8701
2002 "U Don't Have to Call" 8701
2002 "Can You Help Me" 8701
2002 "U-Turn" 8701
2004 "Yeah!" (feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris) Confessions
2004 "Burn" Confessions
2004 "Confession, Pt. 2" Confessions
2004 "My Boo" (Usher and Alicia Keys) Confessions
2004 "Caught Up" Confessions
2005 "Dot Com" Rhythm City CD

Guest appearances


From Jason's Lyric Soundtrack:

  • "U Will Know" (as part of Black Men United) (1994) #28 US

From Miss Thang:

  • "Let's Straighten It Out" (Monica featuring Usher) (1995)

From Rainbow:

  • "How Much" (Mariah Carey featuring Usher) (1999)

From We Invented The Remix:

  • "I Need A Girl (Part One)" (P. Diddy featuring Usher & Loon) (2002) #2 US, #4 UK

From Disneymania:

  • "You'll Be In My Heart" (remake of Phil Collins' You'll Be In My Heart from Disney's Tarzan) (2002)

From Crunk Juice:

  • "Lovers and Friends" (Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz featuring Usher & Ludacris) (2004) #3 US

From So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross:

  • "Superstar" (remake of Luther Vandross) (2005)

Acting career

Usher has appeared in the following television shows and movies:

  • Moesha as Jeremy (TV series 1997-1998)
  • The Faculty as Gabe Santoro (movie 1998)
  • The Bold and the Beautiful as Raymond (TV series 1998)
  • She's All That as Ron James, campus DJ (movie 1999)
  • Light It Up as Lester Dewitt (movie 1999)
  • Sabrina The Teenage Witch as The Love Doctor
  • Geppetto as Ring Leader (TV movie 2000)
  • Texas Rangers as Randolph Douglas Scipio (movie 2001)

Usher has four upcoming roles in 2005. The first release will be In the Mix, where his character falls in love with the daughter of a mafia man.

Awards

source

  • Billboard-AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Awards
    • 2002 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist
    • 2002 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Artist
    • 2002 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Artist
    • 2005 Top Artist
    • 2005 Top Male Artist
    • 2005 Top Singles Artist
  • BET Awards
    • 2002 Best R&B Male Artist
    • 2004 Best R&B Male Artist
    • 2005 Best R&B Male Artist
  • NAACP Image Awards
    • 2005 Outstanding Male Artist
  • Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards
    • 2002 Favorite Male Singer
    • 2005 Favourite Male Singer
    • 2005 Favourite Song ("Burn")
  • Soul Train Music Awards
    • 1998 Best R&B/Soul Single ("My Way")
    • 2002 Best R&B Performance ("U Remind Me")
    • 2002 Best R&B/Soul Single Male ("U Remind Me")
    • 2005 Best Male R&B-Soul Single ("Confessions Part II")
    • 2005 Best R&B-Soul Album ("Confessions")
    • 2005 Best R&B-Soul Single By a Group or Duo ("My Boo", with Alicia Keys)
    • 2005 Best R&B-Soul or Rap Music Video ("Yeah", with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • Grammy Awards
    • 2001 R&B Male Vocal Perfomance ("U Remind Me")
    • 2002 R&B Male Vocal Perfomance ("U Don't Have To Call")
    • 2005 R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals (My Boo", with Alicia Keys)
    • 2005 Contemporary R&B Album ("Confessions")
    • 2005 Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Yeah", with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • NRJ Music Awards
    • 2005 International Male Artist of the Year
  • People's Choice Awards
    • 2004 Favorite Male Singer
    • 2004 Favorite Combined Forces ("Yeah", with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • Billboard Music Awards
    • 1998 R&B Artist of the Year
    • 1998 Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year
    • 2004 Artist of the Year
    • 2004 Billboard 200 Artist of the Year
    • 2004 Billboard 200 Album of the Year ("Confessions")
    • 2004 Hot 100 Artist of the Year
    • 2004 Hot 100 Single of the Year ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
    • 2004 Hot 100 Airplay Single of the Year ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
    • 2004 Mainstream Top 40 Artist of the Year
    • 2004 Mainstream Top 40 Single of the Year
    • 2004 R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year
    • 2004 R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year ("Confessions")
    • 2004 R&B/Hip-Hop albums Artist of the Year ("Confessions")
  • VH1 Awards
    • 2004 Big Musical Artist
  • MTV Video Music Awards
    • 2004 Best Male Video ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
    • 2004 Best Dance Video ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • MTV Europe Music Awards
    • 2004 Best Male Artist
    • 2004 Best Album ("Confessions")
  • American Music Awards
    • 2004 Favorite Male Artist Pop or Rock
    • 2004 Favorite Album Pop or Rock ("Confessions")
    • 2004 Favorite Male Artist Soul / Rhythm & Blues Music
    • 2004 Favorite Album Soul / Rhythm & Blues Music ("Confessions")
  • Radio Music Awards
    • 2004 Hip-Hop Artist of the Year
    • 2004 Hip-Hop Song of the Year ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • First Annual Nordic Music Awards
    • 2004 Top Male Artist
  • The Source Awards 7th Annual
    • 2004 R&B Artist of the Year
    • 2004 R&B/Rap Collabo of the Year ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • MOBO Awards
    • 2004 Best R&B Act
  • World Music Awards
    • 2005 Male Entertainer of the Year
    • 2004 Best Selling Male Artist
    • 2004 Best Selling Male Pop Artist
    • 2004 Selling Best Male R&B Artist
  • Teen Choice Awards
    • 2002 Favorite R&B Artist
    • 2002 Best Love Song ("U Got It Bad")
    • 2004 Favorite Album ("Confessions")
    • 2004 Favorite R&B Artist
    • 2004 Favorite R&B Track ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
    • 2004 Favorite Hook Up ("Yeah", Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon)
  • ASCAP Awards
    • 2002 Pop Music Award ("U Got It Bad")
    • 2002 Pop Music Award ("Nice & Slow")
    • 2002 Pop Music Award ("You Make Me Wanna")
  • Blockbuster Awards
    • 2002 Favorite Male Singer
  • The 2005 MuchMusic Video Awards
    • Best International Video Artist ("Caught Up")


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