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Usher Raymond IV (born October 14, 1978), known simply by his first name Usher, is an American R&B-pop singer-songwriter and actor who rose to fame in the 1990s. To date, he has sold approximately 35 million albums worldwide and has won five Grammy Awards.[1] On September 13, 2008, Usher has been ranked into the All time Hot 100 Artist by Billboard magazine.[2] He is one of the few artists of his generation to be mentioned. Usher established his own own record label, US Records, and is a part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise.

Usher was born on October 14, 1978[3] in Dallas, Texas,[4] the son of Jonetta Patton (née O'Neal) and Usher Terry Raymond III;[5] both of African American heritage. He spent the majority of his young life in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a child, he joined his local church choir in Chattanooga where her mother discovered his ability to sing.[6] As early as junior high school, Usher successfully entered local talent shows.[4] Usher's family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in the belief that the city would provide greater opportunities for showcasing his talent. While in Atlanta, Usher attended North Springs High School.

Personal life

In February 2007, Usher announced his engagement to girlfriend Tameka Foster. After the sudden cancellation of a planned July wedding due to medical concerns, the two were wed on August 3, 2007 in a private ceremony.[8] Their son Usher Raymond V was born in November of the same year.[9] On December 10, 2008, Foster gave birth to their second child, Naviyd Ely Raymond.[10]


Early works and debut (1992–1996)

At age 11, Usher joined a quintet singing group called the New Beginning, 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.[11] However, Patton took him out because, according to her, it was a "bad experience".[6] Although her mother had already discovered his ability to sing, it was when Usher joined the group that she considered he could sing professionally.[6] The album was released nationally in 2002 by Hip-O Records.[11]

At age 13, Usher competed on Star Search, where he was spotted by an A&R representative from LaFace Records, who arranged an audition for Usher to L.A. Reid, the co-founder of LaFace; Reid signed Usher a contract with the record company.[4] Usher was introduced on "Call Me a Mack", a song he recorded for the soundtrack album to the 1993 drama-romance film Poetic Justice.[11]

On August 30, 1994, LaFace released Usher's self-titled debut album. Sean "P Diddy" Combs produced several of the tracks and co-executive produced the album.[4] 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".[12]

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 their version of "Let's Straighten It Out", a 1995 duet with fellow Atlanta teen recording artist Monica;[13] 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.[14]

Rising popularity (1997–2002)

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 to achieve top single; the feat led to his popularity reaching in the country.[15][16] It also became Usher's first gold- and platinum-certified single in the United States.[17] 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.[18] Later in February of the same year, the single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America; My Way has been certified six-time platinum in the United States.[17]

Usher received his first Grammy Award nomination as Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "You Make Me Wanna", which was also nominated for Best Male R&B/Soul Single at the Soul Train Music Award. 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. Usher's first concert album, Live, was released in 1999, which featured appearances by Lil' Kim, Jagged Edge, Trey Lorenz, Shanice, Twista and Manuel Seal; the album has been certified gold in the United States.[17]

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 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's "Stay In School" program, and performed at several of the franchise's jamborees.

Usher's third studio album, originally titled All About U, was slated to be released in early 2001.[19] The first single, "Pop Ya Collar", was released in late 2000 and became a number two 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 Billboard Hot 100 for four and six weeks, respectively. 8701 has been certified four-time platinum in the United States.[17]

In February 2002, Usher won a Grammy for 'Best Male R&B Vocal Performance' for "U Remind Me".[20] 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, Moesha , and American Dreams (in which Usher portrayed Marvin Gaye).

Breakthrough success (2004–2007)

Usher's fourth studio album, Confessions, 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 and fifth week on top of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart.[21] The album's nearly 1.1 million unit debut sales was the highest first-week numbers ever scanned by a male R&B artist and the seventh best of the Nielsen SoundScan history.[22][23] To date, the album has accumulated sales of nearly 20 million copies worldwide,[20] over 10 million of which were sold in the United States, earning the album a Diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.[24][25]

The album's second and third singles, "Burn" and "Confessions Part II", also topped the Billboard Hot 100, the former for eight weeks. Usher became the first artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay with three consecutive number-one singles,[26] and later four consecutive with "My Boo". In September 2004, "My Boo", a duet with American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, also peaked at number one at the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the album's fourth number-one single.[27] In December, the album's final single "Caught Up" peaked at number eight on the Hot 100.[28]

Confessions earned Usher numerous awards, including four American Music Awards, two MTV Europe Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, and three World Music Awards.[29][30][31][32] 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", which he shared with Keys; Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Yeah!"; and Contemporary R&B Album for Confessions. At the 2004 Billboard Music Awards, Usher was recognized Artist of the Year, in addition to receiving 10 other accolades.[33]

In spring of 2005, Usher scored a number three Hot 100 hit as a featured vocalist on Lil' Jon's "Lovers & Friends".[34] In 2007, Usher also collaborated with R. Kelly on the track "Same Girl," for Kelly's album, Double Up.[35] He was also featured in a remix version of Omarion's "Ice Box".[36] Usher also appeared on the track "Shakedown" on American singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige's 2007 album Growing Pains.[37]

In November 2005, Usher starred as a disc jockey named Darrell in the Lions Gate film, In the Mix.[38] On August 22, 2006, Usher took over the role of Billy Flynn in the long-running Broadway musical Chicago.[39] Critical response to his overall performance were mixed.

Return to music (2008–present)

To promote the Usher's fourth studio album, the single "Love In This Club" was sent to radio in February 2008 and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100—and went on to spend three consecutive weeks at the top—becoming Usher's eighth number-one single and the fastest-rising song of his career.[40][41] Here I Stand was released on May 26 in the United Kingdom and May 27, 2008 in the United States. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one for accumulated first-week sales of 433,000 copies.[41] The follow-up single "Love in This Club, Part II", which features American singer Beyoncé Knowles and Lil Wayne, has peaked at the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Moving Mountains" and "Trading Places" have both peaked at the Top 20 of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[18] Usher said he is working on plans for a tour in which he will perform for audiences of only females entitled One Night Stand, stating that he is attempting this for the challenge of it. In addition, a new single leaked in November 2008 titled, "Off Your Chest", produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Other ventures

Usher founded US Records, a vanity label, in 2002.[42] The label is a subsidiary of Clive Davis's J Records, which is distributed by Sony BMG. The first album released by US was the soundtrack of In the Mix in late 2005,[42] which was used to introduce the label's acts, such as rapper Rico Love, R&B vocal group One Chance (both of whom had tracks released on a dual single prior to the album's release), and singer Rayan.

Usher, whose group bought with a reported total purchase price of $375 million, is a part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. He became the second pop artist to own a large stake in an NBA team.


Usher (1994)

My Way (1997)

8701 (2001)

Confessions (2004)

Here I Stand (2008)

Sixth studio album (2009)


The Bold And The Beautiful as Raymond (1998)

The Faculty (1998)

She's All That (1999)

Light It Up (1999)

Texas Rangers (2001)

In the Mix (2005)

Source: Wikipedia

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US Vogue September 2010

"Vogue Point of View: On the Town"
with Joan Smalls, Mirte Maas, Daria Strokous, Jourdan Dunn, & Rachel Weisz
Photographer: Steven Meisel
Fashion Editors: Grace Coddington & Edward Enninful
Hair: Julien d'Ys
Makeup: Pat McGrath
Set Designer: Mary Howard
Production on Location: Sarah Maxwell



Vogue Archive

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