One of Teen People Magazine's 21 Hottest Stars Under 21, Usher signed a record contract and launched a gold album while still a tender teen. Possessing a soulful voice and admirable skills in songwriting, Usher displayed signs of genuine star quality. Natural talent would dismiss rumors that fame was won with am attractive face.
Since 1994, Usher has released six albums, landed several roles in films, made many guest appearances on television, gained multiple platinum plaques, and has joined other well-known artists in collaborative works. Usher is one of the hottest R&B singers in the business, with many comparing him to such phenomenon as Michael Jackson and the Beatles.
Gossip would place him arm and arm with supermodel Naomi Campbell.
The couple often appeared together in social scenes and award ceremonies. However, after a three-month relationship (started dating in October 2004), Usher moved out of the two-some. An insider confided, "Things came to a head at the Billboard Awards when she told him she wasn't going to go with him and he got all tetchy with her.
He went in by a back door. That probably wouldn't have happened if Naomi had been there".
A New Star Idol is Born
Usher Raymond IV was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 14, 1978, to Usher Raymond III and Jonnetta Patton. The young lad started singing in his mother's church choir at the age of 6.
With his mother's support, Usher continued to develop his vocals. Jonetta, who completely believed in her son, paid great attention to help nurture his talent.
At age 12 Usher moved to Atlanta with his family. His mother stopped working full time in order to help guide Usher's career. Big Ush, as he is often referred to, considers his mother his best friend and crowns Atlanta, Georgia as his favorite city.
Remarkable Multi -Talented Artist
Usher entered a talent show in Atlanta when he was 14. His performance attracted one of the La Face Record executives, L.A. Reid, who offered him a recording contract. In 1994 he released his debut album "Usher" featuring co-executive producer Sean "Puffy" Combs. The album included his first single "Think of You" which would prove to be a major breakthrough, earning him his first golden moment.
Due to his instant popularity in 1994, Usher received many offers for several different projects. In the next year, Coca-Cola recorded him for a national holiday jingle and he also joined several top male R&B vocalists in forming Black Man United to do the single "You Will Know" (Jason's Lyric soundtrack). Additionally, he worked with teen sensation Monica to perform "Let's Straighten It Out."
After finishing high school in 1997, Usher released his second album "My Way". The album consisted of nine songs, six of which Usher co-wrote. "My Way" also listed the help of producers Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, and once again, Combs. The first single in the album, "You Make Me Wanna", resettled him as one of R&B's hottest artists. The single was on top of the R&B charts for 11 weeks, burst in at number two in pop, and went double platinum. His two follow-up singles, "Nice & Slow" and "My Way" also went platinum. "Nice & Slow" topped the R&B charts for eight weeks and became his first number one pop single.
In 1998, Big Ush landed his first acting job in the horror film The Faculty, and starred in the 1999 urban high-school drama Light It Up.
Instead of risking losing music fans while he was working on the films, Usher issued a concert recording titled Simply Live. At the end of 2000, he published his album All About U, which was soon followed by 8701. These albums helped change his position from a teen pop star to a passionate R&B singer.
Early 2004, Usher's hit single "Yeah!" was released. This single dominated the radio in 2004 and became the most played song of the year. Following on March 2004, his latest album Confessions was released. It is considered to be his most mature work thus far with three singles from the album reaching Billboard's top 10 at the same time. The album went on to become the best-selling album of 2004 in the US.
In reference to his success with R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, Usher said, "It's another milestone in my career. I'm working hard for my keep.
If I am remembered as an artist, I want it to be for all the accolades I have accomplished."
- Billboard Music: Artist of the year, 2004
- Billboard Music: Billboard 200 Artist of the Year, 2004
- Billboard Music: Billboard 200 Album of the Year, Confessions, 2004
- Billboard Music: Hot 100 Artist of the Year, 2004
- Billboard Music: Hot 100 Single of the Year, Yeah! featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, 2004
- Billboard Music: Hot 100 Airplay Single of the Year, Yeah! Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, 2004
- Billboard Music: Mainstream Top 40 Artist of the Year, 2004
- Billboard Music: Mainstream Top 40 Single of the Year, Yeah! Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, 2004
- Billboard Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, 2004
- Billboard Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year, Confessions, 2004
- Billboard Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Album Artist of the Year, 2004
- MTV Europe: Best Male Artist, 2004
- MTV Europe: Best Album, 'Confessions', 2004
- Radio Music: Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, 2004
- Radio Music: Hip-Hop Song of the Year, Yeah!, 2004
- World Music: Best Male Artist, 2004
- World Music: Best Pop Male Artist, 2004
- World Music: Best R&B Artist, 2004
- MTV Video Music: Best Male Video; Best Dance Video, Yeah! Featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris, 2004
- Teen Choice: Album, Confessions, 2004
- Teen Choice: R&B Artist, 2004
- Teen Choice: R&B Track, Yeah, 2004
- Teen Choice: Hook Up, Yeah, 2004
- BET: Best Male R&B artist, 2004
- BET: Best Viewer's Choice, Yeah!, 2004
- Grammy: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, U Don't Have To Call, 2003
- Young Hollywood: One to Watch, Male, 2001
- Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards: Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Singles Artist