Who is Usher?
Usher Raymond IV is a popular American singer and songwriter. One of the best-selling music artists of the contemporary era, Usher has sold a total of 23.8 million albums and 38.2 million digital songs in the United States alone. His worldwide sales till date stand at over 75 million records. Having released a total of eight studio albums till date, Usher has won numerous awards throughout his career, which include eighteen Billboard Music Awards and eight Grammy awards. He has also been ranked by ‘FUSE’ magazine as the 10th most award winning musician. Apart from being a musician, Usher is also a successful businessman. He is a part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The team has been quite successful during his tenure, and apart from winning Central Division Championships and Eastern Conference Championships, it won the NBA Championship in 2016 as well. Along with several other music artists, he is a co-owner of the music streaming service ‘Tidal’. He is also partners with Yoobi, a popular school supplies company. His latest album ‘Had II Love’ was released in 2016. Like most of his previous works, it was a huge success commercially. It stood at number five on the Billboard 200.
Childhood & Early Life
Usher Raymond IV was born on 14 October 1978 in Dallas, Texas. His parents are Usher Raymond III and Jonetta Patton. His father left the family when Usher was only a year old. He grew up with his mother, a stepfather, and a half brother.
Usher, who attended North Springs High School, displayed a keen interest in music from an early age. Later, he joined a singing group which helped him further hone his singing skills.
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After he landed a recording contract with LaFace Records, Usher released his self-titled debut album when he was only fifteen. Despite the fact that he was going through puberty and had almost lost his voice, the album did well, and peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and at number 167 at the US Billboard 200. However, the album was criticized because Usher sang about sex, which the public found inappropriate coming from someone so young.
Eventually he graduated from high school and continued working on his skills to develop his next albums. His second studio album was released in September 1997. The album ‘My Way’, which included hit singles such as ‘Nice & Slow’, and ‘You Make Me Wanna’, debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200, eventually reaching the number 4 spot. It sold over seven million copies worldwide.
Meanwhile, Usher also made his acting debut in the American TV series ‘Moesha’, where he played one of the many supporting roles. The show went on to become one of the most popular on the UPN network. He also appeared in a supporting role in the 1998 sci-fi horror film ‘The Faculty’. The film was a moderate commercial success.
In 2001, he released his third album ‘8701’. Selling over 210,000 copies in its first week itself, the album was quite successful. It also peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200.
His fourth album ‘Confessions’, which he released in 2004 was also received well by both critics and audience. Though the album was an instant hit, selling 1.1 million copies in its first week itself, it also kindled certain rumors about Usher’s personal relationship. The album also won Usher several awards.
His next two albums ‘Here I stand’ (2008), and ‘Raymond v Raymond’, (2010) were both successful as well, each selling over a million copies. Meanwhile, he also played a disc jockey in the film ‘In the Mix’ in 2005, as well as the lead role in the Broadway play ‘Chicago’, in 2006.
He released his seventh album ‘Looking 4 Myself’, in 2012. Not only was it a huge commercial success, like all his previous works, but it also found the No. 1 spot in the US Billboard 200. With hit singles such as ‘Climax’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Numb’, the album gained huge popularity not just in the US, but also attained top-ten positions in several other countries as well.
His latest album ‘Hard II Love’ was released in 2016. With singles such as ‘No Limit’, ‘Crash’ and ‘Missing U’, the album, like all his other works, became a hit, and stood at number 5 in the US Billboard 200.
Usher, who is also involved with several entrepreneurial ventures, is the owner of the record label ‘US Records’, as well as a co-owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.
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‘My Way’, the second studio album by Usher, which was released in September 1997, is among his most significant and popular works. The album, which included singles, such as ‘Nice & Slow’, ‘My Way’, and ‘You Make Me Wanna’, gained huge popularity, and stood at number 4 on the Billboard 200. It also became popular in other countries, standing at number 13 in the ‘Canada Albums’ chart, and at number 16 in the UK albums chart. Having sold seven million copies worldwide, the album was a commercial success.
’Looking 4 Myself’, Usher’s seventh studio album, can be regarded as the most successful work in his career. With popular singles such as ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Climax’, the album was a huge success, and debuted at number one position on the US Billboard 200. The album was also a hit across other countries, debuting at number 3 in the UK Albums, number 4 in the Dutch Albums, and number 8 in the Italian Albums. Its reviews were also mostly positive.
As an actor, Usher played a significant role in the 2016 biographical sports film, ‘Hands of Stone,’ which was about the career of former professional boxer Roberto Duran. Directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, the film premiered at the 2016 Cannes film festival. However, it failed to be a commercial success.
Awards & Achievements
Usher, who has been named by ‘Billboard’ as the second most successful artist of the 2000s, has won numerous awards in his career, which include eight Grammy awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards, nine Soul Train Music Awards, seven Teen Choice Awards, four BET Awards, four World Music Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, and two NRJ Music Awards.
Usher is also known for his philanthropic activities. He launched Project Restart in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina in order to help hundreds of affected families. He also founded ‘Usher’s New Look’, a non-profit organization, which helps in improving lives of disadvantaged children.
Marriage & Love Life
Usher has dated several successful women such as American singer, actress and songwriter, Rozonda Thomas, and British supermodel and actress, Naomi Campbell.
In 2007, he married Tameka Foster, who had been his personal stylist for several years. They have two sons. In 2009, Usher filed for divorce.
In 2015, he married his girlfriend Grace Miguel, who was also his manager. The marriage took place while they were vacationing in Cuba.
Usher has an estimated net worth of $180 million.