USHER Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Usher Raymond, born on October 14, 1978, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Drawn from LaFace Records’ seemingly inexhaustible wellspring of young R&B acts, Usher is one of the few who can boast of real star quality and staying power. Indeed, after the release of his self-titled debut in 1994, there seemed to be a danger that he would become better known as a face rather than a musical talent. He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and also performed at the American Music Awards as part of the all-star recording collaboration Black Men United.


However, sales of his Sean “Puffy” Combs-produced debut were a little disappointing at just over a quarter of a million, though it did spawn the hit single “Think Of You". As a consequence, Usher took creative control over the production of the US Top 10 follow-up My Way, although he did enlist Jermaine Dupri, Teddy Riley and Babyface as co-writers and co-producers. The first single to be taken from the album, “You Make Me Wanna", was typical of the smooth ballads on offer.


More unusual was the experimental, hip-hop-styled “Nice ‘N’ Slow", a US chart-topper in March 1998. The album also included a remake of Midnight Star’s “Slow Jam", featuring fellow teenage R&B star Monica. The title track climbed to US number 2 in August 1998. A live album was issued as a stopgap while the singer recorded new material and initiated a successful acting career, appearing in the television series Moesha and the movies The Faculty and She’s All That. His 2000 comeback single “Pop Ya Collar", co-written with husband-and-wife team Kevin She’kspere Briggs and Kandi, was a surprising failure in America. Usher was more successful in the UK, where the single debuted at number 2 in February 2001.


He returned to the top of the US charts in July with “U Remind Me", which premiered the transatlantic hit album 8701. The single “U Got It Bad” also reached the number 1 position in 2002, and helped complete Usher’s transition from teen pop star to R&B bestseller. He cemented his status as one of the most prominent faces in American music when his new single, “Yeah!", climbed up the US charts to reach the top slot in February 2004. The track repeated the feat on the UK chart.