Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Celebrity Review: Usher
He released his first, self-titled album in 1994, at age 15. Usher soon became known for his polished vocals, broad vocal range, chic style, sexy dance moves and sensual ballads.
Usher's mother continues to guide the teen star's career as his manager, a duty she assumed after quitting her full-time office job several years ago. Upon moving to Atlanta, Usher began participating in various local talent shows. It was at one such exhibition, in 1992, that he was spotted by Bryant Reid, brother of Antonio Reid, the famed R&B producer and co-president (with 'Kenneth Babyface' Edmonds') of LaFace Records.
Bryant arranged for Usher to audition for his brother, and the popular producer was immediately taken with the young singer's precocious talent--legend has it that Reid offered Usher a contract on the spot. Usher recorded and released his debut album on LaFace in 1994. The record, which was co-executive-produced by Reid and Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, generated the minor hit "Think of You". Usher was only 14 when he worked on the album, and puberty proved somewhat of an impediment to the process.
As a result, the producers brought in several vocal coaches in order to help him complete the record. Their efforts were not in vain, as the album captured Usher's youthful exuberance and native singing prowess, not to mention the interest of many listeners. After graduating from high school, he entered the studio to record his sophomore effort, "My Way", which was produced by Jermaine Dupri of So So Def Records, and was released in October of 1997, around the time of Usher's 19th birthday. The record was already highly anticipated based on the success of its first hit single, "You Make Me Wanna", an impassioned love song in the classic R&B tradition.
The song was an instant juggernaut, hovering at or near the top of Billboard's R&B singles chart from the moment of its release, and it eventually spent considerable time in the # 2 position on the pop singles chart, second only to Elton John's wildly popular "Candle in the Wind '97." The success of "My Way" proved that the teenage crooner had won over the hearts of legions of listeners. It also illustrated the artistic maturation he had undergone since his debut recording. This time around, Usher wrote his own songs, penning five of the album's nine tracks. The remaining four songs were contributed by such R&B heavyweights as Babyface, Teddy Riley and producer Dupri.
Usher spent six months living at Dupri's house while recording the album; the time together, he says, helped them understand each other, and helped Dupri realize the genuine growth Usher was experiencing in his life. "My Way" yielded a second smash, "Nice & Slow", that also put a chokehold on the singles charts upon its release, and the video for the song garnered a fair share of critical acclaim.
Shot by famed hip-hop director Hype Williams, the video, which was filmed in Paris, features a dramatic romantic storyline that almost rivals the song itself. Usher was recognized for the strength of his recent work when he won the 1997 Soul Train Award for Best R&B Single by a Male, for "You Make Me Wanna" He also earned a Grammy nomination, though one of the few blemishes on his young career came during the awards telecast when he inadvertently introduced Album of the Year award winner Bob Dylan as "Bill" before an international television audience. For the most part, though, TV has been kind to the kid.
In addition to numerous appearances on programs like "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (1986), Usher has also been a recurring character on the syndicated TV show "Moesha" (1996), which stars pop songstress Brandy Norwood. Usher appeared on several episodes as Jeremy Davis, a boarding-school student romantically involved with the show's title character. For the foreseeable future, however, Usher is concentrating on taking his musical abilities to the next level by perfecting his skills as a live performer. He's had plenty of practice, touring on P. Diddy's No Way Out spectacular, and with Mary J. Blige on her national tour.
Tameka Foster (3 August 2007 - 4 November 2009) (divorced) 2 children
Chosen one of "Teen People" magazine's "21 Hottest Stars Under 21" (1999).
American R&B/rap singer, who has sold approximately 30 million albums worldwide.
Attended North Springs High School in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Broke up with Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas (2004).
[April 2004] His 5th album, "Confessions", was released in the U.S. It sold over 1.1 million copies in its first week, the highest first-week total ever for an R&B album.
Won 2 Grammy Awards, Best Male R&B Performance 2001 for U Remind Me, and Best Male R&B Performance 2002 for U Don't Have To Call.
Is the godson of actor Ben Vereen.
Is a co-owner of the (NBA team) Cleveland Cavaliers.
At 12.1 seconds, he holds the record on "Star Search" (1983) for the longest note sung by a child.
Has a road named after him, the "Usher Raymond Parkway" in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Voted #1 on BET's "All Shades of Fine: The 25 Hottest Men of the Past 25 Years" (2005)
Has known R&B singer Alicia Keys since he was 16.
Celebrated his 26th birthday in the "Rainbow Room" in the Rockafella Center. among the guests at the party were Sean Combs, Patti LaBelle, Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump, Naomi Campbell, Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Pharrell Williams, and Mariah Carey.
Good friends with R&B/Soul artist Robin Thicke.
Due to a flu, he had to cancel all of his performances in the Broadway Musical "Chicago" due to the flu in early 2006, but finally took over the role of "Billy Flynn" on 22 August, receiving mixed critics.
Won three Grammy Awards in 2005 for "R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals", "Rap/Sung Collaboration" and "Contemporary R&B Album".
Married Tameka Foster in a civil ceremony after canceling their wedding six days earlier (3 August 2007).
Ranked #47 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
Children (with Foster) Usher Terry Raymond V "Cinco" (b. November 26, 2007 at 7 lbs 9 oz) and Naviyd Ely Raymond (b. December 10, 2008 at 5 lbs 13 oz), both born in Atlanta, Georgia.
Was originally cast as C.C. White in Dreamgirls (2006) but later quit as he was unable to dedicate six months to the project. Keith Robinson was cast instead.
Strivers achieve what dreamers believe.
The best present a man can give a woman is his undivided attention.
I like a woman who takes care of herself - it says something about the way she'll care for me.