Occupation: Actor, musician
Birth Name: Usher Raymond IV
Birthdate: 14 October 1978
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Height: 5' 11"
Styles: Contemporary R&B, Club/Dance, Urban
Best Known As: The R&B crooner of the hit 'You Make Me Wanna..'
Usher was spotted by a LaFace record executive at a talent show in his hometown of
Atlanta, Georgia, and after that it took no time for his career to take off.
The 14-year-old auditioned for LaFace Records co-founder L.A. Reid, who signed
the gospel choir boy to a recording contract. Raymond was introduced to the
world simply as "Usher," and released his debut album of the same
name in 1994, which featured co-executive producer Sean "Puffy"
The first single, "Think of You," gained Usher
notoriety and reached gold status. From that initial exposure, Usher was
approached to do other projects. In 1995, he recorded a national holiday jingle
for Coca-Cola. He also joined several top male R&B vocalists to form Black
Men United for the single "You Will Know," featured on the Jason's
Lyric soundtrack. He also teamed with teen singing sensation Monica for a duet
remake of Lattimore's "Let's Straighten It Out." After graduating
from high school, Usher graduated as well to his sophomore release, My Way, in
1997. In an attempt to display his maturity and songwriting abilities, Usher
co-wrote six of the nine songs and enlisted the help of producers Jermaine
Dupri, Babyface, and, again, Sean "Puffy" Combs.
The album's first single, "You Make Me Wanna,"
re-established Usher as one of R&B's hottest artists, and also made him a
crossover sensation; it topped the R&B charts for 11 weeks, hit number two
pop, and eventually went double platinum. Both of the follow-up singles,
"Nice & Slow" and "My Way," also went platinum; the
former stayed at number one on the R&B charts for eight weeks and became
his first number one pop single. In the meantime, Usher launched an acting
career, appearing in the 1998 horror spoof The Faculty and the 1999 urban
high-school drama Light It Up. To tide fans over, he issued a concert recording
titled simply Live in 1999. Usher returned with his third proper album, All
About U, toward the end of 2000. His third album, 8701, (2001) moved Usher from
a teen pop star to a sultry R&B singer.
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