Usher: Snapshot

Date of Birth
October 14, 1978
Birth Place
Dallas, Texas
By age 26, Usher sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, won five Grammy awards, and dated TLC's Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and supermodel Naomi Campbell.

After appearing on Star Search, the 13-year-old signed with LaFace Records, where he was mentored by Sean ''Diddy'' Combs and Jermaine Dupri. He went on to light up the world of R&B with his megawatt smile, six-pack abs, slick dance moves, and hits like "Confessions" and "Yeah!"

In 2007, the focus was turned to his personal life, with his stop-and-go nuptials to former stylist Tameka Foster. But in June 2009, the singer filed for divorce from his wife of nearly two years, with whom he has two sons, Usher V and Naviyd. He brought the focus back to the music in 2013 when he joined The Voice as a mentor, filling CeeLo Green's seat in seasons 4 and 6, and confirmed his engagement to his manager in early 2015.

Usher: Five Fun Facts

  1. Usher was discovered by L.A. Reid of LaFace Records after appearing on the television talent show Star Search, where he sang the Boyz II Men hit "End Of The Road."
  2. Before going solo, a pre-teen Usher joined the group, Happy Clowns, who combined music and acrobatics. As they matured, they turned the acrobatics into Motown moves and changed their name to the Nu Beginning.
  3. In the late 1990s, decoys were dressed like Usher and sent into packs of screaming fans, so he could escape concerts unscathed. "When you get 100 little girls, they don't become touches, they become hits," Ali Bennett, Usher's wardrobe person, who did decoy duty in England, told the Washington Post in 1998.
  4. In February 2005, Usher invested an estimated $9 million for a small stake in the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
  5. With his fourth album Confessions, Usher became the third artist ever to have three singles simultaneously on Billboard's Top 10 (after the Beatles and the Bee Gees).

Usher: Biography



October 14

Gospel Roots

Usher Raymond IV is born to Usher Raymond III and Jonetta Patton. At 9, he begins singing in the choir at St. Elmo Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn. Usher tells the Washington Post in 1998 that singing in the church was "like mental grooming in early ages...Like any other normal child, I had a lot of dreams."



Discovered on Star Search

With his mother, stepfather and younger brother, Usher, 12, relocates to Atlanta, Ga., where Jonetta hopes to get the aspiring singer more exposure. He enters TV's talent showcase Star Search, where he wins Best Teen Male Vocalist for his rendition of Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road." "I was a competitor for four months. I was doing good," Usher says. "No one could beat me." The following year, he meets producer L.A. Reid, who signs him to LaFace Records. "Usher represents the next generation of R&B soul," Reid tells Billboard.



A Bad Boy Debut

Usher, 15, moves to New York to work with up-and-coming producer Sean ''Diddy'' Combs, who has a makeover in mind for his protégé. Usher's self-titled debut album sells 500,000 copies, but is heavily criticized for its sexual content. "It was the wrong direction," Usher tells PEOPLE. "That whole bad-boy thing, me frowning for the camera – that wasn't me."

Read More on Usher's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Anthony Mandler

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Courtesy Usher; Splash News Online;

Edited by Julia Wang


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