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Some Of The Highlights:
*New Usher Album In November
*New Usher Single In October
*Going On WORLD TOUR in Feb. 2004
*No Song yet recorded with Chilli
*4 Artists signed to US Records
*He May Work With Neptunes Again ("U Don't Have To Call", "I Don't Know")
*Working on a show on NBC
*No Name yet set for album (He may have a contest for it), check out UsherWorld.com for the lastest news...
JD Helping Ush on Next Album (4/2)
Of the Arista artists not signed to So So Def, Babyface is going to give the comeback trail yet another go, dropping a new album June 24. Face is said to be to focusing on his vintage ballads this time around. Newcomer Red Cafe, who's been making rounds on the mixtapes, is coming out in August, as is former Goodie Mob member Cee-Lo. Later on this year Dupri and Reid are pulling out the big guns with Avril Lavigne's sophomore album, due September 9, and Pink's next project, due November 11.
A few weeks after the hairstyle-changing singer drops her opus, Dupri's main man Usher is hoping to follow up the success of 8701 with a still-untitled LP. Jermaine is once again going to executive produce.
"I just started on his album last week," JD disclosed. "Its the same [procedure]. It's nothing never different. We been through the sophomore jinx there is no sophomore jinx. We just making records. We know his mode. I'm gonna [produce] most of the album. He's gonna see Pharrell [of the Neptunes]. Same thing as always. If it ain't broke, dont fix it."
So says the boss.
-Grammy News Backstage-
Maybe the platinum singer was on to something, because right before show time there was a logjam of stars as everybody tried to make it to their seats at once. Pink, P. Diddy, Usher and his date, Chilli, and Harvey Fierstein, dressed in full drag, all had to wait before they could go inside.
When the show finally commenced, traffic backstage in the media center was busier than goings on in the main arena. "I feel great," Tony Bennett told a room full of reporters. "I have 11 Grammys. Outside of [losing to the soundtrack to 'The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland'], I've won every time [I've been nominated]. I'm still mad at Elmo."
Usher tried to play like he was mad at Chilli, but he was obviously enjoying her frisky displays of affection as they walked from media outlet to outlet. "Stop it, stop it," he kept giggling as she pinched his butt every few feet. "Stop iiiiit," he continued to chuckle until they made their destination.
Usher wasn't the only singer the petite ATL songstress showed love to. She gave hugs to Kelly and Ashanti, who were also making their rounds with the press. "Congratulations, girl," Chilli told Ashanti, who won Best Contemporary R&B Album during the pre-telecast.
"I love you," Ashanti responded.
Usher Wins His Second Grammy In A Row
Well Usher was the favorite to win the Best Male Vocal R&B Performance for "U Don't Have To Call", even though he was in heavy competion. Musiq's "Halfcrazy" and R. Kelly's "The World's Greatest" were also, in the same section. "U Don't Have To Call" as Neptunes produced track, hit #2 on the billboard's Hot R&B and Hip Hop Tracks, and #1 Internationally. "U Don't Have To Call" had a remix, featuring the grammy nominated Ludacris, which blew up on the radio stations. Usher is working on his, record label US Records, and is also working on a new album... due this year. No title or release date has been released.
R&B superstar Usher Raymond IV has matured from a fresh-faced teen into a multi-faceted entertainer. He sings, writes, produces, dances and acts. If the transition proved to be the undoing of his hero Michael Jackson, then Usher has experienced a dream run - and, ironically, he's done it by keepin' real.
"It's a part of life, you grow up. I'm 24-years-old now, but I'm still young. There's still a lot of energy and a lot of space to grow inside of me, you know. There's a lotta things that I want to indulge in. Vocally, I wanna know more, I want to educate myself in music, I wanna educate myself in emotion. The more I live, I think the more I learn, and the more I learn, the better I am as an artist and as an entertainer."
This month Usher will finally tour Australia - indeed, his first visit was cancelled after he sustained an injury performing. Usher is very much the showman.
"My performance consists of just non-stop energy. You see a lot of performers who will find their comfortability on the stage is music - it'll be about the band or it'll be about just how tight that music sounds with that band, or how much of a charisma or a chemistry that the artist can bring into the house - but my performance is that as well as non-stop performance, non-stop entertainment. You will be entertained from the moment that you get there to the moment you leave."
Usher was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and raised by his mother, Jonnetta Patton (he has no contact with his father). As soon as Usher could talk, he was singing in his mom's church choir. Before long, he was performing on the talent show circuit. Usher's family relocated to the R&B centre of Atlanta - 'Hotlanta' - when he was 12 and here he secured a deal with LaFace Records, home to TLC.
In 1994 Usher charted with his first single, Think Of You, but his eponymous debut, overseen by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, was a relative disappointment. Usher's lyrical themes were too risque for his young fanbase. For his follow-up, My Way, Usher joined forces with Jermaine Dupri, his new mentor. Yet even Usher couldn't have foreseen his sophomore's multi-platinum success - My Way gave him a series of hit singles with You Make Me Wanna, Nice 'N' Slow and My Way.
Usher's newfound celebrity meant that he was considered marketable in the areas of television and film. He appeared in the TV soap The Bold And The Beautiful ("that was just an experiment, I wanted to see how it felt"), as well as The Faculty and Light It Up.
In 2000 Usher returned to music full-time with his third LP, 8701, and since then, he's maintained a chart presence with Pop Ya Collar, U Remind Me, U Got It Bad, U Turn and U Don't Have To Call.
As it happens, Usher is in the early stages of planning his next LP.
"I'm always working, I'm always looking for the next record, entertainment is a 25/eight job, you never stop - you know, that 25th hour is the one that makes the difference," he says. "There will be an Usher album for sure in 2003, yeah."
In the meantime, Usher is establishing his own label, Us Records, with his first act premiering this year (he's reluctant to reveal any more information).
However, Usher is not done with the acting world - he's been touted roles in mainstream television.
Yes, Usher wants to do it all. His ambition? To be the ultimate entertainer.
On top of everything else, Usher is a sex symbol.
"That comes with the territory, baby!," he laughs. "It's when you've got a six-pack and you're working on your bod, you're keeping it tight, keeping it looking good, and it's a part of the territory."
But does he feel at ease with that? "I'm not mad at it." He laughs.
A while back there was talk of Usher forming an R&B supergroup with Sisqo and Ginuwine, but it didn't come to fruition. Sisqo claimed that Usher blocked the idea. Usher has no love for Sisqo.
"Sisqo was the guy who thought of the idea, but obviously in putting together a group you can't be as selfish as that little muthafucka was. You can't try to put together things and then you get so full of yourself that you lose your mind. I don't know if the audience in Australia knows about Sisqo and how he lost his mind as an entertainer, but I think he did. I think this industry can hype you up so much that you begin to think you're larger than you actually are - and that's what happened. So when the guy approached me, I think the way that he approached me was wrong. It's almost like the dude wanted to battle every R&B artist in the industry, but how can you say you wanna put together a group of R&B artists but you wanna battle and you say that you're the illest of all time? That ain't gonna happen, playa!"
These days Usher may have a hectic schedule, but he finds time for his girlfriend - TLC's Chilli (Rozanda Thomas). Chilli is slightly older, and has a son, Tron, with producer Dallas Austin. But the pair are devoted to each other. So what makes them click?
"I don't really know what it was. I think once again it's just the chemistry between two people this time. Life is about chemistry, life is about an emotion, and the chemistry of that moment. When we worked together on my video [U Got It Bad], we became friends, we talked and we kept in contact even after the video and, before you know it, things led to things and we started dating."
Chilli has dedicated a song, Good Love, to Usher on the new TLC album, 3D , which he loves.
"It gives me motivation to just start doing my next album, 'cause I'd love to do a song that would tell a bit of how I feel about her."
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