78. Usher: The Man and his Music


Usher Raymond IV, known professionally as Usher, is one of the best-selling artists in American Music history. He has sold more than 23 million albums, in the United States alone, since he began his recording career in 1998. He is a singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist. His second album My Way sold more than six million copies, making Usher a music megastar.

Born in Dallas, Texas on October 14, 1978, Usher spent the majority of his childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His mother was from Texas, and his father was Haitian, who left the family when Usher was just a year old, leaving his mother to raise him alone. His mother eventually remarried, and Usher, along with his half-brother, were brought up by his step-father.

When he was nine years old, Usher began singing in a church choir. His grandmother decided he would have a better chance to develop his musical talents in Atlanta, Georgia, so the family relocated there. When Usher was just 11 years old, he joined a Rhythm and Blues band called NuBeginnings. This was the start of his musical career. At 13, Usher appeared on the popular 90's show Star Search. He was discovered by a major record label, and invited to Los Angeles to record. On August 30, 1994, Usher's self-titled album was released and become very popular. It peaked at No. 25 on Billboard's list.

His success in the music industry has been achieved by very few artists. He has sold more than 65 million records worldwide to date, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. His recordings have been ranked in the Top 10 eighteen times; he has had nine, No. 1 hits in his career. In 2002, Usher founded Vanity Records, and he has also ventured into other venues. He is part owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers, and owns a string of restaurants.

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