Usher Through the Years

ESSENCE.COM Mar, 29, 2010

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Usher kicked off his career at age 11 as a member of a boy-band. By 13, he’d appeared on “Star Search” and caught the attention of L.A. Reid. In 1994, he released his self-titled debut, with the help of Sean “Diddy” Combs.

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Back in 1997, Usher stops to check out the young man in the mirror.

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Over time, Usher began to take more control of his career, co-writing and co-producing his second album, “My Way,” with Jermaine Durpi. “U Make Me Wanna” is still in rotation for many of us. The track earned the crooner his first Grammy nod.

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As Usher matured in the spotlight, so did his confidence and swag.

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Usher’s mom, Jonetta Patton, has played an integral role in his success, serving as his manager for most of his career.

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Usher had a very public, two-year relationship with TLC’s Chilli. The duo’s break-up inspired his most successful album to date, “Confessions,” in 2004.

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In 2003, Usher and Chilli dressed in full 70s regalia for his costume party for his 25th birthday.

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Usher and Chilli pose together at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York in 2002.

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Usher defies gravity during his performance at the 2004 World Music Awards.

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Naomi Campbell accompanied Usher to the MTV Europe Music Awards back in 2004.

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Usher and Alicia Keys joined forces for the 2004 hit, “My Boo.” Their performances were so convincing that fans wondered if the duo were actually a couple.

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Business blossomed into pleasure when Usher found love with his wardrobe stylist, Tameka Foster.

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The happy couple spends an evening out during the fall of 2007.

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The Raymonds smile for the cameras during a night on the town.

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The arrival of Usher’s first son, Usher V, in November 2007 was a life-changing experience for the Grammy winner. He dedicated his fifth studio album, “Here I Stand,” to his new heir.

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In August 2007, Usher and Tameka became husband and wife in Atlanta.

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Usher shares the best part of marriage was having children.

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Usher and his first born share a quiet moment. In December 2008, he and Tamika welcomed their second son, Naviyd Ely Raymond, into the world.

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Though his father was absent from his early life, Usher has no doubts that he will be the best dad he can be to his children.

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Even when he’s dressed down, Usher can’t help but exude his own brand of southern swagger.

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With his growing success, Usher has continued to reach back to help others through his work with the Boys & Girls Club and his own foundation, New Look.

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At Usher’s New Look camp, students learn the importance of citizen power and the origins of personal power.

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Camp New Look includes a two-week program which helps kids understand the importance of service leadership and social entrepreneurship.

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In 2008, Usher earned the Civic Leader of the Year Award, courtesy of Celebs Gone Good.

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Usher is a frequent and welcomed guest on BET’s “106 & Park.”

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Dressed in a military-inspired jacket and studded belt, Usher wows the crowd during his performance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

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Usher was all smiles during an appearance on MTV’s now-defunct video countdown show, “TRL.”

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Beyoncé beams as her friend and collaborator serenades her during the 2005 World Music Awards.

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Usher remains in high demand for advertising partnerships, including the “Got Milk?” campaign. He’s also expanded his résumé as an actor, landing his first guest appearance on “Moesha” and starring roles in such films as “Light It Up” and “In the Mix.”

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A suave Usher greets fans after his Broadway debut in “Chicago.”

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Usher enjoys combining his love of singing, acting and dancing and looks forward to performing in more musicals.

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Usher proudly displays a few of the 11 statues he won at the 2004 Billboard Music Awards, including Artist of the Year.

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Usher performs at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.

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Adriana Lima and Usher on the runway during the 2008 Victoria’s Secret Runway Show, held at the Fountainebleau Hotel and Resort, in Miami Beach, Florida.

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Adriana Lima and Usher on the runway during the 2008 Victoria’s Secret Runway Show, held at the Fountainebleau Hotel and Resort, in Miami Beach, Florida.

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Usher performs at the 2008 BET Awards in Los Angeles.

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Led by the single, “Love In This Club,” Usher released “Here I Stand” in the summer of 2008. The album’s title track was ever-sweet.

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Usher does his thing at the NFL Opening Kickoff concert at New York’s Columbus Circle in 2008.

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Usher is known for casual style and easy smile.

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Usher is always looking towards the future.

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Usher performs at the “We Are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington,
D. C.

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Usher supports his fellow artist, Alicia Keys, in her philanthropic efforts for “Keep a Child Alive.” Here, he arrives at the charity’s Sixth Annual Black Ball in New York last fall.

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Since the chatter surrounding his divorce has simmered down, Usher is making his way back to center stage.

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As Usher shifts into overdrive to promote his new album, he’ll surely be in-and-out of nearly every airport across the country in the coming weeks and months.

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Usher arrives on the red carpet at the Las Vegas nightclub, Haze, in January.

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Usher visits BET’s “106 & Park” to promote “Raymond vs. Raymond.”

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Usher having fun at Coachella Music Festival. Look that smile!

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Celine Dion, Gladys Knight, Justin Bieber, Usher,, Barbra Streisand, LL Cool J, Harry Connick Jr., Wyclef Jean, Vince Vaughn, Jeff Bridges and others sing in unison to record a track for Haiti relief.

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Usher takes his kids to the pumpkin patch in West Hollywood. How cute is this pic?

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Usher performs onstage during the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California.

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“Raymond v. Raymond” is a return to a more creative, free-minded Usher.

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Usher makes his grand entrance at the MTV Video Music Awards in style.

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Usher needs to stay fit to keep up with that choreography. Here he is riding his mountain bike in West Hollywood.

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Singer Usher takes a ride on his mountain bike in L.A.

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Usher with his kids arrive at the premiere of ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ in Los Angeles, California.

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Usher hopes to recapture the magic on his latest album, “Raymond vs. Raymond.” We’re looking forward to it, too.

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Usher performs at the New Look Foundation’s First Annual World Leadership Awards in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Usher poses backstage at the Capital FM Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

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Usher on his way back from lunch in Los Angeles.

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Usher Raymond IV has matured from a teen heartthrob to global businessman and philanthropist.

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In December 2008, Usher and Tameka welcomed their second son, Naviyd Ely Raymond, into the world.

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Usher performs at Palais Omnisports de Bercy during the OMG Tour in Paris, France.

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Usher signs an autograph as he leaves the Mayfair Hotel in London, UK.

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Singer Usher performs during the OMG Tour at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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“When you stand for what’s right, regardless of what anyone else’s opinion may be, you are right,” Usher says. “No man is able to judge another for what he feels and what he stands for.”

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Usher and took to the stage for an electrifying Super Bowl 45 halftime performance of their hit collaboration, ‘OMG.’

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Usher at Radio One in London on June 2.

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Usher performs during the OMG Tour at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Usher poses next to the statue of the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy while visiting Dublin where he played two concerts of his OMG World Tour in Dublin, Ireland.

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“I’m ready to shock the world,” Usher says of his new album.

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“I hope to do something as a businessman that opens up more opportunities for people to believe in themselves. If I can do it, you may believe you can do it as well,” Usher says. “Let me become the motivation for moving forward. Oprah Winfrey is a great motivator for Black people. How can I do the same thing? I’m looking and I’m constantly aware of that desire. There are just so many things I want to do with my life, with my light.”

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“My first single takes you back to the beginning of my life story—[reintroducing] the guy who wanted to hustle and play in the club but eventually making his journey to lifetime” Usher says of his new project. “Life will take you through high and low valleys, give you seasons—rain and shine. Ultimately, the end of this story leads to a lifetime[ fulfilled]. That’s what this entire project is all about.”

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Usher released his fifth album, “Here I Stand,” after a four-year hiatus following 2004’s kiss-and-tell-all collection, “Confessions.”

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Ladies definitely had it bad when Usher hit the stage topless. He belts out the hit song at the 2002 American Music Awards.

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Usher performs during the OMG Tour at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.

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Usher is joined on stage by Ciara to sing a duet. These two make an awesome pair on stage together.

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Just how cute are these two. Usher and his son Usher Raymond V show off their swagger on a walk in LA.

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Justin Bieber and Usher go all-out for their Grammy performance.

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Usher out and about in New York City.

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Usher with his son checking out of their hotel downtown in New York City.

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Usher takes a walk around New York City with his sons.

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There’s nothing sexier than a good daddy! Usher, we love you! Can’t wait to see you take the stage on EMF.

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Usher is ready for the world with a new outlook on life that came with fatherhood.


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