Usher Through The Years

Usher Raymond IV has matured from a teen heartthrob to global businessman and philanthropist. As he celebrates his 31st birthday, we take a look at defining moments in his life. Share your birthday wishes below.
ESSENCE.COM Oct, 13, 2009

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Usher Raymond IV has matured from a teen heartthrob to global businessman and philanthropist. As he celebrates his 31st birthday today and puts the finishing touches on his upcoming album, we take a look at the defining moments in his life. Share your birthday wishes below.

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

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As Usher settled into the business, the young star took more control of his career, co-writing and co-producing his second album, “My Way,” with good friend 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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Usher’s mom, Jonetta Patton, has been an integral part of his success, serving as his manager for most of his career.

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

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

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Usher’s charisma had him in hot demand for ad campaigns like this one. He also grew his résumé as an actor, landing his first role on “Moesha” and going on to star in such films as “Light It Up” and “In the Mix.”

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Powerhouse duo Usher and Alicia Keys joined forces for 2004’s hit ballad “My Boo.” Their performances were so good that fans wondered if the duo were actually together.

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Business turned to pleasure when Usher found love again with his stylist Tameka Foster.

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After a short romance, Usher popped the question as Robin Thicke played along. He and Tameka married in August of 2007.

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The arrival of Usher’s first son, Usher V, in November 2007, changed him for the better. He released his fifth album, 2008’s “Here I Stand,” and dedicated the music to his new heir. In December 2008, he and Tameka welcomed their second son, Naviyd Ely Raymond.

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

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Usher continued his growing work in philanthropy this year. In June, he announced his split from wife Tameka and was back to the studio. His first single “Papers,” alludes to the divorce documents he is ready to sign.

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Usher joined former President Bill Clinton during the Clinton Global Initiative, and put his influence to good use this past September.

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With the new album “Raymond vs. Raymond” coming soon, Usher is looking towards the future, as he leaves a big impact on the world.

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We’re excited for Usher’s new album, which is slated to drop before the end of the year. With the drama he’s been through this past year, we’re sure it’ll be worth a listen.

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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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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – AUGUST 16: Usher performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on August 16, 1998 in Mountain View California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

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