The music world knows Usher as a soulful singer, dancer, and part-time actor who will soon get his long-awaited Super Bowl stage at halftime on Sunday.
But does he answer to Usher away from the stage? Time to look into his real name and family history.
Who Is Usher? Looking Into Past and Family Tree
As it turns out, his real name is Usher Raymond IV.
Usher is Latin for “river mouth,” depicting a connection to the natural world. The name’s meaning also involves being described as a doorkeeper who is trusted to guide others on their path, especially at a river.
His roots really began in Dallas, as he was born to Jonnetta Patton and Usher Raymond III. However, he eventually moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., after his biological father left him and his family when Usher was only one. Usher was then introduced to music through his mother. He began to sing in a church choir in Chattanooga at the age of nine. From there, Usher’s interest in singing really took off.
His family then packed up and moved to Atlanta before his teenage years. Atlanta has long been considered a musical hotbed — especially for R&B and hip-hop music. He attended and graduated from North Springs High in Atlanta before devoting himself full-time to music.
Usher was also raised by a stepfather and has one half-brother.
Was Usher a ‘Star Search’ Contestant?
Most aspiring musical acts once turned to the famed TV show “Star Search” as a way to help launch their careers.
Did Usher go this route too?
Turns out a 13-year-old Usher gave “Star Search” a try. He garnered attention by singing every lyric to the Boyz II Men classic hit “End of the Road,” which witnessed him belting out every group member’s verses.
From there, hit R&B producer L.A. Reid immediately signed him to LaFace Records, which was co-owned by another R&B legend, singer/songwriter/producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
At 15, Usher released his self-titled album on Aug. 30, 1994. But, it was his sophomore album that turned him into one of the leading names in the R&B genre — ultimately earning his “King of R&B” title.
Usher Delivered Impressive Run Following First Album
His 1997 hit album “My Way” went on to produce a No. 1 Billboard hit in “You Make Me Wanna…” which was produced by Atlanta native Jermaine Dupri.
Usher wasn’t through. His second release was “Nice & Slow,” which featured guitar strings, a soulful voice, and Usher briefly rapping on the track. That track became his second No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts. “My Way” then became his third smash hit — which also showed Usher’s rare rapping skills.
Usher’s rise to fame led to modeling gigs and movie roles. Outside of striking a deal with Tommy Hilfiger, he’s best known for his villainous turn in the 1998 horror film “The Faculty” which was directed by Robert Rodriguez. Usher, though, landed a starring role in the 1999 action drama “Light It Up” alongside future Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and singer/actress Vanessa Williams.
He further cemented his status as king of his genre with his third studio album “8701.” That album included production from legendary musician Pharrell Williams on the track “U Don’t Have to Call” and two more smash hits in “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad.” His albums “My Way” and “8701” went multi-platinum.
Now, the world knows Usher as the maker of nine No. 1 hits and eight Grammy awards. He’ll soon join the growing list of musical legends who have performed in front of the Super Bowl stage.
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