In the summer of 1994 LaFace Records premiered the self-title debut album of Usher. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs was one of the producers and co-executive producers for several of the songs on the album. Usher's debut album reached No. 25 on the R&B Albums chart and resulted in three hit singles; “Can U Get Wit It," "Think Of You," and "The Many Ways." Although Usher attained only moderate success with the album, it was enough to bring Usher into the R&B limelight and captured the attention of urban listeners.
In the early stages of his music career, Usher facilitated a friendship with famed hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupree. They eventually co-wrote and produced several tracks for the release of Usher's second album, My Way. Usher's hit single, “You Make Me Wanna'” hit the radio in the summer of 1997 and reached No. 1 by the second week on air. The single ended up topping charts for a total of eleven weeks and remained at No. 2 on the pop charts for seven weeks. The success of the single was the second most successful single at that time, coming in after Elton John's “Candle in the Wind” tribute to the late Princess Diana. In total, Usher's single remained on the charts for an astounding seventy-one weeks and became the first of many platinum singles.
As Usher headed into 1998, he released another hit single, “Nice and Slow”. This too reached No. 1 on the charts and remained there for several weeks. His 1997 hit “My Way” extended into 1998 and went on to earn a 6x Platinum status in album sales in the U.S. alone. Usher earned his first Grammy nomination that year for “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance” for his single “You Make Me Wanna'”. That single also earned a nomination at the Soul Train Music Awards.
Ushers junior album, entitled “8701” was named for the years in his career at that point as well as to commemorate the release date of the album, which was August 7, 2001, or 8/7/01. The album resulted in several chart-topping singles throughout the course of the year. Usher also released several singles independent of the album throughout 2001. The song "Pop Ya Collar", produced and co-written by Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, hit Europe in early '01. The single eventually became a No. 2 hit in the U.K. In the U.S. the single “U Remind Me”” was chosen instead as the albums first single and exactly one month after release it reached No. 1 on the U.S. Hot 100. It remained at No. 1 for four weeks. Usher's single “U Got it Bad”, a self-proclaimed “slow jam” written by Usher, hit the charts another month after the release of “8701” and eventually peaked to the top and stayed there for six-weeks. It remained No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop tracks chart for seven weeks. "U-Turn" was Usher's fourth international single followed by "U Don't Have To Call". "U Don't Have To Call" was the third U.S. single and one of two album tracks produced by the Neptunes , which put the pressure on the charts throughout 2002, reaching the top 3. To date the album has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide.
Due to peculiar Grammy deadlines, "U Remind Me" won the Best Male R&B Vocal award at the Grammy Award ceremonies in February 2002; and "U Don't Have To Call" won the same award at the ceremonies one year later, making Usher the only artist besides Luther Vandross (more than a decade before) and Stevie Wonder (in the 1970s) to win that award for two consecutive years in a row..
Usher released his fourth album, “Confessions” on March 23, 2004. At that same time Usher's single “Yeah!” produced by Lil John, was in its sixth week at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 and fifth week at the top of the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. “Confessions” sold 1.1 million albums in its first week of release, making it the highest first week ever scanned by a male R&B artist in Soundscan's 13-year history– but also the highest first week numbers recorded by any male artist since Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP (in 2000, with 1.7 million units). Confessions sold more than 15 million albums that year.
The success of “Confessions” was prolonged thanks to the extended release of the albums second and third singles, “Burn” and “Confessions Part II”. Both singles once again topped the Billboard Hot 100. This made Usher the third artist in pop music history and the first solo artist in pop music history to have three singles inside the Hot 100's top ten. The Beatles accomplished the same feat in 1964 and the BeeGee's did the same in 1978. In the fall of 2004 Usher's Collaboration with Alicia Keys, “My Boo”, reached No. 1 and delivered twenty-eight weeks on top of the U.S. Charts. In December of that year Usher's single “Caught Up” made it to No. 8 on the charts.
Since then Usher has released his 2008 album “Here I Stand”, his 2010 album “Raymond vs. Raymond” and his second 2010 album “Versus”. He has won a number of awards, including six Billboard-AURN R & B/Hip-Hop Awards, four BET Awards, one NAACP Image Award, three Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, seven Soul Train Music Awards, five Grammy Awards, one NRJ Music Awards, two Peoples Choice Awards, and countless others from the Billboard Music Awards, VH1 Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, American Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, First Annual Nordic Awards, Source Hip-Hop Awards, MOBO Awards, World Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, ASCAP Awards, Blockbuster Awards, MuchMusic Awards. His list of nominations goes even further.
Aside from his incredibly successful music career Usher has also acted in Moesha, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Faculty, She's All That, Light It Up, Texas Rangers, In the Mix, and Killers.
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