Usher Raymond IV (born October 14, 1978) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, businessman, and dancer. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee until moving to Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of 12, his mother put him in local singing competitions before catching the attention of a music A&R from LaFace Records. He released his self-titled debut album Usher (1994), and rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way (1997). It spawned his first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single “Nice & Slow”, and the top-two singles “You Make Me Wanna…” and “My Way”. His third album, 8701 (2001), produced the number-one singles “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad”, as well as the top-three single “U Don’t Have to Call”. It sold eight million copies worldwide and won his first two Grammy Awards as Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2002 and 2003.
Confessions (2004) established him as one of the best-selling musical artists of the 2000s decade, selling 20 million copies worldwide and contained four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles—”Yeah!”, “Burn”, “Confessions Part II”, and “My Boo.” The fifth and final single “Caught Up” peaked within the top ten and was certified Diamond by the RIAA. After splitting from his manager and mother in 2007, he released the albums Here I Stand (2008) and Raymond v. Raymond (2010), both of which debuted atop of the Billboard 200 chart and respectively produced the number-one singles “Love in This Club” and “OMG”. The single “OMG” made him the first 2010s artist to collect number-one singles in three consecutive decades. He also became the third artist to have at least one number-one song from five consecutive studio albums. The EP Versus produced the top-five single “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” before releasing the top-fifteen single “More”. Looking 4 Myself (2012) also debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart with the top-ten single “Scream”. The R&B ballads “There Goes My Baby” and “Climax” received Grammy Awards in 2011 and 2013. “I Don’t Mind” also reached the top-fifteen in 2014, while Hard II Love (2016) peaked at five on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2018, he released A, a collaborative album with Zaytoven.
Usher has sold 23.8 million albums and 38.2 million digital songs in the United States. Internationally, he has sold 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. At the end of 2009, Billboard named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade, the number-one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade, and ranked Confessions as the top solo album of the 2000s decade. In 2010, Billboard placed him at number 6 on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. In 2019, Billboard also placed him at number 14 on their “Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists” list. Usher has earned 9 number-one singles, 18 top-ten singles in the US, and 20 top-ten entries in the UK.
Considered an icon and sex symbol, he has had TV and film appearances and seen inductions into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fuse ranked him as the 10th most award-winning musician of all time. Usher has won numerous awards and accolades including eight Grammy Awards, 34 ASCAP Awards, nine Soul Train Music Awards, and eight American Music Awards. With 18 awards, Raymond is the fifth-most awarded artist at the Billboard Music Awards. He owns the record label Raymond-Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture with talent manager Scooter Braun that includes Canadian singer Justin Bieber. Alongside a successful music career, Usher is acclaimed for his activism and involvement in humanitarian causes. He is the founder of the nonprofit organization Usher’s New Look Foundation.