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Usher Raymond has been a popular R&B/pop musician since the early 1990s. His 2004 album Confessions sold over a million copies in the US in its first week of release, selling the greatest amount of records in one week for any R&B artist, and has topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The first single from the album "Yeah" featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon has topped the US Billboard Hot 100, European, Australian, World, World R&B Charts, World Adult, Norwegian and Swiss charts in 2004 and gone to number 2. Usher won a Grammy Award for "Best Male R&B Vocal" in the Grammy Awards of 2001 for "U Remind Me" off his 8701 album.
His self-titled debut record was executive produced by P. Diddy, then known as Puff Daddy and was released in 1994. It made a modest impact on the charts peaking at number 167 on the Billboard 200 Album charts although it did reach number 4 on the Heatseeker charts for prospective stars. There were three singles released in the US from the album namely:
"Think Of You" Number 8 Hot R&B/Hip Hop charts, No 58
Billboard Hot 100;
My Way - Topping the Charts
"You Make Me Wanna" (1997) Number 2 Billboard Hot 100, number
1 US R&B (11 weeks), Rhythmic Top 40 and Dance charts number 6 Canada;
Usher released a live album that failed to achieve the success of My Way, only reaching number 73 on the Billboard 200 and number 30 on the R&B/Hip Hop Charts. The live album was widely perceived as a stopgap measure while he recorded his follow-up album, scheduled for release in early 2001. However, this album to be called All About U was extensively leaked on Napster, leading to new material being recorded for release later in the year.
The 8701 album so called because of the date of its release proved to be another success. It reached number one in the UK and Canada, number four on the Billboard 200 and number three on the R&B charts. This album started to build a market for Usher outside his traditional markets in Canada and the US. 8701 contained a number of hit singles including:
"Pop Ya Collar," which reached number two in the UK;
Usher continued in his acting career, appearing in Texas Rangers in 2001 and in Geppetto in 2000. He will play soul singer Jackie Wilson in Ray, a 2004 movie.
Usher was in a relationship with fellow R&B singer Rozonda Thomas (Chilli of TLC), but it was over as of 2004
Usher released the Confessions album on March 23, 2004. Confessions sold 1.1 million records in its first week of release, the most first-week sales by any R&B artist and the highest sales by any artist in three years. Along with the success of the Norah Jones album Feels Like Home, it was seen as a sign that record sales were slowly recovering after three straight years of decline in the US. The album topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic as well as topping US R&B charts and Internet albums charts and reaching number 2 in Australia. "Yeah" features contributions by Ludacris and Lil Jon and was released as the first single. Confessions has so far spawned the following hits:
"Yeah" has topped the Billboard Hot 100, European, World,
US and World R&B charts, World Adult, Australian, Norwegian and
Swiss charts and reached number 2 in Canada;
In May 2004, Usher became the 1st artist since the Beatles to have
3 simultaneous top 10 hits:
Moesha as Jeremy (TV series 1997-98), The Faculty as Gabe Santoro (movie 1998), The Bold and the Beautiful as Raymond (TV series 1998), She's All That as Ron James, campus DJ (movie 1999), Light It Up as Lester Dewitt (movie 1999), Geppetto as Ring Leader (TV movie 2000), Texas Rangers (movie) as Randolph Douglas Scipio (movie 2001), Ray as Jackie Wilson (2004).
Celebrity photos courtesy of Getty Images, WireImage, Tetu Magazine, Icon Magazine, Attitude Magazine, DNA Magazine, Paparazo, Terra's The Boy,
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