Interview: Usher

2010-04-06 14:07
Interview: Usher

Tell us about your new album, Raymond V Raymond
"Raymond V Raymond". There are three sides to every story. There' one side, there’s the other and there’s the truth. This album tells you every perspective of Usher. Many people have known me for many years as just Usher, but they never got to know Raymond. So now you know Usher and Raymond – and both sides of who he is.

How has life changed for Usher since 2007's Here I Stand?
Life since 2007 has changed for me in a massive way. Musically, from Here I Stand to Raymond V Raymond I was able to hone in on two incredible things about my personality. One being I’m very honest and the other being I’m very open and vulnerable at the same time. If I go all the way back to Confessions there was something very honest and vulnerable in that and something equally as honest in Here I Stand. But now in Raymond V Raymond I’m able to tell both sides. Both the good and the bad or, depending on how you look at it, the bad meaning good or good meaning bad. Really the choice is up to you because I think this album speaks to all of who we are.

Apart from your music, Brand Usher continues to grow. How important is it to have a multi-faceted career?
Brand Usher is the future. I think around 2004/2005 I really started to view myself differently as an artist and a business. While I’m compelled to do these creative things – and I’ll never let go of that emotion – the other side is that there are so many other things I have to offer as a business man, as a brand in terms of taste and in terms of culture. I think that I am able to convey that through my branding.

You are known for your great fashion taste, who are your favorite designers these days?
Great designers, like Alexander McQueen RIP, and incredible designers like Tom Ford, incredible designers like Chris Baley. There are so many incredible people, Versace etc. but more than anything I think it’s all an expression of where you are and how you feel. As a product of where you go. That becomes somewhat of the evolution of what you’re offering as an artist. Well for me as an artist, but also in fashion as people.

Justin Bieber has become a superstar under your guidance. What's next for your combined careers?
I take partial credit for being able to open up an opportunity for him to convey his talents. As Justin Bieber's career grows I can tell you, you have a lot, a lot in store for so many incredible layers he has as an artist. You’ve only seen the surface. I’m very proud of him. I’m very happy you guys have received him the way that you have. And I’m very thankful.

"OMG" Featuring is our next big international single. Tell us about working with Will.
Every time Will and I got together – you know that last album we worked on ‘What’s Your Name’ – we didn’t work in the studio. With this album at the very last minute we came together with something incredible. “OMG” is going to prove to be one of the biggest pop records I’ve had in my career in terms of the sound and just the international appeal. I love it and I love working with him every time we get together.

What will the video for "OMG" be like?
The video for "OMG" will be a combination of things: half theatrical, half visual, good dance movement, good energy, but more than anything I think a visual that will be captivating and leave you with visual moments you’ll never forget.

What was special about Anthony Mandler's video idea and execution?
Man working with Anthony – every time we get together – it’s almost like a friend that you know and then you leave him for years but when you come together it’s like you just spoke yesterday. The vision connected. Obviously as a director he’s grown massively and while we had worked together in photography for many years, having the opportunity to see him now, in this setting, was incredible - to see him work not only behind the scenes but with the camera as well. The vision coming to fruition was greater than I ever imagined from what I read on the paper. It’s very vivid from reading it on a piece of paper, but when I saw the reality of it I was like, "Man. Incredible."

When will we see Usher on the road with a world tour?
I will be touring very soon. The best way for you to keep up with my tour schedule is to go to my website, which will lock you in.

Any hints on what your live show will be like?
The live show will be one to remember. If the indication of the music is any idea of what you will get in terms of the dichotomy of the two characters, I plan on telling that story even more vividly in person.

The hunky R&B star chats about baring his soul on his new CD, building the Usher brand, mentoring Justin Bieber and more.
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