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 its 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, containing four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles—”Yeah!” (featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris), “Burn”, “Confessions Part II”, and “My Boo” (with Alicia Keys)—and the top-ten “Caught Up”. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide 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” (featuring Young Jeezy) and “OMG” (featuring will.i.am). The EP Versus produced the top-five single “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” (featuring Pitbull) before the release of 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” (featuring Juicy J) 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 record producer Zaytoven.
Usher has sold 23.8 million albums and 38.2 million digital songs in the United States. Internationally, he has sold 80 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. Considered an icon and sex symbol, he has had TV and film appearances and seen inductions into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 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, Usher 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 also acclaimed for involvement in humanitarian causes and is the founder of Usher’s New Look Foundation.
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