Usher’s Road to the Super Bowl

Usher’s “My Way” residency, which began in 2021 in Las Vegas (the town where Frank Sinatra himself once gallivanted), had the R&B singer courting celebrities and viral social media moments for 100 consecutive sold-out shows. The staging was energetic, replete with roller skates and stripper poles.

But spectacle wasn’t the only draw. Usher, 45, used the retrospective to showcase the hallmarks of his 30-year music career: pristine vocals, polished but effortless dance moves and heart-melting charm in the tradition of his idols Sammy Davis Jr. and Ben Vereen, his godfather. It’s appropriate, then, that on Feb. 11 the eight-time Grammy winner will perform the halftime show at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, days after he’s slated to release his ninth studio album “Coming Home,” which he called a “love letter to the legacy of my career.” Here are the eras that have defined Usher’s career.


New Jack Swing Beginnings

After starting out in his church choir, Usher began singing professionally at age 10 with an R&B group in his hometown, Chattanooga, Tenn. A solo performance on “Star Search” in 1991 landed him an audition with the LaFace Records co-founder L.A. Reid, who signed him to the label based in Atlanta. Usher moved there at age 12 and worked under the tutelage of producer Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who had developed Jodeci and Mary J. Blige.

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