Usher Raymond IV was born in 1978 to parents Usher Raymond III and Jonetta Patton in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Raised by his mother, he moved to Atlanta Georgia as a child. Getting his start in the church choir, Usher began competing in talent shows while in junior high school. At twelve, Usher auditioned in Star Search where he was spotted by a rep from LaFace Records who helped Usher get a contract with the studio.
At the age of 16, Usher released his self-titled debut album in 1994. Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs was heavily involved in the project and produced several tracks. The album performed mediocre, with the only single even breaking the top ten of the R&B charts being 'Think Of You.'
As time went on, Usher honed his sound and finished high school. Working with Jermaine Dupri, Babyface and L.A. Reid, Usher scored big with his second album, My Way. His first single, 'You Make Me Wanna' was #1 on the R&B charts for 11 weeks and #2 on the Pop charts for 7 weeks. It managed to stay on the charts for 71 weeks. Following the single, Usher released 'Nice & Slow' which topped both the Hot 100 and R&B charts. Lastly, the single 'My Way' managed to reach #2 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B charts. Doing a 180 from the previous album's performance, Usher's second album managed to go 6X platinum.
Following his album's success, Usher spotted several acting positions. His first lead role was in the 1998 thriller, The Faculty, which was followed up by a role in the TV shows The Bold and The Beautiful and Promised Land. he partook in two more movies as well, appearing in She's All That and Light It Up.
In 2001, Usher released the album 8701, which was named with double meanings. The album was named based on the years of Usher's career, 1987-2001 and also, the day of it's release, 8/7/01. 'U Remind Me' the album's first single, topped the Hot 100, as did the second single 'U Got It Bad.' Continuuing the pattern, the single 'U Don't Have To Call' hit #3 on the Hot 100. The album was a big success, going 4X platinum and singles from it won Grammy awards two years in a row for Best Male R&B Vocal, a feat that hadn't been done since Luther Vandross a decade earlier and by Stevie Wonder in the 1970s.
Creating further success, Usher's fourth album was released in 2004 and was titled Confessions. The album sold 1.1 million copies its first week, a record for a male R&B artist in Soundscan's history. It's early success was likely driven by the single 'Yeah!' which had been on the top of the Hot 100 for 6 weeks upon the album's release. The albums later singles 'Burn' and 'Confessions Part II' also topped the Hot 100 and made Usher the first solo artist to ever have three singles in the Hot 100's top 10. Released on a special edition version of the cd, the single 'My Boo' with Alicia Keys also reached #1 on the charts. The track 'Caught Up,' the last single of the album, reached #8 on the R&B charts. All together, the album went 9X platinum.
In 2005, Usher finished work on his motion picture In The Mix which performed poorly at the box office. The film has been voted in the bottom 100 of the IMDb movie rankings.
At the moment, Usher is working on a new album expected to be released in early 2008. Usher has been working in New Orleans cleaning up a school that has been closed since Hurricane Katrina and is currently in the play Chicago on Broadway. He has also started his own label, Ush Records which has two artists Rico Love and One Chance.