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May 15th, 2009
06:05 PM ET

R&B Superstar Usher Pays It Forward

When I pulled up to Usher’s studios in Atlanta, it was just as I thought. His creative lab is hidden deep inside a building located in what looks like your run of the mill business park. But once you get past several security doors, there’s an inner sanctum that speaks to Usher’s playfulness and artistic drive. There’s the ever-important PlayStation, which Usher confesses he doesn’t really use. Instead he’d rather watch a movie, particularly animated films. Can you see him writing his next hit while watching Kung Fu Panda? While that movie is one of his favorites, it was clear he has a penchant for old school super heroes. In fact, there’s a huge Incredible Hulk statue in corner of the room.

Like his super heroes, Usher also gets much of his musical inspiration from the old school crowd – artists like James Brown. So while Usher may be one of the best selling performers in the business, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Those moments in time that shaped a young kid growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He credits both his mother and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for helping foster his talents at young age. If it weren’t for that positive motivation, Usher says his life could easily have been much different. This from a guy who dropped his first album at just 15.

Now a five-time Grammy winner, Usher is more than a multi-platinum recording artist. He’s a man with a mission to pay it forward, as he calls it. I sat down with him to talk about his induction into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame, what he’s doing to help prevent malaria.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Loretta Koon

    Usher is a role model to be looked up to. Congratulations on setting your goals and following through. Not only are you a super star you are a humanitarian. God has obviously blessed you with talent, may He also blessed you with a long and happy life. If anyone deserves it, you, dear Usher, surely do!

    May 15, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  2. Paul

    My God! Could Betty have looked any better during this interview? I have no clue what Usher said. Betty's definitely worth getting up early for on Saturday morning. I just hate that the show is interrupted by S. Gupta after only 90 minutes. We need more Betty!

    May 16, 2009 at 7:33 am |
  3. Cassie

    Good to hear that someone is doing postive things for our young youth out there. Congrats Usher, you are one in a million who really do care! Like your music and hope to see you live in concert one day. If not, I will continue to enjoy the sound of your music.

    May 16, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  4. dlblak

    how are you
    please excuse the poor typing skills.
    I just want to briefly comment on the chris brown piece that you did
    on may 28 09.
    to make this short HE IS NOT A RAPPER , he is an r&b singer, there is a huge difference .
    I take it that you all are making an attempt to make the situation even worst by blaming it on hip hop . you being the media is not an excuse for continuous attacks on the hip hop community .
    I found it to be very offensive and racial.

    May 28, 2009 at 9:10 am |