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Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Commercial Success of Usher Raymond IV

By Ardain Isma jr.Special to CSMS MagazineUsher Raymond is a five-time Grammy Award winning American-Haitian singer, dancer, and actor. Usher is also a very successful multi-platinum recording artist. Few people know of his Haitian origin, despite the fact he repeatedly acknowledged it during several media interviews, including an interview on BET in early 2000, shortly after My Way, the album that clearly solidified his status as a respectable artist.Usher was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is of Haitian descent through a portion of his father’s side. He is the son of Usher Raymond III, a Haitian man and Janetta Patton, an American woman from Tennessee. Usher’s parents split when he was very young. Soon afterwards, his mother moved with the young Usher and his younger brother to Atlanta, Georgia, where he would be raised.In Atlanta, Usher developed a passion for music. He would sing in the church choir on the weekends. When he was thirteen years old, he was discovered on the hit television show Star Search. Though he didn’t win, he did get signed on to Babyface and L.A Reid’s music label LaFace Records, which was then distributed through Arista Records. Although Usher’s self-titled debuts Usher was not much of a commercial success, it was critically acclaimed.It wasn’t until his third album titled My Way that Usher enjoyed not only critical acclaimed, but also commercial success. The album’s spanned hits such as the title tracks My Way and You make me wannabrought it to Double Platinum status. His Fourth album 8701 brought him to celebrity status and took him to the zenith of his musical career by having five songs in the top-five music chart. Critic and fans alike favored the album.However, his recent album Confessions was the one that crowned him to the throne, the hall of fame of both R&B and Pop music. Confession was dropped like an atomic bomb, occupying the # 1 spot not only in the U.S., but also in the U.K. One week after it was released, it sold 11 million copies, making it the album with the most copies sold in one week.Usher then became an instant legend, a mega star and a money-machine that Hollywood could not do without. Every single released thereafter excerpted from the main album landed on # 1 on the billboard hot-100-singles chart.Usher has not only been successful in the music industry, he has made inroads in the movie industry as well. He has stared in movies such as Light it up and She’s all that; and most recently, he was the main actor in In the mix in which he plays a young disc jockey who saves a young princess from a gunshot wound, and later becomes her body guard. Usher is working on his yet untitled fifth album scheduled to be released in early 2007. Most recently Usher has been in New Orleans, helping out victims from Hurricane Katrina. Usher proves time and time again that he can’t be stopped, and he is the Prince of Pop.It is not so certain if Usher Raymond, while acknowledging his Haitian heritage, maintains active contacts with his Haitian roots. The fact that his father moved out of the house when he was so young, adding to perhaps countless struggles to survive without a father, may have probably played an important role in shaping up his character. What is so certain, though, in terms of elevating the Haitian pride, Usher is far from being a Wyclef Jean or a Prass Michel.    Ardain Isma jr. is a sophomore at South Plantation High in Plantation, Florida. He wrote this article exclusively for CSMS Magazine.

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