If album sales and music awards measure success, then recording artist and actor "Usher" may be the most successful performer I've ever blogged about.
Born 31 years ago in Dallas, Texas, 'Usher Raymond IV' rose to fame in the late 1990's after releasing "My Way" and "8701"....two of his six multi-platinum albums, each filled with smash hit singles that helped sell over 40-million copies world-wide!
Over the past 15 years Usher, also known as "The King of R&B", has won 5 Grammy's, 4 Music World, 4 American Music, 8 Soul Train, and 19 Billboard Music Awards.
Things did not start off on a high note, as the story often goes. His father left home when Usher was only a year-old, forcing his mother to move the family to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she eventually directed her 9-year old son to join the church choir. It was there that Usher'sgrandmotherfirst discovered his singing talent!
Following another move to Atlanta, Georgia, 11-year old Usher joined a local R&B quintet called "NuBeginnings, with whom he eventually recorded 10 songs. Two years later, Usher competed on the TV show "Star Search", where he was spotted and signed by 'LaFace Records' co-founder 'L.A. Reid'.
With his mother managing, and 'Sean "P Diddy" Combs' producing, Usher released his title album in 1994. Then after graduating from high school, Usher appeared in a duet called "Let's Straighten Out" with recording star 'Monica', and was also featured in the hit song "I Swear I'm In Love" off the 1996 "Kazaam" movie soundtrack.
From there he was on his way to the top of all charts, with 6-time platinum album "My Way", followed by "8701", "Confessions", "Here I Stand", and most recently "Raymond vs Raymond" released this past March.
Along the way Usher has mixed it up musically with the likes of 'Mary J. Blige', 'Janet Jackson', 'Lil'Kim', 'Jagged Edge', 'Shanice', 'Twista', 'Manuel Seal', and 'Alicia Keyes'. He also sang with 'Stevie Wonder' and 'Shakira' at 'President Obama's' inaugural celebration, and performed "Gone too Soon" at 'Michael Jackson's' Memorial Service.
Usher's somehow found time to act as well, starting with a recurring role in the hit TV series "Moesha", which was followed by a film roll in 1998's "The Faculty".
After a soap opera debut on "The Bold and The Beautiful", he completed two more films..."She's All That", and his first starring roll in "Light It Up". Usher also acted in 'Disney's' TV movie "Geppetto", and the 2001 film "Texas Rangers".
Just last month, Usher's latest album "Raymond vs Raymond" debuted at number one on the "Billboard 200" chart, making him the first artist since 'Eminem' to have three consecutive albums open on top of that chart!
Usher's also ventured into business with his own record label "US Records", is part owner of the NBA's "Cleveland Cavaliers" pro basketball franchise....has helped start and maintain the promising career of young singer 'Justin Bieber', and also owns several restaurants!
Moreover, he's chosen to be a part of the hit TV show "American Idol" as a contestant mentor, and also appeared thispast weekon the ITV1 show "Britain's Got Talent". So, when does he find time to breathe, let alone... lead a personal life?
As to family matters, Usher has two very young children, a boy and a girl with wife Tameka Foster, althouigh, the couple has struggled recently....and divorce papers are said to have been filed.
Having much to give back, Usher's non-profit charity is called "New Look", with the aim of providing young people with a new look on life through education, and real world experience.
How fitting! Young or old, we should alltake a new look atUSHER'S 'real world experiences' which represent a path to success, and the "ushering' in to the world of wonderful music!