Usher is bringing the electricity to the Sin City strip. Because, as reported, the star’s new Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace is off to a blazing start.
To celebrate this latest chapter in his career, the icon covers the newest issue of Billboard Magazine.
Lighting up the publication’s inner pages with a eye-catching shoot lensed by Alexandra Gavillet, Usher’s accompanying interview saw him open up in earnest about a variety of hot topics.
Head below for pics and quotes…
On Why He Launched A Residency:
“After a year of being isolated, there was an opportunity for people to come from all around the world and experience what felt like the reopening of life and entertainment. The other side of it is: I have a bit of difficulty bottling up all the different audiences I’ve collected over time. But the one place where you can speak to everybody is Las Vegas. It’s universal ground, a melting pot of people coming from all over America, Australia, India, Asia, Europe, Africa. There are tons of festivals, but Las Vegas gives you a different opportunity — a guarantee in some way. It has also afforded me the opportunity to really be the family man I’ve always wanted to be with an incredible partner I love very much.”
On T-Pain Autotune Comment:
“I’m happy that T-Pain said something — I’m not sure if it was before or after our actual conversation, after I heard what was said. It was very hurtful to know that he had experienced that kind of hardship in life. I wouldn’t wish that on any person. Private conversations for me have always been intended to uplift. But when or if people get pieces of it, they can always have some other interpretation. But we’ve spoken since and we’re good.”
On The Weeknd Claiming ‘Climax’ Borrowed His Sound:
“With regard to The Weeknd, he’s another person I had a positive conversation with who completely felt [the headlines were] a misinterpretation. Again, I can’t get caught up in what’s said outside when I know person to person that no harm was meant.”
On Successfully Lasting The Distance In Music:
“It’s not easy to sustain a career, but there are artists who have managed to do it and have been here for some time: Beyoncé. Alicia Keys. Justin Timberlake. Janet Jackson. And that hasn’t changed opinions about who they are and what their contributions still are. I just hope I’m in that same category. But it hasn’t changed my ability to embrace new artists coming up, like Summer Walker, Yuna, doing duets with Ella Mai or Chris Brown. I definitely understand the reality — and the idea — of embracing [the] new.”
On Not Wanting To Be Deemed A Legacy Artist…Yet:
“I would call myself ‘seasoned’ more than ‘elder statesman.’
Excerpt On His New Album:
A member of [Usher’s] team previewed half a dozen songs for Billboard, which feature a mix of old and new collaborators. There’s the Dupri-produced “Believe,” an uptempo breakup track; a new-lease-on-life anthem called “Fresh Air” produced by Mike Sabath (Lizzo, Meghan Trainor); and “Kissing Strangers,” a striking reflection on the aftermath of a relationship produced by the late busbee (Maren Morris, P!nk).
On Wheather His New Album Is Titled ‘Confessions 2’:
“I am not at the place where I’m going to sign off on the album title at this point. But I am working on an album, and it would be very smart to say it will come out this year. It’s probably too vague right now to determine whether it’s going to be in the Confessions vein or if it’ll be something else. It’s still kind of a moving target, as I’m just beginning to put together a sequence. Some of the songs that you heard have been at the top of my list for the last year. And you heard a few new ones as well. I do want to put together a body of work that speaks to all of the people that I’ve been able to capture as fans but also will be something unique to me and to R&B music that doesn’t just live in one space.”
On His Commercial Pressure:
“No. 1 is always going to mean a lot to everybody. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, change your passion. It hasn’t changed mine, whether I put out a record that hit No. 1 instantly or took time to get there. I have a record company that’s willing to fight for it and get it heard, to connect with my audience and prospective new fans.”
On His Current Outlook:
“I’m feeling like I’m about 18 right now — in terms of passion, not wisdom. There’s a playful nature that I think is coming back. I actually feel like I’m having fun. And that had been missing for some time.”