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“As a kid, looking at Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, New Edition, the Temptations, Motown, people who I felt were huge artists, they made me wanna do something,” he says.He joined an R&B act called Nu Beginnings at 10 years old, and everything in his life since has been in service of entertaining.Grace Miguel, Usher’s wife and former manager, says it’s just a thing they like to do: blast music from a portable speaker, even when going out to a restaurant.

Grabbing a “That made me feel like a kid again,” Usher says later.Now, maybe more than ever, he’s searching for an escape from the trouble he’s experienced, and a way to ground himself. So is Usher Raymond IV, 38, is slumped in the back of a black SUV in New York, talking about how performing for a crowd comes naturally to him.Since he was eight, he knew he wanted to be an entertainer.Accessibility—letting his fans into his personal life—is not. Its songs describe the dilemma of a man getting his mistress pregnant, and the details were divulged to anyone who listened to Top 40 radio that summer. [Reid] was saying to him, ‘People talk about your songs but they don’t really know Usher,’” producer and writer Jermaine Dupri told Complex around the time of the album’s 10th anniversary. “My whole thing was to create a ruckus,” Dupri continued. I wanted everybody to start wondering: Who’s he talking about? It was the first day Usher had started recording what would eventually become his new album, , released yesterday (Sept. “I’ll never forget it,” he says stoically, staring off to the side as if he were recalling that exact moment.Fans and critics believed the album was autobiographical; Usher was dating TLC star Chilli at the time. “I reaped the benefits of other people’s agony,” he says now. “I left the studio and didn’t come back for a year.”He pushed the album back again indefinitely in the fall of 2014.