Despite Usher's age of 38, the OG’s impact in the music and entertainment industry hasn't faded. During the interview with Charlemagne and the gang, we learn’t a lot about Usher's old habits that die hard, new releases in both music and film, as well as some real talk about responsibilities as a father in today’s society.
1. What’s ‘No limit’ really about?
“It’s all about getting re-connected with the people, the energy. Then I brought the dance to the table because the record was what it was, and to be able to just start moving again, and dancing, and celebrating, thats what it was more for me.”
2. What was with the steam shower selfie…
“I was born off steam man…This right here proves that cough syrup and steam showers don't work, that ain’t a good play… Sometimes I use Snapchat, and I want them(the fans) to look at my life, my day.”
3. After over 20 years in the industry, what keeps you going?
“I do it to celebrate music and the culture that I come from. I’ve been lot of places and picked up that culture. I started in New York, from that I made my re-connection with the south out in Atlanta, as it relates to RnB music, rhythmic music in a way, I try to bring everybody back together. Even kinda went off the beaten path and tried other genres of music and other space, but everybody does. But the one cool thing about it was that I was fearless in doing it… But this album ain’t about that, it’s about bringing everything back to the centre.”
4. Have you ever suffered from exhaustion?
“Many years ago, I don’t even know if it was exhaustion, I had a breakdown on stage in Berlin, both mental and physical. Just kind of the pressure of everything that was going on in my life at the time, also too just the stress of trying to re-connect. It was partially music, partially stress from going from an American tour right to a European tour, just kinda blacked out for a minute… I think we all go crazy in our mind, it’s a matter of what you choose to show and what people choose to hold on to.”
5. Do women take responsibility on their part in situations?
“I think ya’ll do. I think you probably do more than you need to. I think that maybe men don't necessarily understand how to say it. I think we both speak different languages, and we could be saying the same thing and you don't get it, clearly, but when you break it down to the most simple common denominator it makes it easy for the conversation to move through. And I wrote with a lot of people, I wrote with PJ, BB Borelli, Ty Dolla $ign, to help tell the conversation, to make things clear to say, “is this the emotion of what I'm trying to say?” I wanted to make it clear that people understand exactly what I'm trying to say.”
6. What’s the importance of being a father with everything going on around the world today?
“Ta-Nehisi Coasts wrote a book to his son ‘Between the world and me’, great book. After reading that book I then begin to understand the reality of how important fathers are for kids right now, we have to be able to communicate with our sons, and make them aware and prepared for the world that is judging them. They’re living in a different space and time and while the reality that there is somebody out there who has the right to take your life, you should be aware, that a situation can escalate and you should be responsible in that moment to stay alive, that’s the whole point.”
7. What is the biggest adjustment in life as an artist and as a man thus far?
“It comes with territory. You’re always making an adjustment, listening to what music is, collaborating. I think that that’s probably one of the hardest places for writers, producers, to get… Something about a hit record makes you feel like you don't need anybody… but collaboration is perspective so when you begin working with other people, then you go further, that is probably the hardest thing. When you finally get that, you realize it’s not just all me. It’s collaboration with the people that are helping me understand and see things that maybe I didn't get.”
8. On mentoring artists…
“Success has a million fathers. There was a ton of people involved in Justin’s (Bieber) discovery… but that’s not necessarily the business that I've been in. If I do hear an artist I might pull him to the front, collaborate, help them and mentor them. I mentor more people than you would ever know. If you ask any R&B artist, if you name em I probably mentor them, I’m the youngest OG that they've got.”
9. Ushers role in “Hands of Stone” as a boxer:
“You can play basketball, football, baseball, but you can’t play boxing. It’s what you put in the ring… I decided I would put the gloves on and train like an actual boxer. I spent like a year training in Philly, I trained here in New York, I trained in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and just kind of learnt my way around the ring. Eventually, Sugar Ray Leonard came to put finishing touches on making sure that I understood exactly what happened in the two fights between he and Roberto Durand. But the movie is about Roberto Durand. A lot of people are just caught up about what I do as playing Sugar Ray Leonard but the movie is about Roberto Durand and his entire life.”
10. On his success with the Cleveland Cavaliers…
“It’s been an amazing year, starting with going out to Golden State and winning… Cleveland has now made the full circle of what they were hoping for. When LeBron decided to leave and go to Miami, I'm still there in Cleveland…But now, 11 years later, we got an incredible team, got a ring to go with it, and looking forward to another year.”