During the conversation Usher reflected on his 30-year career, taking the stage as the first independent artist to headline the Super Bowl, a scary moment from his 2011 Super Bowl cameo, his special relationship with the city of Las Vegas (future hotelier?), why his roller skates will be front and center this Sunday, and why he regrets never getting ‘slimed’ on Nickelodeon.
The Official USHER Interview | Apple Music
Usher: I think I made it easy for myself when I decided to have like, features on songs that became hit records. That gave me the greatest point of reference. But here’s what’s beautiful, is that Apple has been following me throughout this entire process.
So, we’re in the process of figuring out how we’re going to share it with you and break the internet by that conversation. There’s also, too, a documentary crew that’s been collecting all of the moments that have happened. There are cameras around us at all times, looking at the process that we went through. You get a chance to see from the first moment that I got the call all the way up to the moment that I walk off the stage. At least that’s the idea. But I am definitely, you know, went through a lot of ideas of who I would have shared this moment with me. And I do feel like the people who are gonna share it deserve just as much recognition for what they do in their careers, whether we have collaborated together or whether they’ve had moments of their own.
Usher talks about a performance snafu he remembers from his 2011 Super Bowl appearance
U: Oh, man. Oddly enough there was a moment that only I think I remember. My hand got caught in the wire that was holding me, like, 30 feet in the air. And I almost missed my first mark. I was like, ‘Oh my god don’t let this malfunction cause me to miss something.’ But that was one.
The second was, afterward, and how amazing it felt to be in front of that many people and feel the energy. So much so that it made me really passionate about eventually getting this moment that I’m getting to have. But it was really fueled by being able to be just in that moment with the Black Eyed Peas.
Usher talks about how he made Las Vegas feel more like home
U: I turned Vegas into Atlanta; you know what I’m saying? I took that V and turned it upside down.
Usher talks about his sense of pride in debuting his new album COMING HOME and his Super Bowl performance as an independent artist
U: Because I launched that album as an independent artist. And I will be, up until this day, the only independent artist who’s ever performed the Super Bowl Halftime Show. So, this is a beginning, this is a new beginning to me.
Usher tells why having his Super Bowl moment in Las Vegas is extra special for him
U: Las Vegas has been amazing for me. Having 100 sold-out shows in a residency and to have the next one, the crescendo, which is the Super Bowl with Apple. It’s really really really given my time here in Las Vegas an incredible button at the end.
Usher tells why he is honored to bring R&B to the Super Bowl stage but doesn’t want to be confined to just one genre
U: It’s nice to be in any category but not to be categorized is what I’ve always hoped. That R&B as a trade and as a style, as a genre, as an emotion, as a spirit, be it being found through gospel music, jazz, rhythm and blues, blues in R&B. That it created all these other genres of music.
We don’t understand how relevant R&B has been to the development of the industry that we have, and the artists and the creatives that have been a part that, that they didn’t get recognized either. So, I’m happy that R&B gets the stage on Sunday. I’m happy that R&B and rhythm & blues and the matter of what it is, as song and dance performers, it gets the recognition that it deserves. I’m honored. But I don’t want to be categorized as just an R&B artist.
Usher talks about his hopes for how people have been able to use his music to connect to their own experiences
U: I’ve tried so many things my entire career, and I’ve just managed to be able to gather people who celebrate my music and celebrate my experiences. And maybe they tie it to theirs. Maybe they got married to a song. Maybe they fell in love to a song. Maybe they made love to a song. Maybe they celebrated and laughed and had an incredible time. Maybe they cried. Maybe they hurt. Maybe they had a chance to be confident in a way that they didn’t have before they listened to that song. That’s what R&B has been to me. And I hope that the rest of the world can celebrate in the way I celebrate it.
Usher talks about his future entrepreneurial plans within Las Vegas
U: I visualize in these next few years that there will be more opportunities to build here in Las Vegas. I love this city. You know, when I received the key, I started trying to open doors, trying to figure out ways to do more things that activate this immersive experience that I feel like I had for an underserved audience that wants to have a certain experience, that enjoyed the curation of the world that I created when I was here in Las Vegas.
Where does that lead me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s businesses. Maybe it’s more shows. Maybe it’s shows that I curate. Maybe it’s festivals, like the Lovers and Friends festival. Maybe it’s, you know, hotels. Maybe it’s a different idea and standard for an artist who came from this world and then created business here in this town.
Usher talks about the significance of his skates in his Halftime Show performance
U: There are also two very special things that I’ve woven into this entire performance. Things that speak to culture. Things that speak to quality. Things that speak to my creativity. As you know: Skating. So, the idea of being able to skate on skates that I created is something that I’m looking forward to doing.
Usher reveals a kid-appropriate “confession”
U: Can I give you an Usher confession? Specifically for Nickelodeon, right? We gonna keep it age-appropriate. Nah. It was always a dream of mine to be slimed as a kid. I watched it just like all of us in here. To get that green goop over my head was something that I really, I just wanted to be able to say I did. And by the time I finally made it to the Nickelodeon awards, they just didn’t do it anymore. I was like, ‘That sucks.’
“Where’s Usher?” – Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show (Official Film)
Apple Music has also unveiled the short film “Where’s USHER?” The film, which scored 14 of USHER’s hits, showcases a wild journey through Apple Music’s Las Vegas as Ludacris, Taraji P. Henson, Lil Jon, Wesley Snipes, J Balvin, Anderson .Paak, and a truly incredible cast of characters “lose” Usher after an epic Vegas night out and work together to find the King of R&B in time for his career-defining performance at the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.