Usher Raymond IV (born October 14, 1978), known simply by his first name Usher, is an American R&B and pop singer and actor who rose to fame in the mid-late 1990s. Since then he has sold approximately 30 million albums worldwide and has won five Grammy Awards.
After being spotted by a La Face record executive at a talent show in his hometown of Atlanta, it took no time for Usher Raymond's career to take off. The 14-year-old auditioned for La Face co-founder L.A. Reid, who signed the gospel choir boy to a recording contract. He released his debut album in 1994, which featured co-executive producer Sean "Puffy" Combs. In 1995, he recorded a national holiday jingle for Coca-Cola. He also joined several top male R&B vocalists to form Black Men United for the single "You Will Know," featured on the Jason's Lyric soundtrack. He also teamed with teen singing sensation Monica for a duet remake of Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out."
After graduating from high school, Usher released his second album, My Way, in 1997. In an attempt to display his maturity and songwriting abilities, Usher co-wrote six of the nine songs and enlisted the help of producers Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, and, again, Combs. The album's first single, "You Make Me Wanna," re-established Usher as one of R&B's hottest artists. It topped the R&B charts for 11 weeks.
In the meantime, Usher launched an acting career, appearing in the 1998 The Faculty and the 1999 urban high-school drama Light It Up. Usher released his third album, 8701, in 2001. With this album he moved from a teen pop star to a sultry R&B singer. In early 2004, Arista released the single "Yeah!" Produced by Lil Jon and, featuring Ludacris: it fast became a club and radio favorite. In 2004 he also released his fourth album Confessions. The album itself was Usher's most mature work to date and won the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album in 2004 while "Yeah!" took home the best rapped/sung collaboration award. Usher is putting the finishing touches on his fifth studio album titled Here I Stand, scheduled to be released on May 27, 2008 according to his MySpace page.