Usher Raymond IV (born October 14, 1978) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor. Usually known by his first name only, Usher rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, “Nice & Slow”. The album has been certified 6-times platinum by the RIAA. His follow-up album, 8701, produced the Billboard Hot 100 number one hits “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad”. The album has been certified 4-times platinum by the RIAA.
Usher’s 2004 album Confessions sold over 10 million copies in the United States, and has been certified diamond by the RIAA. Confessions has the highest first week sales for an R&B artist in history. It spawned four consecutive Billboard number-one hits—”Yeah!”, “Burn”, “Confessions Part II”, and “My Boo”. Usher’s 2008 album Here I Stand sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and its lead single “Love in This Club” peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
On March 30, 2010, Usher released his sixth studio album Raymond v. Raymond, which became his third consecutive album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. It has been certified platinum by the RIAA, and spawned another Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit “OMG”. The song became his ninth number one in the United States, making him the first 2010s artist to collect number one singles in three consecutive decades. He later released an extended play and deluxe edition of Raymond v. Raymond, entitled Versus, which debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart. Its lead single “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100.
The RIAA ranks Usher as one of the best-selling artists in American music history, having sold over 23 million copies in the United States alone. To date, he has sold over 65 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling music artists of all time. Usher has won numerous awards including eight Grammy Awards. At the end of 2009, Usher was named the number one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade. Billboard named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade, with his 2004 album Confessions being ranked as the top solo album of the 2000s decade. Billboard also placed Usher at number six on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. Usher has attained nine Hot 100 number-one hits (all as a lead artist) and has attained eighteen Hot 100 top-ten hits.
Usher founded New Look, a non-profit charity organization which aims to “provide young people with a new look on life through education and real-world experience”. Its flagship project, camp New Look, ran from July 11 to July 23, 2005 in Clark Atlanta University. In 2006, the charity started an initiative called Our Block, for which it helped rebuild and revitalize city blocks in New Orleans. The project went on one street at a time, and the funding was helped through part of the proceeds of Usher’s team-up with Armani Exchange in creating “Love 4 Life” dog tags, which were made available at the company’s stores and Web site.
In 1999, Usher participated in “Challenge for the Children”, a benefit basketball game hosted by American boy band ‘N Sync. The event, which was held on the campus of Georgia State University, had raised an estimated $50,000 for several local charities. In 2005, Usher is one among the artists who signed on for a Hurricane Katrina relief concert. He has also performed a public service announcement to promote Do Something’s campaign for civic engagement.