By Jill Krajewski
Smooth-talking, sure-footed Usher has been charming us with his upbeat dance tracks since the release of his first album Usher in 1994 all the way to 2012’s Looking 4 Myself. It’s no wonder the Biebs’ mentor also got his start at a young age. We dug up these cute pics and clips of the “Scream” singer to track his transformation into an R&B megastar.
His name sounds like royalty
Usher Raymond IV was born on Oct. 14, 1978 in Dallas, Texas. He was named after his father and kept the tradition going by naming his own son Usher Raymond V. Man, it must be tough to keep track of who’s calling who in their household.
His family believed in him
Usher was just nine when he joined his first singing group in 1987, a local church choir. His grandmother was so amazed by his voice that she convinced the rest of his fam to move to Atlanta, Georgia to help Usher get discovered.
He was in a boy band before 1D
When he was 11, Usher (the cute kid in white) got into an Atlanta boy band called NuBeginnings in 1990. It was a new beginning for Usher too — he made his very first record with the R&B group in 1991.
He killed it on this singing show
Before American Idol, Star Search was the show to sing on if you wanted to get discovered. Thirteen[BM2] -year-old Usher did just that, wow-ing producer and future X Factor judge L.A. Reid with this Boyz II Men cover in 1992.
His first single makes us swoon
L.A. Reid signed Usher to his label right away. His first single, “Call Me A Mack,” came out in 1993 with this swag-heavy music video. ” I maybe kind of young,” 14-year-old Usher raps, “but I got a whole lot of man in me.”
He got his break before 20
While his self-titled debut album in 1994 was a dud, Usher took over the charts in 1997 with his sophomore album My Way. One year later, the 19-year-old scored two Grammy noms and had his first platinum-selling single.
Helping rising stars
Now a seven-time Grammy winner, record label owner and occasional actor, there’s nothing this 34-year-old can’t do. We’re glad Usher is using his star power to coach aspiring singers on season three of The Voice, especially since he’s the one who gave Justin Bieber a record deal in the first place. Any friend of Bieber is a friend of ours!