FAULT Magazine Issue 19 – the Millions Issue will feature legendary R&B recording artist Usher as its front cover feature this Fall. Having already sold nearly 23million records in the US alone, Usher is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognisable faces in the music industry today – just as he was after the release of his first UK number one single, ‘You Make Me Wanna’, back in 1997.
Usher’s feature – which includes an in-depth interview alongside the exclusive photoshoot by photographer Sinisha Nisevic and stylists Sammy and Judy (aka renowned LA celebrity stylists The Kids) – runs over 13 pages in the print issue. Usher also covers the Men’s Fashion section inside the magazine.
The shoot, based on the issue’s theme of ‘Millions‘, is designed to showcase two distinct sides to Usher’s character. In one sense, the shoot presents the public face of a star known and loved by ‘millions’ but, juxtaposed with this, we also see a revelatory side of a sensitive, thoughtful man. The latter gives insight into the thought process of a man who has reached the point in his career where keeping his fans happy and challenging both himself and the limits of his creativity have become his most important goals.
There is an Usher who poses happily with models and plays up to the camera and also the Usher who dances in the studio as much for his own amusement as for the sake of a great photo. The great thing for Usher, one feels, is that for him– more often than not – those two worlds are intertwined.
In his interview, entitled ‘The Man Who Can Do it All’, Usher discusses his role on ‘The Voice’, his motivations and goals for producing music that he loves, regardless of commercial success, his upcoming acting role in ‘Hands of Stone’, the biopic of famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and, of course, the main themes of his highly anticipated new album.
FAULT: Did you learn anything from doing ‘The Voice’ that you’ll use in your own career?
Usher: Part of the reason why I did ‘The Voice’ was so people would get a chance to see a different perception of me….The more I know about life, the more I know about people, the greater the person I am, the more understanding I have about how to make music and how to do things that will grow us as people.
[So making this album was] not about making commercial hits?
I don’t feel that I’ve got to sell out this tour, or sell crazy amounts of albums, or have the number one single. It’s great to have all those things, but that isn’t what I’m doing.
Let’s talk about the movie you just finished, Hands of Stone. Tell me about your role as Sugar Ray Leonard.
The film revolves around a very compelling story in history. A lot of people want to know what happened with Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard during that infamous fight. Why did he quit? Why did he walk out of the ring? No one knows the truth. We address all of that. It’s going to be a great piece of work, because of everyone involved in telling this really significant part of boxing history.
I spent time with him [Sugar Ray Elonard] in Atlanta, and here in Los Angeles. We boxed together; we chilled. He became a great friend of mine, almost like a brother to me.
Tell me about the new album you’re working on.
It’s still a work in progress. I’m at a place where I really just want to have fun and do what I feel is significant to me.These last three years have been the hardest times of my life. I’ve wanted to break down, I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel but my spirit wouldn’t allow me… The one thing the album represents is confidence. Not confidence in a cocky way, but being open about what I feel, take it or leave it. If I’m not honest about my feelings then you’ll never know how I really feel.
Who are some of the people you’ve been jamming with, who’s producing and working with you on it?
I reached out to work with people that I haven’t worked with before like Ryan Tedder, Ed Sheeran, and Skrillex. Also people who I have worked with before like Diplo…and Pharrell [Williams].
‘She Came to Give it to You’ – the new single from Usher’s upcoming album – is out on 28th September
*FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*
…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40