20 years of Usher

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First Posted: 9/15/2014

On August 30, 1994, Usher released his self-titled debut album. Fast forward 20 years, and the R&B crooner is now one of the biggest names in entertainment. The singer, nee Usher Raymond, has seamlessly branched out in to movies, TV, and artist management.

And as the 35 year-old prepares for another arena tour, it doesn’t seem as if he plans to slow down any time soon.

“Yeah, well I actually haven’t started going grey yet,” Usher joked in an interview with “Ralphie Tonight” following his rehearsal for last week’s “Fashion Rocks” TV special. “I don’t do as many back flips, but I still got my six-pack!”

Part of the reason for that is the artist’s upcoming role as Sugar Ray Leonard in the movie “Hands Of Stone.”

“Preparing for ‘Hands of Stone’ was crazy,” he noted. “I had to lose about 25 pounds.”

The “Confessions” singer credits a diet and workout regime for succeeding.

“Just training with Sugar Ray Leonard, and also too working with boxing guys… I worked out of a lot of great gyms,” he added, noting one was the legendary Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn – credited with housing the likes of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.

According to IMDb, the movie is set for a December 2015 release. Meanwhile, there is no timeline for Usher’s eighth studio album, although he told “Ralphie Tonight” that he is still working on it at the moment. Usher released two songs that will be included on the LP: “Good Kisser” and the Pharrell Williams-produced, Nicki Minaj-assisted “She Came To Give It To You.”

“That’s just a warm-up, yunno what I mean?” he explained. “My experience has been a little bit more live, so I chose two songs that spoke to that – greater than just servicing an album.”

Usher credits this to simply picking up a few more instruments and jamming with his band more. All of those talents will be on display with “The UR Experience” tour, which stops at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on November 11. Tickets went on sale last Monday.

“It’s going to be such an incredible tour, man,” he said of the upcoming live show. “I wanted to make it fun and unexpecting; you don’t know what’s going to happen… It’s introducing things you didn’t know, and also giving you some of what you’ve loved and enjoyed for many, many years.”

Over 20 years to be exact – oh how the time flies.

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