Usher Raymond IV, better known as simply Usher, has been steadily climbing in his rise to fame as a dancer, singer, songwriter and actor for a long time now. Many people would recognize him from his singles like “You Make Me Wanna…,” “U Don’t Have to Call,” “Yeah” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love.” Today, he’s ranked as one of the best-selling artists in American music history, selling over 75 million records with nine Hot 100 hits and 18 Hot 100 Top 10 hits. It wasn’t long ago that he was sweeping the award shows collecting 8 Grammy Awards and 18 Billboard Music Awards. Usher is the total package — he’s dabbled in everything from coaching on The Voice, acting in films and now even branched out as a savvy businessman with his own record label and part ownership in the Cleveland Cavaliers. In honor of his 38th birthday, here’s a look at 9 things you probably didn’t know about this crazy talented artist!
9. Grew Up in the South
He was born in Dallas, Texas, but raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His father left his family when Usher was only 9-years-old. As a result, he grew up under the care of his mother, then-stepfather, and half-brother, James Lackey. It was clear from the time he was a little kid that he was talented. From day one his mother has been his biggest supporter and source of encouragement. He first started singing when he joined the local church choir in Chattanooga and it was there that it became clear he had the potential to be a professional singer. In an interview with Vibe magazine in 1998, Usher talked about how he was always a little different as a kid: “I was always that kid that would just sit by the radio at sleepovers. Kids would be like, ‘Come play hide and go seek,’ but I’d want songs during the day.” It wasn’t long before his mother moved their family to Atlanta with the belief that a bigger city would make it easier for him to showcase his talent.