POSTED: APRIL 28, 2008

Let’s face it: Usher probably will never know what it means to have a dream deferred. Since he was a pubescent teen, the ATL crooner has only been steeped in reality — singing and dancing toward his goals seemingly effortlessly. Now, after an award-winning career and four-year hiatus, the megastar and family man gears up for his fifth musical offering, Here I Stand, the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2004’s kiss-and-tell breakout Confessions.

“I’m back on the scene and ready to do it all over again. This is going to be an incredible journey,” the chart-topper proclaims. “It is a classic and should be remembered 20 years from now. I’m ready to shock the world.”

Yet, his loyalists were not at all surprised to learn that the pop phenom’s bounce-heavy, party starter “Love In This Club” featuring Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy had a rapid-fire ascension on Billboard’s music charts. Still as his energy surges with talks of his latest project, the anticipation hardly the cause of this first-time dad’s adrenalin rush. He’s as busy as the fancy footwork he serves up on the dance floor, infiltrating the silver screen (In The Mix, She’s All That, Light It Up), The Great White Way (Chicago), the basketball court (he’s co-owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers) and as a philanthropist (and founder of New Look Organization, an Atlanta-based nonprofit which provides youth with a new outlook on life through education and real-world experience). But lately nothing has kept him more engaged than fatherhood and his family.

“My mother had dinner at our house, and all my family came in from all over. Some were newly married; some had babies,” Usher told ESSENCE back in 2005. “I was like, “Wow, where have I been? Have I missed everything?” That was a wake-up call. One of my biggest flaws is not allocating time properly to my family, because of my artistic obligation, my journey.”

Moving forward, Usher heeded his call as a husband to his wife Tameka Foster. Last September, the two got hitched and in November they welcomed their first child together, Usher Raymond V.

Undoubtedly, his personal experiences in life and love are the blueprint for his lyrical content.


“My first single takes you back to the beginning of my life story–[reintroducing] the guy who wanted to hustle and play in the club but eventually making his journey to lifetime” he says. “Life will take you through high and low valleys, give you seasons—rain and shine. Ultimately, the end of this story leads to a lifetime [fulfilled]. That’s what this entire project is all about.”

Usher’s favorite part of his new album is an interlude dedicated to his son entitled, “Pray For You,” and he looks forward to the day when his namesake will listen to the new tribute.

“I modeled this one as an example for my son who will understand someday that when you stand for what’s right, regardless of what anyone else’s opinion may be, you are right,” he says. “No man should judge another for what he feels and stands for. Do you understand what I stand for?”

For those of us who don’t, we’ll get a hint of Usher’s ideology when he drops his melodic diary on May 27.

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