Usher: Photos From the 2024 Billboard Cover Shoot


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If there’s one word that Usher personifies, it’s “cool.” The word applies to his still-captivating vocals, deep catalog of multigenerational R&B/pop hits, fluid footwork, keen fashion sense — all of which I witnessed firsthand while watching Usher and his team rehearse for the launch of his first Las Vegas residency almost three years ago. Despite the pressure-cooker atmosphere inherent in that gamble — including lingering pandemic-related challenges — the eight-time Grammy Award winner remained chill and in control. So it makes sense that Usher would be just as unflappable on the eve of performing before the largest audience of his career: at the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show.

“It’s more about anticipation than jitters,” Usher says matter-of-factly in early January, having already logged a month of rehearsals in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Atlanta. “I’m so ready for it to happen. I just want to sing louder than I’ve ever sang; dance harder than I’ve ever danced. I want to celebrate the 30 years of this career where I’m very fortunate to have made songs and moments with people that they will remember forever.”

When he started his My Way residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in July 2021, the coronavirus pandemic was far from over — audiences were still “in a life depression,” as he puts it. Two years and one bigger venue (Dolby Live at Park MGM) later, My Way finished as a massive success — and Usher is clearly ready for an even bigger stage. “What an amazing crescendo,” he marvels. “I played 100 shows in Las Vegas [across both residencies], and my 101st will be the Super Bowl.”

Read the full Billboard cover story here.

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