R&B has been a major part of the American music scene since the 1950s. Countless acts, including Usher Raymond, grabbed the baton from previous generations in order to help keep Rhythm & Blues alive.
A conversation about contemporary R&B became a trendy topic over the last several months. From the rise of “toxic” singers to Diddy declaring it dead, the public continues to weigh in on the current state of the African-American-created genre.
Usher Raymond is one of the leading men of R&B to share his thoughts about the modern-day sound. He even recently embraced the idea of him being considered the current “King Of R&B.”
Today (September 16) is Usher Day on Apple Music Hits. The declaration is part of the 25th-anniversary celebration of the southern singer’s classic album My Way. Usher also spoke to fellow vocalist Estelle for an Essential Radio conversation about his career.
During the discussion, Usher reflected on My Way, his 7x-Platinum-certified sophomore studio LP. The 8-time Grammy winner also spoke about what he sees as some of the misconceptions about R&B music.
“R&B kind of gets this stigma of being missing in action or either not as relevant. No, it’s not. There’s incredible music that’s out there as R&B and that’s transformative R&B as well,” stated Usher. “To me, I look at it like the foundation of all music.”
The 43-year-old star continued, “It’s inside of that music that makes you feel something, feel good. Even though we might be in a toxic time, when you go back and listen to those songs, they make you feel something.”
Usher Raymond went on to explain that his version of Rhythm & Blues is a combination of R&B, Hip Hop, and Rock & Roll. He then tied that artistic vision back to the creation of his My Way album.
“If you hear a Rock guitar in a song, that doesn’t make it a Rock song, that makes it a Rock solo,” said Usher. “If you hear a rap in a song, that doesn’t make it a rap song or a Hip Hop record, that makes it a song that has new arms and connects with a bigger audience, a more broad audience.”
He also added, “My Way gave me that opportunity to spread my wings and also to explore some things that I was inspired by.” Usher’s 1997 album featured Lil Kim, Monica, and Jermaine Dupri. My Way led Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for three weeks.