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Usher: Still Standing

You have paid your dues in the music industry when people say that a new artist is the next “you.” For example, Keyshia Cole is the next Mary J. Blige. Rihanna is the next Beyonce. And, most appropriately, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Omarion have emerged as the next Usher. The 29 year-old R&B/pop star is on his way to be declared a legend.

Usher’s first album in four years, ‘Here I Stand,’ is in stores today and looks like another hit for the five-time Grammy winner. His fifth studio album is filled with the soul of an artist who has evolved from teen dream to a proud husband and father. Usher tells the BoomBox, “There is a topic of life, love, decisions, choices that are made, repercussions, the reality of the journey of life, of manhood. Here you have before you a young man, who stepped into true manhood, not only because of my child, but also because of the decisions that I made in the span of two years.”

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We are all aware of his decisions, which have lit up blogs for months — his son and marriage to Tameka Foster. However, despite the gossip, Usher remains grounded, “I like to go down and touch the people. I try to have a sense of normalcy in the midst of what I’m doing.”

Just like previous Usher albums, he has classic collaborations, which includes Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne. “My favorite collaboration in the making of this album, actually I have to split it two ways, is, one, the queen, Beyoncé and Lil Wayne on part two of ‘Love in This Club.’ And the other is ‘Best Thing’ with Jay-Z. It’s by far one of the realest records,” Usher admits. “Everybody’s been talking about his marriage and my marriage and that big step that I think we both took — or did we? I know I did. But, I think that serves to be a really great, meaningful duet, both of those.”

While fans might look to the Internet for the latest news on the “U Got It Bad” hitmaker, you can actually find it all in his music. “It is very hard to tell the truth, but it’s even harder to tell yourself a lie. In making, each and every song, I realized this. It was just very painful to talk about certain things in life,” the singer explains. “Just the honesty in it and finding the voice to feel comfortable and vulnerable to say certain things. I’m sharing these intimate thoughts and this intimate place that I’m in with everybody. Of course, that is really what it is, and that’s what makes it authentic soul R&B music.”

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