Usher Tries to Revamp Image on ‘Raymond V. Raymond’
In an interview for the March 13 cover issue of Billboard, Usher explained that his career suffered tremendously during his recent marriage to stylist Tameka Foster, forcing him to work on a revamped image this year. "I had checked out," Usher told Billboard. "I went all the way into being super husband and super dad, thinking, 'I've got to be serious all the time. I've got to be the man.' I put my swagger down for a minute, but I didn't throw it away."
In addition to hiring a slew of top notch producers for the new album, titled 'Raymond V. Raymond,' Usher says that he even left his hometown of Atlanta and settled in Vegas to distance himself from his personal issues. "I didn't want my music to be biased by what I was going through in my personal life or corner myself with a specific sound from there or New York," he said. "Vegas is an eclectic melting pot that gave me the freedom to be more creative."
Usher's last album, 'Here I Stand' made a dent on the charts, selling 1.2 million copies, but still paled in comparison to 'Confessions,' which sold 9.7 million and '8701' which sold 4.7 million. Mark Pitts, president of black music for Jive Label Group said that the label gave Usher a specific goal for 2010. "We've got to get this old-man s--- off you: you've got to have some fun," they told him. "We said, 'We've got to get the guys wanting to be him and the girls wanting to do him." Usher's current single 'Lil Freak,' featuring Young Money rapper Nicki Minaj is one of his first efforts to rekindle his former bad boy image.
Usher's recent promotion for his new album included performances at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. 'Raymond V. Raymond' will hit stores on March 30.