Confessions may be good for the soul, but they’ve been even better for Usher’s career.
Though he’s been an R&B star since he was a teen, racking up millions in album sales, it took this year’s steamy “Confessions” album — in which the 25-year-old croons about broken relationships, adulterous affairs and sexy interludes — to make Usher ubiquitous.
The album has sold more than five million copies in five months. He’s had back-to-back-to-back smash hits with the songs “Yeah!,” “Burn” and “Confessions, Pt. II,” all so popular you couldn’t avoid them if you tried. And now he’s embarking on a major summer tour that will kick off on Aug. 5.
Yet he’s still not done. He plans to rerelease “Confessions” later this year with new material. He’s also agreed to star in a yet-untitled MTV film.
AP: What’s been the biggest change in your life since your huge success this year?
Usher: It’s the longest that I’ve been single, I’ll tell you that.
AP: You’d think with the success you’ve had, it’d be more likely a woman would lock you down.
Usher: I can’t find nobody that wanna lock me down. It’s real tough.
AP: Are you looking for someone to lock you down?
Usher: My grandmother always told me don’t look. (But) If I could find a woman who would want to lock me down, if she was serious, and she knew how to get me, take care of me, I’d let her take care of me, man. Every man want a woman that could hold them down. She’s gotta have a whole lot of qualifications.
AP: What kind of qualifications does a woman need to get Usher?
Usher: She has to be able to take a lot dealing with me, she has to withstand a lot. I’m not easy, I’m not easy. I’ll just put it this way, it would just be better to be my friend starting off, make sure you get your feet wet first before you go diving all the way into the deep end. I can be something else, but I can also be really good too. I’m a good guy. Everybody has two personalities, you know.
AP: Have people come up to you and said, “I broke up with someone after hearing ‘Burn?”’
Usher: I’ve heard it both ways, I’ve heard people say, “You know what? As a result of your album, our relationship is stronger.” I’ve heard some people say, “I’m going through this right now.”
AP: This album created a lot of rumors about whether you were a cheater, a baby daddy ... was that frustrating for you?
Usher: Nah, not at all. As long as it was selling records, that’s good (laughs). It helped sell more records. It’s a world of tragedy, and no one is a stranger to it. So when I write these songs, or when I sang these songs, I think it aided, or gave a sense of a relief for people who were going through it. ... I think like a director or a writer.
AP: There are plans to rerelease “Confessions” later this year. Why?
Usher: There are just so many songs, if you turn on the radio, there are so many leaked records right now, and I feel like people right now they want that. And if you have still honest people out there who don’t download, I want to make those records available for them. And there are some versions that are featuring other artists, like Alicia Keys. I’ve done so many records. I’m repackaging it with a few new songs that hopefully you haven’t heard.
AP: Your music can be hard to avoid. Do you ever get sick of hearing yourself?
Usher: I could never get tired of it, man. It’s really cool to ride around in your limo, or your truck, and you look over and you see the kids in the street dancing to the record. Or somebody pulls up next to you, and there’s a guy, a hardcore guy bumpin’ ‘Burn.’ It’s like wow, I’ve broken every barrier with this record.
AP: There’d been rumors about beef between you and Justin Timberlake, but you’ve been spotted hanging out together. What’s the real deal?
Usher: You’d better stop that man. You can’t be serious. ... I do justice to the rumors by not getting into the rumors and shying away from them. There’s no beef, they should stop that. If you want to compare us for business, it ain’t fair, if you want to compare us for dance, it’s not fair, so don’t do that.
AP: You’re getting back into the movies ...
Usher: It’s going to be a dramatic music piece but not musical. I do plan on using my musical talent in it.
AP: Is there anyone’s career you’d wanna have?
Usher: If you could put the career of Will Smith, Sean “Puffy” Combs, (Island/Def Jam President) L.A. Reid, and Michael Jackson all in one, there you have it. Those are some big shoes to fill, but I’ve got big feet.