Iconic recording artist and performer Usher Raymond IV has been delivering genre-defining music for over 15 years. The Tennessee native best known for his fluid voice and dynamic dance moves has also acted in a wide variety of film, television and stage productions including a Broadway run in 2006 as Billy Flynn in the Tony-winning musical Chicago.
Usher's early musical years began when he started singing at the St. Elmo Missionary Baptist Church choir in his hometown of Chatanooga, Tennessee. By the age of 12, Usher and his family had moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in the hopes of gaining more exposure and fulfilling his ambition of becoming a performing artist. It was here that the aspiring singer scored his first big break when a representative from LaFace Records spotted him on Star Search and arranged for an audition with the label's co-founder L.A. Reid. Reid, who recognized the young singer's undeniable talent, signed Usher to LaFace Records and put him to work on his debut album with producer Sean "Diddy" Combs.
As impressive as his musical accomplishments are, Usher is much more than a recording artist and performer. He is a staunch advocate for youth empowerment and education and has proven to be a powerful force through his New Look Foundation (NLF) mentoring youth around the world.
In recognition of his success as a philanthropist, Usher has been honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Trumpet Foundation, Do Something, and the NAACP, among others. In July 2011, Usher held the second annual World Leadership Conference and Awards in Atlanta where 500 youth from around the world convened in a series of workshops to develop real-world solutions to global problems.