2004 was clearly the year of Usher however, if you polled a group of twenty people from varying backgrounds in 1994 (Usher’s debut) with the question who is Usher Raymond, maybe three would be able to tell you who the singer was. After the release of Usher’s massive album âConfessionsâ the entire world could tell you exactly who the chart-topping artist is or at least hum one of the Grammy-nominated songs from the album including “Burn” and “Yeah!” âConfessions,â Usherâs fourth studio album and follow up to the well received 2001 effort â8701″ and its singles âU Got It Bad,â âU Donât Have To Callâ and âU Remind Me,â took the Chattanooga, Tennessee born and Atlanta raised singer to heights only reached by predecessors including Michael and Janet Jackson. Initially set for release in 2003, âConfessionsâ came after a much-talked-about love affair between the former child prodigy and TLC singer Rozanda âChiliâ Thomas who appeared in the 2001 video âU Got It Badâ. As a result of their highly-publicized break up and the seemingly, then thought, autobiographical content promoted before âConfessionsâ release Usher hit mainstream audiences more personal than ever with of course, the help of the Lil Jon and Ludacris assisted single âYeahâ. As seen in recent years post Confessions, fans chose âYeahâ as Usherâs first single because it was in fact intended to be a âbuzzâ record expected to set the stage for the eventually pushed back single âBurnâ. But who could blame us, âYeah!â was infectious. The single was incomparable to anything else on the market and not only ushered in âConfessionsâ but what was dubbed by some as the Crunk Nâ B movement that followed (Ciara, Lil Jon). After âYeahâsâ release and subsequent rise to no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Usher unleashed âConfessionsâ on a heavily promoted Tuesday in March of 2004 (March 24th to be exact) with performances on nearly every outlet imaginable including MTVâs TRL and BETâs 106 & Park. Within days âConfessionsâ moved the record setting total of 1.1 million copies â the highest first week debut for any R&B recording artist. Today, Usherâs mega album âConfessionsâ has been certified Diamond and has sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide on the strength of five singles including âConfessions Part II,â âMy Booâ and âCaught Upâ. The album is also lauded as Usherâs most successful and mainstream effort to date in addition to becoming his most recognized album by the recording academy. In total âConfessions,â executive produced by Jermaine Dupri, earned Usher nearly 50 awards including Billboardâs 2004 Artist of the Year Award and three Grammy Awards. âConfessions,â while Usherâs biggest album to date, must also be noted for its ability to withstand the highest rise in fans purchasing individual tracks off the internet via MP3. In fact, Usher beat the sales of any artist between the years 2002-2004 including 50 Centâs debut âGet Rich or Die Tryinââ (6.5 million) and Eminemâs 2002 top seller âThe Eminem Showâ (7.6 million). What was your favorite song or moment from Usherâs âConfessionsâ era ? For more on Usher and ‘Confessions’ including the single “Yeah!” visits Usher’s Singersroom artist page HERE.
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