Five Years Later Usher’s Confessions Still on Top

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 “Confessions” 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!” “Confessions,” Usher’s fourth studio album and follow up to the well received 2001 effort “8701″ and its singles “U Got It Bad,” “U Don’t Have To Call” and “U Remind Me,” 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, “Confessions” came after a much-talked-about love affair between the former child prodigy and TLC singer Rozanda “Chili” Thomas who appeared in the 2001 video “U Got It Bad”. As a result of their highly-publicized break up and the seemingly, then thought, autobiographical content promoted before “Confessions” release Usher hit mainstream audiences more personal than ever with of course, the help of the Lil Jon and Ludacris assisted single “Yeah”. As seen in recent years post Confessions, fans chose “Yeah” as Usher’s first single because it was in fact intended to be a “buzz” record expected to set the stage for the eventually pushed back single “Burn”. But who could blame us, “Yeah!” was infectious. The single was incomparable to anything else on the market and not only ushered in “Confessions” but what was dubbed by some as the Crunk N’ B movement that followed (Ciara, Lil Jon). After “Yeah’s” release and subsequent rise to no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Usher unleashed “Confessions” on a heavily promoted Tuesday in March of 2004 (March 24th to be exact) with performances on nearly every outlet imaginable including MTV’s TRL and BET’s 106 & Park. Within days “Confessions” moved the record setting total of 1.1 million copies – the highest first week debut for any R&B recording artist. Today, Usher’s mega album “Confessions” has been certified Diamond and has sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide on the strength of five singles including “Confessions Part II,” “My Boo” and “Caught Up”. The album is also lauded as Usher’s most successful and mainstream effort to date in addition to becoming his most recognized album by the recording academy. In total “Confessions,” executive produced by Jermaine Dupri, earned Usher nearly 50 awards including Billboard’s 2004 Artist of the Year Award and three Grammy Awards. “Confessions,” while Usher’s 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 Cent’s debut “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” (6.5 million) and Eminem’s 2002 top seller “The Eminem Show” (7.6 million). What was your favorite song or moment from Usher’s “Confessions” era ? For more on Usher and ‘Confessions’ including the single “Yeah!” visits Usher’s Singersroom artist page HERE.

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