What is today’s definition of R&B ? When does an R&B artist become too pop ? Is Usher a sell out ? Diamond selling “Euphoria” singer Usher tackled recent criticism over his new album “Looking For Myself,” talk of him going too pop and more in a recent interview.
Admitting his music is different that what might be expected, Usher says the goal with “Looking 4 Myself” was to create a “non genre specific record album.”
“I’m not only an R&B artist. I’m not only a pop artist, but I do have music that leans more R&B. As a matter of fact, every time I go all over the world and play “Climax,” people can try to identify. Is it a pop record? Is it a R&B record? Or is it just a record that people like? I think that my point was to create just a non-genre-specific record-album and that’s what I hope Looking 4 Myself is seen as,” says Usher.
With singing rappers and rapping singers, Usher believes R&B has opened up to a point where there should be no boxes or barriers.
“While R&B artists are admired for having incredible voices, it seems now that a rapper could be an R&B artist. It seems now that an R&B artist could be a rapper. There’s really no barriers, no boxes right,” Usher tells The Boom Box. “And that was my whole point. Why I think a lot of people have began to assume, well R&B isn’t as poignant as it used to be, really I just feel that the philosophy of how we do things are different.”
So should other R&B artists, those labeled as such, follow suit ? Usher says you have to be open now, not content with one lane.
“I think we have to be open to different styles of music and just be experimental and that right there creates a new following. That’s how styles like rock, punk were created. By way of just mixing and matching things. So that was my idea and the reason why I decided to work with electronic producers,” says Usher. “I think that music is reciprocal. I think that what might seem like old will, in a minute, feel like new. And I think that as long as people can continue to invest in it, it’ll continue to be relevant.”
But is R&B dead, like some have said recently ? Usher believes the genre is not dead but needs new perspective.
“I don’t think that R&B is dead, I wouldn’t say that but I do think that new ideas allow a different perspective and that is what my contribution is there,” says Usher.
Visit The Boom Box for Usher’s full and insightful interview.