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Interview:
Usher has ambitions beyond the stage -- and music
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Last year Usher Raymond IV — you know him as just Usher — made some noise about no longer being on stage when he’s 40, which is eight years from now.

But as he winds through the last month of his OMG Tour, which returns to the metro area this weekend after playing Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena in December, Usher is making sure folks know that if he does leave performing, it will be because he wants to, not because he has to.

“I’ll be able to still do backflips at 50,” notes the R&B hitmaker, who’s sold more than 45 million albums worldwide, notched 16 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and won five Grammy Awards — not to mention signing Justin Bieber to his own record company — since debuting in 1994.

“My point is I could also choose to do other things. There are other aspects of business I’d like to be in ... as I introduce talent, develop talent. I would never want to feel as though (performing) is my only option.

“So at 50, I hope all the business I’ve done allows me to go hit the stage at my discretion — of course, still wanting to. You look at the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, they’ve been touring forever, right? I want to have the ability to do that, but I also want to be mindful of all the other things I can do, too.”

That, however, is a ways off, and Usher will likely continue to dazzle on stage for a few more years. He acknowledges the OMG Tour is “a very physical show” and that “my body is taking a beating every night.” But he’s also proud that he can get through all the tricky dance segments — which pay homage to Michael Jackson at one point — and special effects that include Spider-Man style bungee cord tricks.

“I’m like a super hero in this show, and I do all my own stunts,” he says. “Dance is definitely a part of Usher,” he says. “You can’t have Usher without that ingredient. I wanted to stick to some of the choreography that you’ve seen in the videos, and for the song that never had a video I wanted to introduce a new style, a new energy.

“I want to make you feel as though you’re watching a movie, a live movie experience.”



Usher, Akon and Dev & the Cataracs perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $30.50-$100.50. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.



Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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