On May 27, 2008, Usher released his follow up to the very successful Confessions. Though I’ve only listened to the album a few times, I don’t think Here I Stand will have the type of success as his past work. But then again, not too many albums are certified diamond these days. But what Here I Stand does, is give you an idea at how much Usher, who we first saw when he was a very young teenager, has grown up.
Money Mike, the man who runs this fine website, thinks that Usher comes off as uppity and jerk-like in his interviews. I see it a bit differently. I won’t deny that he comes off a little high and mighty, but the thing that stands out to me most is his immaturity. He’s a momma’s boy and because of how he came into this business, didn’t seem to understand how to handle his fame and what came with his fame, especially when it came to the ladies. He was linked with several women, most famously Chili from TLC, and every relationship seemingly ended negatively.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, some things came to light, at least to me. This guy has been in the game so long, and has a few mentors who he was with when he was very impressionable. One of them is Mr. Sean John himself, more famously known as Diddy.
“It was terror,” recalls Usher. Indeed, even keeping up with the omnipresent party that Diddy is today would send the sturdiest of us to an early grave – but back in the ’90s? It was an entirely different story. “I was exposed to the lifestyle of a young, fly A&R who was the man in New York. He took me to clubs. I was around women. It was like swagger camp. I said, So this is what I do when I finally make it…. But you have to be very careful about what you allow your kids to be around or see. I’m a product of the environment.”
Usher doesn’t necessarily blame the situation for his relationship issues, but he doesn’t hesitate to insinuate that his environment definitely added to possible problems. I don’t know about you, but if I was running the city with Diddy as a teenager, my view on real life would be skewed too. Hell, if I was running with Diddy now, I might implode.
Now 29, Usher has grown up a bit. Married and with baby Ush by his side, the new album grows up with him. It’s not going to be the type of album that has hit after hit after hit. Confessions had great buzz with first single Yeah! automatically becoming everyone’s favorite party hit, even before the album came out. Love In The Club is a really good single, but it doesn’t set you up for what the rest of the album is about. You’ll hear a matured Usher, talking about love, relationships, and giving his child what his father didn’t give him. And while I haven’t given it enough of a listen to really give an informed opinion about the entire body of work, I respect that as a singer, his material is growing with him.
Will this album be the hit the last one was? Not likely. But he gets that his music should grow with his life. It looks like the momma’s boy has become a man.