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Usher's rise to the top of the charts with three consecutive No. 1 singles ("You Make Me Wanna," "Nice & Slow," "My Way") might make him appear to be an overnight sensation. But the Chattanooga, Tennessee native, who moved to Atlanta when he was 12, grew up singing in church--his mother was the choir director. Usher received his big break when LaFace Records co-founder L.A. Reid saw the singer performing in a local talent show in 1993, the same year that he made his recording debut on the Poetic Justice soundtrack.

His single "Call Me A Mack," performed under the name Usher Raymond, featured the then 14-year-old establishing the sound that would eventually make him one of the hottest R&B male teen idols of the '90s. "Call Me A Mack" did gain him some attention, but his 1994 self-titled album debut had a relatively short life span. Usher featured executive production from Sean "Puffy" Combs and the noteworthy dance release "Think Of You."

Fortunately, executives at LaFace Records, owned by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Reid, believed in Usher's talent and appeal. Three years after his debut, the singer returned with his sophomore release, My Way, sporting a new image, polished dance moves and excellent production from Jermaine Dupri. To date, the album is certified quadruple-platinum, which helped land him on Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope Tour.

The young singer has appeared on numerous other projects as well: LaFace Family Christmas; "You Will Know," an all-star collaboration of male R&B singers; Monica's platinum debut Miss Thang; the soundtrack for the Shaquille O'Neal movie Kazaam; and the Soul Food soundtrack, among others. His notoriety has even landed him acting roles on Brandy's sitcom Moesha, the daytime soap opera The Bold And The Beautiful, and the teen horror flick The Faculty.

This Biography was written by Billy Johnson, Jr.



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