Usher (Usher Raymond IV) was born on 14 October 1978 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Drawn from LaFace Records' seemingly inexhaustible wellspring of young R&B acts, Usher is one of the few who can boast of real star quality and staying power.
He moved to Atlanta with his family when he was 12. Usher started singing in the church choir (led by his mom Jonetta Patton) when he was six years old. When Usher was 14 he was spotted at a talent show by a record exec. from LaFace Records. Eventually the company signed the young singer while he was still in high school.
After being spotted by a La Face record executive at a talent show in his hometown of Atlanta, GA, it took no time for Usher Raymond's career to take off. The 14-year-old auditioned for La Face co-founder L.A. Reid, who signed the gospel choir boy to a recording contract. Raymond was introduced to the world simply as "Usher," and released his debut album of the same name in 1994, which featured co-executive producer Sean "Puffy" Combs. The first single, "Think of You," gained Usher notoriety and reached gold status. From that initial exposure, Usher was approached to do other projects.
Indeed, after the release of his self-titled debut in 1994, there seemed to be a danger that he would become better known as a face rather than a musical talent. He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1995, he recorded a national holiday jingle for Coca-Cola. He also joined several top male R&B vocalists to form Black Men United for the single "You Will Know," featured on the Jason's Lyric soundtrack. He also teamed with teen singing sensation Monica for a duet remake of Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out."