Usher knows a thing or two about staying relevant for decades, having first released his self-titled debut back in 1994 at only 15. These days, he's a 35-year-old icon and sits at the peak of the music industry, but he's not resting on his laurels. Instead, he's helping to revitalize the genre that catapulted him to fame 20 years ago by putting on exciting young artists that he believes bridge the gap between pop cultural and urban subculture. That includes August Alsina, who is opening for him on the upcoming The UR Experience tour to promote Usher's eighth studio album, UR , which will reportedly feature Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Diplo, Ed Sheeran, Drake and more.
While Usher originally planned to release the album this year, he told Billboard yesterday that UR "isn't scheduled anymore" and that he's taking his time with the forthcoming project. We caught up with the Atlanta crooner at the Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan earlier this week to talk about the tour, the new album, and what he's learned throughout his decades-long career. Usher also opened up about the advice he's giving his friend and protégé Justin Bieber, which boils down to three key words: "F**k being popular."
Peep the entire conversation above, and get tickets for The UR Experience with August Alsina here.