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Usher: Gentleman, Comeback King, Super Bowl MVP

Usher: Gentleman, Comeback King, Super Bowl MVP

From certain high perches in Henderson, Nevada, where made-to-order modernist mansions bloom across the terraced mountain ranges, the city of Las Vegas unfurls below you like a magic carpet. On a recent fall afternoon, Usher Raymond IV, the 45-year-old artist known the world over simply as Usher, took in the view from the head of his outdoor dining table, his goldendoodle, Scarlett, asleep at his feet. “When is the last time you looked in a mirror and really looked at yourself?” he asks. That morning, I say. “When you looked in that mirror, did you tell yourself you loved yourself? Did you tell yourself that you forgive yourself?” Reader, I had. But only because when we spoke the prior afternoon Usher had suggested it. “I did, too, this morning,” he says, with a flash of his famous megawatt grin. “It’s a little psyched-​out to say this, but it made me feel good. I was like: You need to look at yourself and say: Hey, whatever you’re dealing with, I love you.”

Here’s what Usher is dealing with: the physical demands of a so-sold-out-they-extended-it-twice Las Vegas residency (Usher: My Way, The Vegas Residency) for which, three nights a week, until December 2nd, he would be almost constantly singing, dancing, and occasionally roller-​skating, all through an R&B fantasia, replete with exotic dancers, a peach-shaped disco ball, and several costume changes and elaborate set pieces. (Not unrelatedly, he has a bunion that requires surgery.) He’s also recording a new album, Coming Home, his ninth, all while planning the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show, the biggest single televised moment of his career. He’ll be maintaining this momentum past the show, he tells me, and seeing his therapist and doing his daily meditation practice and working out and eating right and being a good partner and raising four children, two of them under the age of four here at this sleek five-bedroom home his family found for the Vegas run.

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