BY MARISSA EVANS / Photography by MARIAH TAUGER
You can see galaxies in Usher Raymond IV’s eyes.
They twinkle as he speaks, no matter how little lighting there is in a room. His deep gaze, soft and curious, makes you wonder what he sees in your humanity, whether it’s beauty, intelligence, kindness, warmth or something else. You have to consider when is the last time someone has looked into your eyes with such attentiveness. You could fall into his dimples when he smiles. His voice is rich and velvety. His hugs are warm. He is a deep sigh of dreaminess personified.
It comes naturally to a man who has made romance part of his legacy for three decades and done soul searching on how he thinks about love. He’s intentional in so many things he does, including lighting a candle in the home theater of a lavish Beverly Hills home “for the vibe” before opening up about who he is as a human and an artist.
“I wanted you to feel cool and feel the energy,” Usher said. “Maybe it was something about that candle that was lit that just changed the vibe in the room, the tone that I speak to you in, looking you in your eyes when I actually talk to you, that probably makes you feel a little bit more safe and like we’re really connected in this moment.”
Recently, the R&B icon’s run of sold-out Vegas residencies, a new album and headlining the Super Bowl half-time show have sparked renewed admiration from veteran and young fans alike. On Tuesday, the singer announced the “Usher: Past, Present, Future” tour, a 24-city trek launching in August. Usher’s moment in the spotlight in the heart of America’s biggest game will be a legacy-defining moment not only for himself but for romance and R&B.
In the years since Usher started his career in the early 1990s, our ideas of intimacy have evolved dramatically. Women are reconsidering the merits of singledom and men are facing a potential loneliness epidemic. Same-sex marriage is legal, polyamory and nonmonogamous relationships are becoming less taboo, people are realizing they are asexual, and the love of your life could be one swipe away on dating apps. Every other week the internet debates whether getting coffee or ice cream is a worthy first date and tries to quantify what effort in dating should look like. Romance, in our love lives and platonic relationships, often feels fleeting when love languages are easily lost in translation and the slow burn of vulnerability and trust building feels exhausting.Continue reading Usher brings romance to the biggest stage in America: The Super Bowl