Usher feels "near a rebirth" on new album

Fri Jun 1, 2012 8:24am EDT
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By Sabrina Ford

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Almost 20 years have passed since R&B fans first took notice of Usher Raymond on 1994's debut album "Usher." At that time, he was just a baby-faced teenager singing about things he hadn't yet experienced.

Over the years, fans have watched Usher grow into a man and become one of the top-selling pop stars of the last two decades, documenting his personal highs and lows through his music.

But ask Usher, and he says his evolution has just begun.

Now a seasoned performer and 33-year-old father of two young boys, Usher takes himself to new places musically with his seventh studio album, "Looking 4 Myself," out June 12. The lead single "Climax," marries R&B and electronic music, and sets the tone for 14 tracks of electronic, soul and hip-hop sounds.

Usher gets personal on "Sins of My Father," a song about the consequences of growing up without his dad. The album's thumping second single, "Scream," and the and Keith Harris production, "Can't Stop Won't Stop," are party anthems in the vein of "OMG," his hit single from 2010's "Raymond v. Raymond."

On June 11, Usher introduces his album with a performance, directed by filmmaker Hamish Hamilton, at London's HMV Forum for the "American Express Unstaged" live stream music series.

Reuters spoke with Usher about "Looking 4 Myself," his upcoming show and the new direction he's taking musically.

Q: You said this is your most artistic album to date. How was working on this project different?   Continued...

Singer Usher Raymond presents one of the Clinton Global Citizen Awards at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 24, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East