Between a stellar NPR Tiny Desk concert, his Las Vegas Residency (and getting a key to the city), the announcement of his Super Bowl halftime performance and an upcoming album Coming Home, it’s been a heck of a year for Ursher baby.
From his commanding stage presence during his Las Vegas residency, and gracing the nation’s most-watched stage is not only a celebration of his musical career but also an opportunity to share with the world his love for what he does best, entertain. “I’m 45 years old and I’m still just as passionate as I was when I first started,” Usher tells ESSENCE.
Known for his chart-topping hits and electrifying stage presence, Usher has always been a force to reckon with in the music industry. His upcoming album has generated excitement among both fans and critics, much of which has been fueled by his viral Las Vegas residency. Usher’s extended the residency twice with additional shows, and he’s serenaded everyone from the Las Vegas Aces to Keke Palmer, and Doja Cat.
“The success of this, it speaks to a few different things. One, this dynamic of what I offer as an artist, whether I have a hit single, a record at radio or record in the world. It felt good to get back to this concept of live entertainment in an intimate setting,” Usher says. “Arenas are great, but to be able to have a theater where I could curate a very immersive and deliberate intentioned, experience, where people come in and know that they’re going to get their money’s worth.”
In between the rigorous rehearsals and meticulous planning for the Super Bowl spectacle, Usher is devoting significant time and energy to his kids, and promoting diabetes awareness. “At 7 o’clock on the dot, I was putting my babies to bed, before I head to theater,” he says with a laugh.
Diabetes hits close to home for Usher, as his own child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a tender age. The experience of witnessing the challenges faced by his child has inspired Usher to become an advocate for early detection and preparation for those affected by the condition.
“I know detecting their type 1 diabetes before diagnosis could give you a very valuable amount of time to live with diabetes,” Usher says. “Teaming up with Sanofi, and having this kind of spokesperson/ambassadorship around this movement that’s really about screening. You go to the1pledge.com and there’s an opportunity to pledge to get your family screened for type 1 diabetes. “
This nationwide campaign encourages families to get screened for type 1 diabetes, even before symptoms appear. The idea is to provide families with the precious gift of time and knowledge, empowering them to be better prepared for the challenges that diabetes may bring.
“Had we detected my child’s type 1 diabetes before their diagnosis, it could have given us valuable time to prepare. My child’s bravery inspires me every day, and my hope in partnering with Sanofi is to inspire other families in this important work.”
As Usher prepares to grace the Super Bowl stage, he’s taking heed to what fans want to hear from his decades long discography. He tells ESSENCE that if fans take the pledge, they can also share some of their favorite songs in the comments on his Instagram, and he might even consider incorporating them into his setlist.
People can pledge to get screened for type 1 diabetes at The1Pledge.com, and they are encouraged to follow the movement on social media using the hashtag #ScreenforType1. Usher’s message is clear: early detection can make a world of difference in managing and living with diabetes, and he’s determined to spread this message far and wide.