Its official! Usher, the reigning king of R&B, will take centre stage at Allegiant Stadium for the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show on Sunday, February 11, 2024.

Usher joined Zane Lowe in-studio on Apple Music 1 live from Paris to discuss the news and why he’s excited to perform on “the most grand stage”, getting the call from Jay-Z, growing up watching the show and joining that special legacy of artists, his connection to host city Las Vegas and what he’s learned from doing his residency there, whether fans can expect special guests during his performance, and why he’s only just getting started.

Usher on Why He’s Excited To Perform at the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show…

It’s happening. It has happened, ladies and gentlemen!! It’s been a lot like to keep secrets from my own kids at home. Yeah. A very, very close knit group of people knew and were really excited about the entire thing. Obviously a legacy. But more than anything the fact that this is the most grand stage to ever play on, man. Those 13 minutes mean everything. Been on my bucket list for a long time. I’ve been asked many a times “what are the benchmarks or what are the things that matter the most I guess to you?” It’s obviously performing, but being able to perform on stage because so many amazing performers throughout the years have have graced it and did an amazing job. So of course the obsession of that starts. But man, just the excitement in this moment like to really be able to savor this moment. You you remember the first time you ever heard your record play on the radio. You remember the first time you ever heard your voice, you know, on a on a format or radio, Right? This is like that for me. Yes, it’s one of those….I’m very, very happy…

Usher on Getting The Call From Jay-Z…

Zane: One of the big questions that everybody would want me to ask is what’s it like getting that call from Jay-Z?

Usher: Oh, man, I didn’t… Well, I mean, you know, me and the big homie, we talk often. But when I got this call… he said, “it’s time, it’s magic time. You know, it’s time for you to have that moment.” I’m like, what are you talking about? He’s like “the Super Bowl.” I’m like, Oh, you ready? Absolutely. But no question. Yeah. And it was like this was destined to happen. I think that everything that led up to that moment, going to Las Vegas for my Vegas residency for the last two years. The legacy, obviously, that is the music, the celebration of entertainment in that place is the City of Lights. You know, it’s always been a place where, you know, entertainers go and find love and passion, connection to their fans. So for the Super Bowl to have made its way to Las Vegas while we were in Vegas, having such an amazing two years…

Usher on the Unmatched Legacy of the Super Bowl Halftime Show…

I mean, you think about all the people who have played it and just the idea of how Jay-Z and Roc Nation have really brought a mindfulness to our culture. You know, 30 years of a career deserves this kind of moment. But to have curators like them, like Jay-Z, like Des and like Roc Nation to come in and and manage to make certain that the entire world understands our culture, understands where we come from, understands the feeling and celebrates entertainment in the way that that they do. I mean, it’s just it just feels like it was, you know, I guess if you try to create a playbook in your mind, like 30 years after you start, you potentially play the Super Bowl. Some people wait an entire lifetime, you know what I’m saying? But I don’t feel like this is my lifetime. I feel like I’m only kind of starting to really, really get comfortable.

Usher on Growing Up Watching the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Joining That Legacy, and Why It Will Be a Moment To Remember…

Zane: You talked about, you know, the Super Bowl and and this new era that the Super Bowl is in of authenticity, of representation of excitement, of music, of energy. And I think about your first experience watching the Super Bowl Halftime show and what it was like as a kid and whether that was the beginning of a manifestation for you?

Usher: Yeah, I think being able to see performances from artists like Michael, you know, eventually Prince and then even, you know, more modern day artist and, and to be perfectly honest, to see artists that, you know, even started before, you know, started after I did get it, I was like, man, at some point I need to get a call with what’s going on now. But I’m really happy that I’m joining that short list of legacy artists from my genre who deserve this moment. And I’m really happy that Jay-Z and also to Roc Nation, you know, really put thought into making certain that they could bring to the world this kind of experience. It is definitely going to be a moment to remember.

Usher on His Connection To Super Bowl Host City Las Vegas and How His Vegas Residency Has Re-Energized Him and Allowed Him To Reconnect With His Fans…

Zane: I wanted to ask you, you know, what you have learned from from doing these residencies in particular, your latest one, My Way out of Las Vegas residency and what is what’s how you’ve grown even as a performer after so many years of performing at the highest level. But from a Vegas point of view.

Usher: Reconnecting more than anything with my my core fans. You know, there’s a whirlwind, you know, of life experiences that lead you to the songs. And that song or those songs are the soundtrack for a lot of people’s lives. So when I look out in that audience and I see my fans who made a decision to have this be their destination with their loved ones, or either their friends and have an amazing time, it just really minded me, but also to re-energized my passion for what I do. I’ve always loved the live aspect of it more than anything. I enjoy making, you know, incredible records that touch places that I probably never go, but to literally be on the stage and perform every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during the time that I’m there for an audience that I know came to see me, it really, really feels connected. It felt like, you know, if Vegas had ever become a place where artists came to just preserve their their past legacy, I don’t look at it as that. I’ve always looked at it as an opportunity to open new doors and new opportunities and look what happened that actually became so the idea of manifestation. I went to Las Vegas to just remind myself and remind my fans that I’m here for that I am connected, that I am still, you know, running and gunning. And I’m and I got out and I got a lot more where that came from.

Usher on Why He’s Excited About the 20th Anniversary of ‘Confessions’…

Zane: That was very successful. Very successful, like 18 million albums and counting. I think so at this point. DIAMOND..,.

Usher: Well, let’s just say for, you know, the time of selling tangible copies. Obviously, we’ve now gone to a place of streaming. Yeah, You know, it’s the last Diamond album specifically in my genre for any artist.

Zane: And Diamond, by the way, for people who are watching, is…

Usher: 10 million albums sold, starting off with 1.1 million units, you know, the first week. So really excited about the 20th anniversary of Confessions.

Usher Previews His Just-Announced New Album ‘Coming Home’…

Zane: More big news today We’re Not Done is an album that’s just been announced and is up for preorder right now on Apple Music.

Usher: Yay! Yay, yay. And it’s called Coming Home. It is a powerful statement.

Zane: I feel like your albums have always said something. You know, your last project was Zeethoven just called. I said a lot about where your head was at and your heart was there. And it was a love letter for you to where you’re from. What does coming home mean to you?

Usher: So a love letter once again to the legacy of my of my career. You know, I’ve been coming home in a lot of different ways. The choice of music and reconnection to some of the people that I’ve worked with from my past. And I always wanted to work with writers that I’ve actually made hit number one records with. In a sense, I’m coming home because I’m in that comfortable space. When you’re at home, you’re comfortable. When you’re at home, you feel connected, elevate, rise and inspire. To me, L.A. working together once again. The the inspiration that I’m drawn from does come, you know, with a bit of complication, which is in the music that I’m going to speak of. There’s a lot of honesty. Yes. I mean, come on, man. I don’t know. I’m not lying to you. Of course. And while leave it to the people who have to listen. And if any indication of what we’ve done in the past, me in LA is a representation of what you should expect, then there you have it. But what you do know is that we’re coming together. I’m coming home. I’m back home with my team. You know, even when you see the artwork, you will understand it. When you see the peach. You get it. You understand where I’m from and what we’re doing. And also to what this means, the subtlety of that. But more than anything, it’s a celebration of music. Coming home in many other ways as you get more acclimated. When I put out more records and also to put more visuals, actually begin to really understand it. But I think that it is something to be celebrated.

Usher on Whether Fans Can Expect Special Guests During His Super Bowl Halftime Performance…

Zane: Everyone’s going to ask the question, so I’m going to be the first one to get it all out on the table. Is it too soon to talk about possible guests on stage? People love the idea of it. Last year, Rihanna didn’t bring any guests in. The show didn’t need it. Sometimes people bring it because they want to embellish and celebrate and collaborate and share a moment. Have you thought about it?
Usher: Well, one thing I can say is I’ve, you know, collaborated with a lot of incredible artists throughout the years. If anything, I like the socially engaged the world, you know what I’m saying? I like to hear who you think, you know, would would be a great guest, great guest to complement this.

Zane: You’re not asking me that.

Usher: You’re absolutely. I will put you on the spot. You going to put me on? I can’t put you on. So we leave that one on the takeover. So, by the way, by the way, there’ll be many more Sundays to talk about this leading up to the Grand Sunday of all. Yeah. And I’m so happy that we were able to, you know, launch it today.

Usher on the Secrets To His Youth and Longevity…

Zane: What is the secret to you for longevity? What is that? What is that secret? On the secret to it?

Usher: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think I’ve just been happy in my worst moments. And I think that I’ve been grateful, you know, to. To be fortunate enough to just stay passionate. You know, I think that’s it. I think if you stay motivated and you stay focused on the work and not the stress when there are stressful moments, don’t completely give all the way into it. Of course, you should be mindful. Of course you should be. You know, you should learn. But I guess it’s staying creative. Something about this journey has been about never arriving. Mm hmm. It’s just really been about the journey. You know, the journey is the destination, so.

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