Usher on upcoming tour: “I want to make certain that [fans] know I’m committed to serving this art”

Usher recently completed a residency in which he brought Black culture to Las Vegas; the longest Super Bowl halftime show to date; and his latest album, Coming Home — while being a husband and father of four and still managing to fit in some yoga, hiking or roller-skating for some self-care. He’s now preparing for his upcoming tour, which will kick off in August.

Speaking to Essence as its Sexiest Man of the Moment, he says he’s hard at work as he plans for the trek. “I want to make certain that [fans] know I’m committed to serving this art,” he says. “I’m committed to working to make certain that you feel gratified, for the time that you decide to share with me.”

The hope to satisfy fans is why he’s involved them in the curation of a set list, which will be based on the regions where he will perform on his upcoming tour. More than three decades into his career, he finds inspiration to keep going in “the opportunity to do something new, to introduce and try and experiment and create yet another experience that no one has had—while actually keeping youth and energy around me, to inspire me—that’s what keeps me young.”

“As a young person, I was always trying to figure out how to be like the greats of my past. And in this time, I think it’s kind of reversed,” he adds. “I’m hoping that I can be a staple—in the same way Prince was for me—for the young people who are coming up after me … The same way that Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown and New Edition, and all those incredible performers of the past, were for me—I’m hoping that I can be the same for them.”

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