Early Usher Recordings Get A Nubeginning

Chattanooga quintet's 1991 tracks feature 12-year-old mack.

Fans who thought Usher's 1994 self-titled debut was the beginning of his career had better prepare themselves for the Nubeginning.

Despite connotations derived from the funky spelling, it's not an early nü-metal incarnation of the R&B crooner, but rather a prequel of sorts, recorded two years before Usher made the scene as a solo artist.

Nubeginning Featuring Usher Raymond IV, due in late April/early May, features a 12-year-old Usher, who took what he learned in his church's gospel choir in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to become part of a quintet and record 10 songs in 1991. Like the upcoming collection of the early work of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter (see "Nick Carter Was 'Just A Gigolo' Before Joining Backstreet Boys"), Nubeginning — which was previously available regionally and by mail order — will get a national release by major-label distributed Hip-O Records, according to a label spokesperson.

The quintet — Usher, Anthony Byrd, Adrian Johnson, Reginald McKibbon and Charles Yarbrough — was constructed by local music svengali Darryl Wheeler. Tracks featured on the LP include the hometown homage "Chatt Town," "Sweet Baby" and "A Mother's Luv," which was released to radio as a single.

After recording Nubeginning, Usher and his family moved to Atlanta, where his talents piqued the interest of Antonio "L.A." Reid, co-founder of LaFace Records. Following the appearance of Usher Raymond's "Call Me a Mack" on 1993's "Poetic Justice" soundtrack, the label released his self-titled debut in 1994.

Usher's fourth and latest solo album, 8701, is #11 on the Billboard albums chart, having sold more than 3.2 million copies to date, according to SoundScan. His rescheduled 8701 Evolution Tour kicks off April 25 (see "Usher Announces Rescheduled 8701 Tour Dates"). For a feature interview with Usher, check out "Usher: It's All About U."

The track listing for Nubeginning Featuring Usher Raymond IV, according to a label spokesperson (sequence not yet final):

  • "Chatt Town"

  • "Sweet Baby"

  • "A Mother's Luv"

  • "I Wanna Be"

  • "Superstar"

  • "Dream Girl"

  • "Jolly Dance"

  • "Only Human"

  • "The Groove"

  • "Keep Dreamin'"