Usher Wants To Make ‘Music With Substance,’ Be The Father He Never Had

No more 'music about being the celebrity, the player or having the car, the girl and the bling,' singer tells Essence.

When Usher cut the cord on his newborn baby , he also severed the connection to his former life. For a cover story featuring the first published photos of his son, the singer revealed to Essence that having a child has changed his whole life — even his music.

Since Usher wants to be the best role model possible for his son, Usher Raymond V, he’s made “a deliberate choice to make music with substance.” That means no more “music about being the celebrity, the player or having the car, the girl and the bling,” he told the magazine. Though songs like that, “Love in This Club” for example, did appear on Here I Stand after his marriage to Tameka Foster last year , they were written before he formed his new family.

The birth of his son and his marriage are “linked,” Usher added. “I can’t have one without the other.”

Usher still feels pained by criticism of his marriage , which he had previously addressed in an interview with Vibe. “The mass media has painted a wrong picture,” Usher told Essence. “They think it was forced. I’ve heard a lot of comments like, ‘Oh, she trapped him.’ ‘He got a baby by her, and then she’s married and she’s set for life.’ No. She wasn’t pregnant when I asked her to marry me.”

There’s no “huge conspiracy” about how he got married and had a child, Usher said. It’s just that he “grew older. It’s not until you grow older that you recognize, ‘Wow, I got it all wrong,’ ” Usher said. “I’m here to honor God. Then to honor my wife, then my child and family.”

Part of honoring his child, Usher decided, is to be the father that he never had. His own father died earlier this year , but he had been absent for much of the singer’s life due to drug and alcohol abuse.

“I don’t judge my father, because I forgave him anything he’d ever done to hurt me unintentionally,” Usher told the magazine. “My father and I had a very short amount of time together throughout my entire life, but the most valuable time was during his final days. He asked me to forgive him for not being there.”

Usher’s song “Prayer for You” on Here I Stand stems from that conversation, and it’s addressed to his son. “No matter what happened, my father always prayed for me,” the singer said. “The only difference is, I’m gonna be there to be the father that my dad wished he was to me.”

That means, first and foremost, being there. “Reading with your child, being supportive of your child’s growth,” Usher said. “That is making the choice to put your child before your own vanity.” Usher also wants to make sure his son gets the acceptance and attention he missed. “Somebody to play with, somebody to talk to about male things,” Usher said. “So what is the one thing that I would want my child to know if I could just tap him on his head? That I’m here. That I love him, and he matters more than anything. And I ain’t going nowhere.”

Usher hopes to have more children “in time” and loves his three stepsons, ages 7, 9 and 11, as much as he does his baby boy, he said. “Pure love is priceless. You can’t put a dollar amount on it.”