Justin Bieber Is A ‘Prodigy,’ Usher Says

'His voice was incredible,' says teen star's mentor, recalling why he signed him.

At one time, both [artist id="1231683"]Justin Timberlake[/artist] and [artist id="1270"]Usher[/artist] wanted to sign YouTube sensation and future superstar [artist id="3187077"]Justin Bieber[/artist]. Bieber claims that Usher initially dismissed him in a quick encounter, but Usher eventually gave the kid’s music another listen. He then beat out Timberlake to sign him as his artist, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Usher admits that Bieber has the skills to pay the bills, which is why he wanted him so badly. “You know this guy?” he joked. “Well, one was his voice. I felt like his voice was incredible. I feel he was very charismatic, and that’s what it takes to be able to handle what this is. It’s the ability to turn it on and understand, but it was a very real ability. It was actually just him.”

Bieber, who just released his sophomore album, My World 2.0, has very quickly established himself as one of the biggest acts out there, but his mentor says that this is just the beginning. He’s got longevity.

“If you ever met him, you’d understand exactly what I’m saying,” Usher said. “The other side of it is just the fact that I felt like his story is yet to be told. I think we can go get him hit records or we can teach him how to dance or put him in front of some incredible lighting or put him in the right room and allow him to be himself. But also just his musical talent — the fact that he taught himself to play guitar, the fact that he taught himself to play piano to the point where he can write and create his own songs. [I said to him,] ‘You’re a prodigy.’ “