HOLLYWOOD — At Sunday’s 53rd Grammy Awards, Usher will be pulling double duty as both a nominee and a performer. Of course, given the massive year he just completed — with the success of his smash single “O.M.G.” and as a mentor to rising phenom Justin Bieber — Ush’s Grammy plans seem rather fitting.
Especially since he’ll be performing with Bieber (and Bieber’s pal Jaden Smith), a move that’s just as much about celebrating Usher’s successes as it is the successes of his young protégé.
“Having been through [the Grammys] so many times, you couldn’t want for anything more than for your young protégé to have the opportunity to have one, so, in support of him having his moment, I wanted to be here,” Usher told MTV News on Thursday, hours before his performance at the (Belvedere) RED launch party in Hollywood. “And also to be there to perform, to kind of tell the story of how we came together. This music business has definitely been good to both of us, and this year we have a lot to be happy for.”
And just how will the dynamic duo tell that story? Well, Usher wasn’t about to reveal all the details, but he did say that he’s hoping their performance will show another side of Bieber … a side most tend to overlook.
“The performance will be fun,” Usher explained. “We want to get up there and just do what we do. Be comfortable, and have a great time. … This is kind of a crossover for Justin. Having performed on so many different stages, this is the way that I wanted him to be seen and an opportunity to show the industry — a lot of the industry, that didn’t believe [in him] — some of his other talents. He’s going to play acoustically, and also, we’ll get down a little bit.”
And though Ush is up for a pair of Grammy awards on Sunday — Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary R&B Album for Raymond v. Raymond — he’s most looking forward to sharing the stage with Bieber and giving fans a look at where the young artist will be heading next.
“I’m very proud, man. I definitely saw it from the beginning, but thanks to the team that we have around us, it was made to happen. And that story has only just begun,” Usher said. “The story of Justin Bieber doesn’t stop with screaming girls; we need screaming fans all around the world … a cultural experience that’s much more than just fanfare. And that’s what this is. That’s what the Grammys will be; that’s what my next phase for Justin is. This is the way I found him: I found him with a guitar in his hand, so I want him to be seen that way.”
Don’t miss “Snooki & Sway: Live From the Grammys,” a red-carpet live stream kicking off Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on MTV.com. And stick with us all Grammy night for coverage of the red carpet, the show, the afterparties and beyond!