Sure, anyone can hold an album-listening party at some record label's headquarters or, to really mix it up, some swanky nightclub. But for Usher, that just wasn't enough. When he was looking for a way to debut tracks off Looking 4 Myself, out June 12, he found another way to spread the word.
Last month, Usher appeared in the off-Broadway show "Fuerza Bruta," in which he played the male lead, Running Man, for one night only. During the show, he played all his newest, shiniest tracks for lucky theatergoers. When MTV News spoke to him exclusively during rehearsals, he explained that his part in "Fuerza" provided the perfect pairing between the themes on his album and the visuals of the play.
"I mean, life is like that in a lot of ways. This was something that I organically came to," he explained. "When you think about the lyrics of 'Climax,' 'Going nowhere fast/ We reached the climax' ... 'Going nowhere fast' would be running in place," he explained, referring to a part in the show where he runs on a treadmill, never actually ending up anywhere.
"Looking 4 Myself, I'm walking with my head down, counting every step," he explained, referring to another act in the show. "I'm always trying to find very creative ways for the music and the art to work together and this is it. I only hoped it would be viewed in that way, in an unprecedented way. I hoped that people would be able to identify with it and become acclimated with my experience in a fun way, creative. This was kind of an emotional experience that leads you into my world."
Usher has even more to share about his experience in the show as well as his highly anticipated album release. He will open up during "MTV First: Usher," set to take place on Wednesday, May 16, at 7:54 p.m. ET on MTV. He will introduce exclusive footage from "Fuerza Bruta" and his new single, the Pharrell-produced "Twisted," and will stick around for an interview with MTV News' Sway Calloway to discuss it all on MTV.com afterward. Fans can submit questions via MTV.com or Twitter @MTVNews with the hashtag #MTVFirst or #AskUsher.
The performances featured in "MTV First: Usher" were shot exclusively by MTV News during a special album-listening experience with the off-Broadway show "Fuerza Bruta" in New York City.
Don't miss "MTV First: Usher" on Wednesday, May 16, at 7:54 p.m. ET on MTV, followed by an interview with the singer on MTV.com!