Back in 1994, a teenaged Usher dropped his self-titled debut album and skyrocketed to fame. Nearly 20 years later, Usher is still on top, having lost little career momentum. While he’s maintained his own career over the years, he also helped launch Justin Bieber to mega-fame as well.
As Bieber continues to grow as an artist, Usher explained that the 18-year-old has built up the kinds of friendships and relationships that he would have wanted as a kid star. “Cool part about it is, he’s really able to live a dream that I think most teenagers would want to. To be able to have friends like Mayweather. They are actual friends, hang out, talk,” Usher told MTV News during “MTV First” about Bieber’s friendship with boxer Floyd Mayweather , who he recently hung out with in Las Vegas. “It’s really cool to be able to have friends all around the world and people that can relate to your reality.
“I don’t think Michael [Jackson] had people like that,” he continued. “I didn’t have a ton of people like that. I had Puff. I had JD [producer Jermaine Dupri] … but to be able to have friends all around the world that keep you, it’s cool.”
Their friendship was on full display recently when Usher performed in “Fuerza Bruta” back in April in New York City. Bieber dropped by to catch him getting his theater kid on, and midway through the show, the twosome battled it out on the dance floor.
“I was like, ‘Come on, I got you. Just chill out.’ Set it up,” he recalled about tricking the sleepy globe-trotting star to hang with him at the show. “[We] brought him to the middle of the dance floor, and we got it in. But we always show support for each other like that. We was housing a little bit.”
The guys will soon go head to head on the Billboard charts: Usher is set to drop his album, Looking 4 Myself , on June 12, and one week later, Bieber will release Believe . While it’ll be interesting to see those two fight it out on the charts, what’s more interesting for Usher is watching Bieber go through the same stuff he went through as a teen heartthrob.
“I relive every bit of it, from the screaming fans and the first reactions, shutting down the malls. The first reaction is like no other. To be able to be there, to be there with him and go through those emotions and see that shock for the first time [is exciting],” he said.