I want to entertain you. I want to be an artist. My mother was like, “You’re not gon’ be on of those people “who just sittin’ around and sleepin’ on my couch.” I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be gone by 14.”
“Pursuit is more important than the actual destination.” – Usher
Remember, you got to find love as the key to get through so many people coming at you with negative-
You got to work at it if you want to be great at it, period.
Evan: He’s an American singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer.
He’s one of the best selling artists of all time and has sold over 75 million records worldwide.
He’s won 18 Billboard Music Awards and eight Grammys.
He’s Usher and here is my take on his top 10 rules for success.
Rule #2 is my personal favorite and I’m curious to figure out which one you guys like the best and as always, as Usher is talking, is he says something that is really meaningful to you, please leave it in the comments below, put quotes around it as well so other people can be inspired too. Enjoy.
Rule #1: Have Passion
Pharrell: What’s the secret to your success? Like, what are you doing that makes us care so much about you? What’s the secret to Usher?
It’s that feeling, man. It’s that irreplaceable feeling of real music and entertainment. I feel fortunate because I’ve had a lot of people around to help build what it is. But to be able to perform a record, to be able to sell a record through performance, dance, and vocally and the passion of what it is, I think that’s what continues to keep people connected to who I am as an artist and that R&B music allows you to feel, or my music.
I don’t know if it’s R&B or if it’s just music period. The music that I create and that I live through and the experiences that I’ve been able to borrow from to create inspiration from our songs that we create together, you know, they’re real experiences that people can feel. That’s an irreplaceable feeling and soulful music-
“To be able to perform a record, to be able to sell a record through performance, dance, and vocally and the passion of what it is, I think that’s what continues to keep people connected to who I am as an artist” – Usher
Pharrell: Something you can feel.
Yeah, something you can feel.
Rule #2: Find Your Path
But I knew what I wanted to do from the age of like 11. So when I figured it out and I had a path, that shit felt like it was gettin’ ready to go away, I was like, “I don’t want to lose this. “If I do, I’m going to die. “If I don’t have music, if I don’t have my entertainment, “it’s over for me.” So, that was one of my lowest-
Interviewer: That’s interesting. At 16 you were already worried about it going away.
“When I figured it out and I had a path, that shit felt like it was gettin’ ready to go away, I was like, ‘I don’t want to lose this.'” – Usher
Dude, at 13 I was like, “I’m out.” I was like, “I’m figuring this shit out. I’m gone. “I want to entertain. I want to be an artist.” My mother was like, “You not gon’ be one of those people “who just sittin’ around and sleepin’ on my couch.” I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be gone by 14.” If you can see it in your mind then it can happen ’cause what’s out here ain’t going to assist you in that way. You got to find it, know what I mean?
Rule #3: Evolve
Truth is, we gon’ have to set goals for ourselves. I mean, our planned destination is to be busy and to adjust to whatever you’re introduced to. And what I mean by that is, okay, as an entertainer I started off as a singer.
“Just to continue to evolve in a way that is beneficial for growth of myself and others, my likeness to continue to be remembered throughout history and associated with something great.” – Usher
I grew to become a dancer and a performer. After becoming a performer then I became an actor. After becoming an actor, I became an entrepreneur. After becoming an entrepreneur, I became an entertainer on a different level of introducing other artists. Then after that I became a mentor.
You know, so I think just to continue to evolve in a way that is beneficial for growth of myself and others, my likeness to continue to be remembered throughout history and associated with something great.
For me, there’s a mantra that I’ve lived by and it is that the journey of the destination is really what it’s all about. The pursuit is more important than the actual destination, so as long as you are moving, as long as you are working, that is the destination.
Yeah, the journey. Well really, it is simply that the journey is the destination.
Interviewer: I agree.
As long as you’re workin’, you’re good.
Rule #4: Love
I think that all artists of the past having gone through what they’ve gone through or the scrutiny that they go through, it was, “Don’t become callous, hard.” I think that’s what he was attempting to say.
Remember, you got to love, you got to find love as the key to get through so many people coming at you with the negative because you can’t allow what they feel about you to turn you into to who they see or want you to be.
Rule #5: #Believe In Yourself
You know, I can remember at the age of nine years old saying, “Ma, I want to do that. “I want to be like Michael Jackson. “I want to be like New Edition. “I want to be like Bobby Brown. “I want to do what they do.” You know, well you got to work at it. Of course I went through talent shows. There was no American Idol back then. There was no European Idols back in that day.
Interviewer: Which would’ve been perfect for you had they been around.
“You got to work at it if you want to be great at it, period.” – Usher
There was Star Search. Actually I did Star Search, believe it or not which was an Ed McMahon production in Orlando, Florida. It was the comparison to what I think American Idol is in this day and time. But, not many opportunities so I had to believe in myself and luckily I had a mother that helped me to develop and was there with me to handle the business side because I couldn’t do both.
But now as I’ve grown older, I’ve now even taken more control of that and our building outside of what I just do in music, you know, building brands. I now am an owner of a basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers in America. And I think it’s great to be determined. I think that that’s what I’ll tell them and to have great work ethics.
You know, you got to work at it if you want to be great at it, period. And, you know, be benevolent in your approach. You have to want it and you would never take “no” for an answer. “I can do it. No, I’m going to do it. “I’m going to be good at what I do.” And never let anybody tell you you can’t.
Rule #6: Learn From Your Failures
I’m pretty sure there were people who had their doubts. As I said, art is subjective. Some people have an opinion they like about it and of course their entitled to because they’re paying they’re money for it but I never let that stop me.
I’ve always been able to turn my hate into great and not really accept any down moments, low peaks, as a failure but yet a lesson to teach me how to be better, stronger, more wise and resilient. You know, I really have never gotten into the negative stuff. I don’t really absorb it.
Rule #7: Pursue Your Dreams
I just continue to grow and do more. That’s what being a career artist is really about. I created a template of what I what I wanted to do as a young man and continue to pursue my dreams and be inspired by people who did great things.
You know, the great developers, great people who found musical cultural movements and wanted to introduce them. Artists who were very fashionable and fashion-forward in their process. All of that is who I am. Being a businessman, being an actor, being a writer, being a producer, being a song-writer, being a philanthropist, all of those things and as long as there’s something for me to do, I’ma be doing it.
Interviewer: When you were growing up did you always think that this would be where you were going to end up?
“Continue to grow and do more. That’s what being a career artist is really about.” – Usher
Nah, I didn’t. Actually, I only had the dream and support of the people who encouraged me to believe in myself and my dreams and without them I probably would not be where I am had I not been introduced to the right things at the right time. I mean, I do feel like there is no such thing as a coincidence.
I do feel like things are destined to happen, ordained to happen and as a result of hard work, there’s a reward. So you put all that together and you know, you have a success story, but no, as a kid I didn’t see half of what I’m seeing nowadays but I knew that I wanted to do something in music and I knew that I wanted to travel the world.
Interviewer: And here you are.
Here we are. We got to see it.
Rule #8: Surprise People
Consistently inconsistent. At the end of the day, it’s about being in the moment. I mean, 20 years … Did you just listen to all those records?
Interviewer: Yeah, that was great.
I mean, just let those records run and the audience that made ’em number one, they’re going to enjoy it so I want to give ’em a bit of a new experience. I don’t know if I said it that way then ’cause I was still workin’ on it. That’s the truth.
So, now that I’ve gotten closer and am getting closer to this three year anticipation of returning to the stage to do a tour, I’ve been lookin’ at all of the shows that I did in the past and listening to all of the records and finding the thread that pulls them all together and then mixing and matching them.
“Consistently inconsistent. At the end of the day, it’s about being in the moment.” – Usher
And for me, it’s kind of like, I’m going to give you the show that you would’ve expected to see but then throw in a few surprises here and there, that you didn’t expect. I’ve done duets.
There’s a lot of people that I respect and that I’ve built with, two that you do know about, DJ Cassidy and August Alsina, they’ll be on the show but there’s a few surprises that happened from market to market. It’s never consistent, it changes up every night.
I mean of course there are certain songs that will consistently be in a certain spot, but you won’t be able to hashtag URXTour and see the show. You have to be there. Every night is it’s own experience so market to market, if you get a chance to be at this show, it’s going to be one of the nights that you remember not only because of the records that I have for you but also to a few of the surprises that I got for you.
Rule #9: Make History
Narrator: Losing Micheal was difficult, but Usher finds comfort in the memories and the lessons he learned from the King of Pop.
Interviewer: When you were there for the memorial service in Los Angeles, what was it like for you that day?
♫ Gone too soon
Aside from it being the greatest honor that I could pay to the artist and the man that made me who I am, it’s almost so unrealistic. Like, did it really happen? Is Micheal really gone?
One thing that Michael told me, one really tender moment that we had together, he said, “What you do and what you’re capable “of doing is not easy. ”
Not all, not everybody can do it you know. “Be mindful, for history, “’cause it’s never just a moment, “it’s about making history.”
♫ Somebody say hey, hey ♫ Hey ♫ Hey Daddy
Robin Roberts: And making music. As he says, he’s back and with all his success, Usher says this is just the beginning of history.
Rule #10: Be a Role Model
You know, the same way I needed a mentor, the same why I needed someone to motivate me, that became my reality. I want to be that source for Mary. I want to be that source for Dewey. I want to be that source for men and women who feel like no one can hear or understand them and all they need is the tools to understand how to be great or either apply themselves.
You know, I started that effort when I was 16 with the idea that the most influential role model for a child is a child. If I come into your school and I talk to you about what I can do, that’s a point of reference. You know, the community, television in a lot of ways, social media, it doesn’t show positive images every second. As a matter of fact, we don’t celebrate those images as much as we celebrate bullsh. You know?
Reporter: Well, we did actually get to visit an elementary school where we got to see Usher hang out with the kids for a while. Because of the language barrier he need a little help while speaking to them, but once they warmed up to each other, Spanish vs English didn’t really matter.
Uno, dos, tres! As their substitute teacher for the day, that was my opportunity to let them know, “Listen, you can loosen up a little bit. “I want you to make as much noise as you possibly can.” It was just allowing them to have fun.
You know, I think that their teachers, their counselors, their principal, told them that they should be on their best behavior and I think that’s great, that’s appropriate, but also to be free, to be kids, to be expressive, is why I’m there, is why I came, is why I’m adopting the school, is why I feel like making a contribution by way of supplies, tools, and the means to be creative and be expressive.
That’s why I’m there. So, to let them know, hey listen, from jump, “I’m not your teachers, I’m actually one of you, “and we can actually have a great time together ”
I know you can’t understand everything I’m saying, (both chuckle) “but let’s have fun and understand that eduction …” At that age, when they hear an adult or a person who is a celebrity tell them that an education is the most important thing to get, it’s the truth.
It’s part of the reason that I’ve gone as far as I have and you know, at six and seven they should be able to have a good time and it not be so damn serious.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Dinara asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do. I’d also love to know what did you learn from Usher today that was most impactful to you. What are you going to immediately apply to your life or to your business? Leave it in the comments. I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Mike from Mojo Andy Pictures. Thank you so much, Mike, for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and taking that awesome picture and sharing with me and putting it on your Facebook. I really, really, really appreciate the support.
So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you, hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is, much love. I’ll see you soon.
There isn’t really a zen to what we do as entertainers. It is the madness of what we have to offer and all of the things that are going on in our heads that kind of make the experience; the way we move, the way we articulate ourselves.
But the one thing I do before every show is I’ll mediate, which is kind of my own quiet moment. I’ll meditate with my staff, my dancers, or even sometimes … I was just talkin’ to Niko and Vince last night, gave them an invitation like, “Yo, I don’t know if you know anything “about transcendental meditation “but it’s really great for centering”.
And you kind of need those anchors, those things to kind of keep you in a positive uplifted space ’cause you’re just exhausted from one country to the next. It’s like, okay you get a little bit of rest on the bus but I mean, one, you’re in like a small bed, can’t really stretch out, I mean, as much as you can. Or if you’re on a plane you’re kind of cooped up. I meditate a little bit before my shows.
♫ Oh oh ♫ Oh oh ♫ Oh oh
Interviewer: An inspiring actor, singer, dancer, what would advice would you give them? They want to make it.
You want to make it? Then don’t do it for the glory of it, do it for the passion of it because it’s not guaranteed that it will happen.
” Steadfast and I guess my greatest piece of advice is work hard, be a student.” – Usher
Of course you can be positive and you should be positive, but at the same time, it didn’t happen overnight. There are special cases and people who have incredible talent, and even those people have to be nurtured by the right people. You know, steadfast and I guess my greatest piece of advice is work hard, be a student.
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