Usher Raymond IV has moved from his Chattanooga upbringing to television’s most watched event–the February 11, 2024, Apple Music Super Bowl, set for Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The talented mega-star and soon-to-be-forty-five-year-old who’s earned eight Grammy Awards said Sunday, “It’s an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list.” Usher continued in his press response, “I can’t wait to bring the world a show unlike anything else they’ve seen from me before.”
Known as one of entertainment’s biggest stages, the NFL crown competition has been held since 1967 with Super Bowl LVIII touting a full fan experience hosted at Mandalay Bay Convention Center leading up to Sunday’s prime time game.
Thirty years ago, in 1993, Michael Jackson became the first Black man to perform alone during the Halftime Show that may take Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth” moniker. Three decades beyond that moment is Usher, known not only for his R&B brilliance, but as a dancer and songwriter.
NFL Head of Music, Seth Dudowsky, summed up the choice of Usher: “He’s an icon whose music has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape throughout his career.”
Usher’s biography boasts his hard earned superstardom citing almost 24 million albums sold in the US in addition to the 39 million digital songs. Worldwide, the complete entertainer has sold over 80 million records.
At nine years young, Usher’s mom realized her son’s vocal talent in a Chattanooga church youth choir. The young Chattanooga man joined a vocal group, NuBeginnings, recording an album in 1991. That same year, the gifted 13 year-old met Bobby Brown’s bodyguard, A.J. Alexander in an Atlanta talent show.
With each new opportunity, challenges were overcome, which this tenor shaped into a career beyond his imagination, and that of his mother, Jonetta Patton.
Most Chattanoogans will remember Usher coming home to visit the Orange Grove Center, Dalewood Middle School where he attended prior to moving to Atlanta, and the Center for Creative Arts in February 2015.
Another visit to the Scenic City in 2017 had the superstar speaking at Tyner Academy for Black History as well as participating in a ribbon cutting at Orange Grove where a new track surface was revealed and dedicated to Usher’s grandmother, Nancy Lackey, where she and her husband walked often. As sports fans cheer on their favorite teams to reach the pinnacle of competition that finishes the 2023 NFL season, Chattanoogans will wait for the apex of entertainment featuring a young man whose nicknames as the King of R&B and Mr. Entertainment guarantee so much more than a 20 to 30-minute set of greatest hits. Usher is sure to entertain, just as he’s inspired and modeled success for Chattanoogans and the world to see.