Music Article

Usher The Stories Behind The Songs

The R&B star, 34, who wraps his stint on ''The Voice'' June 18 and can be seen in the film short ''Usher's Looking 4 Myself'' presented by Samsung on YouTube, talks about the bathroom sex and baby-mama drama that inspired him.

''YOU MAKE ME WANNA...'' (1997)
''I was with one girl, but I had flown to Los Angeles and I fell in love with this other girl. And what was so odd about it is she started out as a friend, and was encouraging me to keep my relationship afloat. And then I'm like, 'Well, s---, why don't I be with you?' ''

''CONFESSIONS PART II'' (2004)
''Everybody that I was around, oddly, was going through this situation: I'm in the studio, I get a call from this chick who I apparently had some relationship with, and she's like, 'I'm pregnant.' So I chose to use my music and myself as the anchor for all of their stories. But obviously I didn't have a child running around.''

''LOVE IN THIS CLUB'' (2008)
''Well, this song is about f---ing. [Laughs] I will definitely say that I've had a moment or two in a stall.''

''CLIMAX'' (2012)
''It's about a relationship that was cut short because I was unwilling to move to the next level. A lot of times, it's about sex first if there's not a deeper connection. So you reach that climax and then it's like, 'Man, let's just separate.' I was also hanging out in a lot of EDM clubs, and there's this point where the song reaches the climax and then drops back down, so there are double and triple entendres there.''

''NUMB'' (2012)
''I'd just gotten married, had children, was in transition with business, and was on a world tour. But I didn't want to let my fans down, either — I've been doing this for the last 20-odd years of my life, and now my priorities have changed. In a way, you don't know how to deal with any of it so you become oddly numb to it, because you can't control it.''

Originally posted Jun 14, 2013 Published in issue #1264 Jun 21, 2013 Order article reprints