USHER: One-On-One

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BSN: Why did you pick this film [In The Mix] to do?

USHER: I wanted to be associated with something successful. First and foremost, I wanted to broaden my horizons as an entertainer, as an actor. As you've seen, I've done other acting roles, but this would be the first one where I took on a lead. I was excited about it, and when I heard Chazz [Palminteri] was associated with it, I was like, Wow! It's really coming together beautifully. And after meeting Emmanuelle and seeing the chemistry that we had, I knew that we would create a great relationship on camera. Y'know, this is the type of role – I think more roles like this in Hollywood will give way for films like this. People kind of follow the trends. Unless you have one or more roles in that direction –

BSN: You mean, this will lead to more interracial romance films?

USHER: Not specifically the interracial portion of it, but just the character. The character Darrell Williams and just not going after the stereotypical shoot 'em up bang bang – that's the one thing that's going to sell for a Black actor or a Black actress. [I wanted] to go in a different direction. Something that's a little more positive.

BSN: Can you explain how you became a household word?

USHER: Because my mother thought I would be. [laughs] She believed it more than anybody else and has always continued to fight harder than I would imagine I would fight myself. I remember having conversations with her when she'd say, I want you to be a household name. She's after me all the time, you shouldn't do that. You shouldn't say this. You shouldn't look like that. I'm like, Okay, well, it's my personal preference. [She'd say] You don't do that if you want to be a household name. You go ahead and [sounds like] I'll turn back. Of course, there's God's grace in everything, but I say the one thing that was the key component in everything was the fact that she said it first. She started that.

BSN: What was your favorite subject in school?

USHER: My favorite subject was P.E. [Laughs] I was obviously very physical, y'know. To be honest with you, it was either P.E. or science – physical science. It was still physical, though.

BSN: How many cast and crew members daughters or sisters were you introduced to during the shooting of the movie?

USHER: From the beginning to the end!  I was constantly meeting and shaking hands and hugging and taking pictures and kissing babies and everything. That's what comes with it. It was a great cast, though. A great cast of individuals. The cast and grew were very courteous. They worked very, very hard. There was no ego involved on the set. I'll be honest with you.

BSN: Did you ad lib that part where you tell Dolly you can't dance?

USHER: I can't remember if we ad libbed that scene or not. I think it was – anyway, I hope it was an ad lib. But no. I made a conscious effort to not dance in this film, because I didn't want you to notice me for what I do. I wanted it to be totally geared towards Usher – I wanted Darrell Williams to be not Usher the artist. Usher the artist and Darrell Williams, they do have similarities. To have a character like this – I think there should be more characters like this in Hollywood. Not specifically speaking the fact that it has a biracial undertone, but just more positive black roles.

BSN: So will you be taking the foot off the music pedal for a while? The label has to be calling asking for Confessions II.

USHER: Yeah. They're not heavily anticipating a new album. However, it would be good in the marketplace to have an album. But to promote, to factor in the time it's going to take to introduce it, promote it, market it, actually find the records and work with the producers. It doesn't happen overnight. One, I have to live a little bit more. Let me come up with a few more songs and have a few more issues. This next album, I don't think it's going to be geared towards the same things you heard from Confessions, however, you will be able to find a good time. I plan on going on somewhat of a world tour. Not to perform, but just to kind of live a little and get out and have a little – I went all around the world with this album, but I didn't really get a chance to live in it. Sometimes when you're working you get engulfed, and you don't get a chance to enjoy all the beautiful things you can go [see].

BSN: Where do you want to go?

USHER: The East side. I'd like to go to South America. I'd like to go back to Africa. I'd like to go to Japan, Korea. Kind of see what people are listening to, where they are with their music, study new dance, study new developments and introduce something new. Come back with something new – not just reproduce the same thing you've seen. Every time I've gone away, I've always come back and reintroduce myself.

BSN: What was the easiest or the most difficult part of bringing this character to life?

USHER: Usher has so similarities with Darrel Williams. Just one, being a fly guy with all the ladies. It was pretty much a breeze. Once you see it on paper – I mean, I could relate to what they were talking about, although I have no ties to an Italian-American family whatsoever, as an African-American, I do understand how you can make a family of your own. I've done that with your closest friends and people who are not even related to you, they ended up being like brothers. Have you've ever had like a friend where you're like, Oh, she's my sister. She's not really your blood sister, but sometimes a best friend is  – sometimes better than your real family. But in those areas we were similar. But I had definitely look into myself. Because this character lost his father and mother, and that has a lot of reason to do with why he dealt with doing things the way he did. He could have very much lashed out at anyone who came at him, especially with racial issues. But it was obviously something he had already dealt with in his past, because there was a connection between the Pacelli family and my family. So for me to lash out at Jackie's character, it wouldn't have been a trait of Darrell William's character. But he had abs, and I have abs. He likes music, I like music. But I can dance, he can't.

BSN: So there wasn't much need to do the whole Raging Bull thing.

USHER: Not quite Raging Bull. I mean, it made it very easy. Cameras can really, really do you justice. I would never ever try and go and rock a party as a DJ. Or as an MC and a DJ. But I'd love to do roles like that in the future, man, where I'm able to step far, far out of my character. However, I was very mindful of the demographic of people and fans that I have, of all race, colors and creeds. There's so much to consider. I wanted to do a role that I felt like kids as far as the age of six year old, all the way up to kids of 70 years old. Yeah, there are 70 year old kids! All of them will be able to enjoy something like this.

BSN: When was the last time you used your charm to get something you wanted?

USHER: Right now!  [Laughs] Aw, man. That's all too familiar to me. I'm always in a situation where you have to adjust to the circumstance. It was really cool – the real funny thing about that [luncheon] scene is that some women want to know, Well, why do guys go to strip clubs? Because that was a ladies issue in the movie, especially with Busta who every waking moment, he went to the strip club for him. But I think women wanted to know. I think they're intrigued by, Why do guys go to strip clubs? What's it all about? You get that. [sounds like:] And why do women buy so much? For guys, you understand that.

BSN: Give us a confession. What was one of your most embarrassing moments?

USHER: Whoa. No comment! One of my most embarrassing moments onstage? I fell – in front of 25,000 people. In Philly.

BSN: What did you do?

USHER: Got up and kept going. I laughed it off, and they laughed with me. It actually made the show better. It actually loosened everyone up. After that happened, it was like, c'mon, I'm not perfect. I fall like everybody else. But come on, let's keep it going. But I bust my behind onstage! But I don't know – something about me? If you consider hitting somebody upside the head with ten cakes. I mean, it's like a tradition that we do every birthday. We take like 50 cakes and cake that person.

BSN:  When was the last time that you did that?

USHER: The last caking was my brother's birthday. He's 21 now.

BSN: You hit him with 21 cakes?

USHER: No, we hit him with 50 cakes. They got me good. They got me here at Madison Square Garden, and I was on tour. So that means we just have extra people who just want to chime in and get you. But we totally destroyed Madison Square Garden. There was cake all over the hallways. It was crazy.

BSN: Are you from Atlanta?

USHER: Well, my mother and brother now live in Atlanta, Georgia. The rest of my family live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

BSN: What's your mother's biggest asset as a manager?

USHER: Well, my mother's been put to the test a million and one times – outside of being my mother, because some parents really don't have their children's best interests. But I feel like my mother does, and above all, she's not going to compromise is or what her ultimate vision is and her ultimate vision is for Usher to be a household name. So I think that's one of the greatest assets to have. It even helps us … in that sometimes I can be a little ridiculous.

BSN: Having so much fun, do you ever see a day when you'll settle down and have kids?

USHER: Well, right now, I'm preparing for the next 30 years. Once I … bail out of business, I'd like to have kids. I'm not going to wait another 20 years to have kids. I'm not in a rush right now. I'm 27 years old, y'know?

BSN: Who are your favorite role models?

USHER: In business, I look up to people like Magic Johnson and people like Michael Jordan. Role models like Danny Glover, Bill Cosby, as a young kid, just watching all these characters and knowing how they gave so much back. They kind of took me in that direction. As an entertainer, I would pay attention to artists like Michael Jackson, artists like Prince, who's very creative but still has an integrity for what he believes in as an entertainer. But those are the big ones, yeah.

BSN: This has been a year without any music from you. What's been the favorite album or song of this year?

USHER: I'm a classic artist, so I'm a classic listener. I love to listen to old school albums. No matter how many albums come out, I always make my way back to What's Going On by Marvin Gaye. Although I listen to new up and coming records. Like believe it or not, I think Young Jeezy has a hot album. Let me see, there's this guy Robin Thicke with an album that hasn't been released yet, but I think he's a great attribute to entertainment and music. Just to name two. But I always take it back to the classics. Even in helping my artists in moving forward. You've got to listen to where music came from in order to get it back on track and where it's headed.

BSN: What about a favorite movie?

USHER: Favorite I've seen this year is The Wedding Crashers. Believe it or not, The Notebook.

BSN: Can you put some kind of cap on the rumors about Usher and the ladies? Is that true?

USHER: Yeah! [laughs] Well, wouldn't you be at 27-years old.
BSN: What's on your wish list?  It seems like you have about everything.

USHER: Mm-hmm. There's no much more. There are so many other things that I've never done that I'd like to do. I wish to some day to play in a stadium full of people who know all the words to my songs. I hope to some day – one of the main ones would be, as an actor, to someday win an Oscar. 
BSN: Did you go to the prom?

USHER: Yes, I did.

BSN: What did you wear?

USHER: I wore all white. The funny thing about it is – everybody's got a funny prom experience or story. So I put my entire outfit together at the last minute, we had shipping problems to get it to me. It wasn't my prom. It was actually my girlfriend's senior prom at the time. But I had my suit and everything. I got my shoes. I got the limo. So we're in the hotel, I got the [inaudible]. The suit was all set out. I got the shirt, my tie, my hat and my cane. I got it going on! I didn't have any socks! [laughs] So I went to the prom barefoot! Barefoot! And I remember running around the entire day trying to find white shoes, because you can't wear black shoes with the entire white outfit. So I found these expensive – it wasn't alligator, but like a lizard shoes. They looked nice, though. They looked cheeky. But I didn't get any socks. So all night I'm scared to sit down, because I don't want to show that I don't have any socks.

BSN: What was the first movie that you saw that made a big impression on you?

USHER: My grandmother used to make me watch horror films. She was a horror film buff. We would sit up for hours at night on the weekend and look at horror films. Horror film after horror film after horror film. We're talking The Omen, we're talking about The Exorcist. The Exorcist was the one that changed my view. She let us watch it, yeah. Did it scare the hell out of me? Yes, it did. And Carrie – we watched Carrie. As a kid, I loved it! I still love horror films. They just don't make them scary enough these days.

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