Usher Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show Press Conference: 7 Takeaways

Usher is taking to the Super Bowl stage for an epic halftime performance, and he sat down with Apple Music to make some "confessions."

BYErika Marie
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It has been Usher overload as his highly-anticipated Super Bowl halftime show inches closer to materializing. The celebrated singer is days away from belting out his best hits on the coveted stage, and fans expect several surprise guests to help boost the performance. With a career that stretches back decades, Usher has delivered favorites that have defined several eras of music. Whether he's stealing hearts with smooth R&B jams or getting the party started with club bangers, he's amassed ongoing success that artists can only beg for. Moreover, this performance sets Usher in the history books as the first and only independent artist, thus far, to grace the halftime stage.

To catapult the already-swirling madness surrounding the event, Apple Music stepped in. Today (February 8), Apple Music shared the short film Where's USHER, which hosts a score of 14 of the Grammy winner's biggest hits. The visual is bolstered by several familiar faces, including Ludacris, Taraji P. Henson, Anderson .Paak, J Balvin, Wesley Snipes, and—last but certainly not least—Lil Jon. The elite group is seen trying to find Usher after losing him following a wild night in Sin City.

Additionally, Usher sat down with Apple Music Radio host Nadeska Alexis for the official Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show Press Conference in Las Vegas. He looked cool as a cucumber as he spoke about his upcoming, immense performance, also recalling a frightening moment when he thought he was going to mess up when he took to the halftime stage in 2011. Read through a few highlights of the conversation below, including his remarks on expanding businesses in Las Vegas, not wanting to be confined as only an R&B artist, and his secret Nickelodeon "confession."

On Setting Himself Up With Success & His Apple Feature

I think I made it easy for myself when I decided to have like, features on songs that became hit records. That gave me the greatest point of reference. But here’s what’s beautiful, is that Apple has been following me throughout this entire process. So, we’re in the process of figuring out how we’re going to share it with you, break the internet by that conversation. There’s also, too, a documentary crew that’s been collecting all of the moments that have happened. There’s cameras around us at all times, looking at the process that we went through. You get a chance to see from the first moment that I got the call all the way up to the moment that I walk off the stage. At least that’s the idea.

But I am definitely, you know, I went through a lot of ideas of who I would have share this moment with me. And I do feel like the people who are gonna share it deserve just as much recognition for what they do in their careers, whether we have collaborated together or whether they’ve had moments of their own.

On The Snafu In His 2011 Super Bowl Performance

Oh, man. Oddly enough there was a moment that only I think I remember. My hand got caught in the wire that was holding me, like, 30 feet in the air. And I almost missed my first mark. I was like, 'Oh my god, don’t let this malfunction cause me to miss something.' But, that was one [memoy]. The second was, afterward, how amazing it felt to be in front of that many people and feel the energy. So much so, that it made me really passionate about eventually getting this moment that I’m getting to have. But it was really fueled by being able to be just, in that moment with the Black Eyed Peas.

On His Pride In Debuting Coming Home Album & Super Bowl Performance As An Independent Artist

I launched that album as an independent artist. And I will be, up until this day, the only independent artist who’s ever performed the Super Bowl Halftime Show. So, this is a beginning, this is a new beginning to me.

Las Vegas has been amazing for me. Having 100 sold-out shows in a residency and to have the next one, the crescendo, which is the Super Bowl with Apple. It’s really, really, really given my time here in Las Vegas an incredible button at the end.

On Not Wanting To Be Confined To One Genre

It’s nice to be in any category, but not to be categorized is what I’ve always hoped. That R&B as a trade and as a style, as a genre, as an emotion, as a spirit, be it being found through gospel music, jazz, rhythm and blues, blues in R&B. That it created all these other genres of music. We don’t understand how relevant R&B has been to the development of the industry that we have, and the artists and the creatives that have been a part that, that they didn’t get recognized either. So, I’m happy that R&B gets the stage on Sunday. I’m happy that R&B and rhythm & blues and the matter of what it is, as song and dance performers, it gets the recognition that it deserves. I’m honored. But I don’t want to be categorized as just an R&B artist.

On Connecting With Audiences Through The History Of His Catalog

I’ve tried so many things my entire career, and I’ve just managed to be able to gather people who celebrate my music and celebrate my experiences. And maybe they tie it to theirs. Maybe they got married to a song. Or maybe they fell in love to a song, maybe they made love to a song, maybe they celebrated and laughed and had an incredible time. Or maybe they cried, maybe they hurt, maybe had a chance to be confident in a way that they didn’t have before they listened to that song. That’s what R&B has been to me. And I hope that the rest of the world can celebrate in the way I celebrate it.

On His Future Entrepreneurial Plans In Las Vegas

I visualize in these next few years that there will be more opportunity to build here in Las Vegas. I love this city. You know, when I received the key, I started trying to open doors, trying to figure out ways to do more things that activate this immersive experience that I feel like I had for an underserved audience that want to have a certain experience, that enjoyed the curation of the world that I created when I was here in Las Vegas. Where does that lead me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s businesses, maybe it’s more shows, maybe it’s shows that I curate, maybe it’s festivals, like the Lovers and Friends festival. Or maybe it’s, you know, hotels. Maybe it’s a different idea and standard for an artist who came from this world and then created a business here in this town.

Usher Gives A "Confession," But Not What People Expect

Can I give you a Usher confession? Specifically for Nickelodeon, right? We gonna keep it age-appropriate? Nah. It was always a dream of mine to be slimed as a kid. I watched it just like all of us in here. To get that green goop over my head was something that I really, I just wanted to be able to say I did. And by the time I finally made it to the Nickelodeon awards, they just didn’t do it anymore. I was like, ‘That sucks.’

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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.