When you’re a pop artist, you don’t always have the longest shelf life. So when you’ve managed to churn out hits for almost 2 whole decades, you’re basically a living legend.

No one fits this bill better than Usher. He’s redefined R&B and pop music throughout the years and with the release of his 7th studio album, Looking 4 Myself, on the horizon he stopped by AMP/Los Angeles to shed some light on how he continues to find new inspiration.

“For me, this has been kind of a journey, an opportunity to articulate myself through music and allow people to be a part of what my experiences have been,” Usher explained. “I’ve traveled around the world. I’ve had different experiences. I’ve listened to music. Be mindful of what everybody in different regions are listening to, but don’t lose the essence of who I am as an artist.”

Staying true to himself has been important to Usher, but at the same time, he’s not afraid to experiment.

“Having a first single like ‘Climax,’ gave me an opportunity to really show my vocal ability, even though I was introducing a different form of music, a different style with Diplo. And a lot of the album actually is that. It is introducing new forms, or at least new ideas about music. I think that as it has evolved, you know, hip hop has become R&B, R&B has somewhat taken on a more soulful essence. When you hear artists like Adele and then even more, [like] Foster The People, you kind of lose any barrier or box for music to be put in in this time.”

Usher stepped outside of his own box for the title track “Looking 4 Myself.” He describes the record as having the same vibe as Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

“It’s cut from that cloth. I didn’t know of the Gotye record when we created it actually. It came by way of listening to Empire of the Sun. And as a matter of fact, I had Luke Steele on the record with me. For those of you who don’t know who that is, it’s an Australian band.”

Looking 4 Myself features collaborations with artists such as Will.i.am, Max Martin, and Swedish House Mafia. His work with the latter produced his favorite song on the album, “Euphoria.”

“The song that I love more than anything would be ‘Euphoria.’ Incredible record, man. High energy record, it’s powerful…In looking for yourself, eventually you find something. I would consider it euphoria, you know what I’m saying?”

And while Usher’s been experiencing a rough year personally, breaking down on the stand during an emotional custody battle with his ex-wife, he’s proud of the life he’s built.

“I think within the last 2-3 years of my life, to say the least, it’s been tumultuous…We all kind of go through hard times, but you know, it’s how you come out on the other end. I feel great about where I am musically. I feel great about where I am in my business. I feel great about where I am as a man. I feel great about where I am as a father.”

Looking 4 Myself hits stores on June 12.


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