Usher worked closely with the teen to help shape his vocal style and overall image, but in the age of reality TV singing competitions like American Idol, he’s concerned that the crucial stage of artist development is being glossed over.
“The perception is that you can make it overnight,” Usher told 97.1 AMP/Los Angeles. “You can, however, will you have sustainability is the question. And that’s where artist development comes in because those are the artists who are actually able to tour around. Otherwise, they have to figure it out on the way up. And don’t get me wrong, many artists have done it, but it is very important to not lose that element of artist development because it is what produces those future icons.”
That’s why Usher is getting in on the growing trend in the music industry: artists mentoring new talent. Dr. Dre did it with Eminem, Drake and Lil Wayne helped bring Nicki Minaj onto the scene, and even Usher’s protege Bieber has gotten into the game with newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen.
“The student becomes the teacher in a way…Since the beginning, we’ve been kind of diligently working and building music as well as the other side.”
Bieber has an album of his own coming out this month. He released his second single “Die In Your Arms” earlier this week, a retro-sounding tune which Usher called “classic.”
Usher grew up in the entertainment business much like Bieber is doing today and he had these words of wisdom for the 18-year-old.
“You’re a target, but don’t allow yourself to be a victim. Definitely be aware of what you’re doing and work hard. Remember why you started and focus on that. Be your best and do your best.”
- Sarah Carroll, 97.1 AMP Radio, Los Angeles