Usher is on a roll with a packed agenda that includes an upcoming world tour, a new album release and a highly anticipated performance at the Super Bowl 2024 halftime show on Sunday during the matchup between the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
Las Vegas, referred to as Usher’s second home, is where the singer has been gearing up for what could be the biggest show of his career. When asked how he plans to condense his 30-year career into a 12-minute performance, Usher told “CBS Mornings” that Jay-Z, the Super Bowl’s live music entertainment strategist, gave him one piece of important advice.
“He left it to me to, you know, make sure that I didn’t miss the culture. That’s the one thing that he said. ‘You know, we’re doing this for the culture,'” Usher said. “‘I want you to play the ones that we — that we love, that we know you for. Give ’em the moments that they, you know, look forward to seeing,'” like, ‘Go for the culture.’ And I’m like, ‘All right, I got you.'”
Usher’s Las Vegas residency and passion for skating have been part of his preparation. He playfully confirmed to Gayle King, “I’m skating,” adding a layer of anticipation about what his performance will include. As to whether he will take his shirt off, a move he made famous in his early career, Usher remained mum about it.
With his performance, Usher will become the first independent artist to grace the Super Bowl stage, something he says serves as inspiration for other artists.
“You know what hope that gives artists? I’m an independent artist now. Not, you know, I am playing catalog records. But for the most part, the work that I did here in Las Vegas, it led to this. So that means you, too, can believe in yourself,” he said.
Despite winning multiple Grammys, Usher shared a personal reflection on never having the opportunity to express his gratitude on the awards stage for that event, making his upcoming Super Bowl performance even more meaningful to him.
“I’ve never literally walked on stage and said, ‘Thank you guys for recognizing what I do.’ But I can say I actually played the Super Bowl,” said Usher.
Usher also said that he remained in Las Vegas with the goal of becoming the halftime show entertainer for the Super Bowl.
“I believe in the idea of manifestation and affirmations, right? The moment that I heard — I’ll tell you this now ’cause I have it. The moment I heard that they were entertaining the Super Bowl comin’ to Vegas, I was like, ‘I’m not leaving,'” said Usher.
As Usher prepares for the big day, he shared his hope to keep his emotions in check, but acknowledged the significance of the moment.
“It’s gonna be a celebration. I’m gonna try my hardest not to cry, break down and cry on the stage,” he said.