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Usher is one of few R&B acts from the ‘90s who has gone on to become a global superstar. Since the start of his 30-year career, Usher has sold over 65 million records worldwide. He’s also starred in the Broadway musical Chicago, been a coach on The Voice, and recently added a Las Vegas residency to his long list of artistic achievements.

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Usher about why conflict has always been a big motivator in his songwriting—especially when working with producer Jermaine Dupri on his 2004 classic album, Confessions. Usher also explains how elder statesmen like Quincy Jones have helped him maintain a level of sophistication throughout his career. And he reveals why he thinks his first ever single was too raunchy.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Usher songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…