Usher has been in the game for a long time, so it’s no surprise that he’s been able to make things happen since he’s joined the NBC hit reality show “The Voice.” He and Shakira are the new judges this season, temporarily replacing original judges Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green. Already in a friendly rivalry with country singer Blake Shelton, Usher’s proven, with his leg propped up, that he can hang with the big boys of reality TV. And it’s not like he doesn’t know talent – he’s the guy who found teenage sensation Justin Bieber after all. He joined the Tom Joyner Morning Show today to talk about “The Voice,” finding new talent and his own career.
SKIP CHEATHAM: We are blessed to have my dude from way back -Usher is in the building! What’s up, Usher?
USHER: What’s up playboy?
Skip: Ain’t nothin’ to it, man. I’m sitting the big chair right now, holding it down for the legendary Tom Joyner while he’s on the cruise. I got my girl Loni Love, I know you two just did a – didn’t you do a show with Loni Love?
LONI LOVE: He was on “Chelsea Lately” and I threw him in the bathroom.
Skip: I know I’m getting more mature in the game I’ve been around a little while but it just seems like dude, I remember Usher when we first met, he was like a kid. He’s somebody’s daddy now.
Usher: We met way back in the day, man like way, way back.
Skip: So now, you’re a coach on “The Voice.”
Usher: Yeah, man. You guys see it?
Skip: When I first heard that you were doing “The Voice” I said “Usher is a nice dude. I don’t know if he can get into that ass if he needs to. Can I say that?
Loni: You just did.
Loni: He’s doing more than that. He’s getting the good people. Because he has talent. Not to say that the other judges don’t, but he is getting some really good people. How do you feel about that? Do you feel that your team can beat – cause you know Blake is always winning. What is your strategy to beat Blake?
Usher: Not to worry about being Blake. As an artist being able to do this as long as I have, I got an opinion that I think would matter. And I’ve been able to mentor talent and while I don’t bring that up at every turn Skip: Justin Bieber…
Usher: I’m just enjoying it. Honestly it’s just fun and the chemistry between us is just really natural. You don’t know how its going to work until you get all four people in a room. Once we started doing what we do best, which was using our ears and giving our opinions, it happened. And you guys have only seen the blind auditions. You haven’t seen the next round of separation for battle and rounds of elimination. It’s really an interesting show and it really gives people and opportunity to see what I do behind the scenes, you know?
Skip: Is it hard? Do you ever wonder why, like, certain great basketball players can’t be coaches because their level is so high. Michael Jordan could never be a coach because “Why you didn’t make that shot? It was only 50 feet?” Because that’s what he would do. How do you coach, because as a performer/entertainer it was seem that your level would be so high no one would be able to hit it?
Usher: Yeah, it’s hard because we do strive for excellence. But you know it’s that very thing that makes us good coaches. The fact that it ain’t always been great. There’s been some hard moments, and in those hard times what do you do? You give that advice. When you see someone having a bit of a problem, you just point it out and then hopefully, they make the adjustment. Because they do have the talent. If they did, they wouldn’t be here. So you give them that little bit of confidence that they need to gather themselves, trust your instincts go ahead and get it done.
It’s partial entertainment, the other side is that the world is watching and them making a decision about what they think about that talent. And then, don’t get in your head. Enjoy what you do, you love singing. This is the advice that I give them. But you’re right. It’s hard, man because people kind of analyze who you are. They say could you be this artist? That’s why they have the show. The show is intended to give people an understanding of what it takes to be an artist. And that type of artist development is not out there. I think that the world is getting a treat. They are getting a treat to see that the artists are learning something and the people that are watching are learning something.
Skip: We are talking to Usher, one of the coaches on “The Voice.” I know you’re checking it out. Before we let you go, are you still advising Justin Bieber because we see him going through what I call growing pains as an entertainer. You start out as a child and when you go from childhood to adulthood you start doing adult things but people still want to look at you as a child. Are you advising him how to make that transition because you’ve been successful?
Usher: I think that we all have our moments that appear more difficult than others. And I think that having a career where everybody’s you know, in your face, and dealing with those pressures, we all deal with things differently. But you go through it to get to it. You guys have to be understanding.
Loni: Skip, he knows how to answer a question don’t he? (Laughter) That’s why I walk around like “That’s my baby!”
Skip: Thanks for checking in with us, man. Good luck with the whole season. “The Voice” we will definitely be checking it out.
Loni: Beat Blake. I don’t care what you say. Beat him.
Usher: I’m working on it.