This past weekend, Usher broke his three-year live silence by launching the UR Experience tour with back-to-back shows in Montreal and Toronto. In a Canadian media exclusive, Canada.com’s Jonathan Dekel speaks to Usher about what he is planning for the tour & his relationship with Justin Bieber.
Question: You made a surprise appearance at Drake’s OVO Fest this summer. This sounds like it has a similar feel.
Answer: I had an incredible time at OVO. I’m really looking forward to coming back. I had an experience there where I really felt connected to the audience. One that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Honestly, I was really surprised. I was shocked.
Q: Did it inspire you to tour again?
A: Yeah man. Toronto was crazy. And when we put the dates up Edmonton sold faster than any other dates in the world tour so … I guess I just always felt this great connection to Canada, down to the people I work with. For example, (Toronto director) Little X. I’ve had the culture, in some way, around me for a long time.
Q: Including your role in introducing and mentoring Justin Bieber.
A: Definitely. Being a mentor [to Justin] in that way was an evolution for me.
Q: Do you still consider yourself his mentor or has your relationship changed as he’s grown up?
A: I’m always going to be there for him. Being a mentor is more than just being able to introduce him as an artist.
Q: He’s obviously been in a bit of trouble recently. Has he reached out to you?
A: There’s not really much to talk about. He’s living out his life. I think that we all have experienced, been through sh-t, and you go through it. It’s my new motto: Sh-t happens, what are you going to do?
Q: I thought your motto was “evolve or evaporate”?
A: That has been a motto and will continue to be, but my latest one is “Sh-t happens. What you gonna do?” In life there’s always the unexpected turn of events and you have to continue to go. I don’t plan on stopping.