Usher has finally spoken out about the viral moment from his Tiny Desk concert that dominated the internet this summer.
“I was blown away, I was shocked,” Usher said to Twitter Music of his viral success. “I think I was in Los Angeles somewhere and they were like, ‘Yo you know you going viral?’ I’m like, ‘It’s good right?”…then I looked on and I saw a few people do it. Then I saw more people doing what I had done and it just kept going and kept going and I was like wow this is amazing. This is something special.”
When asked where the inspiration came from to strike such a pose during his “Superstar” performance, Usher simply said he didn’t know.
“I don’t know where the inspiration sometimes comes from,” the “OMG” crooner said. “It could have been anything. It could have been Prince. Somebody had speculated that Prince had done something like this before. I don’t know, but I do know that I felt like that was the right thing to do in that moment that would just kinda like give people a good time. It just happened, I didn’t plan it. It just happened.”
He went on to say that his favorite part of the “Watch This” phenomenon was that it wasn’t about music, and was instead just a moment in time that people connected with and made them feel good.
Regardless, Usher’s Tiny Desk concert has revitalized the public’s interest in the R&B singer, with fellow crooner YK Osiris going so far as to proclaim that Usher is the “King of R&B.”
Usher was informed of the compliment on Thursday (August 25) while a guest on Bevy Smith’s show Bevelations, and ultimately agreed with the sentiment.
“I mean, you call me that, I’ll definitely carry it,” he said. “I’m a tilt my crown knowing that I’m standing on the shoulders of all of the icons of our time. It is Michael [Jackson] that I stand on the shoulders of, it is James Brown that I stand on the shoulders of, it is Ronald Isley I stand on the shoulders of, it is Luther Vandross, it is Barry White, it is Teddy Pendergrass.”
He continued: “It is all of these incredible artists like Marvin Gaye that will never be forgotten as long as there’s a breath in my body to breathe. It’s all of them. And as a result of that, yeah, you wanna give me that crown, you tell me who gon’ do it better.”
“When I do hear people, even like Puff saying, you know R&B is dead, he sounds nuts to me,” he said. “It sounds, it sounds, it sounds crazy. You know, especially knowing he was a pioneer in understanding and beneficiary of it.
“You know, the source that is R&B created the breath of life that was breathed into Hip Hop. It wouldn’t be. There would be no Hip Hop if there were not R&B, so it’s blasphemous to hear me say, to hear people say anything, especially Hip Hop cats, to say anything about R&B.”
Usher is currently in the midst of his Las Vegas residency run, which Billboardreported has extended through Spring 2023. Usher’s current residency started on July 15 at the Dolby Live at Park MGM, and 25 new dates have since been added to the schedule, which starts on March 3 and ends July 15, 2023. Tickets are available here.
Revisit the Usher Tiny Desk performance below, with the singer’s signature move popping off at the 17-minute mark.