The Essentials: As Usher prepares for Super Bowl halftime show, here are his must-haves

In a new series, USA TODAY’s The Essentials, celebrities share what fuels their lives. We're kicking off with Usher, Meg Ryan, Dove Cameron, Gerry Turner and Ariana DeBose.

Usher's reign continues on as the king of R&B – and as the king of Las Vegas.

The singer, who wrapped up his Vegas "My Way" residency at Park MGM in December with his 100th show, will keep his Sin City streak going come Feb. 11 when he headlines the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show at Allegiant Stadium.

"Vegas has offered an opportunity to celebrate the past and celebrate the records, the No. 1s, the connection to the audience, the entertainment," Usher tells USA TODAY. "And then the Super Bowl moment offers not only that, but then a segue into the next chapter," teasing his new "Coming Home" album (out now).

From his pre-show routine to how he spends time with his kids, these are Usher's Vegas essentials:

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Go-Karts with the family

"We're swimming here a lot even though it's cold now – we have a heated pool, (so) that helps. My smaller kids love gymnastics; we love jumping spaces. My older kids we go paintballing, we go Go-kart riding indoors, outdoors. They're not quite old (enough) to gamble, and I don't encourage it because at this point they would only be spending my money. (Laughs.)

"Vegas is a world in itself and there is something for everybody here. It's a huge playground for adults, but it's also very, very welcoming to kids off the strip. We live here as well, so it definitely does help to have places and things for us to do to keep us occupied."

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Two-a-day workouts and an afternoon nap

"In order to do these shows, I really do have to take care of my body. Health is wealth with me.

"I wake up early, around 7 o'clock. Oddly enough, I have this thing with 7 o'clock on the dot. But at 7 o'clock, I'm waking up because my kids are waking me up. And then I've got to cater to them and give them their time, and you know, sing songs and have a good time and cook breakfast. If we're in Atlanta, I'm taking my kids to school. If we're here (in Las Vegas), we're getting online to make certain that we that we're ready for class.

"In the summertime when all of my kids are here, it consists of me getting them up and we'll go work out. We'll go to this place Impact. My oldest son likes to play basketball, so he's training here, but my younger kids they like to swim so they have a coach that they work with. And I spend a great deal of time at home up until about maybe 4 or 5 p.m. I make my way over to the to the theater. I have what would be my second workout; first workout's like around naptime, around 11 a.m. or 12 p.m., and then I come back and I actually have a little nap myself if I can. Most days I don't, but me and the kids have a nap."

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Pre-show prayer circle

"We hit it around 9 o'clock. We head to the stage and we have prayer circle, giving thanks that we have this time, we have this moment. We're present and cover ourselves, (to) make certain that the reason why we here is held up by God, and make certain that he protects us and brings us to the other side."

Usher attends the Rémy Martin and Usher 4 on the Floor Experience on July 15, 2023, in Las Vegas.
Usher attends the Rémy Martin and Usher 4 on the Floor Experience on July 15, 2023, in Las Vegas.

This spirit helps Usher wind down after a show

"We're off stage about 10:30, 11 p.m. and the night goes from there. In the event that I'm not able to wind down, I've got to find something to do. So I might have a little cognac, you know what I'm saying, and I hang out with friends backstage, kick it. Maybe sometimes go out to a party or something like that.

"For the most part, I find a way to wind down. (The) day stops around 2 o'clock. I'm listening back, making notes, trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the next show. Talking to the crew, sending messages (and) texts, (and they're probably) like 'Why am I getting random texts from this guy at 2 o'clock in the morning? What the heck is going on?' But that's my process."

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Usher: Super Bowl 2024 halftime performer talks Las Vegas essentials