It’s a short commute from Usher’s “My Way” residency show to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, where he’s been in heavy rehearsals for the 2024 Super Bowl.
The singer will headline the halftime show on Feb. 11 and release his ninth studio album, “Coming Home,” the same day. He’ll then head out on a world tour for much of the year.
Usher told CNN in a recent interview that he’s stacked his current schedule to compensate for feeling like he had nowhere to put his creative energy during the pandemic.
“I had a lot of energy on reserve,” he said.
Getting back on stage, his “comfort zone,” allowed him to “find passion and connection to the world” again, Usher explained.
“To be able to have everybody for that first night in a room together, celebrating this music and to just get back to some sense of normalcy, that’s what fueled all of this,” Usher said.
While he didn’t take performing for granted before the pandemic, he was eager to return to live performing.
“That is my comfort zone,” Usher said. “Making music and being creative and doing other things are true places of passion. I truly do it for the live experience. I’ve always done it for the live experience.”
As for his upcoming Super Bowl performance, Usher said his preparation is “more mental than it is physical.”
“The physical is obviously just staying in the flow,” he said. “I’m in the middle of the residency, so I happen to already be extremely busy. Now this preparation just kind of pushed it to another level.”
While he declined to offer specifics on his plans for the halftime show, Usher said the message will be one of unity.
“I’ll be celebrating a multitude of things. I’m celebrating the places I’ve gone. I’m celebrating the inspirations. I’m celebrating the music. I’m celebrating the dance. I’m celebrating the idea of this momentous moment for all the entertainers who played it before and how they managed to bring the world together,” he said.
Usher added that he’s focused on giving his all for the 13-minute performance.
“I’m gonna be very happy to be able to play that stage. I’ve worked my entire life to be able to,” he said.
Among his early calls after it was revealed he’d be performing at the Super Bowl was to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. Usher asked for her help dressing him for the occasion.
“The first thing she asked is what are you wearing,” he laughed.
“Had we detected my child’s type 1 diabetes before their diagnosis it could have given us valuable time to prepare,” he said.
He hopes to provide people with information on how to get early screenings before any noticeable symptoms.
“[This] might’ve made it a lot easier for me to live with the idea that you can have some sense of normalcy,” Usher said.
Off stage, Usher is focused on advocacy. He’s a spokesperson for Sanofi’s The 1 Pledge movement, a nationwide education campaign urging families to get screened for type 1 diabetes. He has a child who has type 1 diabetes and said he never stops thinking about it.
His family was also top of mind when he named his upcoming album “Coming Home.”
“’Coming Home’ is the fact that I’ve gone around the world and not just literally around the world, but musically around the world, creatively around the world, energetically around the world,” Usher explained. “Now, here I am back at this incredible place, where I’m connected in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever been.”
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