December 9 2013 Latest news:
Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Organisers of the Radio 1 Hackney Academy wanted to keep it hush-hush when American superstar R&B artist Usher was set to make a surprise appearance at the Picturehouse in Mare Street on Tuesday night.
They feared if word got out the Nice and Slow singer was in the borough, the streets would be swamped with adoring fans.
It looked as though he might never turn up, but the packed audience in the Hackney Picturehouse unanimously agreed the hour-long wait to see Usher was worth it.
The phenomenal American R&B singer came to Radio 1’s Hackney Academy with one clear mission – to inspire and help the young people there to realise their life goals.
The 33-year old whose real name is Usher Terry Raymond IV has a string of platinum albums including Confessions from 2004 which sold over 10 million copies in the US.
DJ Trevor Nelson, who has known Usher since he was his first-ever interview guest on MTV UK’s longest running show The Lick in 1998, was an appropriate host for the packed question and answer session.
“They flied you across the globe man to make cupcakes in my house, we are friends man,” said Usher to Trevor.
“His talent the reason I’m still talking to him, if he wasn’t so good he wouldn’t be here 30 years after he started,” replied Trevor.
Adeline in the audience asked him what he would change if he could change one thing in his music career.
“Why would I change anything?” he told her, as the crowd erupted into laughter.
One cheeky member of the audience called Aisha asked him whether his single Climax related to any personal affairs.
“No offence but I’m not going to answer that question,” he said, pausing.
“I’m not going to answer that question because that’s not why I’m here. You need to understand the seriousness of why you are here.
“If you want to read all the facts about my life, there are more than enough facts online but that’s not why we are here, that’s not why I’ve taken the time out to come and speak to you, I want to encourage you all to do something positive,” he went on.
“The purpose and point of this incredible exercise is really to prepare you to be the future of whatever you want to be, whether it be an entertainer, rapper, if you want to pursue college or a career whatever it may be, this is the opportunity and they have provided you with an eye to see forward.
“You may not understand the value of it, you may not understand how important this moment will be to your life’s goal but you really should take it serious.
“You could be the next Trevor Nelson. I don’t know if you could be the next Usher, or Trevor actually, but I will say this. You can’t set a goal for yourself and hopefully you’ll make it.”
Usher has his own charitable foundation in America, Usher’s New Look Foundation, which shares very similar values to what Radio 1 want to achieve in the Hackney Academy – inspiring young people to achieve their potential.
Usher signed teen superstar Justin Bieber to his record label in 2008 when he was just 14-years old, before he reached worldwide fame.
He was asked how important it is to put your talent “out there” at a young age.
“The whole point is being able to recognise that talent at a very young age, to perfect it and to create at least a confidence, so that if I did walk into a show I can say I can sing and I’d like to sing for you which is exactly the way I met Justin,” he said.