Usher took the Grammys stage on Sunday night (2/8) to give a short preview of an upcoming tribute to the great Stevie Wonder. Usher performed “If It’s Magic” from Wonder’s timeless Songs in the Key of Life and will again take the stage on February 16th for the tribute, Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life — An All-Star Grammy Salute airing on CBS. Backed by only a harp and later joined by Wonder himself on harmonica, the performance was drastically different then what we have become accustomed to from the 36 year-old entertainer in recent years. The emergence of younger stars on the stage has pushed the veteran Usher into a strange parallel. He wants to remain relevant to the audiences that those said artists caters too and he also wants prove to everyone that remembers when, that he can still tear up a stage. The issue is that Usher now lacks the stamina to effortlessly glide across the stage for a full four minutes without giving lackluster vocals. I suppose his refusal to forgo singing live in exchange for pre-recorded vocals should be applauded but I wish it didn’t come at the expense of our ears. Nevertheless, Usher is still legendary and has the receipts to vouch for his nearly two decade career. I think he will eventually find his groove again and bring back the audience that truly appreciates him. Until then, here are a few performances from Usher that were toned down, by his standards, but still lit the stage.
Not a performance, but still… Usher’s vocals on one of his newest tracks are beastly.