Call us cynical, but we find it refreshing when a veteran hitmaker like Usher is excited to perform for throngs of fans. Case in point: The “Scream” singer was genuinely pumped to perform Friday night at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I find myself in competition with myself,” the singer told SheKnows on the iHeartRadio red carpet, referring to his performances this year and last at the festival. “Last year I came out with David Guetta, but this year I have a full set so I have a chance to do a full set — some of the new records, some of the old records… some choreography. The standard of production is just outta here.
The singer put the same enthusiasm into his set, playing dance hit after dance hit, from his 2004 smash “Yeah” to “DJ Got Us Fallin In Love Again” along with his current single “Scream” and the Guetta collaboration from 2011, “Without You.”
It’s apparent that Usher’s moved past his challenges of the last few years, including his divorce and subsequent custody battle with ex-wife Tameka Foster. He’s in a more introspective mood these days, judging from his new album Looking 4 Myself.
“[The album] came out of a very hard time in my life,” he told SheKnows. “I was just looking for something new. I don’t know if it’s where I was physically, where I was spiritually… I began to travel. I went to a few different festivals, a few different places and was influenced by different styles of music, which led me to start to listen to different types of artists.”
It was a risk that he hopes will pay off.
“I knew I felt something incredible and I hope the rest of the world — my older fans, new fans — want to be a part of that experience.”