The latest episode of Songland welcomed the Grammy-award winning R&B star Usher Raymond IV, who is known professionally simply as Usher. Over the course of his over 20-year career, he has won eight Grammys, 18 Billboard Music Awards, nine Soul Train Music Awards, and eight American Music Awards.
When the show started, the producers could not say enough good things about this week’s guest artist.
“Usher is an absolute legend,” said Ryan Tedder. “He has a magnetism about his personality that is infectious and he knows what a hit is. He’s had more than I can count.”
“I’m such a serious crazy fan,” added Shane McAnally.
“He’s a mega-star … R&B’s top master. It’s huge to get Usher on Songland. I love him so much because he gave me my opportunity in songwriting,” said Ester Dean.
Below is a rundown of his Songland episode, including the winning song and how to download it but be warned of spoilers.
Ahead of the performances, Usher stressed that a show like Songland is so important to show a different side to the music industry.
“This show is a necessity. People really don’t understand what we have to go through in creating a song. I love that it teaches people that there’s a process,” said the R&B star, adding, “What do I typically look for in a song? I think versatility makes a great song. I think you have to take people on a journey.”
The four contestants who performed for Usher were:
- Miranda Glory, New York, New York, “Salty”
- Ryan Cam, Leesburg, Virginia, “Staying Over”
- David Wade, Newark, New Jersey, “Horse ‘N Carriage”
- Fatherdude, Long Island, New York, “Billions”
The three artists chosen to advance were Glory, who was assigned to producer Tedder; Wade, who was assigned to producer McAnally; and Cam, who was assigned to producer Dean.
The Winning Song
After the reworked songs were performed, Usher chose to go with Cam’s song “Staying Over,” which had been retitled “California.”
“The great part about what happens here is you guys can say, ‘I’ve obviously made it this far, so I’m on the track to success and the world knows who I am and I’ve become better here as a result of understanding that collaboration is key,'” Usher told the aspiring songwriters. “This is what music-making is about and this is what creativity is about … so I get to pick one record, one song, to record. And the song that I’m going to pick is ‘California.'”
“If I had gone back and told myself three years ago when I had just started making music that Usher would be cutting my track right now, I have no idea what I would say. I’m incredibly honored. It’s a crazy accomplishment,” said Cam.
“When I heard ‘California,’ it was so sparse and that works in this town because vibe is every bit of what R&B is and Ester, her pop sensibility was able to sprinkle the right seasoning over it to liven it up and give it rhythm, which made it a song that gave it an entire body for me. Also too, the treat of being able to have a record that is instantly branded for the world to see — I’m just so happy that I chose it.”
You can hear the full song on Songland’s and Usher’s YouTube channel and download it now on Spotify.
Songland airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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