“I’m just hoping to really have fun today with this office party we’re having,” Usher joked as he opened up his first Tiny Desk performance and last of NPR’s Black Music Month series. After introducing his band and supporting vocalists, Eric Bellinger and Vedo, he jumped into a jazzy acoustic version of his 1997 classic, “You Make Me Wanna.”
Immediately following, Ursher brought the “Superstar Challenge” from They Have The Range to an intimate tone with Bellinger setting the scene with his on-key falsetto, especially with the way the men of R&B have been arguing on social media since the Mario and Omarion Verzuz last week.
Whether it was the way he had us grooving to the alternate live rendition of “U Don’t Have To Call” to him asking the timeless question of what he was doing at 7 o’clock on the dot—to which one woman in the crowd quickly replied with the proper answer—Usher commanded the audience with a too-cool-for-schoolesque demeanor.
Taking pauses in between songs to address adoring viewers, he talked about the upcoming 25th anniversary of his My Way album and expressed gratitude for sharing this moment with his aforementioned musical brothers. “Life is a collaborative process,” he expressed.
Before the nearly 25-minute set wrapped, he got into “Confessions Pt. II” and debuted the 2022 version of “My Way,” as heard during his Las Vegas residency. Watch the King of R&B’s full Tiny Desk above and catch him live from July through October as his residency returns to Sin City.