Usher comes to 1st Mariner

R&B singer is back atop the charts and selling out concerts

  • R&B singer Usher has had No. 1 hits in three consecutive decades. Wednesday, he performs at 1st Mariner Arena.
R&B singer Usher has had No. 1 hits in three consecutive… (Handout photo )
December 02, 2010|By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun

Usher is once again dominating the charts with another club anthem, " DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love," which plays up his euro-pop side.

The R&B singer's outsized ambitions will be on display Wednesday, when he brings his OMG Tour to 1st Mariner Arena. Usher's album "Confessions" was the last to have sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America. His follow-up, "Raymond v. Raymond," which covered his recent divorce, disappointed critically and commercially when it was released in March; it's stalled at about a million copies sold.

So to help recapture his hit-maker status, he released a nine-song EP in August. Titled "Versus," it's heavy on the dance-pop, just as the market demanded. To produce the lead track, "DJ," he recruited Max Martin, the man responsible for Britney Spears' "Oops! … I Did It Again," and chart-toppers for Celine Dion and *NSYNC.

The second single, "Hot Tottie," features vocals by Jay-Z. So far, the gambit has seemed to work — both songs skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard charts, with "DJ" becoming his 16th top-10 hit.

And the singles helped fuel his new 30-city tour, which is selling out across the country. The singer is bullish on his career. In Vibe, he said his new tour "represents a standard that has to be set for entertainment" amid a sputtering concert industry.

"I represent an industry of individuals that made me who I am, and I won't let it die," he said. "If it's on my back, I'll take it."

Usher and opening act Trey Songz will perform Wednesday at 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50-$99.50. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com

—Erik Maza

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