On the final day of Tiny Desk‘s Black Music Month series, Usher played a celebratory show at the NPR office studio. Just as Denzel Curry did yesterday, Usher brought a nine-piece backing band to the cramped concert space for his six-song, 25-minute set.
June 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Usher’s first major hit, “My Way” — the lead single and title track of his sophomore LP. He opened his Thursday Tiny Desk performance with “You Make Me Wanna…” (My Way‘s second single) and closed with “My Way” after playing “Nice & Slow,” a track from the same album that was later released as a standalone single and earned him his first placement atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The rest of his set comprised “Superstar” and “Confessions Part II” — both cuts from his widely celebrated 2004 album Confessions — and “U Don’t Have to Call,” a Pharrell-penned, Neptunes-produced mega-hit from 2001’s 8701.
NPR’s Black Music Month series, which coincides with the first presidentially proclaimed Black Music Appreciation Month, has given Tiny Desk the opportunity to showcase a bevy of Black artists: In addition to Usher and Denzel Curry, they’ve brought Ravyn Lenae and Maverick City Music into their office, and hosted remote performances by FKA twigs, Larry June, J’Nai Bridges, Monica, Naira Marley, James Francies, and Adekunle Gold.